From ringing cancellation to remote working schemes, stock exchanges and banks across Europe are taking a variety of measures to ensure business continues during the novel coronavirus crisis.
The outbreak, which the World Health Organization has called a pandemic, has prompted banks to start testing work-from-home and remote programs for their merchants, although it is more difficult for merchants to work remotely locations due to security and technical issues.
Octavio Marenzi, CEO of capital markets management consultancy Opimas, warned that trading operations “suffer enormously” with a containment policy because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“Many companies have deliberately configured their systems to require a physical presence on the trading floor to allow traders to be better monitored. Remote working makes this more difficult and will pose challenges in terms of monitoring and control,” said he said in a written comment.
But major European exchanges hope to minimize disruption by dividing trading teams and using remote work programs and other precautions.
To limit people on the trading floor of Amsterdam, Euronext NV, canceled the daily bell-ringing ceremony, Het Financieele Dagblad reported March 11.
The American company CME Group Inc. closed its trading floor at the outcry as a precaution, and the New York Stock Exchange split other people’s trading room staff.
In Europe, the largest Norwegian bank DNB ASA evacuated its trading floor in Oslo on March 12 due to a confirmed case of coronavirus among its staff, but said its trading floor facilities would reopen shortly. He expects no disruption to trading, spokesman Even Westerveld told S&P Global Market Intelligence. DNB Markets is prepared for such situations and “will be able to maintain close to normal operations,” he said.
Borsa Italiana, Millennium IT, SIX
The London Stock Exchange Group PLC does not have a physical trading floor in London but its unit Borsa Italiana SpA has one in Milan. It is at the center of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, but continues to operate as usual, according to a recent statement. It has “strong business continuity arrangements in place to ensure the safe and orderly conduct of its business and markets”.
Another LSE unit close to coronavirus-affected regions is Sri Lanka-based MillenniumIT, which supports the group’s Turquoise e-commerce platform. So far, no disruption to trading is expected and the group continues to monitor the situation.
SIX Swiss Exchange AG does not have a physical trading platform in Europe.
“As the infrastructure provider of the Swiss financial center, it is our duty to keep the systems operational,” a SIX spokesperson said in a written comment.
Nordic-focused Nasdaq OMX is also focused on maintaining normal operations, a company spokesperson said in an email. The group has “implemented and will continue to operate various work models, including split shifts, and we are also encouraging non-market operational employees to work from home through March 31, 2020,” the spokesperson said. .
Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Euronext
The Frankfurt trading floor remains open, but the venue’s operator, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, owned by Deutsche Börse AG, has temporarily removed the existing presence requirement for market makers working on the floor due to planning COVID-19 emergency, a spokesperson said in an email. This is a “purely preventive measure” and exchanges “will of course continue without any restrictions”, the spokesperson said.
Euronext, which operates stock exchanges in Paris and Amsterdam and markets in Brussels, London, Lisbon, Dublin and Oslo, has no immediate closure plans.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had no impact on Euronext’s market operations and the group has communicated prevention and relocation measures to staff in line with WHO guidelines and government advice, according to a spokesperson. Euronext has business continuity management plans for all of its sites, which are regularly tested, and is able to “fully exploit [its] remote markets,” he said.
The big banks keep their cool
Some European banks have also taken steps to protect and segregate trading staff.
From March 9, Deutsche Bank AG began splitting some UK business teams into different locations across its main offices and disaster recovery site, a spokesperson said.
“When necessary and when permitted for their roles, we may ask certain staff to work from home,” he said. Each of the working methods has been tested and will be used proportionally. Deutsche Bank does not expect these arrangements to affect its ability to operate its full range of services, the spokesperson said.
The French group BNP Paribas SA has a similar view of the situation. The bank is closely monitoring the outbreak and taking appropriate measures such as telecommuting and split shifts, “in line with recommendations from local health authorities and regulators,” a spokesperson said. Measures are currently focused on banking sites in Asia-Pacific, he said.