FSA-regulated firms have been reminded of the need to check their organisations to ensure comprehensive and robust plans are in place to deal with potential disruptions to its operations.
Michael Foot, a managing director at the FSA, says: “It is essential that all firms in the financial services sector ensure that they are properly prepared. None of us can afford to be complacent about the challenges that inevitably arise in an environment where the potential threat is so great.”
Since last year's terrorist attack on New York and Washington, the FSA has worked to improve its ability to cope with an event that closed its own HQ in Canary Wharf and which threatened the smooth operation of key firms and financial markets in the UK.
During the last year the authority has taken additional steps to add to its contingency arrangements, including the development of its back-up site. It has also begun a series of simulations of emergency events that would interrupt the normal functioning of the financial service sector. These are designed to prepare its staff for such eventualities and to test its infrastructure.
The FSA has also worked closely with the financial services sector, HM Treasury, and the Bank of England to raise business continuity standards more generally.
This work has been designed to ensure the authorities are able to communicate quickly with institutions whose continued operations are critical to the systems and markets on which London's key international and domestic markets are based.
Foot adds: “Improving business continuity arrangements is an ongoing process requiring leadership from the top and all of those involved are continually looking at ways to up our game. It is important we get it right since London is a major financial centre and any interruption to business here would have an impact globally.”