HSBC sends home 100 London staff, confirms China coronavirus case

Published March 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Reuters 

LONDON/MILAN/HONG KONG – HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.L) has sent home more than 100 staff in London after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, the first known case at a major company in Europe’s main financial hub.

The HSBC bank is seen in the financial district of Canary Wharf in London, Britain, July 13, 2017. (REUTERS/Kevin Coombs / MANILA BULLETIN)
The HSBC bank is seen in the financial district of Canary Wharf in London, Britain, July 13, 2017. (REUTERS/Kevin Coombs / MANILA BULLETIN)

The bank also has an employee in China with the virus who is in a stable condition, interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn said in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Banks worldwide are readying out-of-town offices and isolating some teams to ensure trading operations continue if the virus spreads to more financial centers.

Italy’s UniCredit (CRDI.MI) also sent home some staff after two new infections among its employees, one each in Germany and Italy.

JPMorgan (JPM.N) is moving traders in New York and London to a number of locations, it said in a memo on Thursday.

The U.S. bank runs a British disaster recovery site in Basingstoke, southwest of London, with an alternative building near Blackfriars bridge in the central part of the capital.

“The bank has officially moved from testing to execution,” said a source familiar with the matter, adding that the biggest wave of moves would happen on March 9.

Goldman Sachs (GS.N) has been testing a back-up site in Croydon in south London, while Barclays has an office in Northolt, in the city’s northwest, that it plans to use as a back-up.

The possibility of the virus spreading across the finance industry is worrying regulators, who fear the absence of key staff could cause liquidity problems in markets if firms cannot run trading operations normally.

The European Central Bank has asked eurozone banks to urgently test their large-scale remote working or other flexible arrangements for critical staff, a letter dated Tuesday and seen by Reuters showed.

German and British financial regulators have also said they are watching how prepared banks and other institutions are.

In Spain, BBVA (BBVA.MC) said on Thursday it had transferred up to 100 staff from its Madrid trading floor to a location just outside the city in a contingency measure against potential disruption by the outbreak.

 
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