Latest UK financial sector business continuity exercise to take place in November

The ripples of the global financial crisis have affected the plans and fortunes of hundreds of businesses and services. Nearly a year ago a Market-Wide Exercise (MWE) was scheduled within the financial sector. The aim was to explore the potential effects of a cataclysmic meteorological event upon financial sector businesses, particularly those central to the national infrastructure. However, in the face of mounting financial pressures, the MWE 2008 was postponed, recognising that without market-wide engagement the findings of the exercise would be worthless. Now that the markets have stabilised, the support and participation of many more financial sector businesses has been assured.

The MWE 2009 will build on the progress made three years ago via the MWE 2006, as well as on the findings of the Resilience Benchmarking Project of the same year. The effects of a natural disaster localised to specific geographic areas will be discussed, together with contingencies addressing remote working and the universal reliance on telecommunications networks. Data continuity and security will also comprise a significant portion of the discussion. Time will also be spent analysing the methods for the distribution of collateral around a damaged financial sector. Finally, the fastest recovery schemes conducive to the resumption of normal operation will be developed. It seems clear that both physical and financial continuity will be high on the agenda.

Over the last year the financial sector has been under strain and scrutiny because of the recession. As a result the MWE 2009 will have the attention of many, including outside observers. Interest will focus on the conclusions drawn as to the relationship between the tripartite regulatory authority (The FSA, The Bank of England, The Treasury) and financial sector businesses. The MWE 2009 aims to further explore how this relationship will grow or develop under the strains of major operational disruption. There is a likelihood that a new government will come to power in 2010 and changes to the financial regulatory system are inevitable. Consequently the financial sector’s relationship with these regulatory bodies will shape the future of finance in the UK. As such the MWE 2009, scheduled for November 17th and 19th, will become far more than a continuity exercise.

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