Financial regulators and financial institutions continue to be proactive in monitoring the evolving situation and the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak on the market. Asia Pacific markets are among the hardest hit, and it is important for financial institutions to have relevant measures in place to ensure business continuity and sustainability.

Key developments in select markets include:

  • Hong Kong. Financial institutions are advised to ensure compliance by assessing how their businesses could be disrupted, and activate corresponding BCP measures. Financial institutions are also encouraged to assess any practical difficulties in complying with regulatory deadlines, and to continue communicating with relevant regulators. In the COVID-19 situation, the HKMA and the SFC have issued further guidance.
  • Japan. JFSA issued guidance and recommendations for financial institutions that will reinforce their preventive measures and contingency procedures to ensure they are effective in handling a COVID-19 outbreak. Financial institutions are advised to continue gathering information from national and local governments while closely monitoring the development of the situation, which includes awaiting further instructions from the JFSA.
  • Malaysia. It is imperative for financial institutions to take appropriate measures and actions to ensure business continuity and their ability to comply with regulatory requirements. BNM should be notified immediately if the financial institution anticipates that there will be difficulty or delay in fulfilling any of the regulatory requirements.
  • Philippines. BSFIs and OPS must ensure compliance with the requirements under Memorandum No. M-2020-006 dated 11 March 2020. Under the Memorandum, BSFIs and OPS are expected to adopt and implement appropriate response plans and mechanisms to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers while delivering continued financial services to the general public.
  • Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore issued an updated advice to financial institutions on aspects of their business continuity plans, which support their staff and customers and ensure security standards. These measures are in addition to those recommended by the Ministry of Health Ministry and the Ministry of Manpower (with its tripartite partners – the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation) in the general advisory to employers and workplaces on continued operations while minimizing risks of community spread of the COVID-19.
  • Taiwan. The competent authority facing the COVID-19 epidemic in Taiwan varies based on the subject matter of the issue. The Financial Supervisory Commission issued guidelines for businesses in dealing with the effects of COVID-19. In addition, financial institutions in Taiwan should also keep an eye on the announcements and policies of Taiwan Centers of Disease Control, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Municipality Governments, and County (City). Governments for policies and laws regarding disease prevention and employment.
  • Thailand. Listed companies have concerns about their upcoming annual general meetings. Authorities including the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, and the Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce have issued guidelines and measures to deal with the COVID-19 situation and the limitations for listed companies to hold an annual general meeting of shareholders.

Each market is dealing with COVID-19 cautiously, and the guidelines issued by different agencies follow a general theme around awareness, caution, and transparency.

To help you determine appropriate steps in line with key developments, our Asia Pacific team developed this guide covering select markets in the region.

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