Banks in HK put their business continuity plans to the test

Nurdianah Md Nur

Fifty-five banks in Hong Kong proved that their business continuity plans are reliable and stable in a drill conducted by the financial regulator Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) on Saturday (14 June 2014).

The drill assumed that due to unexpected events, the headquarters and other vital operating sites of banks in Central Hong Kong as well as the HKMA's office became inaccessible. The participating banks thus needed to simulate the activation of their business continuity plans and operate in their respective back-up offices. They were also required to submit situation reports to the HKMA's back-up office.

In a statement released on Saturday, Norman Chan, chief executive of the HKMA said that the drill went on "smoothly and the activation of back-up offices and the various communication channels including email, telephone and fax functioned properly."

He added that banks need to have in place "robust business continuity plans so that the core functions of the banking system can be maintained even when offices in Central are not accessible." This will help "minimise the impact on bank customers and the general public."

While the banks generally did well in the drill, the HKMA will follow up with a number of banks that need to enhance some parts of their business continuity plans, as identified through the drill.