ISLAMABAD: Taking into account the lockdown in Sindh, the Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) of stock market, including Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited (PSX), Central Depositary Company (CDC), National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited (NCCPL) and the apex regulator Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on March 23 (Monday) conducted mock exercise to run PSX remotely.

The mock exercised aimed at proactively identifying practical issues faced by market participants and timely resolution of the same. To ensure continuity of market operations’ SECP has adopted a plan to function SECP, PSX, CDC, NCCPL with minimum presence of staff in office while majority will work from their homes.

On Monday, the SECP has also informed Ministry of Finance that the SECP has given proposal and mechanism to home department Sindh to help in running business/trading at stock exchange Karachi.

On the request of the SECP, the federal government has also asked Sindh government to include stock market services under the list of essential services so that the stock market functions run smoothly during the lockdown. Moreover, the SECP has submitted a contingency plan to the government to run the market with minimum workforce in the stock market, NCCPL and CDC and related organizations while majority of the employees would work remotely.

Against the rumors of the stock market closure, the SECP has ensured that the stock market functions would run smoothly. According to senior officials, the mock exercise tested successfully as more 100 percent officials of SRO performed and run trading settlements and other functions successfully from home while more then 50% brokers logged in remotely. The information technology department made WFH arrangements and connectivity with the trading, clearing, settlement and depository systems of the SROs.

Over the long weekend, the SECP high-up’s were in continues coordination with PSX, SDC, NCCPL and several meetings were held through video links to ensure that capital market continues to operate uninterruptedly. It was ensured that effective Business Continuity Process (BCP) has been implemented by SROs to ensure uninterrupted capital market operations. Further, SROs had implemented work from home (WFH) arrangements whereby majority of their staff was now working offsite from their homes. Further, respective disaster recovery (DR) sites of the SROs had also been activated and tested to ensure that they were operational in case primary sites are not accessible due to any eventuality. In addition, effective safety measures, preventive controls and social distancing arrangements were put in place to prevent outspread of COVID-19.