The UK’s chief financial watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has called on the 12,000 firms it regulates to keep business continuity as a priority.Specifically, the FSA called for the chief executives of the top 40 firms whose interruption of business could cause systemic risk to report how they measure up to best practice guidelines drawn up by the FSA, the UK Treasury and the Bank of England.
The FSA, which has revamped its own business continuity planning since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, was keen to emphasise that its measures were not “prescriptive”. Some national regulators have introduced a rules-based formula with regard to business continuity planning, such as minimum distances between head offices and back-up sites or having back-up sites manned on a continuous basis.
But the FSA said businesses needed to treat business continuity as a priority and should ensure this operational risk is overseen at a senior executive level. It warned smaller firms about the consequences of neglecting business continuity, with FSA managing director Michael Foot saying: “[If] you cannot withstand an emergency event, then it is essentially your business which is at risk”.
An FSA survey last year found the top 40 firms had made “considerable improvement in their business continuity”.
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