While business-continuity planning and disaster recovery are still fresh on everyone's mind, the SIA's Business Continuity Planning Committee is set to report on its progress at a session this morning. Committee Chair Paul Honey, first vice president of global contingency planning at Merrill Lynch, will moderate the session entitled, "Business Continuity Planning, Much is Going On," today at 9:45 a.m. in the Mercury Ballroom on the third floor.
Honey and several of his BCP committee members will report that the Securities Industry Command Center, which Honey says is up and running, is being tested regularly and has even been put into action a couple of times. "It's working very well and we're coordinating very closely with SIA firms, as well as the Bond Market Association and other bodies on the command center," says Honey.
For security reasons, the location and description of the center will not be discussed, but Honey says there is a physical location where firms can congregate, as well as virtual capabilities for continuity efforts from a central base. There will be further tests and drills involving the command center, which was recently put through a real-life test during the Queens bus strike. "There was an issue where portions of our industry could have had trouble commuting from the Queens area, so that enabled us to sort of flush out some of the information roots and make sure people were appraised of the situation," says Honey.
The BCP committee has also been working closely with the New York City Office of Emergency Management to arrange representation in its command center to further the interests of the securities and investments industry. "We've been very proactive in letting the various initiatives at the Federal and other industry levels understand what we are doing, how they can reach us and how we're working so we present a united voice to the outside world," adds Honey.
The BCP session will also provide an update on the draft of best practices in the business-continuity-planning area that the committee has been working on and plans to release soon. "We realize that a lot of firms are looking for this type of information so we worked together to get our view points down on paper," says Honey. But the best practices will remain in draft form until regulators, such as the SEC and the Federal Reserve, make their views known. The regulator's views and recommendations are expected sometime later this summer, at which time the SIA will work closely with them to ensure the committee's best practices and standards take into account the regulator's requirements.
The committee has also been working to ensure a coordinated approach to testing across the industry. "We want to make sure everyone from the broker/dealers through to the exchanges and the other market participants are coordinated in their approach to testing," says Honey, who adds that a calendar has been compiled for testing dates of various elements.
The committee is also working with critical vendors in the industry, such as market data vendors and power and telecommunications providers, to make sure they are adequately prepared by conducting surveys to gauge their plans and resiliency. Looking forward, the SIA already has plans for a BCP conference to take place in October. "I think the regulatory viewpoints will be known by then, so we'll be able to assist the marketplace with plans for 2003 and beyond," says Honey.