Learning & Development Asia 2024
HKEX to maintain trading during severe weather conditions effective 23 September 2024

HKEX to maintain trading during severe weather conditions effective 23 September 2024

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For those small and medium brokerage firms that may need more time to arrange remote working for all staff, they should make preparations in line with the codes published by the Labour Department.

From 23 September 2024, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) will implement Severe Weather Trading (SWT), allowing Hong Kong's securities and derivatives markets to remain open during severe weather conditions.

After the implementation of the new arrangements, Hong Kong's securities and derivatives markets will maintain trading, post-trade and listing arrangements in its securities and derivatives markets, including Stock Connect, derivatives holiday trading, and after-hours trading when Typhoon Signal No.8 or above, or a Black Rainstorm Warning, is issued by the Hong Kong Observatory.

To ensure safety, remote working and the use of online services are strongly encouraged on a SWT day, as well as no public-facing physical outlets will provide services. Some minor adjustments will be made to ensure the market’s operational resilience, as certain services provided only via physical outlets will be unavailable.

Bonnie Y Chan, Chief Executive Officer at HKEX said: "Personnel safety remains a key priority: remote working capabilities and online banking and trading services will allow our markets to operate robustly and resiliently during severe weather conditions.”

Christopher Hui, Hong Kong's Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, said at a media session on 18 June 2024 (Tuesday) that some small and medium brokerage firms may need more time to arrange remote working for all staff. In case they need to assign staff to report for duty at the workplace under severe weather conditions, they should, just like other sectors do, refer to the Code of Practice in Times of Adverse Weather and "Extreme Conditions" published by the Labour Department, and work out the relevant arrangements with the staff concerned.

In this regard, employers should make preparations with reference to the relevant codes of practice to assess the number of skeleton staff, work arrangements and supporting measures (such as transportation arrangements, food and drinking water) required during the work period. They should also consider whether it is necessary to take out additional insurance coverage in addition to compliance with relevant statutory requirements.

On the premise of personal safety, employers may discuss with the designated staff concerned about returning to the workplace in advance outside working hours for standby duties before Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 8 or a Black Rainstorm Warning Signal is issued when public transport is still available, and remaining in the office until it is safe to leave after the relevant signal is cancelled. Employers should, as early as possible, discuss with the staff concerned about the feasibility of such duty arrangements, including obtaining consent from staff for amending their employment contracts as and when necessary.

The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) supports the new severe weather trading arrangements. It believes the new arrangements align Hong Kong's trading mechanisms with global standards and enhance the overall competitiveness of the Hong Kong financial market.

"Thanks to sustained investments in technology and robust infrastructure, Hong Kong's banking community is well prepared for remote work and well placed to meet customers' trading needs. The HKAB welcomes the details provided in today's announcement as well as relevant guidance issued by the HKMA, and will continue to collaborate closely with HKEX and different stakeholders to ensure a smooth implementation of the new arrangement," said the association in a statement.

On the other hand, the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Professional Association (HKSFPA) stated that the arrangements for maintaining trading during severe weather conditions involve multiple risks across different aspects, especially personal safety and data security risks. The HKSFPA therefore expects the Government and relevant parties to provide comprehensive solutions and corresponding supporting measures to minimise risks and ensure the effective implementation of the arrangements.


Image / HKSAR Government Press Releases

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