March 25, 2020: The Board of Pakistan Stock Exchange convened an emergent meeting yesterday where activity at the Exchange was reviewed in detail. The Board Members expressed satisfaction at the smooth functioning of the trading activities during the day and commended the management on implementing robust business continuity measures over the last 2 weeks.
These measures resulted in seamless functioning of the Exchange, in very challenging circumstances. They also outlined directions and provided guidance on actions to be taken in the forthcoming days to effectively deal with the situation arising because of the virus and lockdown in different parts of Pakistan.
Pakistan Stock Exchange, the premier Capital market Institution of the country, cognizant of its role as a front line regulator working for the benefit of it’s stake holders, successfully operated its trading session yesterday, thereby facilitating investors, TREC holders and market participants.
The various business functions of the Stock Exchange including trading, settlement, clearing, risk management and IT worked seamlessly and there were no operational or settlement issues encountered, despite the challenges on account of the economic scenario and lock down due to the potential threat of the spread of the Covid-19 virus
PSX management, over the last two weeks, under the guidance of the SECP, and in close coordination with its associated companies and SROs, NCCPL and CDC, had undertaken and enacted comprehensive exercises of trading and technology functionality, risk management process drills and administrative precautionary measures to ensure business continuity and safety for its employees, TREC holders and investors.
The measures included steps which translated to over 85% reduction in foot fall and attendance at the head office of PSX among other actions. This number was approximately 20 persons today at the office to handle the critical functions only, while the remaining over 200 persons were mandated to work remotely from homes. The TREC holders were also requested and supported to maintain thin presence of staff at their offices while remote access was facilitated. PSX would like to acknowledge the support of its TREC holders in ensuring that trading was conducted successfully today.
To ensure business continuity and preparedness of the TREC holders and the SROs, a mock trading session was conducted on March 23, 2020 by PSX. During this mock exercise, all the TREC Holders were asked to log in from their respective DR and remote locations. They underwent a thorough replication of the stock market processes of trading, clearing, settlement and risk management to proactively test all the BCP and DR activities of the Exchange, its associated companies and the TREC Holders.
The PSX, NCCPL and CDC support teams were providing services to ensure all activities are run efficiently and all TREC holders are equipped for market operations on 24 March onwards as the market reopened after the Pakistan Day holiday. The information technology departments of the PSX made ‘Work from Home’ arrangements and connectivity with the trading, clearing, settlement and depository systems of the SROs.
Yesterday, PSX also successfully launched the very first ETFs, namely the UBL Pakistan Enterprise ETF offered by UBL Funds and NIT Pakistan Gateway ETF offered by NIT. It is after many years that a new product has been launched by PSX. In view of the virus situation, this was done through a virtual launch today. The Pakistan Stock Exchange is committed to service all our investors and stakeholders. We have ensured business continuity at the Stock Exchange and are working through virtual platforms. PSX has continued to work seamlessly despite the challenging work environment. The virtual soft launch of ETFs today demonstrates our commitment to continue operating normally and serve all our stakeholders, while keeping the safety of all stake-holders paramount.