WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. regulatory body on Monday said it would temporarily waive some of its rules in order to allow thousands of traders to operate from home as the coronavirus spreads in New York.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulatory body which oversees brokers, said traders could work remotely and recognized that firms may need to implement alternative supervisory systems to make that possible.
“In such cases, FINRA would expect a member firm to establish and maintain a supervisory system that is reasonably designed to supervise the activities of each associated person while working from an alternative or remote location during the pandemic,” it said in a notice.
FINRA oversees thousands of brokerages, dealing mainly in securities and corporate bonds.
FINRA added that its scheduled on-site inspections of branch offices may need to be temporarily postponed, and that it would also temporarily waive some record-keeping requirements and be flexible if firms have difficulty meeting other filing obligations.
Wall Street banks and brokers have for weeks been in “robust” talks with regulators to secure a number of waivers that would allow staff to work from home as part of their broader coronavirus contingency plans, the chief executive of a top industry group told Reuters.
Overnight, the number of confirmed cases of the virus rose by 37 to a total of 142 people in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday. He has issued a declaration of emergency to bolster the financial hub’s efforts to contain the virus.