Regulators tell financial firms to learn from Hurricane Sandy

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission joined FINRA in issuing the staff advisory.

Gary Barnett, director of the CFTC’s swap dealer and intermediary oversight division, added, “With this joint effort, we were able to leverage the experience of the entire industry to spread knowledge of best practices and identify areas that need improvement to help our firms be better prepared and better able to respond to disasters.”

Rules require financial companies to have plans for responding to emergencies, like severe weather or power outages. 

In the new guidance, regulators advise firms to be proactive and plan for disruptions in telecommunications, power, transportation and other services during crises. That includes considering whether employees should be able to work from home, where back-up data centers should be located and how best to communicate with employees and customers during severe storms. 

The recommendations were developed after contacting firms affected by the storm to see how their trading, customer relations and operations were impacted.

October's storm was the worst to affect Wall Street in generations. The last time that weather forced a halt to trading at the New York Stock Exchange for two consecutive days was 1888, when a devastating blizzard hit New York City.

Before Sandy, the last time the stock exchange unexpectedly closed for more than a day was after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.