Hong Kong regulators tells banks, asset managers to get staff vaccinated

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Central Business District, including the Bank of China Tower (center L) and China Construction Bank (CCB) Tower are seen in Hong Kong December 26, 2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s financial regulators on Tuesday told banks, brokers and asset managers to identify staff in key roles and encourage them to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of their business continuity planning.

Authorities in the financial hub are struggling to boost the inoculation rate among the city’s 7.5 million population, and Hong Kong’s government, on Monday, said it would offer vaccinated civil servants two days off as an incentive for getting a shot.

Banks in the city should submit a list of staff in key roles who will receive a vaccine to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Arthur Yuen deputy chief executive of the banking regulator said in a letter to all authorised banks in the city published on the HKMA’s website on Tuesday.

The staff on the list should include those who have frequent face-to-face interactions with customers and those responsible for critical IT, data centre, treasury and settlement operations.

Yuen, who urged banks to offer staff additional incentives for inoculation, said a high vaccination rate was necessary for restarting international travel. He said this was crucial to maintain Hong Kong’s status as an international finance centre.

In a separate Tuesday circular, markets watchdog the Securities and Futures Commission said the companies it licences are “strongly encouraged to consider vaccination as a critical part of operational risk management.”

Hong Kong on Friday said vaccinated top executives of SFC licenced-companies could be exempted from compulsory quarantine arrangements when travelling for work, subject to certain conditions.

Roughly 21% of Hong Kong’s population aged 16 and above has had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, based on official figures.

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