EquiLend’s Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
April 6, 2020
We hope you and your loved ones are continuing to stay safe and healthy.
During extraordinary times like these, we all have a lot on our minds. At EquiLend, we are working hard to ensure that the continuity and security of your business is one less thing to worry about.
As a valued client, you can immediately take advantage of a number of initiatives and resources we have introduced in recent weeks to support your business and help you stay abreast of important market developments:
- Extended access to The Pulse is now available for NGT clients, offering increased transparency into trading workflow and the ability to optimize trading activity across all counterparties.
- Additional resources have been allocated to client training across our platform to ensure our users receive the maximum benefit from all services.
- Additional client support has been made available for our Post-Trade Suite users, and we’re working directly with clients to improve their return, recall and reconciliation processes.
- With the extension of SFTR enforcement announced by ESMA, we’re undertaking additional extensive bilateral testing with clients in further preparation for July.
Content & Intelligence
- Last week saw the launch of a detailed daily DataLend newsletter covering key securities finance market metrics and daily movements during this turbulent period. This is available now on our website, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- For this quarter, our The Purple team have diverted their energies from our standard print edition to work on up-to-the-minute research and analyses of the securities finance market, which we will be publishing frequently during this period. Subscribe to receive The Purple content here.
- With the cancellation of this year’s PASLA conference, we have partnered with PASLA and RMA to produce a comprehensive Asia Pacific Securities Lending Markets User Guide, due out this month. We and our partners anticipate this will serve as a crucial resource covering all the latest developments in the region.
As always, we are committed to supporting you, our clients. If there is anything more we can do to support you and your business, please let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does EquiLend have a documented Business Continuity Plan in place?
Yes. We maintain a comprehensive written Business Continuity Plan (BCP) detailing EquiLend’s BCP program. The BCP includes a variety of potential facilities and service-related interruptions, and the subsequent actions to be taken for continuing our operations. For details on our BCP, please click here.
2. Does EquiLend’s BCP account for instances of a widespread virus pandemic?
Yes. Our BCP does account for instances of a widespread virus pandemic, and includes plans for continuing to provide service to clients throughout such an instance.
3. Has EquiLend’s BCP been tested with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic specifically, or in general within the last six months?
Yes. Our Asia offices have been operating in BCP mode since January. Our North America and EMEA offices recently completed successful testing of the BCP, and initiated operating in BCP mode as of March 16. The testing and subsequent activation of the BCP has demonstrated no disruption to our Business As Usual (BAU) operations, including platform uptime and client support.
4. Does EquiLend’s BCP include plans for remote working arrangements?
Yes. We are positioned to provide uninterrupted services to our clients should staff be unable to physically report to one or more of our global office locations. We have recently confirmed that all global staff have secured the technical arrangements needed to enable work-from-home capabilities.
As a result of recent COVID-19 developments, as of March 16, we have closed all of our global office locations, and all global staff are operating on a mandatory work-from-home policy until further notice.
5. Does EquiLend’s BCP include a plan to continue to provide its services in the event of mass absenteeism? Does EquiLend’s BCP include the transfer of certain business functions?
Yes. While we do not anticipate any disruption to providing our services, we will continue to evaluate COVID-19 developments and will consider any changes necessary to continue to provide uninterrupted service.
Our global staff predominantly reside in regions surrounding our global office locations. Our senior management team members are located in four different cities across the globe. Similar or duplicative work responsibilities have been strategically assigned to staff across our global office locations to ensure sufficient resources are available should one or more locations become significantly impacted.
6. Has EquiLend identified its critical business processes? If yes, does EquiLend have contingency plans to address each critical business process?
Yes. Responsibilities relating to our critical operations are strategically distributed amongst global staff to ensure the knowledge of any one process is not limited to any one individual. EquiLend’s global senior management team are in close and regular communication with staff responsible for our critical processes to determine if needed to make any changes to ensure our continued service to clients.
7. Has EquiLend reviewed the potential impact of EquiLend third parties (i.e., fourth parties of EquiLend’s clients) as it relates to their ability to continue to provide EquiLend their services?
Yes. We are in regular communication with our critical third-party vendors (i.e., those deemed critical for providing services to our clients) to identify and mitigate any given potential business disruptors.
We have recently reviewed and confirmed with our critical vendors and subcontractors that each has a robust BCP in place, including sufficient arrangements needed to ensure uninterrupted service is provided to us should they activate their respective BCPs.
In the event a significant business disruption affects our primary production data center facility in Carteret, New Jersey, USA, the operation of our securities lending platform will be transferred to our disaster recovery data center facility in Houston, Texas, USA.
8. What are EquiLend’s plans to mitigate/prepare for the possibility of impact to EquiLend’s product/the delivery of its services?
We are closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to this point implemented a mandatory work-from-home policy for all staff until further notice. This arrangement has demonstrated no disruption to our Business As Usual (BAU) operations or to client support functions. We will continue to review evolving circumstances and will implement additional measures should they become necessary.
9. Has EquiLend taken steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Yes. The health and safety of our employees, clients, contractors and third-party suppliers is our top priority. As such, we have been and will continue to closely monitor developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including reviewing and following guidance from respected health organizations and government recommendations.
We have now closed all of our global offices, with all global staff required to work remotely until further notice.
We have discontinued all staff business travel until further notice. We continue to actively track domestic and international travel, both business and personal, of all staff. Prior to the closure of our offices, we had implemented a mandatory two-week work-from-home policy for staff returning from travel to any high-risk location. This policy will resume upon the reopening of our offices, and will continue until further notice.
We have been and are continuing to encourage staff to follow hygiene practices set forth by the World Health Organization. Prior to the closure of our offices, we had equipped staff with virus-fighting supplies, including hand sanitizers and surface sanitizing wipes, and had professional “deep cleaning” services completed in all offices.
10. Is EquiLend taking any steps for employees whom may have been exposed to COVID-19?
Yes. Prior to the closure of our offices, we required staff to notify Human Resources if they had been in contact with any individual confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, and/or if they had visited a location where an individual with a confirmed case had been present. In either scenario, we required the employee to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days, and were taking additional notification and/or in-office sanitation measures as necessary. This practice will resume upon the reopening of our offices, and will continue until further notice.
11. Is EquiLend speaking with local market infrastructure in the relevant jurisdiction(s) for their BCP readiness (e.g., CSDs, CCPs)?
Yes, we are currently engaged with local market infrastructures with regard to their BCP readiness.
12. How will EquiLend communicate to clients any updates on the COVID-19 pandemic?
We will continue to provide communications relating to impact and implementation of our contingency plans to clients by email.