Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has announced that the capital market entities would be operational on Tuesday, March 24 including Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), Pakistan Mercantile Exchange (PMEX), National Clearing Company of Pakistan (NCCPL), and Central Depository Company of Pakistan (CDC).
In view of the fact that banks and stock markets are vital instruments of the country’s financial system, the SECP has taken necessary measures to ensure continuity of business operations of its Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs). Upon the request of the SECP, SROs of the capital market has been included amongst ‘Essential Services’ that will remain operational despite lockdown throughout the province of Sindh and Punjab.
Market Halt at PSX Extended for Next 15 Days
SECP has issued a directive to open the Stock market at 11 am in the morning.
Moreover, SECP also advises PSX to extend the duration of the market halt from 45 minutes to 120 minutes for a period of 15 days from March 24. Further, the requirement under Regulation 8.3.2 is also relaxed whereby securities brokers may be allowed to activate and operate the DR terminals for trading purposes during normal operations of PSX for a period of 15 days from the date of this letter
SECP Mock Trading Sessions
To ensure business continuity and preparedness of the TREC holders and the SROs, SECP conducted a mock trading session on Monday, March 23 in the capital market.
During this mock exercise, all the TREC Holders were logged in from their respective Disaster Recovery (DR) and remote locations and successfully went through the processes of trading, clearing, and settlement. The PSX, NCCPL and CDC teams were providing support services to ensure all activities run efficiently and all TREC holders are equipped for market operations tomorrow onwards as business commences.
The information technology departments of all SROs and SECP have made ‘Work from Home’ arrangements and connectivity with the trading, clearing, settlement and depository systems of the SROs.
SECP Announces Relaxations
In view of the lockdown situation and the remote access arrangements, SECP will announce certain relaxations for the capital market stakeholders in the morning before opening the trading session.
The SECP advises the TREC Holders that the number of staff at the office be kept at the minimal and only critical staff be maintained at the official premises. Furthermore, the SECP advises that the investors and visitors are discouraged from visiting the Stock Exchange and the TREC holders in view of the current situation.
The SECP also advises its SROs to abide by the directives of the WHO in order to maintain safety and protect themselves, their staff members, TREC holders and investors at large in the wake of the potential threat of the Coronavirus.