Bloomberg News

Swine Flu Leads U.K.’s FSA to Probe Banks’ Planning

May 01, 2009

The most important financial-services companies in the U.K. will be contacted by Britain’s markets regulator to determine whether they have emergency plans in place to handle swine flu, the agency said.

The Financial Services Authority said on April 27 that it expects companies to have already developed strategies on how to cope if large numbers of staff stay home due to illness after the regulator ran an industry-wide simulation of an influenza pandemic in 2006. It tested companies’ abilities to withstand staff absenteeism as high as 60 percent.

The FSA is “contacting the ‘high impact’ firms including infrastructure providers that it regulates to establish whether the influenza outbreak is affecting any aspects of their business,” a statement on the London-based agency’s Web site today said.

Britain’s first case of transmission of the flu to someone who hadn’t been to Mexico was confirmed today, Sky News reported. The flu has reached 11 countries and genetic tests confirmed more than 331 people have the strain, H1N1, according to the World Health Organization’s Web Site. The Geneva-based health agency raised its six-tier alert to 5 on April 29.

A Citigroup Inc. employee in New York and a World Bank employee in Maryland were preliminarily diagnosed with swine flu. One of Barack Obama’s aides who traveled to Mexico as part of last month’s presidential trip, along with his family, showed symptoms.

To contact the reporters on this story: Caroline Binham in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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