Pandemic planning

David Lewis General Manager APRA recently spoke on ‘Pandemic planning for the financial sector‘ at
the Business Continuity Conference in Sydney.

APRA is seeking to improve the financial sector’s resilience to cope with the impact of a potential human influenza pandemic.

He said:

"A human influenza pandemic would have a significant effect on the financial sector: both, directly, in terms of reduced delivery of financial services; and, indirectly, in terms of the potential financial impacts on banks (and other deposit-takers) and insurance companies.

Some of the critical business functions offered by financial institutions that may come under pressure include:
• cash supply and currency distribution;
• payroll processing and government payments;
• retail payment systems and banking services (including e-payments);
• access to credit;
• clearing and settlement systems;
• financial markets trading;
• processing of insurance claims.

Clearly, any prolonged disruption to these sorts of services would have a significant impact – not only on the financial institution which provided them, but also on the wider community.

For this reason, continued access to a number of these services has been identified as ‘critical infrastructure’ in the Commonwealth Government’s Influenza Pandemic Action Plan. In the event of a pandemic outbreak, APRA and other Government agencies have plans in place to respond to any breakdown in the delivery of essential financial services."

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