SEC headquarters in Washington SEC headquarters in Washington. (Photo: Diego Radzinschi/ALM)

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday urged its employees based in Washington, D.C., to work from home, as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on Monday warned broker-dealers to prepare themselves.

The SEC made the request after the agency was informed that an employee was treated for respiratory symptoms on Monday. “The employee was informed by a physician that the employee may have the coronavirus and was referred for testing,” an SEC spokesperson said in a statement.

“Even with increased telework, the SEC remains able and committed to fully executing its mission on behalf of investors, including monitoring market function and working closely with other regulators and market participants,” the spokesperson said.

FINRA released a Regulatory Notice reminding broker-dealers to consider pandemic-related business continuity planning, “including whether their business continuity plans, or BCPs, are sufficiently flexible to address a wide range of possible effects in the event of a pandemic in the United States.”

“BCPs should be reasonably designed to enable a member firm to meet its existing obligations to customers and address existing relationships with other broker-dealers and counterparties,” FINRA said. “Each member firm needs to conduct its own risk analysis to determine where critical impact points and exposures exist within the firm and with its counterparties and suppliers.”

The regulator said BDs should also consider allowing employees to work from home to mitigate the impacts of a pandemic. They should also consider social distancing, travel restrictions, revised sick leave policies, special pandemic leave time, or specialized seating plans for densely populated floors or buildings, FINRA said.

— Related on ThinkAdvisor: