The Key Differences in How Financial Regulators Are Re-sponding to COVID-19

No amount of planning or preparation could have readied us for COVID-19. Thousands of people are losing loved ones by the week, and the foundation of our global society has been rocked to its core. Once the dust settles on this pandemic, nothing will ever be the same again.

The health and wellbeing of the human race aren’t the only things to have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. It has also inflicted an extensive amount of damage upon the global economy. The worldwide financial landscape is facing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty, with many people having to dip into their life savings just to get by.

In an attempt to protect markets, save businesses, and safeguard consumers, financial regulators across the globe are responding to COVID-19 by putting a number of contingency plans into place. But what exact measures are they taking? Read on to find out.


Regulation adaptations

To ensure that the strange, scary and ever-changing predicament that we currently find ourselves in doesn’t leave ever-lasting scars on the global economy, financial regulators across the world are scrambling to change their usual legislative regulations. Here are some of the adaptations that have been made across the world:

  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have introduced new legislative amendments to ensure that social distancing measures don’t cause any legal or financial uncertainty.
  • The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) are adjusting the domestic stability buffer. This is enabling their banking sector to utilize their capital to navigate this unexpected negative period of austerity.


Business assistance

Being forced to shut their doors has had a major impact on businesses across the globe. It has resulted in their cash flow taking a hit, which in turn has forced them to let go of their workers. In an attempt to keep companies afloat at this very difficult time, financial regulators have gone above and beyond to offer the following comprehensive levels of business assistance:

  • To safeguard the financial landscape in Britain, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have asked businesses to take ‘reasonable steps’ to meet all their COVID-19 financial regulatory obligations. They will be actively reviewing each firm’s contingency plan.
  • The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) have eased reporting regulations to protect businesses that are unable to report their transactions as a result of COVID-19. For the foreseeable future, they are allowing firms to submit a voluntary non-compliance declaration.


Public protection

To quell the devastation that the coronavirus is having on day-to-day life, financial regulators are also putting public protection contingency plans into place. These plans include:

  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Division of Enforcement and OCIE are cracking down on illicit schemes and instances of fraud relating to COVID-19
  • The European Banking Authority (EBA) has postponed ‘non-essential’ worksite inspections to prevent members of the public catching the disease.


Waivers and deferrals

A large percentage of the global public are currently unable to pick up their full wage packed. In an attempt to protect both the individuals and the companies that they serve, the world’s leading financial regulators have taken it upon themselves to offer payment waivers and deferrals. Here’s how they have responded in this instance:

  • The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) have increased support to roll-overs and extended the renewal of due loans.
  • The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) are in the process of providing regulatory requirement relief.

COVID-19 has already caused a sizeable amount of chaos in the financial sector. To limit any further potential damage, financial regulators are now working hard to put contingency plans in place. Only time will tell if their attempt to shield the public from ongoing financial hardship proves successful. For now, we should just be thankful that they have responded in an efficient and timely manner.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.