February 5, 2020 / 6:33 AM / 23 days ago

Hong Kong markets watchdog says virus measures may slow operations

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s securities regulator warned on Wednesday that measures adopted to combat a virus outbreak could slow its responses to license and product applications, among other functions.

The financial hub, which has 18 coronavirus infections, recorded its first death on Tuesday.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said many of its staff were working remotely because of the virus, leading to the possibility of slower response times.

“This may affect, for example, some licensing applications, some product applications, and our public complaints and enquiry service,” it said.

The regulator received 8,942 license applications in the 12 months to March 2019, its annual report showed.

Financial firms in Hong Kong have variously told or allowed staff to work from home as a precaution against the virus in the struggle to keep work flowing smoothly.

Licensed corporations and market participants were expected “to make all reasonable efforts to maintain ‘business as usual’” in keeping up regulatory obligations, however, the regulator added.

Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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