ASX to run small onsite tech, ops staff after COVID-19 case

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ASX to run small onsite tech, ops staff after COVID-19 case

Most employees to work remotely, says market will operate normally.

The Australian Securities Exchange will move to a skeletal onsite technology, operations and surveillance staff across its operations after a worker at its headquarters tested positive for COVID-19.

The ASX said in a statement late on Sunday night that most staff - including those that run its data centres - are to work remotely.

The exchange said that “normal market operations” are expected, in large part because of the ASX’s resilient technology architecture and operating model.

An ASX spokesperson said that a staff member that tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday had only mild symptoms and did not require hospitalisation.

They had self-isolated, and ASX said 20 other employees that had been in close contact “are also self-isolating and working from home for a fortnight.”

“The employee was based at ASX’s Bridge Street office in Sydney and had no recent close contact with third parties, including ASX customers or partners,” the spokesperson said.

“A deep clean was conducted over the weekend at our Bridge Street premises. This is incremental to the additional hygiene measures that have been in place for some time.

“As a further precautionary measure to minimise the risk of the virus spreading, ASX has enacted the next phase of its business continuity plan (BCP). 

“We’ve asked our employees across our various sites – Bridge Street, the Australian Liquidity Centre (ALC), secondary data centre, and interstate and overseas offices – to work remotely until further notice.”

The exchange said that a core group of employees “will remain on ASX sites to manage ongoing market functions, mainly in technology, operations and surveillance areas.” 

It said employees already had the capacity to work remotely, “which is a normal and regular part of ASX’s BCP and testing activity.”

“Many already work flexibly and/or remotely from our various sites,” it said.

“ASX has operated its technology and operations from multiple sites since 2013 to ensure uninterrupted service and optimal resiliency in the event of a crisis. 

“This latest development will not disrupt ASX’s normal operations.”

The exchange previously said it was closely monitoring the pandemic in association with the government and health authorities.

“As the operator of critically important infrastructure, we are closely monitoring market orderliness and the responsiveness of our risk management processes to changing customer exposures during the heightened volatility,” it said last week.

“This includes making capital and liquidity return requests of our clearing members and intra-day margin calls, both of which are designed to ensure that participants can meet their obligations. We also continue to keep a close eye on company disclosures, which help ensure the market is appropriately informed.”

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