x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Abu Dhabi stock exchange sets 24-hour target after disaster

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is overhauling its emergency planning with the target of being operatiional within 24 hours of a natural disaster.

The New York Stock Exchange prior to Hurricane Sandy. The ADX is implementing procedures to deal with natural disasters. Peter Foley / Bloomberg News
The New York Stock Exchange prior to Hurricane Sandy. The ADX is implementing procedures to deal with natural disasters. Peter Foley / Bloomberg News

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is overhauling its emergency planning with the target of being operational within 24 hours after a natural disaster.

It comes as the owner of the largest equities exchange in the United States reviews its own disaster recovery plans after trading was halted for two days in October when Hurricane Sandy hit.

"We are in the process of working on policies and procedures that will allow the exchange to be up and running from a location outside of Abu Dhabi," said Rashed Al Baloushi, the chief executive at the ADX. "We want to get to the point where if there is any natural disaster, rain, any type of emergency, we will be able to operate from the other site in a matter of 24 hours."

"In New York, the entire financial district suffered a power outage and remained under water. Officials at the bourses could not even receive emails," Mr Al Baloushi said.

"We want to ensure we have all our data backed up, to ensure the rights of the investors are not compromised and for trading to continue.

"That means we should have an experienced emergency response team that can deal with technology, operations and HR immediately from that location."

Trading in the US was halted for two days at the end of October when concerns about human safety and how well the New York Stock Exchange's backup plan would work convinced executives that moving ahead was too risky.

The Securities and Exchange Commission may consider whether exchanges' emergency regimens need to be bolstered, a person familiar with the regulator's thinking told Bloomberg in November. "There are several lessons to be learnt from this event," NYSE Euronext told Bloomberg. "At a minimum, businesses learned the importance of a well-prepared and tested business continuity plan. At NYSE Euronext, we are actively considering changes to our current disaster recovery model."

The ADX initiative is part of a larger national plan by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority to synchronise emergency and disaster plans across government institutions, Mr Al Baloushi said.

The authority was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The ADX currently has a disaster recovery site outside the city of Abu Dhabi. It expects to complete its business continuity plans by next year, Mr Al Baloushi said.

"Despite the fact this region has no history in natural disasters, hurricanes or excessive storms, it's a good idea to always have a Plan B," said Nabil Al Rantisi, the managing director of Mena Corp, an investment company in Abu Dhabi.

 

halsayegh@thenational.ae

* with Bloomberg News