PSX had already made preparations of business continuity at the exchange even before the lockdown was announced by the Sindh government. PHOTO: FILE

PSX runs smoothly despite coronavirus

Pakistan Stock Exchange MD says long-term investors can enter market, hold strong positions

APP April 30, 2020
ISLAMABAD: At a time when some of the regional and Asian markets were closed down due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) managed to deal with the situation effectively due to various measures adopted by it, said PSX Managing Director Farrukh Khan on Wednesday.

Speaking about the markets taking a downturn in the current crisis, the MD remarked, “I see an opportunity for long-term investors to make an entry and hold strong positions in order to reap the benefits of attractive valuations now on offer at the stock market.”

He stated that the market having touched the oversold levels were now rebounding with investors re-entering the market.

So they are expecting the situation to pan out well for the investors and stakeholders, in the long run, he said and added, “By taking advantage of this situation, investors can re-enter the market and let the capital market play its role for the betterment of economy of the country.”

Talking about the smooth functioning of the bourse, he attributed the achievement to assistance and guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and coordinated efforts from brokerage houses and associated companies in the ecosystem, “who worked in synchronisation to make it all happen”.

Furthermore, Khan added that Chinese exchange counterparts of the PSX assisted the bourse in devising protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which have been instrumental in ensuring measures to keep the market functioning uninterruptedly.

These guidelines, he added, helped the operational activities and trading platforms of the PSX to continue to function normally in these hard times while ensuring the safety and protection of staff and employees of the stock market.

Moreover, the managing director added, “PSX was one of the first organisations in the country to have implemented remote access and work from home facilities for its employees and that business continuity plans were in place, whilst keeping its employees safe.”

“The processes for remote access had also been organised for the brokerage firms, so trading activities could continue seamlessly end-to-end throughout the trading cycle.”

Khan said that it was a disturbing situation with the threat of Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting fall of markets taking place globally.

However, he added, even before the lockdown, the PSX took charge of the situation with having necessary precautions in place at the exchange to arrest the possibility of spread of the virus, while making sure that the business continuity plans are re-tested and in place.

“The exchange administration initiated certain administrative measures early on prior to the lockdown, including manual attendance system, checking the temperature of all visitors to PSX, installed hand sanitisers, reduced foot-fall and reduced attendance by 50% of staff at the exchange by providing remote access to employees to work from home,” he added.

Khan informed, “During this period, the PSX management, under the guidance of the SECP and coordination with its associated companies and Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs), National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited (NCCPL) and Central Depository Company (CDC), as well as Trading Rights Entitlement Certificate (TREC) holders, undertook exercises of trading and technology functionality and risk management process drills to ensure business continuity, whilst ensuring the safety of all its employees.”

Therefore, he added that PSX had already made preparations of business continuity at the exchange even before the lockdown was announced by the Sindh government.

“It is for this reason that the exchange was able to function normally during these difficult times,” he added that presently, only about 10-12% of the staff was coming to the office and the rest are working from home.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2020.

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