Many of the City of London’s biggest institutions are taking decisive action to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

London banks are ramping up their efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The flurry of new measures by some of the world’s biggest banks comes in the wake of events that took place at HSBC a couple of weeks ago.

HSBC evacuated and sent home more than 100 of its employees working on the tenth floor of its Canary Wharf offices in London. The decision was made after a member of the bank’s research division returned from a trip and was diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus.

A professional specialist service was called to deep clean the entire flow. The building houses nearly 10 000 workers; after taking medical advice, HSBC decided to keep it open.

The affected employee has self-isolated and is now under medical supervision. The infection was the first known case at a major company in the UK’s financial service hub.

Regulators are watching

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JP Morgan says it has begun its coronavirus contingency plan by splitting up teams to work in different offices around the country. Many of its staff members are now working either from home or in a different office than usual.

Goldman Sachs sent some 200 members of its staff to test a site in Croydon, South London for a day. The goal was test the effectiveness of the systems put in place.

Goldman Sachs hasn’t activated its coronavirus contingency plan just yet but if the need arises the bank says it is ready to act.

Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has let it be known it has no qualms about staff working from backup sites or even from home provided certain standards are met.

The FCA expects firms to be able to enter orders and transactions promptly into the relevant systems, use recorded lines when trading and give staff the compliance support they need.

However, the nature of the job means that working from home is not an option for many staff at most of the large investment banks such as JP Morgan or its rival Goldman Sachs.

That’s because most traders and salespeople need to sit together on a trading floor which is monitored in order to meet regulatory rules.