European banks urged their employees to work from home and limit travel as the financial sector is preparing to face the repercussions of the rapid spread of the Corona virus.
For many companies, this will be the first large-scale home business experience, but as many Asian offices of these institutions begin adapting similar work practices in the context of their endeavors to stem the spread of the virus, there are indications that the European sector will adapt to that, in turn.
In Italy, which has recorded the largest number of HIV infections in Europe so far, UniCredit, the country’s largest bank, allowed many workers to work from home. A person familiar with the matter said that less than a third of the bank’s employees at its headquarters in Milan are currently working.
Informed sources told Reuters that the Swiss Credit Suisse and UBS joined other international banks in imposing restrictions on global travel to limit the spread of the virus.
Also read: Central banks move against Corona rallied shares of Europe and America
The French banks, Natixis and Societe Generale, and the Spanish BPVA announced that they were preventing their employees from traveling to high-risk areas and reducing travel to the rest of the country.
Italy announced that 107 people had died of the virus until Wednesday, and more than three thousand people had been infected since the virus spread inside it 13 days ago.
A spokeswoman for the European Central Bank said the bank was monitoring developments and was in close contact with the banks it supervised in connection with its plans to continue operating.
Meanwhile, the financial regulatory authorities in Germany and Britain said they continue to follow the preparations of banks and other institutions to deal with the situation.
According to government forecasts, up to 20 percent of Britain’s workforce may be absent from work during the height of the epidemic.
Bank of Natixis said that workers in its trading platform in Hong Kong are already ready to work from home and added that he would apply the same procedures to his employees in France soon.
Smaller companies implement their own procedures to deal with the situation.
Also read: A jump in oil and gold prices supported by hopes of monetary stimulus
James Walker, managing partner of London-based Soleil Capital Management of electronic hedge funds, said: “We asked employees to move at off-peak times or ride a taxi … or bicycle. Our next step would be to work for everyone from home if the virus spreads significantly.”
It is not yet clear whether these interim measures will lead to a longer-term change in work habits in a sector known as long office hours. But some were more pessimistic.
“In the worst conditions, such as a ban on public transport or a decision by the authorities to close all offices, we will face real difficulties working,” said one of the bond dealers at an Italian bank.
“And if that happens, the market itself will disappear.”