ASIFMA’s Business Continuity Planning team continues to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our industry and the markets, and we continue to work together with regulators around the region. Any questions relating to our BCP initiatives can be directed to Laurence Van Der Loo. Director of Technology and Operations at tel +852 9706 3033 lvanderloo@asifma.org.

The latest resources from ASIFMA and its affiliate associations can be found on the new microsites:

GFMA Covid-19 Resources

SIFMA Covid-19 Resources

AFME Covid-19 Resources


COVID-19 Related Engagements with Regulators


  • Following ASIFMA calls with SFC, SFC issued a Circular extending the deadlines for implementation of regulatory expectations (including at our request DS-OL and certain areas of the EDSP Circular) and a reminder of order recording requirements as well as FAQs on licensing-related matters in light of COVID-19.


  • Following ASIFMA calls with MAS, MAS issued the attached FAQs on 9 April providing clarifications on the relief measures and other queries received from FIs on the licensing and conduct requirements for intermediaries under the SFA relating to COVID-19 situation.
  • MAS published on 7 April a media release today announcing that they will adjust selected regulatory requirements and supervisory programmes to enable FIs to focus on dealing with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting their customers during this difficult period.



COVID-19 Regulatory Updates


SFC issues guidance to fund industry amidst COVID-19 outbreak
SFC on 27 March reminded fund industry participants and intermediaries of their obligations to look after the interests of clients in two separate circulars.

SFC issues a circular to extend deadlines for implementation of regulatory expectations and reminder of order recording requirements under COVID-19 pandemic
SFC issued on 31 March a circular to extend deadlines for implementation of regulatory expectations and reminder of order recording requirements under COVID-19 pandemic, such as extending the deadlines for implementation of regulatory expectations by six months.

SFC and HKEx issues a joint Statement in relation to General Meetings in light of the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation
SFC and HKex issued on 1 April that they have consulted the HKSAR Government, which administers the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation, to understand how these guidelines impact corporate annual general meetings, extraordinary general meetings and special general meetings.



MAS makes statement on financial services remaining open and available
Prime Minister Lee made an announcement on 3 April of enhanced measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. In it, banking services were included in a list of essential services which will remain open. MAS has followed suit with media release “Financial Services Remain Open and Available”, opening excerpt as follows:

Singapore Suspension Period: Declaration is Required for Essential Services
As mentioned in the above update, the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore’s (“MTI”) weblink “gobusiness COVID” Banking and Finance lists Banking and Finance as an Essential Service for the suspension period. Essential Services are required to make a declaration by the end of 13 April.

MAS announces regulatory and supervisory measures to help FIs dealing with the COVID-19 situation
MAS announced on 7 Apr that it will adjust selected regulatory requirements and supervisory programmes to enable financial institutions (FIs) to focus on dealing with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting their customers during this difficult period.

MAS launches S$125 Million package for financial institutions and FinTech firms
MAS announced on 8 Apr a S$125 million support package to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services and FinTech sectors amid the current economic slump. The support package will help to position financial institutions and FinTech firms for stronger growth when the threat of COVID-19 recedes and economic activity normalises.

SGX RegCo announces measures to support issuers amid challenging COVID-19 business climate
SGX RegCo announced on 8 April measures to support issuers amid challenging COVID-19 business climate including the suspension of entry into the financial watch-List and raising Share Issue Limits.

MAS urges use of digital finance and e-payments to support COVID-19 safe distancing measures
MAS urged on 9 Apr individuals and businesses to use digital financial services and e-payments, and minimise visits to the premises of financial institutions, which will contribute to the effectiveness of the elevated safe distancing measures announced by the Ministry of Health last week.

MAS publish FAQs on relief measures relating to COVID-19 situation
MAS published on 9 April FAQs providing clarifications on the relief measures and other queries received from financial institutions on the licensing and conduct requirements for intermediaries under the SFA relating to the COVID-19 situation.



MOFCOM releases measures for further reform and opening up aimed at foreign investment stability amid the COVID-19 outbreak
MOFCOM released on 1 Apr the circular on Further Expanding Reform and Opening up to Stabilise Foreign Investment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which sets out 24 high-level measures on supporting foreign-invested companies to restore normal business, promoting higher level of opening up, further reform of the administration and supervision systems for foreign-invested entities in the commerce sector, strengthing service and optimizing the environment for foreign investment.
http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/article/b/f/202004/20200402951657.shtml (Chinese Only)



SEBI decisions to reduce compliance burden on market participants
SEBI issued on 27 March a note outlining a range of decisions to reduce compliance burden on Market Participants. Notably, the decisions include: Trading members working from designated alternate locations are exempted from the penal provisions for not maintaining call recordings of orders/instructions received from clients till March 31, 2020. However, the trading member and the Stock Exchange shall send a confirmation on the registered mobile number of the client immediately after execution of the order. The delay in submission of various reports by trading members shall not attract penal provisions till April 30, 2020.

SEBI announces deferment of Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR)
RBI announced on 27 March in a press conference that the implementation of NSFR will be deferred by six months to 1st October 2020.

NSE and BSE issue circulars on call recording and other Covid-19 relaxations
NSE and BSE issued on 27 March circulars extending the flexibility for call recording to 30 April instead of 31 March 2020. However, the trading member shall send a confirmation on  the registered mobile number of the client or through other legally verifiable modes, immediately after execution of the order.

SEBI temporarily relaxes processing of documents pertaining to FPIs due to COVID-19
SEBI issued on 30 March a circular providing temporary relaxation until 30 June with respect to KYC compliance requirements for FPIs. Specifically, DDPs and Custodians are temporarily allowed to rely on scanned version of signed documents and uncertified copies of documents in a situation where FPIs are not in a position to send original and/or certified documents. These documents may be uploaded on KRAs. The other intermediaries may rely on said documents.

India MOF extends implementation of Stamp Act changes to 1 July 2020
India MOF issued a notification on 30 March extending the implementation of Stamp Act changes to 1 July 2020 (previous implementation date was 1 April 2020)

SEBI issues revised guidelines on the measures on COVID-19
SEBI issued on 15 Apr a revised guideline on the measures to be taken for containment of COVID-19 in the country, which permit  continuation  of  certain  services  which  includes the Securities  and Exchange Board of India and Capital and Debt Market Services, remain in force up to 3 May 2020.

RBI extends restrictions on market trading hours to 30 April
RBI announced on 16 April that the amended trading hours for various RBI regulated markets will continue to be in effect until the close of business on Thursday April 30, 2020. Trading hours for various RBI regulated markets were restricted to 10.00 am to 2.00 pm on 7 April.



FSC announces current situation in financial markets and government’s policies
FSC announced on 6 Apr its assessment of the current situation in the financial markets, and provided an explanation on the government’s policies aimed at helping businesses and markets amid the COVID-19 crisis. http://www.fsc.go.kr/downManager?bbsid=BBS0048&no=151226

FSC and FSS announce plans to improve the rules on exeption for sanctions on misconduct in financial services
FSC and FSS announced on 7 Apr the plans to improve the rules on exemption for sanctions on misconduct in financial services, which aimed at removing financial services workers’ concerns about the possibility of sanctions and promoting their active role in offering loans and other financial support to the businesses in need in crisis situations as with COVID-19.

FSC announces Fintech innovation fund to invest more in Fintech firms in 2020
FSC announced on 9 Apr that the fintech innovation fund created in Dec 2019 will be put to use with direct investment expected in the amount of KRW20 billion in Apr 2020. With many fintech firms expected to have troubles finding investment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSC will continue to encourage effective and prompt investment through the fintech innovation fund.



SC and Bursa Malaysia suspend short-selling amid COVID-19 volatility
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bursa Malaysia announced on 23 Mar that short-selling will be temporarily suspended until 30 Apr 2020 as part of the regulators’ proactive measures to mitigatepotential risks arising from heightened volatility and global uncertainties.


Bursa Malaysia announces additional relief measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on capital market players
Bursa Malaysia announced on 26 Mar a new set of relief measures targeted to a broader group of participants within the capital market, such as rebate of 50% of the annual listing fees and extension of time to submit regularization plan, etc. These measures are designed to help lessen the financial burden and provide greater flexibility in navigating the challenging period posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.



Thailand SEC and business operators in capital market reaffirm service continuity amid COVID-19 situation
Thailand SEC announced on 30 Mar they held a meeting with several organizations in the capital market to discuss and assess the readiness of business operators to deal with COVID-19 situation. All of them confirm the readiness to provide services related to securities trading continuously and have business continuity plans in case of emergency.

SEC grants deadline extension for submission and publication of annual financial statements of securities companies and derivatives business operators
SEC announced on 3 Apr they granted a deadline extension for the submission and publication of the annual financial statements of securities companies and derivatives business operators who are affected by the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

SEC reduces annual fee for securities issuers to alleviate the impacts of COVID-19
SEC announced on 15 Apr a relief measure to alleviate the impacts of the spread of the COVID-19 on securities issuers, which gives issuers of all types of securities a rate cut on the annual fee due in 2020 and extends the deadline for annual fee payment until the end of the year, with effective on 23 Apr 2020.



FINRA issues COVID-19-related regulatory relief and guidance to firms
FINRA has provided a variety of COVID-19-related regulatory relief and guidance to firms, through Regulatory Notice 20-08, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and on its COVID-19 web resource.



Australian Federal Government makes temporary amendments to insolvency and corporations laws
The Australian Federal Government passed on 22 March its Coronavirus economic response package which contains, amongst others, temporary amendments to insolvency and corporations laws.

ASIC grants relief to industry to provide affordable and timely financial advice during the COVID-19 pandemic
ASIC announced on 14 Apr three temporary relief measures that will assist industry in providing consumers with affordable and timely advice during the COVID-19 pandemic, including (1) Relief to facilitate advice about early access to superannuation; (2) relief to extend the timeframe for providing time-critical SOAs; and (3) relief to enable an ROA to be given in certain circumstances.



FSB makes statement on action to ensure continuity of critical financial services functions
FSB made a statement on 2 April announcing that FSB members are actively engaging with national and local authorities to ensure that essential personnel are permitted to work on-site and that necessary IT equipment are able to be distributed, and strongly recommend that health and safety authorities recognise such workers as essential personnel necessary to maintain infrastructure that is critical to the financial system. It includes an extensive list of critical functions and the relationship to third party providers who deliver core services.

OECD issue guidance on cross-border workers and PE issue
OECD issued on 3 April a guidance paper and recommendations on cross-border workers during the coronavirus.

IOSCO reprioritizes its work program to address impact of COVID-19
(IOSCO announced on 8 April that it has agreed to pause or delay some of its work in 2020 in order to redirect its resources to focus on the multiple challenges securities markets regulators are addressing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis


This Regulatory Update is prepared for the benefit of ASIFMA members and is based on publicly available information.  Readers are advised to read the source of the information in the links provided instead of just relying on the summary which was prepared for your benefit

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