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UK banks gear up for bird flu pandemic

UK banks gear up for bird flu pandemic

(18 January 2006 – UK) The financial services community in the UK has begun planning for a potential outbreak of bird flu. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) told banks to draw up contingency plans to deal with a bird flu pandemic, recommendations which are due to be published in the FSA’s Risk Assessment document in coming weeks.

The document will list bird flu alongside terrorism as a significant global risk.

HSBC said last week that half of its global staff could be affected by a bird flu pandemic, a figure which is much higher than World Health Organisation forecasts of 25 percent staff absenteeism.

In the advent of any outbreak, HSBC would advise staff to work from home and connect via video link and teleconference.

The bank will also clean its offices every hour as it did during the SARS crisis of 2003.

HSBC has 253,000 staff across 77 countries.
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