March 9, 2020 / 5:32 PM / 20 days ago

Canada banks split trading operations to ward against coronavirus disruptions

FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in the financial district in Toronto, January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s biggest banks said on Monday they are moving some traders to alternate locations, joining global banks splitting up operations to reduce disruptions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) all told Reuters they are splitting their trading operations in major centres between multiple sites.

The moves follow similar measures taken by foreign counterparts including JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Barclays (BARC.L).

The complex technology and high-speed connections required for trading make working from home unfeasible.

BMO is separating some of its critical trading staff in Canada, the United States, U.K. and Asia to other sites “as part of our ongoing testing of our business continuity plan capabilities,” a spokeswoman said by email.

Some trading floor members at CIBC operations including Toronto and New York will move to backup locations this week, according to an email from a spokeswoman.

TD Bank also moved to a split site model on Monday in its major centres “out of an abundance of caution,” a spokeswoman said by phone.

Royal Bank, Canada’s biggest bank, split operations for its global trading business, effective Monday, as a precautionary measure “to ensure we are able to smoothly and seamlessly continue serving clients,” a spokeswoman said by email.

Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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