Pandemic Preparation: Regulatory Relief, Workforce Readiness Remain Open Questions

Pandemic Preparation: Regulatory Relief, Workforce Readiness Remain Open Questions
Pandemic Preparation: Regulatory Relief, Workforce Readiness Remain Open Questions 

Interview with George Hender
Head of Financial Services Exercise
February 11, 2008 
By Linda McGlasson
Managing Editor

The word of the year so far is "pandemic."

Just last week, Information Security Media Group released the results of 
its inaugural State of Information Security survey [1], which in part 
found that, of all prospective disasters, U.S. financial institutions 
are least prepared for a pandemic emergency.

And then just days later, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination 
Council (FFIEC) issued an interagency statement on pandemic planning for 
financial institutions.

In light of all the attention being paid to pandemic preparation, we 
caught up with George Hender, chair of the Financial Services Sector 
Coordinating Council (FSSCC), which last fall teamed up with the US 
Department of the Treasury and the Financial Banking Information 
Infrastructure Committee (FBIIC) to complete the largest-ever pandemic 
exercise for the U.S. financial services industry. Following are 
excerpts of our conversation with Hender, who was attending a recent 
symposium on pandemic planning in Washington, D.C., where the results 
and model of the FSSCC/FBIIC/Treasury [2] exercise was on display for 
other interested governments to review.

Q: First, what was the focus of this pandemic symposium, and what was 

Hender: At the symposium we released information to a dozen nations 
around the globe, The symposium attendees include government and 
industry representatives from Europe and Asia. Singapore plans to do 
their own pandemic exercise later this year. The information they're 
getting at the symposium will prove invaluable to them in structuring 
the exercise, but also why it's important to do an exercise like we did 
here in the United States. (See related story on Pandemic National 

Q: What are some of the future considerations for the industry and 
institutions coming out of this exercise?

Hender: One of the big questions coming out of this exercise was what do 
we do next? We have a group called the pandemic forum, which FSSCC 
formed, and had members from FSSCC and also from the public sector 
including critical interdependency areas, such as health care, 
telecommunications transportation systems,

A number of things came out of the national exercise that we feel need 
further attention. We've taken several of these points back to the 
Pandemic Forum to say these are some of the things that seemed to work 
well, and these are the areas that need more work to improve. The forum 
will be charged with that responsibility in finding solutions and will 
move forward to find them. The areas that need more work include the 
whole area of interdependencies, particularly in the area of 
telecommuting. How will this work? It still needs further investigation 
and more work.



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