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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

COVID-19 Comes to Asset Management

News summary by MFWire's editors

COVID-19 has reached the asset management industry itself, not just its share prices. And a familiar regulator is affected, too.

A BlackRock [profile] employee in its hometown, New York City, has tested positive for coronavirus, Bloomberg and Reuters report. The employee works at the firm's 40 East 52nd Street office in midtown Manhattan.

The employee question has been quarantined and working remotely for a week, since March 4, and others who might have been in close contact with that employee have been asked to work remotely for two weeks. Meanwhile, BlackRock's offices remain open.

"The employee has no symptoms," Brian Beades, a BlackRock spokesman, tells Reuters. "Upon first learning this individual may have been exposed, we communicated with the group where this person works and conducted a deep cleaning of the area."

Meanwhile, the U.S. mutual fund industry's key regulatory agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is also being affected by the coronavirus' spread. The Associated Press, Pensions & Investments, ThinkAdvisor, and the Washington Post all report that the agency's leadership has asked employees in their Washington, D.C. headquarters to work remotely after finding out Monday afternoon that an employee at HQ was being treated and might have the virus.

Yet the agency is continuing to work. The SEC's staff posted a brief message, titled "SEC Operating Status", on the agency's homepage:
Many SEC staff located in our Washington, DC headquarters are currently teleworking. During this period, the SEC remains fully operational and focused on fulfilling our mission on behalf of America's investors and our markets.

The SEC is the first major part of the federal government to shift to telecommuting thanks to the coronavirus, according to the Post and the AP

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor


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