Dear Secretary Mnuchin, Chairman Powell, Chairman Clayton, and Chairman Tarbert:
The undersigned associations are writing to emphasize the importance of keeping the U.S. financial markets open during this extraordinary time of the COVID-19 health crisis.
Financial markets are critical infrastructure for the American economy. The markets continue to serve the needs of participants to raise capital, manage investments, access cash and manage risk that affects both retail and institutional investors. Under your stewardship these markets are prepared to withstand the extraordinary volatility and stress under which they are now operating.
Closing the markets would have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy. Even persistent rumors about closing the markets are themselves causing adverse effects. Market participants are taking steps, which they otherwise would not, to mitigate against a market closure.
Further, it is imperative that essential personnel from our member firms have access to market, clearing or settlement operations sites. Several states and localities have, or are considering issuing, restrictions that could impair the ability for such personnel to access critical operations sites. We request that you engage with state and local leaders to ensure that essential personnel from firms deemed critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security be exempted from any such restrictions.
We believe a statement by the Financial Stability Oversight Council to signal that U.S. markets will continue operating is essential to build market confidence, and to emphasize that markets are needed most during times of economic uncertainty.
We would be pleased to further discuss our concerns with you.