A group of 10 associations representing financial services companies, exchanges, funds and consumers has written to European and national policymakers about the need to keep European markets open during the COVID-19 crisis.

The finance ministers for France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands, plus European officials such as European Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis were told that, “under your stewardship”, financial markets were prepared to withstand the extraordinary volatility and stress under which they were now operating.

“Closing the markets would have a devastating impact on the European economy,” they were told. ”Even persistent rumours 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.”

The policymakers were urged to produce a joint statement “to signal that European markets will continue operating is essential to build market confidence, and to emphasise that markets are needed most during times of economic uncertainty”.

The industry associations also said it was “imperative” that essential personnel from their member firms had access to market, clearing or settlement operations sites.

The signatory associations were: Association for Financial Markets Europe (AFME), the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), Better Finance, Efama, European Issuers, Federation of European Securities Exchanges, ICI Global, Insurance Europe, Managed Funds Association, and World Federation of Exchanges.

PensionsEurope was not asked to join the letter, but Matti Leppälä, secretary general of the European umbrella association, said it supported the message.

“It is vital that markets stay open and function as well as possible,” he said.

Publicised today, the letter from the 10 associations was sent a day after US officials were similarly appealed to keep US financial markets open.