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By Tom Rich, Business Consultant
As we fight this global crisis on multiple fronts throughout the world, no aspect of everyday life has remained untouched. The economic impacts of this pandemic are enormous, and we still have a long way to go in understanding the full set of risks we face, not least the epidemiological catastrophe that continues to shut down countries throughout the globe.
For Financial Services firms, we’ve seen huge amounts of volatility in the markets, a desperate need for short term liquidity, and investor and shareholder confidence being shaken to its core. With a global recession looming, it’s a worrying time for the industry, but there are steps that can be be taken to mitigate the impact and prepare firms to emerge from this crisis on a stronger footing.
Businesses across all industry sectors will face three stages over the coming months: Recover, Renew and Regroup.
Recovery and Short-Term Survival
In the most part, the immediate focus must revolve around managing the crisis and ensuring that continuity plans are updated and applied. For specific verticals, emphasis must also be placed on the following:
Regroup - Moving Out of Crisis
In spite of chaos and panic, Financial Services firms have always been remarkably efficient in redeploying employees and resources so they can continue to function. Even traditional brick and mortar branches can operate in the virtual space. Organisations will need to understand whether this resource redeployment requires a more long-term solution. Papering over the cracks will not aid recovery.
New technology is already being deployed, and new ways of working being trialled in rapid and complex situations. This will advance the industry by 12-18 months ahead of the curve, with businesses innovating under pressure to make progress. Existing technology such as AI Chatbots and Cloud functionality will also be stretched and stressed to new levels, due to the shift to remote working and the extensive international lockdown, which may well accelerate their use and development across the industry.
Learning what works internally, as well as understanding how the needs of consumers and clients can be met efficiently, has to be a key target during this period. The institutions that can do this are those who will come out this crisis more resilient and geared to take opportunity forwards.
Renew - Opportunity and Growth
Eventually, normality will return, markets will calm, and employment will rebound. Firms need to ensure they hit this new normal in stride and capitalise on the opportunities identified and renewed customer engagement they are going to see. Proactivity will be the key here. By the time normality returns, firms need to have a strategic approach in-place, ready to meet market demands and with the infrastructure established to support this.
It is worth keeping in mind that in the wake of the last financial crisis we saw a huge boom in new, innovative and now enormously successful companies, including Uber, Slack and Square to name but a few. Even in dark and turbulent times, there are success stories and opportunities to be found. There is no reason to think this time will be different.