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Navigating Regulatory Waters: Friend or Food? How To Stay Ahead in Financial Services

The following content is part of our fortnightly newsletter eDMs "Take A Beat Thursday" and was originally sent out on February 8th. If you'd like to join the list and get these in...

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Here's what an international firm pointed out for those impressed by China's improving COVID-19 situation: “Asian cities such as Shanghai have returned to the office, however, the speed at which that occurred is thanks to their data-rich, privacy-light societies which used tech to track movements of early cases and isolate these people. Western countries simply cannot adapt to these measures."  

1. Market Feedback

Corporate advisory firms, legal practices and transaction teams are generally seeing a conservative reaction to deal flow. Execution risk and integration risk post-deal are seen as high in this climate, however, some are determined to see deals through and stepping up pressure on their advisers and counter-parties to do so. 

Fund managers are facing time allocation challenges as they split their time and teams across functions, market responses, and team COVID-19 working arrangements. Some are now considering giving, or giving, marketing teams more responsibility over COVID-19 communication as their other work naturally has slowed.

Some investors are selling all their assets at any price they can get, fuelled by the fear of economies going into lock down. Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) providers say they’re performing as expected and that market making has been maintained to accommodate increase in trading volumes.

2. Management Responses

CEOs and leadership teams are responding to COVID-19 through localised people management measures and business continuity plans:

  • Most global firms are allowing local firms to adapt their global working from home (WFH) protocols, e.g. how correspondence occurs and which technology to use, when to shut offices, rotating teams etc
  • Some local and global firms have a new BAU in place, best described as ‘daily agile’ working. Bedding that down includes getting people settled into new working and communication arrangements, different workplace policies, keeping a much closer eye on market movements and offshore news, daily leadership meetings and comms etc
  • Others have a dedicated COVID-19 response team running risk reduction, monitoring, making decisions, communicating and troubleshooting.

3. CEO guidance regarding COVID-19 responses 

  1. Revise your current response: plan escalation now. If you haven’t planned beyond today’s “possible or known COVID-19 contact” now is the time, and to include far more difficult levels (confirmed cases and deaths)
  2. Avoid blanket emails to investors, clients and stakeholders: These fraught moments require sincerity, time and effort spent in consistent and continuous communication
  3. Continue to refine workplace arrangements: Prepare people on the front line, ensure anyone with day to day external contact with third parties has access to protection and good information, and allocate budget to equip your team with the most up to date technology hardware and software to effectively WFH

4. Commentary

I’ll end with commentary from the international networking firm I quoted at the top. 

“Your clients are going to be consumed with keeping their own businesses alive. But maybe you can help them think of things which will help their communities. And communicate them! Not just to make your clients look good (although it will), but also so others can copy.” 

5. Who to follow

This is an excerpt from one of our client COVID-19 CEO response briefings. For more COVID-19 response resources and guidance, visit our COVID-19 Response page. 

If you’d like to discuss adjusting your communication strategy for the current times, please call us or fill out our contact form here.

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