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

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Working from home has taught many companies new tricks. If you want to overhaul the way your team works permanently, however, you may have to fight to do so.

1. Market feedback

Intelligence about the impact of COVID-19 on specific financial services sectors, not published by media. 

A) Long term workplace changes

We’re continuing to see very different predictions about post-COVID19 workplaces.  

Some leaders who have successfully implemented working from home (WFH) are questioning the need for large, in person gatherings, including the time to commute. 

Others, however, question whether the new, working-from-home focused format will last. Parents can struggle to work from home free of distractions, which suggests offices will continue to be essential. Many leaders may also find their plans to reduce office footprint will be constrained by their current leases, which can last as long as 10 years.  

CEOs who say they want to fundamentally change things will likely have to exert a lot of pressure to maintain the benefits of WFH.

B) Fund managers  

While price dislocations and heightened volatility have sent some investors rushing to the exits, we have been hearing that some fund managers are experiencing an influx of inquiries and application form downloads.  

Webinars and virtual events also continue to increase in popularity with one client seeing record attendance numbers.   

Fund managers are continuing to look for ways to make these virtual events more engaging and are exploring new platforms with more sophisticated functionality to better replicate the face-to-face experience. 

We have also heard that among some clients, there is a greater preference for 1:1 phone calls rather than joining a joint event online. This aligns with our earlier observations that due to technical difficulties, teams were opting for regular phone calls instead of platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 

C) Share market speculation

We mentioned on a previous call that CommSec (and likely other major brokers) were experiencing high volumes of applications for share trading and margin lending accounts. At one point, account activations had to be suspended and upon quick inspection, these brokers still appear to be being inundated.  

While the narrative of a global recession or even depression continues to be thrown around, and with general agreement that corporate earnings globally will fall between 30-50%, it appears that many investors are happy to speculate on the market and even endure some short-term pain for long-term gain. As the saying goes; watch what they do not what they say. 

2. Management responses

This section outlines how CEOs and their leadership teams are responding.

Many clients are focusing on digital delivery and content for their respected brands. This includes educational content such as explainer / “how to” videos. In the last 24 hours, three CEOs have spoken to me about video rather than print.  

Regardless, this is not the time to be selling. Huge fatality rates from COVID-19 in New York City and other parts of the world require sensitivity given the traumatic and tragic experiences many are continuing to suffer. 

3. CEO guidance regarding coronavirus responses

This section provides our guidance on management and communication responses.

i. Platforms and pace 

The COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to innovate and this had led to the introduction of new systems and platforms to enhance workflow, rostering and communication 

For many, this has been a case of trial and error and while finding the right mix can greatly boost productivity, CEOs and management need to find adequate solutions and avoid continuous chop and change which can add further disruption to an already frantic period.

ii. CEO 2 CEO 

COVID-19 has united industry, politics and communities alike and greater information sharing and collaboration among organisations and CEOs should be encouraged. The normal state of play needs to be put on hold while we continue to work through this difficult period. If you’re not sure how to do this, consider going through your industry association, or through BlueChip. 

The Team Australia mantra needs to be adopted by all, and we have already seen great examples of this. Abroad we have also seen other great examples of collaboration including operation Maskforce which has united many large US companies together to assist nurses and other medical workers.  

4. Appendix: How to help us help you

This briefing is collective intelligence gathered, anonymised and shared with you by my firm for the greater good. We’ve taken the view, based on client feedback, that the collective benefit to you all takes precedence over normal competitive pressures at a time like this.

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 formhere.

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