Financial services is a heavily regulated industry under normal circumstances. With the current pandemic underway, it can be even more tricky to navigate the regulatory minefield, while still looking after your clients.

Regulators may both relax and tighten different guidelines as the response to the crisis requires, so you need to be both agile and aware of the unfolding situation. Yet, even as you take steps to stay afloat in troubling times, you also need to be ready for the long-term implications. 

Potential issues

Stress-testing and reporting can be difficult right now. By the time you have results back, the situation has already changed. How can you stay informed?

Updating guidelines on an hourly basis is putting regulators under stress, but staying on top of those changes is even more difficult for you. What can you do to keep your strategy current?

Changing the way we work so rapidly has become a challenge for many businesses. Remote working is new for many people and doing so under quarantine can be difficult. How do you ensure your business continues to function?

Identifying key workers to keep essential operations and important services running. This is a CEO responsibility and is vital to support operational resilience and help protect vulnerable customers.

Actions to consider

  • Actions to consider

    Assess

    What are third-party providers doing right now? You should be certain so you can ensure you aren't left out in the cold. Are the regulatory bodies offering assistance or relaxing deadlines? Take advantage of that aid. 

    Have you identified and informed your key workers? Are they claiming the childcare that's available to them from schools?

  • Actions to consider

    Protect

    Regardless of how intense the situation becomes, it's essential to continue to follow best practice, so involve risk and compliance officers in all your decision-making. Together, take steps to identify your most-vulnerable customers and ensure you're delivering to their needs.

    Document these and any other conversations about the pandemic, as well as any other steps you take in response to the crisis, so that you can evidence your efforts to the regulator. During this time, don't wait to involve the regulator; speak to them directly about what you're doing and why, and they may offer help and guidance.

  • Actions to consider

    Restore

    We may be all in crisis mode right now, but everything will eventually return to normal. Be certain you don't grow accustomed to relaxed rules and flexible regulatory deadlines or your business may be in for a shock when the pandemic is over.

Consider these questions

  • Are you informed and ready to answer any questions the regulator has?
  • Do you need to ask for more time to file or pay outstanding debt?
  • Will you be able to push back dates when regulatory reviews can be delayed?

 

  • Can you carry out remote regulatory reviews where they can't be postponed?
  • Can your team gather evidence remotely?

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"Covid-19 has been a shock to the financial system. Regulators and central banks are moving quickly to maintain financial stability, promote operational resilience and protect customers. Keeping up with regulatory updates will be tough, but you need to be ready to action these changes as they happen."

Alex Ellerton, Partner

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