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AON – Financial institutions reshape for the challenges ahead

Written by Richard Phelps OLY, Co-Head Financial Institutions & Enterprise Client Leader, Enterprise Client Group

– structural changes have been accelerated by the pandemic as financial institutions face new tests of their resilience

In early February, if you had told the head of trading at an investment bank or asset manager that most of their employees could, within weeks, be trading remotely with full regulatory approval then you may have had your sanity questioned. But here we are, several months later, and the shift to remote working has been swiftly and successfully delivered as financial institutions learn to adapt – at pace – to the pandemic constrictions imposed on normal life.

The pace of change is unlikely to slacken either as financial institutions start to think about how their business models need to be repurposed for a completely different environment from that left behind before the pandemic.

Aon’s recently published decision making framework – Decision Making In Complex & Volatile Times: Keys to Managing COVID-19– describes three distinct timeframes to an organisation’s response to a crisis: react and respond; recover; and reshape. After the upheaval of the initial react and respond as businesses sought simply to keep the metaphorical lights on, most have moved through the recover stage (which relates to stabilising the business and looking at shifting to new operating models), and on to the reshape phase which acknowledges the world will not be the same as it was before COVID-19, with a need for leaders “to rebuild their vision, strategy and priorities for the future.” As part of that drive to reshape, two themes already stand out: accelerate and resilience.

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