Operational Resilience: Is Your Firm Ready?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”

Benjamin Franklin


Have you ever wondered how your team would respond to a crisis, or if your firm’s disaster recovery and business continuity measures are suitable?

When it comes to increasing operational resilience for major organisations such as those within the Financial Services sector, there seems to have been a move away from focusing on business continuity, which is about recovering from an incident once it’s happened, and towards building  a resistance to failure.

While disruptions cannot necessarily be foreseen, they can be anticipated, prepared for and responses can be rehearsed and carried out accordingly. This new approach towards embedding and reinforcing operational resilience skills and procedures would allow firms to better manage any crises that may arise.

For this approach to work firms need to aim to have an infrastructure that is resistant enough that if there is a disaster, their services are able to continue. Regularly strength-testing a firm’s response to operational disruption allows employers to gain confidence in their team’s ability to respond. It also allows team members to understand likely scenarios and their responsibilities and expectations should such a scenario happen for real. More importantly, this approach builds a collective ‘muscle memory’ for firms on how to successfully handle a crisis.

The FCA’s Consultation Paper CP19/32 suggests that “Operational disruptions can have many causes including, for example, technology failures or when making changes to systems. Some disruptions may also be caused by matters outside of a firm’s control, such as a cyber attack or wider telecommunications or power failure.”

In response to the Consultation Paper, Searchlight has developed a programme of scenario-based training sessions, which are designed to challenge firms and prompt them to practise and document their response to pre-set crises.

Scenarios provided include:

  • Inaccessible premises
  • Firm principle disruption
  • Cyber
  • Insurer / MGA / Wholesaler / placement disruption
  • Remote Working
  • Data Protect Act 2018 related scenarios
  • Notifiable Events
  • Tailor – Made scenarios

If there is anything to take away from 2020, it’s that both individuals and firms should expect the unexpected. It would be impossible to try to predict everything that could go wrong, but by building resilient systems and rehearsing your team’s plan of action, in the event of a real crisis, your firm would be better able to respond to the challenge.

If you would like to privately test the operational resilience of your firm, along with its crisis management systems, procedures and staff readiness, please contact the team at Searchlight who will be more than happy to discuss your scenario requirements.


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