However, while the COVID-19 crisis demands urgent action on contingency planning, operational resilience is an ongoing need. On 1 October, the FCA concluded its consultation on new operational resilience regulation – firms will have to meet new requirements by the end of next year. Moreover, this is an issue that goes beyond financial services.
Choosing a standby service provider is therefore a vital element of resilience planning for lenders. Above all, investors want to be confident that providers can take operational control without delay; particularly in the current fast-moving environment. EQCS’s unique approach enables them to work directly with the lenders’ own platforms providing comfort and speed of invocation should plans need to be actioned.
More than this, lenders should have an ongoing relationship with their standby service providers, rather than simply assuming the back-up process will work in the event of a problem. For example, regular testing of systems and data compatibilities and processes will give lenders – and their investors – much greater confidence that there is no prospect of disruption or financial loss.
“The reality of switching to a back-up payments provider is that time will be of the essence. It is even possible that organisations may only discover a problem with their incumbent providers when payments begin to fail. In which case, the question of how quickly a back-up provider can step in and get up-and-running is absolutely crucial – for both domestic and international payments. Organisations should know the answer to this question well before an emergency occurs.”
Lisa Cowan, Directory of Growth Strategy, EQPay
Act now, not later
Operational resilience means having back-up plans in place even though they may never be needed. Rather than scrambling to solve a problem when it occurs, organisations should know in advance how they will manage any given crisis. This applies with credit services, with payments – and with other key operational imperatives too.
Don’t leave it too late to focus on business continuity. The speed with which events are moving in this pandemic has the potential to expose the vulnerabilities of under-prepared organisations very quickly. But with contingency planning and back-up or standby providers in place, organisations will remain resilient.
The most important business services and how much disruption could be tolerated in what circumstances
The systems and processes that support these business services
How the failure of an individual system or process could impact the business service
Using scenarios and by learning from experience, that resilience meets the firm’s tolerance
In ability to respond and recover from disruptions through having appropriate systems, oversight and training
Timely information to internal stakeholders, supervisors authorities, customers, counterparts and other market participants