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Events, Dear Boy, Events

Harold Macmillan’s oft repeated answer to the question about what is most likely to knock governments off-course, has never been more apt than today. Hardly anybody working today remembers the Winter of Discontent with anything other than childhood memories of it being rather fun when the lights went out and schooling was carried out by candle light. The worst years of the Second World War are but a historical fact as is the General Strike and the Black Death is for those who believe in reincarnation.

At the time of penning these humble thoughts, “events” include a fuel crisis, a shortage of HGV drivers threatening the distribution of Real Ale (and I’m told, a few other vital commodities), a worldwide shortage of shipping containers, selective food shortages, a political class that has disappeared up its own fundament (irrespective of your own political affiliation), a power vacuum in Germany, a French President who lashes out at any provocation (largely aquatic - subs and fish), a US President who clearly ignores his own advisors, COVID, the spectre of inflation rearing its head once more, an energy crisis and protestors hogging the national supply of super glue. There are probably others, as I just dashed this lot off without a great deal of thought. Rather telling that COVID came so far down the list.

How you may ask does this tie up with Aldbury International’s role of helping the Financial Services sector meet the deadline of 31st March 2022 to have the first part of the Operational Resilience project completed? Hopefully, putting it in this context has now got the grey matter working.

You may be handling all the above events admirably - but what is the next spin-off and will you be able to handle that? Have you thought through the impact of one of your key people not being available when the brown stuff hits the revolving air moving device because they are stuck in a petrol queue with a pint of petrol left and a flat battery on their phone?

Those carrying the SMF24 function (operations) and the SMF16 function (compliance) are squarely in the regulators sights where this is concerned. The SMF24 is directly responsible for the task. The SMF16 is not only the interface with the regulator, but as compliance, everything (once it has gone wrong) is his or her responsibility.

Events, or more frequently, a combination of events can cause the best run organisations to go into a flat spin. The whole idea behind both the PRA and the FCA’s Policy Statements on Operational Resilience is to ensure that firms have thought though and practiced their response to “severe but plausible” scenarios. The little petrol queue example above is minor until combined with the crisis at work. The crisis at work can be handled but becomes really serious when the key individual is out of touch.

A flexible approach, a well-rehearsed team, with strength in depth and practiced thinking on their feet is what is required to meet the regulators’ requirements and your clients’ expectations.

Aldbury International will help you put this in place. Contact us and we can discuss how to best help you achieve this given your own situation.


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