COVID-19: A successful “tech stress test” for financial institutions

As CEO of Symphony, I am in constant communication with our customers, including many of the largest and most influential banks in the world who power the world’s economy. This allows me to understand their evolving needs in order to make sure our platform and community are not only helping them collaborate securely with their business ecosystem, but that we are also partnering with them to tackle systemic industry challenges. 

As this new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread from its initial epicenter in China, through Asia, and now Europe and the United States, our customers -who have a global footprint- have implemented their split and remote operations, as has been reported in the press. This means that they have literally split and distributed their teams and operations into a number of locations outside of financial centers to be able to run their capital markets businesses. 

As these institutions put their Business Continuity Plans (BCP) to the test in the current context, in a way they are also gearing for a disruption in the markets that could become the new normal. Financial institutions’ ability to have staff work from remote locations (including working from home, in certain cases) will become part of their new standard. When operations are distributed as such, the highest compliance and security standards are key as our customers are operating in regulated markets. The muscle memory gained from their operational continuity exercises and experience in Asia is now being put into practice in Europe and the United States. 

Scrutiny, compliance, risk management and the mission critical nature of the core foundations of the modern business era in the digital world are the most important pillars for running the world economy today. Across the board, there is an increased degree of awareness around this and investment is following. 

I am committed to make sure the Symphony platform and community keeps providing real, tangible support to financial services firms around the world as they seek to maintain the pace of their business and communicate with their suppliers, customers and ecosystem partners in these challenging times. Just this month we have seen a significant surge growth in usage of about 40%, with firm to firm collaboration and communication proving to be as critical as internal interactions. Price discovery, liquidity marketing, content distribution and conversations between front and back office, for example, have continued uninterrupted.  

In the same way central banks and regulators conduct stress tests on financial institutions to test hypothetical unfavorable economic scenarios from a market, credit and liquidity risk perspective, COVID-19 is stress testing business continuity plans, operational efficiency and resilience of financial firms. 

As an individual, and as a corporate customer of these firms I am very happy to see that we can operate in an almost ‘business as usual’ environment. And as the founder of Symphony, I am very proud of our team’s accomplishments in making this a reality.

Don’t hesitate to engage if we can help with your Business Continuity Planning.

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