GLOBAL BUSINESS: A VIEW FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
Seeing the light Business leaders turn their attention to the new world
• Public/private partnerships • Virtual leadership • Future of work • Surveillance economy
ISSUE 68 JUNE/JULY 2020
to a brighter future THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC understandably continues to dominate world news. Since our last issue, the true impact of the virus – on lives, livelihoods, businesses and economies – has become somewhat, although not completely, clearer. At the time of writing, more than 430,000 people have died with coronavirus. More than eight million people have been confirmed as having it, from more than 200 countries. There are, of course, many more unconfirmed cases. World Bank President David Malpass has described the pandemic as a “devastating blow”, warning it could push 60 million people into “extreme poverty” and adding that the economic fallout could last for a decade. But the world has also shown incredible resilience. The operating models of entire nations have been completely overhauled in a matter of weeks – as governments, business and citizens have adapted their daily lives in a bid to ensure that the world continues to function amid the restrictions and disruptions brought about by the crisis. The result is that we are finally – at the time of writing, of course, and with the continued threat of a ‘second wave’ in the background – turning the corner. The number of worldwide daily deaths is falling steadily. Restrictions are being eased around the world. And some sectors are returning to work. Guernsey, after 42 consecutive days of no new cases, announced earlier this month that from 20 June, it would ease lockdown restrictions completely. There will be no requirement for social distancing – meaning pubs, restaurants and other businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity.
FUTURE VIEWS As a result of these developments, the business world is starting to turn its attention away from the impact of Covid-19 on short-term issues such as daily working patterns, to a more strategic analysis of what the business world will be like in the ‘new normal’ that everyone keeps talking about. To gauge their thinking, we invited a selection of the islands’ business leaders to share their views on the future of their sectors in a special ‘Future View’ supplement, which you can find bound into this issue, from page 39 onwards. These business leaders’ views paint a picture of a world that will have different demands from customers and clients; where technology will be more accepted and play a greater role; and where, despite the upheaval that has been seen
in recent months, opportunity will abound – not least in financial centres such as the Channel Islands, which have long shown resilience, adaptability and strength. Meanwhile, we also examine (page 62) whether the new world will see greater collaboration between business and government. “There’s a fertile environment for ideas and suggestions being fed in. We are not ‘all in this together’ right now [due to restrictions], but in recovery we will be. There’s definitely going to be more opportunity for shared risk and reward,” Guernsey Deputy Lyndon Trott tells us.
INSTANT IMPACT Of course, some changes resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have been more instant. Changes around working patterns and employee expectations, along with responses to how businesses operate and communicate with one another, have thrown up instant challenges. But which of these will remain when the world returns to normal and what are the improved business processes that we hadn’t previously foreseen or had the desire to push through? Our articles on pages 59 and 72 take a look. One profession for which Covid-19 has certainly delivered an opportunity to shine is that of project management (page 24). Long considered a ‘behind the scenes’ function within many organisations, moves to have hospitals created in days and thousands of employees relocated overnight have shown the value and importance of those who bring stability and organisation to fast-moving and complex projects. Perhaps recent events will change perceptions of project managers for good. Finally, this issue we also speak to Naomi Rive and Martin Hall, who founded private wealth and fund administrator Highvern Group via a management buy-out of Coutts & Co Trustees nearly four years ago. They tell us how the service offering has changed since becoming owner-managed, where the next growth opportunities lie for wealth businesses – and how coronavirus will affect their markets in the longer-term future. They are not the only ones, it seems, starting to turn their attention to the future. Enjoy the issue. n
One profession for which Covid-19 has delivered an opportunity to shine is that of project management
Jon Watkins is Editor-in-Chief of Businesslife
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Local legal services
Local businesses are the engine room of the Channel Islands’ economy. With nine offices around the globe and a diverse practice, we’re known for our work with international organisations. But our heart is in the Channel Islands and we’ve never taken our focus away from the local market.
Local legal services in Jersey and Guernsey Business and commercial law Competition law Dispute resolution Employment law Offshore relocations Planning and environmental law Private wealth and family office Property and construction law Regulatory law Trusts Advisory 2019 Group 4 xxxx/xxxx Wills, probate and estate planning
10 Regulation watch
Michael Byrne discusses competition law in a time of crisis
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59 6 News The latest Channel Islands business news
CEO, CHAMELEON GROUP Carl Methven email@example.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jon Watkins ART DIRECTOR Angela Lyons SUB EDITOR Kate Wheal ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org NEWS AND EDITORIAL email@example.com GENERAL ENQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org
8 Appointments Recent people moves across Jersey and Guernsey
18 Interview Naomi Rive and Martin Hall, the co-founders of Highvern Group, on where future growth opportunities are likely to come from
24 Project management How Covid-19 has thrust the value of PMs into the spotlight
28 Surveillance dilemma
62 Public/private partnerships
When does the use of personal data infringe civil liberty?
Will the new world benefit from greater collaboration between governments and business?
34 Artificial measures Can AI offer a true measure of staff and business performance?
39 Future view
66 Virtual leadership Training, motivating and leading staff from afar
Channel Islands business leaders set out their vision for the future in our special thoughtleadership supplement exploring the postCovid-19 world
72 Lockdown lessons
59 Remote working
Grant Thornton Channel Islands’ Andy Shaw on meeting The Rock, dinner with Pep and macaroni cheese
Coronavirus has changed the way we work – and fast. But will that change be forever?
Which of the business processes and ways of working will companies embrace for the long term?
12 comment Defending your business from Covid-19 hackers, and innovation in institutional banking
The knowledge Managing a crisis, gold by numbers, the best video conferencing systems, plus more
90 20 questions
contributors The BL Global Discussion Forum
Follow us @blglobalnews Office: Meadowlands, La Rue a la Dame, St Saviour, Jersey JE2 7NQ © Chameleon Group Limited, all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views expressed by our contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Chameleon Group. While every effort is made to achieve total accuracy, Chameleon Group cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.
As global lockdown has forced companies’ entire workforces into working remotely and under new pressures, Amy explores how managers are embracing a new style of virtual leadership.
Remote working has also forced businesses to adopt new working practices and decisionmaking processes. But which new ways of operating will remain for the long haul? David takes a look.
One profession that has been thrust into the spotlight as a result of the crisis is that of project managers. Alex asks whether their new-found recognition will increase businesses’ demand for them.
Meanwhile, Richard examines whether the data and insight that makes our lives so much more convenient risks reaching a tipping point – into becoming intrusive and morally inappropriate.
june/july 2020 5
in the NEWS GFSC FAST-TRACK REGIME The Guernsey Financial Services Commission has launched a fast-track application regime for managers of overseas collective investment schemes, to make it simpler for them to apply for a Guernsey licence. The new regime will make it possible for consent to migrate and the licensing process to take place within a 10-day review period. The regime will be based on declarations from a licensed administrator that are already used for other fast-track application regimes, such as Registered Funds or Private Investment Funds. The new system has resulted in the publication of a revised Form FTL and, where a migration of the manager is involved, the new Form FTLM. PE ACTIVITY REPORT The private equity landscape is likely to change in the post-Covid world, with the greatest rise in transactions being in distressed strategies, according to Intertrust’s Global Private Equity Outlook 2020 report. Intertrust interviewed 143 private equity professionals across Europe, North America and Asia to identify the risks and opportunities facing the industry in light of the pandemic, and the challenges faced by private equity managers over the next 12 to 24 months. An overwhelming majority (92%) of private equity professionals surveyed expect to see a rise in the volume of distressed fund transactions over the next 12 months due to the impact of Covid-19. Yet almost half (46%) believe that mismatches
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in valuation expectations between buyers and sellers will restrict deal flow. The research was carried out against record levels of dry powder – Preqin reported at the start of the year that dry powder rose for a seventh consecutive year to $276bn in 2019 – three times the figure recorded in 2012. Unsurprisingly, many respondents predicted a rise in opportunities and potential deals, with four-fifths (79%) saying that lower valuations present a buying opportunity for active investors.
Done Deals Appleby Global Services (AGS) has worked with 1923 Investments to support its acquisition of a portion of Bermuda firm Teekay Tankers’ oil and gas ship-to-ship transfer support services business, completed in Q2 of 2020. The establishment of the acquisition vehicle was led by the AGS Jersey team, working alongside its AGS Bermuda team. The ongoing relationship is being managed by the AGS Jersey team, led by Stephanie Dinning. Aztec Group and Ferbrache & Farrell have supported European venture capital specialist Lakestar in the closing of its Lakestar III and Lakestar Growth I funds. Lakestar III closed with €252m in commitments, Lakestar Growth I raised €426m. Aztec’s private equity team in Guernsey, led by Associate Director Matt Chick, acted in the set-up of the funds, and will provide administration and accounting services. Ferbrache & Farrell Partner Gavin Farrell and Associate Belinda Hartzenberg gave Guernsey legal advice. PraxisIFM Group has provided services to the Nippon Active Value Fund (NAVF) in its listing on London Stock Exchange. PraxisIFM Fund Services (UK) is providing administration and secretarial services, with its Guernsey alternative investment fund manager providing AIFM services. The fund’s IPO raised £103m to invest in undervalued Japanese listed firms.
Intertrust’s Managing Director in Guernsey, Marie McNeela (pictured), said the Channel Islands’ experience in the funds space will ensure PE remains an active area. “There’s no doubt the landscape has changed and our results show that PE professionals are cognisant of that,” she said. “But the results also demonstrate confidence that capital will be invested, and distressed strategies are likely to be a key area of focus. “Guernsey and Jersey have huge experience in end-toend fund administration, and that proven quality, coupled with continued growth of the Channel Island funds industry, is likely to result in a continued growth of our PE business.”
Carey Olsen and Slaughter and May have advised both the Government of Jersey and the States of Guernsey on their unsecured Revolving Credit Facilities (RCFs). Jersey’s £500m RCF and Guernsey’s £225m RCF – from Barclays, Butterfield, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS International – will provide financial backing for islanders through the Covid-19 pandemic. Carey Olsen’s Jersey team comprised Partners Alex Ohlsson, Simon Marks and Kate Andrews, the Guernsey team was led by Partner Andrew Boyce. Ogier and Clifford Chance advised HSBC as the lead agent for the syndicate of banks. Bedell Cristin has advised Royal Bank of Scotland International, trading as NatWest International, in connection with a facility made available for building Guernsey’s first Premier Inn hotel. The team advised the bank on financing the development of the Admiral Park site by Retail Park Holdings (Comprop). The Bedell Cristin Guernsey team was led by Managing Partner Kate Ovenden, with Jersey advice from Global Managing Partner Tim Pearce. Collas Crill acted as legal adviser to developer Comprop. Ogier has assisted European airline Wizz Air with its application to the Bank of England’s Covid-19 financing facility, enabling it to strengthen its balance sheet and liquidity during the pandemic. The Ogier team, led by Partner Raulin Amy, advised on the Jersey aspects of the application to be an eligible issuer under the Bank of England’s corporate financing facility. n
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MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS IQ-EQ has completed its acquisition of US outsourced solutions provider Blue River Partners. The newly combined operation, in seven US locations, will operate as ‘Blue River Partners, part of IQ-EQ’ and Mark Fordyce, CEO and Founding Partner of Blue River, will become its CEO. Following the merger of Microgen and Touchstone last November, the company has rebranded as TrustQuay. Providing technology to the trust and corporate services market, the business now serves some 450 clients in more than 30 jurisdictions, including Jersey and Guernsey. A group of Jersey companies – recruitment firm Rowlands, financial strategist Purpose and tech specialist Vertix – has purchased service and software business Offshore Payroll, which specialises in jurisdictions with unusual tax rules. Affinity Private Wealth is to purchase financial services provider Pinnacle Trustees. Subject to regulatory approval, the business will have more than 50 staff serving 350 clients globally. All Pinnacle directors and employees will stay with the group. The transaction has been financed through existing and new shareholders, in conjunction with senior debt from Investec Bank, but no private equity is involved.
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BDO Guernsey has acquired local regulatory compliance specialist Cerberus. Under the deal, Cerberus will become BDO Cerberus Regulatory Consulting and market BDO’s regulatory consulting services across Guernsey. SMP Group has acquired RBC Corporate Services Hong Kong, a division of RBC Investor & Treasury Services, subject to approvals. SMP and RBC have worked together before to provide global solutions for private wealth structuring – SMP acquired RBC’s Bahamas and Cayman Islands corporate services businesses in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The latest deal was supported by UK PE house Palatine. Ocorian has completed its acquisition of Luxembourg thirdparty management firm Allegro. Allegro serves AIF, RAIF, non-AIF and UCITS funds. It has around €8.7bn in AUM, primarily in underlying investment strategies with a PE/RE focus, and its clients are institutional investors, global fund promoters and investment managers. Ocorian and Allegro will offer a one-stop shop for fund group administration. n
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INSURANCE LAUNCH Guernsey-based insurance services business Astaara Company Limited (ACL) has been launched, offering maritime companies improved protection from cyber threats. ACL is made up of three elements – Astaara Risk Management; Astaara Underwriting; and Astaara Analytics – and central to the firm is risk management solution AstaaraCyber. The company aims to work with ship owners and offshore and ports operators to navigate a route through the cyber world, making them a harder target and more effective in minimising the cost and disruption following a cyber event. Group Chief Executive Robert Dorey said: “The insurance business is behind the times when it comes to cyber threats to maritime companies. It is only by listening to and responding to what the maritime community needs that you can create a solution that is relevant and necessary.” CASH BOX SOLUTION Jersey fiduciary and administration solutions provider VG has launched its Jersey Cash Box structuring solution in response to recent market conditions. VG Manager Ross Crick said: “Jersey Cash Box offers PLCs listed on the Main Market of London Stock Exchange or Alternative Investment Market an alternative financing tool to expedite and raise cash by issuing shares without the time and monetary restrictions of the preemption rights regime under the Companies Act 2006.
“Jersey has become a jurisdiction of choice for Cash Box transactions among our established onshore and offshore legal and tax network, as Jersey Companies Law makes redemption of preference shares a quick and simple process.” CONNECTIVITY BOOST Sure is working on a project to futureproof the Channel Islands’ telecoms networks. The £3m-plus project, which will upgrade the infrastructure that connects the Channel Islands to the global internet, is part of the telecoms provider’s five-year infrastructure investment plan announced last year. Undersea fibre connectivity, which connects the islands to the UK and France, and from there to the rest of the world, will be replaced and upgraded. Engineers will commission new networking equipment in London and Paris, too. The upgrade will allow increased resiliency and extra capacity to be added in increments of 100 Gigabits – more than 10 times up on technology used today. Sure has selected systems integration firm Telent and equipment maker Juniper Networks to take part in the work, which is expected to complete in early 2021. n
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Appointments The Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority has appointed Tim Ringsdore as its interim Chief Executive Officer as the organisation splits from the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA) at the end of June. Tim has served as a Director of CICRA since 2018, having previously been Managing Director of Cable & Wireless in the British Virgin Islands. Prior to this, Tim spent 15 years with JT Group, including nine and a half as Managing Director of JT Global and seven as Chief Relationship Officer. He led the launch of Wave Telecom, since rebranded JT, in Guernsey.
Financial services provider LGL has appointed Peter Messervy-Gross as its first Chief Information Officer, based in Jersey. He will be responsible for the development of LGL’s technology strategy, ensuring the business can support clients’ evolving needs. Peter has worked within the financial services sector for more than 20 years. He joins LGL from Sanne, where he has served as Chief Information Officer for the past five and a half years. Prior to that, Peter worked with State Street in Jersey as an information technology consultant, following six years in an analyst role with Barclays Wealth Management.
Hélène Narcy has been named as JT’s Chief Financial Officer, taking over from John Kent, who is retiring after serving in the role since 2012. With more than 25 years’ experience in senior finance roles, Hélène started her career in telecommunications in France before moving on to Lehman Brothers in Dubai and then spending more than 10 years with UBS in Dubai, Jersey and the US. She returned to the Channel Islands to join JT following two years in New York in the dual role of Chief Financial Officer for UBS Financial Services and Divisional Controller for UBS Wealth Management US.
Guernsey-based ESI Monitor has appointed Claire Smith to its board as a Non-Executive Director. Claire has over 20 years’ experience in environmental law. She has worked in London, Birmingham and Cardiff advising on environmental law during the emergence of carbon trading, sustainability standards and green leases. After moving to Guernsey, Claire spent three years at Ogier before becoming Legal Counsel at Investec Bank (Channel Islands). Prior to this she spent five years as a nonStates member of the States of Guernsey’s Review Committee, set up in 2012 to review its system of government.
Peter Lucas has joined the board of Jersey financial advisory business Concentric as a Non-Executive Director. With over 30 years’ experience of discretionary portfolios and funds, Peter has managed many asset classes but specialises in bonds and topdown asset allocation. As well as his position with Concentric, Peter is Lead Investment Manager of family office Polianta and Investment Strategist for Westminster Capital. He has also held senior investment roles with Rathbone Investment Management International, RBC Wealth Management and Ashburton (Jersey).
Ravenscroft has appointed Group Head of Fund Research Sam Dovey to the board of Ravenscroft Investment Management. Sam started her career as an accountant before moving into banking and then investments. She joined Ravenscroft in 2013 from International Asset Monitor, where she was Head of Research. Prior to this, Sam worked at Collins Stewart Asset Management, Close Bank Guernsey and PwC. Her role at Ravenscroft expanded this year to include oversight of Ravenscroft’s advisory teams and its sister company Vartan Ravenscroft.
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Commissioner Mark Hoban has succeeded John Eatwell as Chair of the Jersey Financial Services Commission. With a successful career in business, politics and public policy, Mark joined the JFSC’s Board of Commissioners in December 2018. A Chartered Accountant, he has most recently worked for PwC in a senior advisory role. Between 2001 and 2015, Mark was elected MP for Fareham, Hampshire, and spent two years as Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He is currently Chair of Flood Re, an NED of London Stock Exchange and a Senior Adviser for IHS Markit. He will serve as Chair of the JFSC until 30 October 2023.
Property company Le Masurier has appointed Brendan T McMahon, former Chief Executive of PwC Channel Islands, to its board as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the group’s Audit and Risk Committee. Brendan’s 32-year finance career has included international and national leadership roles, including 22 years as a Partner with PwC and its predecessor firms. He is a Member and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He is also Chairman and one of the founding members of the Jersey Policy Forum, as well as Chairman of the Jersey Good Business Charter.
Aztec Group has made three promotions. Alan Ross (pictured) moves to the new post of Group Head of Transformation. Formerly Head of Private Equity, Alan joined the Jersey team in 2006 to develop the business’ private equity service offering. Matt Horton becomes Group Head of Private Equity. With Aztec since 2010 and Head of Private Equity in Guernsey since 2016, Matt will now oversee all PE relationship management, operations and business development activities. And Gavin Hayman has assumed Matt’s former role of Jurisdictional Head of Private Equity in Guernsey, having joined the firm as a Director in 2017.
Butterfield has appointed Jackie Videgrain as Vice President of Risk for its operations in Jersey. With a financial services career spanning 35 years, Jackie joins the bank having spent the past five years as Head of Treasury with JTC Group. Prior to this, she worked for JCAP, Minerva Financial Services, RBC Treasury Services and Equity Trust Jersey, and has previously worked at Butterfield on a consultancy basis. Jackie’s new role will focus on Butterfield’s credit processes, including assessment and group policy adherence, in addition to maintaining effective operations through analysis and monitoring.
Kerrie Le Tissier has rejoined Bedell Cristin as a Partner to lead the firm’s international private client practice in Guernsey. Kerrie previously spent three years as a Senior Associate with the firm between 2012 and 2016. Since then, she has been a member of the private client teams of Collas Crill in Guernsey and Mills Oakley in Australia. Kerrie qualified as a Guernsey Advocate in 2009 and spent the first few years of her career with Ogier. She specialises in private client structuring and succession planning and has broad experience advising on corporate, commercial and funds matters.
Utmost Worldwide has named Leon Steyn (pictured) as its new CEO, following the retirement of Giorgio Daboni. Leon joined the firm – which became Utmost Worldwide a year ago following the sale of Generali to Life Company Consolidation Group – in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer, and has been responsible for the finance, actuarial, proposition, IT and change functions. Leon has also held senior positions at Kleinwort Benson and Close Brothers Wealth Management. Charles Bangor-Jones, previously Chief Operating Officer, takes up Leon’s former role of Chief Financial Officer.
www.blglobal.co.uk march/april 2017 9
R E GU L AT I O N WATCH
Competition law in a time of crisis
10 june/july 2020
MICHAEL BYRNE CEO, Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority (GCRA)
A look at the need for flexibility during the pandemic, even as the islands’ regulatory authorities prepare to demerge
e are all aware of the challenges that are being faced globally as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and, of course, we are not immune to those health, wellbeing and economic risks here in the Channel Islands. Now, perhaps more than at any other time in our living memory, it is most important to keep communication and, where it is safe, business flowing in our communities. It might seem odd, but the competition regulators in both islands have a highly important role to play in supporting families, businesses and individuals – helping them adapt to the way we live, work and communicate during this pandemic. At the GCRA, we have recognised the need to be flexible and pragmatic in the way we apply regulatory and legal rules in these difficult days. For example, telecoms providers across the Channel Islands have come together to keep governments, homes and businesses connected. Some of the initiatives they have collaborated on include: • Free upgrades to standard broadband services for customers, with a doubling of broadband speeds • Free landline calls 24 hours a day to those on assisted services • Mobile and landline calls to the States’ Covid-19 advice lines free of charge • Islanders unable to return from overseas due to the outbreak supported with free roaming boosters and discounted roaming rates to ensure they can stay in contact with family and friends here. While counter-intuitive for a competition watchdog, these collaborative initiatives are to be welcomed. We should also recognise that many people employed in these sectors have continued to work in challenging circumstances, with children and family at home while they go out every day
to ensure the islands continue to function. The approach has also been welcomed by politicians, who have been at the forefront of protecting our insular economies.
The GCRA and JCRA will demerge from the Channel Islands Competition & Regulatory Authorities at the end of June. CICRA started 2020 with a work plan for the year ahead and, of course, we are having to review that in light of the pandemic. It will need to be adapted and rescheduled so that our stakeholders can focus their time and efforts on business-critical matters. The demerger will bring many benefits at a domestic level. It will also create challenges for the two bodies in finding a joined-up approach to the application of competition principles, particularly during the current time. We do not expect it, however, to materially affect our ability to deliver a pragmatic approach to enforcement as we deal with the pandemic, however long that may take. The priority at this time has to be for industry to take decisions that support critical services, vulnerable people and those who are relying on communications services. The GCRA – and I know our counterparts in Jersey – will support those decisions where they are in the interests of consumers and businesses. We are also very conscious of concerns that competition law enforcement could impede necessary cooperation between businesses to deal with the current crisis and ensure security of supplies of essential products and services, such as groceries. And we have made clear we are willing to take a step back. Where agreements are not covered by legal relaxation, we can offer the following reassurance: neither the GCRA nor JCRA intends to take competition law enforcement action against cooperation between businesses or rationing of products to the extent that this is necessary to protect consumers. We will also remain vigilant that businesses don’t try to exploit the situation in an unfair way, which would be to the detriment of both their competitors and their customers. n
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CO M M E N T
Innovation in institutional banking
TOM COLCLOUGH Head of Customer Journeys, Institutional Banking, RBS International
What are the disruptive forces in the institutional banking sector, and how might incumbents respond?
ven before coronavirus, banking faced unprecedented disruption. Be it challenger banks leveraging technology to capture a new generation of retail customers, or regulators acting decisively to lower barriers to entry, the level of change in our market is exceptional. According to Accenture, the UK is the world’s most disrupted traditional banking market, with 15% of revenue going to new entrants. Most would agree that the retail sector has been the focus of most of that disruption. But new entrants such as ClearBank – the UK’s first new clearer in 250 years – show how the market is being disrupted from front office to back office. Institutional banking has resisted much of this disruption, but it is not immune to it. Technology develops, regulation evolves, and customer habits and demands change constantly.
WINDS OF CHANGE
Disruption is spreading beyond app-based ‘neobanks’, and clients’ improved experience of personal banking is reshaping expectations. Institutional banks are navigating regulatory, propositional and technological headwinds. Take payments. Since its introduction, the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) has forced significant investment in heightened security, and customer demand for immediate payments has rocketed. At the same time, the speed and security of technologies such as blockchain have opened enormous possibilities for new financial services players looking to disintermediate traditional operators. Another neobank feature directly comparable to institutional banking are banking platforms that look beyond the host’s own services. Talk of banks becoming open platforms in the style of eBay may be premature, but the emergence of hybrids such as N26 offers insight into the future. Powered by the opportunities of
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open banking, these new entrants deliver core banking services, as well as customer services such as insurance referrals and spending insights. Institutional banks are unlikely to face a like-for-like threat – an emerging rival offering a replica of what we do. The disruptors tend to look different from the incumbents, offering myriad smaller, different solutions that make banks less central to the financial services landscape. The sector must respond correctly or risk death by a thousand disruptions.
A FRIEND TO INNOVATION
Some legacy banks have adopted a defensive position to retain existing business lines, by using their incumbency as a bulwark against change. For others, the solution has been to imitate their disruptors, be it by acquiring the intellectual property beneath the new products or by investing in in-house capabilities, neither of which come naturally or quickly. There is a third way, which we are embracing at RBS International, that recognises the opportunity of harnessing the energy, passion and ingenuity coming from the fintech sector. As each week seemingly brings a new disruptor, our teams are tasked with finding those that could be game-changing for our customers. We can continue to play to our strengths and deliver transformational proposition change to customers at pace by partnering with the right third parties. This requires a more open and collaborative approach than simply waiting for the winners to emerge and buying them up. So our watchword is collaboration, not competition. And, rather than viewing the new kids on the block as a threat, we are choosing to embrace disruption as an opportunity for us to differentiate. It may not deliver immediate benefits to our bottom line, but in the long term it’s a sustainable and customer-centric way of being. Transforming RBS International into a financial services supermarket offering all things via own-branded products isn’t sustainable or in the interests of our customers. Our institutional banking expertise is focused, precise and has deep roots; our understanding of this complex sector positions us well to understand the new fintech landscape and help our customers navigate it. But there’s something in it for us, too – our customer proposition can be strengthened by working with new entrants to our sector, helping us retain and win business. Recognising that these new technologies are here to stay is the first step towards ensuring that RBS International remains a progressive player in the new landscape. Innovation and disruption are a fact of life and those who aim to hold back the tide will be swept away. n
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CO M M E N T
Defending your business from Covid-19 hackers
14 june/july 2020
STAFFORD SLATER Head of Network and Security at C5 Alliance
Cyber crime has been on the increase during the pandemic. Here’s how to stay one step ahead
yber criminals have been exploiting the coronavirus pandemic by attacking people working from home. According to Action Fraud, more than £2m has been lost in the UK alone since the outbreak began. Channel Islanders have also been targeted through virus-related scams, phishing emails and other fraudulent activity. Part of the issue has been that adjusting hastily to a new way of working from home has led to security requirements being overlooked. Technology has enabled many to work remotely, but if robust security measures aren’t in place, there’s a greater risk of a cyber attack. There are a number of ways you can mitigate risk. For one, never share your personal information with anyone unless you are sure you know who they are. If you receive a suspicious email or message, contact a trusted member of your team so they can investigate further. Be realistic about your team’s productivity levels. The change in working environment, coupled with being overworked, might reduce their focus and attention to detail, making them more vulnerable to hackers. Sending helpful reminders about the risks and how to mitigate them will encourage your employees to be more vigilant. Another sensible measure is to ensure your staff only use a secure network and that all devices have up-to-date antivirus software. Ask employees to check that their home wifi is secure and not being used by anyone outside the household. Their wifi network should be password-protected to prevent anyone else using it. If unknown devices are connected, the password should be changed immediately. Another line of defence is multi-factor authentication, which grants access only after inputting two or more correct pieces of information. This could be a password and a
code that is generated by an app and sent to the authorised person’s phone. Your passwords need to be robust, so ensure they’re unique, include numbers and cannot easily be guessed. Also, use different passwords for different sites. All remote laptops should also have full disk encryption enabled to protect data stored on the hard drive. This means that if devices are stolen, then the contents of the hard drive cannot be accessed by criminals. This will safeguard your intellectual property and any personal data.
TOOLS TO TRUST?
Some technologies are safer than others – not least in relation to things that have emerged in popularity during the crisis. Some video-conference applications have security flaws – hackers were able to steal computer passwords and hijack meetings using Zoom. Make sure the technology you use is safe. Microsoft has a variety of tools that use multiple encryption methods, protocols and algorithms to protect your stored data and provide a secure path for data to travel through. Microsoft Teams is a central platform where you can communicate and collaborate with your team. Microsoft has seen a 70% increase in the number of users of Teams due to Covid-19, with 75 million people now using the technology. Many of Microsoft’s tools use cloud technology to ensure that data can be accessed in real-time, anywhere in the world. By using cloud-based solutions, you can improve business agility, reduce costs, accelerate time to market, and enable expansion into new markets while improving compliance security. There are many different cloud platforms out there, so research the options carefully and ensure you choose a secure solution. Flexible working has become mainstream, and now that businesses have seen the advantages, it’s likely to be more widely adopted in the future. However, it’s crucial that security is taken seriously to ensure your data and reputation are protected. n
Digital Transformation Covid-19 has become the single most important driver for financial markets over the past few months, and lockdown measures have been fundamental in accelerating a global digital transformation. UBS Jersey Client Advisor Philip Legrand discusses how UBS is reacting to these potentially lasting changes COVID-19 HAS DEALT a serious blow to
the global economy, with the simultaneous curtailment of supply and demand. A dramatic monetary and fiscal response by the G10 has placed a backstop against a worst-case economic contraction. As BL went to press, public health measures were starting to take effect. The Covid-19 case curve is flattening throughout the developed world, bolstering market and credit market sentiment. Throughout this crisis, we have seen many opportunities for companies driving digital transformation. New technologies have been quickly adopted by companies and the general public, showing their flexibility and helping to support the general resilience of the developed world during this lockdown.
• Telemedicine and genomic medicine applications: delivering essential public health tools during the pandemic. We have been particularly interested in how enterprise cloud computing companies have helped other companies stay in business while the world was going into lockdown – and how they will most likely continue supporting them once they emerge. The World Economic Forum recently published an article1 about the likely winners in a postpandemic economy. It highlights several cases where businesses that have used cloud computing have managed to adapt their offerings in an agile and scalable way to keep serving their customers during the pandemic.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION HEROES WILL BENEFIT FROM THE CRISIS
UBS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION DYNAMIC FUND
We have seen many digital transformation heroes emerging from the crisis stronger than ever. Some notable examples include: • Enterprise cloud computing companies: making it possible to work from home on a large scale and providing video capabilities to enable people to conduct meetings remotely • Dominant e-commerce platforms: providing a lifeline for the distribution of goods, when conventional retailers faced disruption • Digital streaming platforms: offering much needed virtual entertainment for the world
At UBS, we were already anticipating that digital transformation would be a key trend over the coming decade. Our Year Ahead 2020 report2 predicted a decade of transformation, and the current pandemic is likely to accelerate this transformation rather than change it. The creation of our UBS Digital Transformation Dynamic fund was already in progress and the timely roll-out of this fund will potentially help our customers seize the long-term opportunities available. The UBS Digital Transformation Dynamic fund has invested in several companies offering computing services
to online businesses, some of which additionally benefit from their own e-commerce ecosystems. The Covid-19 crisis and the lockdowns put in place have created an immediate need for mobility and flexibility. This has resulted in significant increases in the use of workplace collaboration tools across various countries. Digital transformation was a top corporate priority before the crisis and is likely to emerge as an even stronger priority now. n 1 www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/postpandemic-economy-favour-fastest-movers/ 2 www.ubs.com/global/en/wealthmanagement/chief-investment-office/ market-insights/2019/year-ahead.html
FIND OUT MORE
If you would like to obtain more information about the UBS Digital Transformation Dynamic fund, please contact Philip Legrand: Philip Legrand, Client Advisor UBS AG, Jersey Branch 1, IFC St Helier, Jersey JE2 3BX 01534 701180 firstname.lastname@example.org
The value of an investment and the income derived from it can fall as well as rise (as a result of market and currency fluctuations) and you may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indication of future results. Projections or forecasts are not a reliable indication of future performance and may not materialise. UBS AG, Jersey Branch is authorised and regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission for the conduct of banking, funds and investment business. UBS AG, Jersey Branch is a branch of UBS AG (a public company limited by shares, incorporated in Switzerland whose registered offices are at Aeschenvorstadt 1, CH-4051, Basel and Bahnhofstrasse 45, CH-8001 Zurich) with its principal place of business at 1 IFC, St Helier, Jersey JE2 3BX. Terms and conditions are available upon request. © UBS 2020. All rights reserved. www.ubs.com/jersey
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We are here for you
Times of crisis can be disconcerting for everyone. But Allie McMahon, Business Development Manager at Quilter Cheviot, says the investment firm is on hand to provide the support needed during the current situation
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC is something we have never experienced before, although certain regions of the world do have some experience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Asia and the SARS pandemic of the early 2000s. Regardless, Covid-19 has caught many people by surprise. It has caused people to change their daily routines like never before, not just adjusting how we work, but balancing our work/home life too. This has become increasingly difficult since staying at home has become an obligation. With schools and universities shut for the foreseeable future, your house has become the new playground, daily exercise the highlight of your day, and parents the new teachers (all while balancing a fulltime job). I think we all very much look forward to seeing the back of this.
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As far as business goes, we have all been working hard to adapt over the past few months. At Quilter Cheviot, we have been putting in extra precautions to prevent financial fraud, first testing and then implementing our remote working capabilities for all areas of the business and including extra commentary with our usual client valuation packs. These are all essential measures to help our clients and ensure they feel confident that their wealth is being well looked after. We are closely monitoring Covid-19 developments and the care and wellbeing of our clients is at the forefront of everything we do, as it has been for over 240 years. In such times, reassuring our clients is our main priority. This is something we live by as a company and what our highly
It is at times like these that we need extra reassurance – and that is something we pride ourselves on as a company
experienced Investment Managers are doing on a day-to-day basis. Our new coronavirus ‘hub’ features topical podcasts, market updates and other relevant articles to support our clients. We are, of course, continuing to produce our regular commentaries, which aim to address any worries or concerns throughout the pandemic. It is at times like these that we need extra reassurance – and that is something we pride ourselves on as a company. We are doing everything we can to give all of our clients peace of mind and comfort during this period. We pride ourselves on having one of the largest research teams in the discretionary fund management space, with more than 40,000 hours of research carried out annually. We have been working hard to bring these insights to clients and advisers through a range of articles, videos and podcasts. But perhaps more importantly, our research helps us to adjust portfolios as necessary, moving money from harder-hit areas and adding to beneficiaries such as the providers of cloud computing services. In addition to the extra commentary
on how we are dealing with Covid-19 in the regular client valuation packs, active communication with our clients is something we are very much used to. Portfolio valuations, transaction schedules, capital and income statements, tax-yearend packs and commentary on market conditions are all included in our regular reports to our clients. We have a regulatory obligation to notify clients when their portfolio falls by 10% or more, and making sure our communications are informed and provide context is highly important to us. Our open-door policy is still very much applicable now, just like before. With our investment managers having an average of 16 years’ service at Quilter Cheviot and 19 years in the financial sector, our clients’ goals and expectations are at the heart of our investment philosophy. It has been an eye-opening few weeks and a time to reflect. That long list of household chores you had has remarkably been crossed off, the ever-growing pile of books you wanted to read are now solidly engraved in your brain, and your culinary skills… Well, let’s just say Gordon Ramsay better watch out.
Despite such productivity, however, this has also been an incredibly difficult time. Away from loved ones, out of your usual routine and staying at home for this long isn’t something we’re used to. We understand this and we are here to support our clients in any way that we can. Should you have any worries or concerns, or simply want to get in touch to find out more about our services, please do not hesitate to contact us. n
FIND OUT MORE
For more information, contact the Quilter Cheviot Jersey office on 01534 506070.
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Naomi Rive and Martin Hall founded private wealth and fund administrator Highvern Group via a management buy-out of Coutts & Co Trustees. Nearly four years on, they tell us how the service offering has changed since becoming ownermanaged, where the next growth opportunities lie for wealth businesses – and how coronavirus will affect their markets
Words: Jon Watkins
Martin Hall: My story couldn’t be more different. I grew up in 1970s England, studied art and architecture there, and worked in publishing briefly with Penguin Books. That was fascinating, but it didn’t give me the opportunity I was looking for to live and work abroad. So I moved into
an international bank, and many years later, having travelled and lived abroad extensively for work, here I am settled in the Channel Islands. Tell us about the management buy-out that culminated in Highvern being formed. MH: Over the course of my 25 years or so in private banking, I ran various parts of the organisation – on the trust side, the investment side and the banking side. But I had a growing desire to run my own business and I guess all of that experience and knowledge really culminated in the opportunity to do so through the management buy-out. NR: I was a Partner at Appleby in 2013 when Martin first approached me to join him at Coutts. I was looking for a new challenge after having children, and
working within the trust industry was an exciting opportunity. In particular, I felt that client needs were becoming more sophisticated, and the opportunity to become a trusted adviser to some high-quality private client relationships really appealed to me. Already with a great client base and reputation, we both felt we could set up a highly professional and attractive firm, while also offering something quite different. We also knew that we wanted to create a new brand that spoke of quality and substance. How do your roles differ within the day-today running of the business? NR: We definitely bring different skills. Martin has plenty of experience running businesses and large teams. I’m much more from a technical, legal background and the
interview 18 june/july 2020
What are your personal backgrounds and what brought you to the Channel Islands? Naomi Rive: Well, I’m Jersey born and bred. Like lots of islanders, I grew up to hardworking parents, which is something that really rubbed off on me and my siblings. Although I went away to England to study law, within a few years I was back here because that’s the lure of Jersey. Jersey gives you a great quality of life – and the quality of work, especially for young graduates, is also incredibly good, so it was hard to stay away.
Naomi Rive and Martin Hall www.blglobal.co.uk
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client management side – and that’s still very much how we split the business today. Martin is the MD, while I focus on business development, developing our technical skills and dealing with regulatory and compliance issues. Along with our colleagues in the funds business, we now have a great balance of legal, accounting and operational experts, culminating in a highly complementary and effective leadership team. How do you differentiate yourselves in a crowded marketplace and what are your plans for expanding the business? MH: The core philosophy is that we’re all about setting new standards. We really want to push the boundaries in this industry. We see a lot of competitors growing very fast but we feel that can lose you the critical client intimacy, and affect how well you know your clients – how flexible and tailored you can be to their needs. We don’t want to do it that way. We want to focus on quality, expertise and the value we can add through a truly deep relationship. We are obviously focused on growing, but doing so in a quality way and being able to give every new client the assurance that what we say in a pitch is actually what they’re going to get when they join us. The interesting thing on the private side is that someone’s purchase decision is made not necessarily just for a transaction this week, but for the generations to come. So being able to offer continuity is key. NR: There are principally three core ownership models for our type of business on the islands. There are the banks, which tend to see our services as one of relationship deepening and don’t always focus so much on the commerciality of what we do. That can be detrimental to investment in staff and technology in the long term. At the opposite extreme, there are the private equity-backed businesses whose ownership sometimes culminates in listings. Those businesses face polar opposite challenges in terms of business growth and margins. Then, somewhere in the middle, there are a few like us – an independent business in between the two. Of course, we are now much more commercial than we were – but it’s not all about the bottom line for us. We invest heavily in relationships where we see wider potential, and work closely with those
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I don’t think we will be in 20 to 30 jurisdictions 10 years from now. You’re more likely to see us in a handful of wellchosen jurisdictions
clients, whether corporate or families, to help them achieve their goals. This usually coincides with a stronger and more profitable relationship for us. We also focus on the quality and integrity of the structuring we are asked to provide. I’m very keen to ensure that the finance industry in Jersey goes from
strength to strength and that we can continue to bring the next generations of graduates back to the island. For that reason, I want Jersey to be known for its legal, regulatory and governance expertise – and I think all businesses need to work hard to overcome some of the negative connotations about offshore centres. Our business and risk strategy certainly takes the reputation of the island very seriously. It’s now nearly four years from the management buy-out. What have been the biggest changes to your approach and your client base? MH: I think the biggest and most obvious change since we took on ownership of the business is that we have become significantly closer to our clients. Our entire proposition now is around what we can deliver for them – rather than simply being a tool to support asset-gathering. It’s very much about understanding the long-term goals of our clients. And we’ve also launched a successful fund administration business that’s aligned to the same philosophy. NR: Of course, it’s important to remember that when we became independent, it wasn’t like we started a greenfield business, which is hugely challenging. The business was established in the
We want our clients to see that we are flexible, can-do and faster to react because of our size and ownership model
1960s, and we inherited a high-quality and mature book of clients. But the move has absolutely enabled us to combine that with our own ethos and approach. How does being owner-managed change the proposition for clients? NR: Being independent means we can be more relationship focused, and that is now a massive selling point for us. We want our clients to see that we are flexible, can-do and faster to react because of our size and ownership model. It’s also really valuable to our clients’ advisers. They want to work with people who are focused on the longer term and put clients first. What does a ‘successful Highvern’ look like five or so years from now? NR: We’re definitely focused on growing and developing a highly sustainable brand and business. However, as we said earlier, we don’t want to grow too quickly or at the expense of our proposition; we want to grow in our space, becoming a bigger and more important player in the market over time. MH: It’s important to remember that a lot of the business we’re winning is precisely because we are independent. To be able to come in and meet your prospective trustee and also meet one or both of the owners of the business – who are committed to staying close to it – is very compelling. We want to grow, but never at the expense of being able to deliver great expertise and fast decision-making. That’s almost a tangible difference that we can deliver. Do your growth plans include greater international expansion and more jurisdictions? MH: What comes next will be controlled expansion. While we are Jersey-centric, we do want to be in more jurisdictions,
with more service lines – but only if they are complementary. We will consider some suitable acquisitions. But I don’t think we will be in 20 to 30 jurisdictions 10 years from now. You’re more likely to see us in a handful of very carefully and well-chosen jurisdictions. So Jersey will continue to be the focus? What is it that makes the Channel Islands such a strong proposition? NR: Jersey is a high-quality jurisdiction, and that is integral to our proposition and hard to replicate elsewhere. We won’t run into another jurisdiction where we don’t have confidence in the legal and regulatory environment for our clients or ourselves as a business. MH: Jersey will remain the heartbeat of the business. One of the things that amazes me and is really comforting is that it has the strength of all that infrastructure, but also decades under its belt of dealing with challenges from the outside world – proving its resilience in a very entrepreneurial way. This place knows how to deal with challenges and how to come out the other side stronger. What impact do you think the coronavirus pandemic will have, both on your business and on the wider wealth space? NR: Like many businesses, we invoked our business continuity plan quickly – enabling
people to work remotely – and we’re delighted to see that our investment in the IT and infrastructure paid off so well. In terms of this ‘new normal’ that everyone keeps talking about, personally I’m not convinced we will see such a sustained difference – I think many people will go back pretty much to the way we’ve done things before. I think we flourish on human contact, so I don’t feel the long-term changes around working practice will be that different. MH: I agree with that. This is, and will remain, a personal, people business. When you are entrusting tens or hundreds of millions of pounds, you want to be able to press the flesh and see the whites of people’s eyes. As for the impact on the financial sector, for years to come lenders are going to be thoroughly focused on getting liquidity back into the market, so that SMEs and larger corporates can adjust and continue or rebuild themselves. And for a long period of time, there won’t be such a huge tax take available for governments to support that either. I think that in our field we’re going to see wealthy individuals and the dry powder amassed in funds globally over recent years filling that gap. So that speaks to great opportunity in many ways for businesses like ours and centres like Jersey. n
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Nurture your finances with HSBC Premier The word ‘wealth’ means different things to different people. For some, it could be property. For others, it’s their family. For HSBC, it means being able to make your money work harder, protect what most matters to you, and help you build a brighter future for you and your loved ones. Everyone’s investment journey is different, so we understand that individual expectations, financial aspirations and risk attitudes differ. We listen carefully, to ensure you get the best advice to achieve your goals. Now, more than ever, may be a good time to look at your goals in life and plan your finances for the months and years ahead.
Grow in confidence If you have time on your side to grow your money, investing for growth could be a good option for you. Allocating some of your capital in the right way could also allow you to receive regular payments to boost your existing income. So, with advice from our specialists, now could be the right time to review your financial plans, goals and investment opportunities for long-term success. You may have extensive experience in making investment decisions, or you may be a first time investor, and prefer for us to take care of things for you. Wherever you are in your investment journey, we will always tailor our advice to suit your needs and assess your appetite for investment risk.
An HSBC Premier bank account opens many doors to preferential banking services and extra support, that you can also share and extend to your family. This includes a wide range of banking and wealth management services, including investment portfolios managed by qualified professionals. Invest for growth or income1 Advice to suit your changing needs2 Dedicated Premier Relationship Management team Extended benefits for family members including Premier banking, savings, credit cards, loans and mortgages And whether you decide to invest for growth or income, our advisors can recommend and discuss a wide range of asset classes, geographies and currencies. We’re committed to supporting you and your family now, and for the future.
Invest in your future with HSBC. We’re right with you. Ask in-branch about ‘Wealth’ 03456 006161
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Issued by HSBC Bank plc, registered in England and Wales number 14259. Registered office 8 Canada Square, London, E14 5HQ. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. HSBC Bank plc, Jersey Branch is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission for Banking, General Insurance Mediation, Fund Services and Investment Business. HSBC Bank plc, Guernsey Branch is licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission for Banking, Insurance and Investment Business. HSBC Bank plc, Guernsey branch is licensed to take deposits by the GFSC. In the Isle of Man HSBC Bank plc is licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority. Publicly available information, including reports and accounts is obtainable from www.hsbc.co.uk HSBC Bank plc. © HSBC Bank plc 2020. All Rights Reserved. 200417/MA/201
End of the old ways Hospitals created in days, thousands of employees relocated overnight… Many will wonder why we can’t always be this efficient. So has the Covid-19 pandemic been the make or break of project management? Words: Alexander Garrett
ALL ACROSS THE world, extraordinary feats have been achieved over the past few months. In Wuhan in China, a 1,000-bed hospital was built from scratch in just eight days. In the UK, the string of temporary Nightingale hospitals providing thousands of critical care beds across the country – created from existing exhibition centres – showed similar endeavour. Dozens of the world’s companies re-engineered their production lines overnight to make PPE equipment, while drugs companies switched their resources to developing antibody tests for Covid-19. Retailers introduced social distancing throughout their stores, organisations of every type found ways for their people to work from home, and universities, parliaments and television stations worked out how to operate ‘virtually’. In normal times, all of these changes would typically have been the subject of a major project, involving months or even years of planning, scoping, tendering and implementation. But with the coronavirus pandemic creating an unprecedented urgency, they were carried out in a fraction of that time, turning conventional wisdom about project management on its head. Few among the general public would consider project managers key workers – their work is typically behind the scenes – but the value of the project management profession has been thrust into the spotlight during the Covid-19 crisis. In fact, striking questions are beginning
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to be asked about how projects will be managed in future. For those in the profession, fortunes have been mixed during the lockdown. “In many cases, project management and change management have gone from being seen as a discretionary expenditure, with lots of businesses letting people go, to suddenly ‘we desperately need project managers to implement all this change that’s resulted from Covid-19’,” says Leonie McCrann, CEO of Jersey-based change and project management specialist Marbral Advisory. “On a lot of the projects now being implemented, there’s a burning platform,” she adds – where a business needs to completely rethink and reinvent itself to survive. At the other end of the scale are organisations that have simply decided to close down everything and ride out the storm. Many of those involved in the emergency response have found themselves busier than at any time in their working lives, with sevenday 70-hour weeks not uncommon. That means one group is at risk of burnout, while other colleagues have been laid off or furloughed.
CALL TO ACTION At fiduciary and corporate services provider Ocorian, the impending lockdown created an urgent need to get the entire
organisation working from home in next to no time – and a change of approach to project management. “We effectively moved from 20 offices worldwide to 1,200 in two weeks,” says Head of Communications Lydia Chambers. And this came immediately after the firm had completed its merger with Estera. Stuart Geddes, Ocorian’s Group Head of IT, adds: “We had a remote access capability for all our staff, but we never envisaged a requirement on this scale.” The challenge was to scale up the company’s remote working architecture, which involved adding new servers at a time when everyone else was trying to buy this equipment too. “We knew the end game was to have everyone working effectively, so the deliverables were clear. It was a question
of how we would do it,” says Geddes. “We formed a small four-person crisis team and had calls every day where we could identify what needed doing, make the necessary decisions and take action.” Meanwhile, a separate integration team ploughed ahead with the major two-year project to integrate Ocorian and Estera, making extensive use of technology to foster collaborative working and take the place of the extensive travel and face-toface contact that would have been a key part of that project.
CHANGING PRIORITIES While it’s unlikely that project management will look completely different after coronavirus, few doubt that the immediate response the pandemic called for will be influential in shaping the way things are
done in future. Chambers, who previously worked in project management, believes there will be a stronger focus on delivering the most important ‘user needs’. “Too often with projects, people get caught up in all the competing priorities that this department or that department says it wants,” she explains. “What has driven success over the past couple of months has been everyone getting behind that one big audacious goal. If you can take that and apply it to projects more widely, then that’s what will pay dividends.” Geddes believes that will lead to a more iterative approach to delivering change. “Traditional project plans in our industry work out what the end state needs to be, then we come up with a huge plan of delivery, which is usually delivered to end-
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users either as a ‘big bang’ or in a couple of phases over two or three months. “What we saw during the crisis was the ability for us to deliver solutions that really benefit the business, overnight. “But we’re not talking about the fully featured solutions that you’d get over three months – we’re really picking out the key benefits, which is forcing us to prioritise.” In future, he says, projects will be delivered faster, but the scope will be narrower. A slimmed-down project will focus on the core, critical benefits, followed up by a process of continual review and update that will deliver more of the ‘nice to have’ benefits. If, as expected, some degree of social distancing continues in the foreseeable future, and remote working remains a reality for many, that will have implications for project management – increased use of collaborative tools, stronger protocols for communication and a greater focus on data centralisation, for example.
RAISING THE BAR The remarkable exploits that have taken place in response to Covid-19 are bound to heighten expectations at board level that projects can be delivered much faster, and to raise the bar on what is deemed possible. It’s also possible that the approvals process will be simplified in many cases, to reduce one of the key obstacles that hold up many projects.
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What has driven success over the past couple of months has been everyone getting behind one big audacious goal
However, these generally welcome developments will have to be balanced against increased risks. McCrann points out: “All governance starts to be slimmed down and that has consequences – what is delivered might not have the quality that was expected or could be over-budget, and the wellbeing of people currently working very long hours isn’t sustainable.” Agility and flexibility will be the
watchwords of the profession going forward. Graeme Watson was Project Director at AECOM for the NHS Louisa Jordan – a £43m 1,000-bed capacity hospital set up in Glasgow’s SEC in three weeks. He told the Association for Project Management (APM): “If I could try and bring one element from this project to future projects, it would be building a team where everyone is so solutionsfocused and flexible. “Any time someone thought they could help, they flagged it up. I don’t think anyone let anything personal get in the way of the common goal.” Organisations are widely expected to become more project-based in future. The coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity for project management to raise its profile and will already have done much to improve people’s perception of a not particularly well understood organisational activity. As the APM’s Head of External Affairs David Thomson puts it: “Restarting projects in a post-pandemic world will demand different behaviours and skills from leaders, including project professionals. “We hope that the outcomes will show a clear map back to those organisations that were well organised and have the vision, skills and capacity to adapt at speed, against immense pressure and deadlines, to deliver.” n
Appleby (Guernsey) LLP +44 (0)1481 755600 email@example.com
for better or worse? Productive, predictable and useful or manipulative, malign and intrusive? Corporations and governments routinely use our data – but when does this challenge our privacy and civil liberties? IN 1995, TESCO launched the Clubcard. It was to be a gamechanger for the UK supermarket chain, enabling it to store information about its customers’ buying habits – so they could reorder what they’d bought before and receive information on new products, offers and deals that they might not otherwise have known about. What’s more, customers could collect points – to buy even more goods. Following a highly successful trial of the card, Tesco’s Chairman at the time, Lord Ian MacLaurin, told his marketing advisers: “What scares me about this is that you know more about my customers after three months than I know after 30 years.” Fast forward to 2020 and the Clubcard now has 17 million ‘members’ across the UK – and every other supermarket has followed suit in one form or another. But this is small beer. Retail data collection and mining is now a huge global business. Scan through your own and your family’s bank and credit card transactions over the course of a year and the chances are that you will find the names of large, mainly American, corporations – Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify and the
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like – all taking regular payments. The key is that they all rely on repeat business that requires no effort from you, and which effectively takes place under the radar. That requires data. And lots of it. And many people don’t have any issue with that. Convenience is king.
PUSHING BACK Some, however, see it differently. Harvard Business School Professor Shoshana Zuboff writes in the introduction to The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: “Surveillance capitalism’s products and services are not the objects of a value exchange… They are the ‘hooks’ that lure users into the extractive operations on which our personal experiences are scraped and packaged as the means to others’ ends… “We are,” she continues, “the objects of a technologically advanced and increasingly inescapable raw material extraction operation. Surveillance capitalism’s actual customers are the enterprises that trade in its markets for future behaviour.” Others closer to home echo her concerns. “Prominent technology companies such as Facebook have been tracking our
Words: Richard Willsher
movements for years in order to, among other things, advertise more effectively or sell that data to the highest bidder,” says Mark Dunster, a Guernsey-based Partner at law firm Carey Olsen. “Everything we now do on a phone or computer, click on or ‘say’ online becomes ‘data’. “Companies and governments have the capacity to exploit this data for their benefit,” he continues. “For example, to track us, to sort us, to grade us and to make decisions about our lives. “In the past few years, we have seen the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in an attempt to give some power back to the data subjects. “It’s still too early to tell if this is having the desired effect, but on a micro basis we, as lawyers, have seen clients and employees successfully achieving transparency over the data that companies and employers are utilising.”
BIG AUNTIE OR BIG BROTHER? So, if the suspicion is that the data we share is destined to be used to commercially exploit us, will the data we share with the
increasingly less physically intrusive, it’s exponentially more subliminally intrusive on our private lives.” So potentially intrusive is it that the development of self-driving cars has been threatened because they are highly reliant on the gathering and use of CCTV data in order to operate.
FIGHT FOR ANONYMITY GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are two examples of laws designed to prevent the indiscriminate gathering of such data in the interests of protecting the public’s right to privacy. Now, for example, this kind of data has to be anonymised before it can be used. At the same time, of course, a start-up German tech company – brighterAI – is building a business in data anonymisation which will enable data to be gathered and used without people caught on camera being identifiable. Once again, the same conundrum faces us. On one level, we are happy for data to be collected and used to enhance our lives or make us safer; on another level,
questions are increasingly being asked about what limits there should be around organisations spying on us.
CORONAVIRUS SHADOW In recent months, Covid-19 has taken this debate to another level. “In relation to the pandemic, there’s been a lot of media attention and a lot of discussion around the use of contact tracing apps and apps for other purposes around tracking where people have been, who they’ve seen and also self-diagnosis tools,” explains Field. “You can easily see that, on one level, that kind of monitoring helps fight the spread [of Covid-19] in terms of making sure people stay where they’re supposed to be staying. But what happens when the pandemic is over? “That information and the apps – are they still going to be there? Are governments still going to monitor where people are going and what they’re doing? It begs the question why they need to do that. “Those of us living in smaller jurisdictions or jurisdictions where we have a strong rule of law and a moderate,
june/july 2020 29
government, its agencies and other public sector authorities always be used to our benefit? In general, we trust them – but should we and can we? When mobile phone data proves that criminals or their victims were in a certain place at a certain time, and is used to convict the guilty, the world breathes a sigh of relief. DNA records have led to prosecutions years after crimes have been committed. CCTV and road traffic cameras keep a constant eye on what’s going on. Geo-positioning data of all sorts is now part and parcel of our everyday lives and we don’t, for the most part, reflect upon it or consider it intrusive. “Remember back in the days when people used to get extremely het-up about CCTV cameras being installed around shopping centres and town centres?” asks Richard Field, Partner in the Guernsey legal practice of Appleby. “Now they’re there in less obvious places, but they are still there. In fact, they’re used by private companies as well, in universities and shopping centres and in all sorts of places. So while this is
Will the data we share with government, its agencies and other public sector authorities always be used to our benefit?
sensible government might not be greatly concerned, but if you’re living in jurisdictions where there is an autocratic leader, dictator or similar, you’re not going to be comfortable with those kinds of things being used to monitor what you do.” Research by London-based advocacy group Privacy International has found that 27 countries are using mobile phone data to track their citizens and more have developed tracking apps for people to use. “On the face of it, it makes logical sense,” says Carey Olsen Senior Associate Luke Sayer. “In Guernsey, we know the health department has been manually tracing people’s ‘chains’ once they test positively for the virus. That is, of course, easier in a small environment, but would pose difficulties in the UK, for example. “However, such an application needs to be mindful of human rights and data protection laws. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights demands a right to respect one’s private life. That right can be observed if any tracing application
30 june/july 2020
is voluntary. However, to be truly effective, experts are suggesting mandatory use of any tracing application. In our opinion, such mandatory use would require a clear and detailed legal basis.”
MULTIPLE IMPACT There is a further aspect to this, too – the use of multiple data sources. Harnessing and merging personal data from a variety of different sources can cover many aspects of one’s life and behaviour. These include sources such as Google or Facebook, medical records, credit checks, geo-positioning data, shopping and travel apps, data collected by pieces of tech such as Amazon’s Ring or Google’s Nest, tax and financial services company data and whatever can be found on the web. Some of this is freely available. Some can be bought, and some – probably all – can be accessed by the authorities. All in all, the reach that can be made into one’s personal life is now deep indeed. The data exploitation genie is now so far out of
the bottle that it may be too late to cram it back in and prevent any further intrusion into our lives. Appleby’s Richard Field summarises the current state of play. “On one level, technology, social media and all these things that we’ve become accustomed to are opening up opportunities in terms of better connectivity across the world, better opportunities in terms of finding jobs, more access to culture, books, music, all that kind of thing. “But the counter to that is that we’re giving up a lot of information about what our thoughts, views and feelings are and those are being packaged up and used as intelligence – effectively, for them to sell us more.” Each of us now needs to decide how much of our data we allow others to see and to store. As a society we need to decide what’s useful and valuable and what is potentially harmful, intrusive and exploitative. But how are we to do so and, crucially, when? n
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How will Covid-19 shape what home buyers and sellers want? Geri O’Brien from Savills Jersey, looks at how buyers and sellers have reassessed their priorities in light of their lockdown experiences Spending more time at home away from friends and family has led many of us to reevaluate what’s important in life. From how we socialise and what we eat, through to where we work and how we relax – it’s understandable that people’s priorities have changed in light of recent experiences. It’s certainly made people think more about the space they live in, the attributes they most value in a home and in some cases, where they want to live. In Jersey, there is a real sense of appreciation for island life and what we have on our doorstep, with beautiful beaches and countryside as well as the community spirit and camaraderie.
Many have really valued spending more quality time with immediate family throughout the lockdown, with older children returning to the island from university. For some, the experience of working from home could lead to less off island travel when normality resumes. Those with holiday homes elsewhere are deciding that Jersey is where they want to be, having spent their time here during lockdown. Versatile living space and access to the countryside and coast are becoming a prerequisite for those anticipating increased home working, particularly those with children. This was echoed in a survey carried out by Savills among
almost 700 of our registered buyers and sellers in the UK during the lockdown, which indicates that moving intentions, budget, size of property and location have all been impacted. According to our survey, almost half (49%) said they will be more inclined to work from home even after restrictions are lifted. As a consequence 44% of respondents said a separate work space has assumed greater importance, rising to 61% amongst the under 40s, with good access to Wi-Fi also becoming more valued. Some 39% of respondents under 50 stated an increased inclination to upsize, rising to 42% among the under 40s. The desire for a garden or outdoor space has also become a more pressing consideration for 71% of this age group. At the other end of the property ladder, there appears to be a growing commitment to downsizing among wealthy older households, albeit this trend (20% of respondents) is less pronounced than the desire for more space amongst younger prospective home movers.
SOLD Coral Beach, St Ouen
Guide £1.495 million
Around four in ten would now find a village location more appealing than previously, while 54% of those with school age
children now find the idea of a countryside location more attractive than pre Covid-19. Just under half of respondents to the survey did not expect the selling price of their existing home, nor the amount they would be willing to spend on a new property, to have changed as a result of Covid-19. The other half felt both would fall, the majority by up to 10%. However, 20% of respondents felt that their budget to buy a new home might fall by more than this figure. Only 5% of respondents believe the value of their home could have risen. This suggests there is likely to be some downward pressure on pricing in the short term. Reassuringly, the survey suggests that buyers and sellers broadly agree on how they believe the lockdown has impacted values, and this alignment should help underpin the recovery as we come out of lockdown and buyer caution begins to lift. In Jersey, we are finding that since lockdown restrictions have been eased, the market under £700,000 has been particularly active. Many who were considering a move earlier in the year, from a flat to a house with a garden for example, are now much more committed to making that move.
FOR SALE Le Ruisselet, St Lawrence
Guide £1.575 million
FOR SALE Woodbine, St Peter
Guide £1.5 million
In the prime market, several sales that were underway prior to the lockdown are now progressing. We have also seen an increase in enquiries from the UK. We anticipate this continuing as buyers are drawn by the unique lifestyle offered here.
If you would like to find out more about the property market in Jersey, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Talk to us today Geri O'Brien Director Savills Jersey 01534 722 227
FOR SALE Woodview Cottage, St Lawrence
34 june/july 2020
The indicators of what makes a company successful are changing rapidly, and organisations are turning to artificial intelligence to measure and analyse performance. But does the technology work – and does it suit all sectors? Words: David Burrows
THE AI FACTOR So in what ways can artificial intelligence (AI) help organisations quantify progress and success? One clear benefit is the ability AI has to drill down into multiple layers of data to produce meaningful answers. As Larkin points out, the data in our global digital universe is doubling in size every two years. Through AI, the analysis of colossal amounts of information can be both instant and bespoke. For instance, it can be used to analyse a large volume of patents and classify them into ‘qualitative clusters’, she says. Predictive analytics can also help analyse market and consumer behaviour, to provide trends and forecasts. AI technology can
accurately measure – in real time – issues such as financial value, productivity and production rates, staff performance, cost management and sustainability. In the past, this would have been too costly and time-consuming – and taken too long to give a real-time picture. Also, historically, data collection was of mixed quality and accuracy, and there was little framework to the process.
HUMAN TOUCH With such complex levels of data and so many different value indicators, embracing AI is far from straightforward – and some areas are far easier to measure than others. Larkin suggests that, going forward, companies’ ability to use AI to generate real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) will help to drive real-time outputs. But the onus, she explains, is on organisations’ ability to establish the KPIs that are most appropriate – and then ensure these KPIs can be traced back to the right source to make them measurable. The power of network analytics within HR is a good example, according to Larkin. New social mapping platforms can use staff surveys and metadata from staff phone calls and emails to see how effectively people are working and communicating. Larkin suggests that, as well as identifying potential misconduct, these platforms – if used properly – could help improve productivity, identify innovation and foster a more collaborative culture in a business. The same applies to email monitoring and video conferencing – AI can analyse tone of voice, body language and use of words to identify whether staff are ‘on message’ with the company ethos. But, Larkin suggests, success in this area depends on getting the balance right between identifying areas where staff engagement can be improved and what could be construed as spying on
the workforce – which could be counterproductive to motivating, developing and retaining employees. That’s where human judgement and control comes in. Martin Keelagher, CEO of Agile Automations, which helps businesses transform their business processes, sometimes through AI, agrees that there are benefits to be gained from using AI to measure employee performance. He emphasises, however, that the value of the outputs very much depends on the data being mined and the specific areas being focused on. There’s a danger that in areas such as staff performance, he adds, the benefits from the information provided might be questionable. “It is possible to track keystrokes, for example, so you can monitor whether someone is more productive at 9am than 4.30pm. But is that useful information and does it fit in with GDPR? There is also an ethical consideration here.” Analysis revealing that staff are not happy, he says, is not in every instance going to add value to the business. For a call centre, for instance, where staff turnover is high and the nature of the job is repetitive and entirely phone-based, the benefits of gauging job satisfaction levels through analytics are debatable. Some sectors are able to incorporate AI better than others; some need more ‘handson’ human involvement, Keelagher adds. “Retailers, for instance, are in a position to adopt a much more hands-off approach. But in sectors with far more regulation, such as banks and financial services, automation is most effective when paired with human involvement and sign-off.”
A MATTER OF TRUST Keelagher agrees with EY’s Larkin and Boillet that the value of companies today is gauged on far more than profit alone. He believes that the new battleground for companies is customer service – the need to be favoured by consumers and respected for all manner of values.
june/july 2020 35
THE MAJORITY OF a company’s longterm value is now reflected in intangibles – indicators such as innovation, social impact, customer service, trust, security, sustainability and corporate governance. That means there’s an increased need to measure these attributes – something that’s not easily done in an accurate and meaningful way. Christina Larkin, Oceania Assurance Digital Trust Leader at EY, and Jeanne Boillet, Global Assurance Innovation Leader at EY, agree that profit and loss are no longer the sole indicator of a company’s strength and success. In an EY thought leadership article earlier this year, they stated that companies’ priorities “are no longer just about maximising profits – but that transparency, sustainability and inclusion are increasingly part of the overall measure of success”. “Failure to factor in these elements when assessing long-term value could have an impact on investment, recruitment, reputation and, ultimately, productivity and profit,” Larkin says. “We live in an increasingly engaged climate where stakeholders demand more information across a broader spectrum. And in a digital world, they want this data to be up-to-the-minute and readily available.”
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He says this is an area where AI can really help, by being used to measure levels of trust in companies. Trust analytics takes unstructured data, passes it through a model, creates numerical scores and then compares that to financial performance. A high trust rating reflects positively on customer retention, pricing power and competitive advantage. Demonstrating a correlation between trust and financial performance is an important step and provides an economic incentive for corporates to behave in a way that instils trust – be that from a transparency, social, sustainability or governance perspective. When it comes to sustainability, AI can also play an important role in a company’s energy consumption. AI is able to process large amounts of data to optimise energy efficiency during production. Google, for example, has used AI to reduce the energy needed to cool its data centres by 40%. Combining AI with big data analytics makes life much easier for those tasked with compiling and checking reports. AI can provide forecasts and spot patterns in data more quickly and without the risk of human error from mental fatigue. As Keelagher is quick to point out, AI also works 24/7, takes no days off and doesn’t make mistakes.
SECURITY SERVICES AI is also increasingly being used to support businesses in the identification of security threats and breaches. Companies’ growing commitments to technological enhancement and digital developments bring with them security risks – and any kind of security breach in the modern world can spread rapidly and severely damage a company’s brand and reputation. There is a pivotal role for AI here. It can screen for software abnormalities that help cyber criminals attack companies. It can also detect malicious software installed by hackers. Once again, it is the speed at which AI works that makes it so much easier for IT teams to monitor the constant and increasingly sophisticated attempts by hackers to breach security. One cyber security specialist tells BL: “Companies realise that if they are faster in detecting an attack, they have a business advantage. From a security standpoint, there is now a huge amount of data to contend with and AI is the only effective way to detect behaviour that’s deviating from the norm.”
AI IN A POST-COVID WORLD If business success is to be assessed on multiple factors other than profits – notably customer/supplier engagement –
Artificial intelligence works 24/7, takes no days off and doesn’t make mistakes
what impact, if any, will Covid-19 have on development of technology? Keelagher says major events such as world wars have sped up technological developments, and the same is likely to happen with this crisis. “How we utilise technology will change as a result of lockdown,” he says. “There is a realisation that you don’t have to travel to meetings – you can just jump on a Zoom, Skype or Webex call. “We may see this impact on recruitment too – does a candidate really need to get on a plane to travel to a face-to-face interview? Lockdown has forced recruiters to interview remotely. Not only is this effective but it saves time and money.”
Lockdown also appears to be changing consumer perceptions with regards to how they communicate with a provider – and that may lead not just to further adoption of technology, but AI specifically. Chatbots, for example, are increasingly an option for businesses to adopt, and they rely on AI to work. Chatbots can answer customer questions outside business hours or during extremely busy periods. They can establish the customer’s problem, then deal with it via pre-programmed answers. They can also identify the small number of queries that require a personal approach, and pass those on for human beings to handle accordingly. “People are talking to chatbots in a way that they would never have done before lockdown – and the more they are used, the more effective they will prove,” Keelagher argues. Getting swift answers to queries via chatbots boosts customer satisfaction and thereby provides an incentive to choose – or stick with – one provider over another, he adds. AI might not solve all the challenges faced by companies in the 21st century. But, as Larkin says, it is the enabler that supports the generation and analysis of new metrics – whether that be in innovation, customer trust/experience or employee engagement. Those who embrace AI in this way will not only have a clearer idea of where they currently stand, but also where they are heading in the future. n
june/july 2020 37
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Your partner in protecting and growing your business
Building Business Resilience COVID-19 has caught a lot of companies out. As the immediate impact of the health crisis recedes, examples of fundamental and structural devastation in many businesses are starting to emerge. But how much of that is due to a lack of sound foundations and planning – especially around business resilience? Business resilience is the ability an organisation has to quickly adapt to disruptions while, maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people, assets and overall brand equity. The challenge to build and maintain resilience differs geographically and by industry, both of which factors can have a significant impact. However, fundamental questions around business resilience apply to most businesses, regardless of sector and region. The boards of all regulated businesses are required to ask various questions of themselves each year, particularly in relation to ensuring good corporate governance. The crisis has radically altered the risk environment in which all businesses operate and which all boards must consider. The impact is such that the questions typically considered by boards have changed. Consider some of these matters and how the pre-crisis questions need to change, given the new lens though which the world should now be considered. •
Do we have a BCP plan and do we have a Disaster Recovery Suite? Are we able to switch to an operating model where all colleagues can operate remotely?
Has the board reviewed the latest Financial Resources Requirement (FRR)? Is the board comfortable that the FRR surplus is sufficient and how is it trending?
Do we have Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance? Do we have Business Interruption (BI) insurance and do we understand the terms?
Do we have appropriate persons in our prescribed positions? Is the Compliance Officer able to carry out his/her role effectively whilst unable to physically visit client offices?
Do we have the appropriate level of information security within the business? Do we have the appropriate level of information security regardless of whether colleagues are working from within an office environment or from their homes?
In addition to these changed questions, there are some key areas that require a complete rethink. • •
What are our top risks? These will have changed so an urgent review of the risk register and mitigating actions will be required How does the crisis impact our operating model? COVID-19 has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations and an opportunity to transform them
Boards also need to consider how to satisfy their regulators that their key concerns have been effectively mitigated. • • •
Demonstrable ability to provide continuous service to customers Ongoing financial health Ability to continue to fulfil regulatory obligations, such as compliance testing
It is extremely unlikely that a pandemic of similar or more dangerous nature will not recur. Now is the time to heed these lessons and ensure that we have the ability, and resilience, to adapt much more quickly. Now is the time to build future resilience. Doing nothing, given this practice run, would be tantamount to a failure to discharge duties, with the consequent risks that entails. We recommend 3 immediate changes required in most businesses: 1.
Businesses must understand the potential impact of this risk and the way in which it connects with operations means that a complete review of your risk register and mitigation plans needs to be undertaken by the board as soon as possible. Now, more than ever, board members need to be able to think in an adaptable manner.
Contingency planning will need to sit at the very centre of the business to be discussed at board level and involve an overhaul of operating models. This cannot remain a typically formulaic, bureaucratic box-ticking exercise which is invisible at the strategic level.
Part of the shift to a more digital model has been forced upon most businesses. Now is the time to maintain the pace of change and implementation of a suitable risk management platform is a good example which would allow remote operation in the normal course of business.
Aspida has been supporting clients throughout this crisis and continues to advise and support businesses as they work to shore up their defences and build their resilience. We are happy to give impartial, confidential guidance and support to boards at this time as they consider the issue of business resilience and work to build a more robust base for the future.
Contact Simon Walker for an initial discussion of your company’s needs firstname.lastname@example.org | www.aspidagroup.com
CHANNEL ISLANDS BUSINESS LEADERS SHARE THEIR VISION FOR A POST-COVID WORLD
Welcome to Future View, a special
supplement of thought-leadership essays garnering the views of many of the Channel Islandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; business leaders on what the world will look like post-coronavirus. As we begin to get to grips with one of the largest black swan events of the modern era, attention is beginning to turn away from the impact of Covid-19 on our immediate day-to-day lives and towards an understanding of what the longer-term impact will be on business. With this in mind, we invited the leaders of some of the islandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; most high-profile brands and organisations to set out their views of what their sectors will look like going forward. The responses have been fascinating. They examine how the new landscape will be influenced by changing demands and expectations from clients and regulators; how many sectors will look to exploit a greater acceptance of technology; and what the financial impact on the markets will mean for those identifying, managing and protecting investments. I hope you enjoy this exploration of the future business outlook in the Channel Islands. Jon Watkins Editor-in-chief
Inside 40 Joe Moynihan CEO, Jersey
46 John Clacy Partner in Charge, Deloitte Channel Islands
52 Stuart Richford Managing
42 Allan Wood Global Head of Business Development, Jersey Finance
48 Malin Nilsson Managing Director,
54 Peter Mills Co-Chairman,
50 David Cadin Managing Partner, Jersey, Bedell Cristin
56 Ian Kelly CEO, Sure
Tim Ford Investment Director, Rathbone Investment Management International
Duff & Phelps Channel Islands
FUTURE VIEW: WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Standing ready to support the future of wealth management “The scale and complexity of the impact investment and stimulus being coordinated internationally needs to be targeted, large scale and secure – and Jersey is ready to play a key role…”
Joe Moynihan, Chief Executive Officer, Jersey Finance
he future of the wealth management industry is difficult to predict at this time, while businesses across all industries are reacting to a crisis never before experienced on such a massive level in living memory – coupled with an ever-changing (almost daily) economic, political and social landscape. If you had asked me in January about the future of wealth management for Jersey’s international finance centre, I would have pointed to our island’s 40
continued focus on growth markets such as Africa, the US, Far East and Middle East, harnessing the rapid evolution of digital and fintech developments and working closely with government, Digital Jersey and the JFSC to ensure a consolidated, ‘one stop shop’ approach for clients. Looking at today’s situation, this position still holds true, just in a different context. These strengths are even more crucial now to ensure our ongoing success as a world-leading international finance centre. DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY Connectivity remains essential at the current time as the majority of us work, communicate and transact online. Thanks to Jersey’s forwardthinking digital strategy, which has been developing at pace over recent years, our robust digital infrastructure has allowed our financial services industry to maintain its high-quality services to a global client base, adapting easily to working from home during the pandemic.
As a result of our strategy, we have all the enablers in place to support business innovation and growth, and strategies to continue to improve. For example, Jersey ranks third in the World Broadband Speed League – delivering high-speed 1 Gigabit fibre connectivity to every household and office on the island. In addition, we are home to more than 400 digital and creative businesses and a community of more than 3,000 digital and enabled technology professionals. We continue to develop relationships and client networks in key growth markets and are proud to offer a modern and sophisticated legal framework, as well as a range of products and services to meet the wealth planning needs of clients worldwide. You can read more about this in Allan Wood’s commentary, on page 42, which explores how we are working to support family offices around the world in their response to the global pandemic. RESILIENCE AND CERTAINTY I believe Jersey’s resilience, and the added certainty this can offer investors, is a positive differentiator for our jurisdiction. These factors are at the forefront of investors’ minds now, and will no doubt continue to be a key consideration for multinational private clients in the future. This was clearly demonstrated through quick reactions by the Government of Jersey, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (our regulator) and our industry to ensure that business could continue despite the challenges posed by the current environment. From a regulatory perspective, meanwhile, the Jersey Registry has been able to continue to incorporate new entities, while the decision of the Jersey authorities to provide flexibility around economic substance rules at an early stage has given firms the ability to ensure compliance by using technology to hold virtual board meetings.
coordinated internationally need In addition, new legislation brought to be targeted, large scale and in in April 2020 has enabled secure – and this is where Jersey wills to be signed Jersey is ready to and witnessed via play a key role. video link. We In Africa, for are also seeing instance, a more Jersey Jersey is in a strong coordinated businesses position to support international putting in international support across place secure the continent platforms impact investment will be vital for for enabling into Africa as the the continent’s electronic continent battles economic signatures – recovery. Jersey is helping clients Covid-19 in a strong position transact remotely. to support international Our quick reaction impact investment into Africa and resilience have promoted as the continent battles Covid-19. a positive response from clients in Jersey businesses are already the Gulf Cooperation Council states telling us that they have pipelines of (GCC) in particular. Our experience in Africa-bound work ready to go as the GCC is that families appreciate and when conditions allow. This is the joined-up forward-thinking and testament to the efforts Jersey has level of high-quality support Jersey is put into building strong relationships demonstrating, to help them navigate with Africa over the years. these tricky times, ensure compliance with regulations and keep an eye on EXPERTISE their long-term objectives. A key strength lies in our expert This strategic collaboration at workforce of almost 14,000 employees, a time of global crisis once again which includes the largest number demonstrates the strength of the tried, tested and trusted partnership between of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) professionally qualified GCC-based families and businesses practitioners in the world. They have and their Jersey-based partners. been working to safeguard assets and The speed at which Jersey enable families to pursue their global provided reassurance to the business objectives for the past 60 years. community at home and abroad is, Our highly skilled workforce and we believe, somewhat unique. With key stakeholders work together to the cost of the pandemic becoming develop products and services to clearer as the weeks pass, and experts enhance the futures of investors and predicting that economies may take positively impact both local and years to recover, Jersey’s ability to global economies. be nimble will be key in protecting its clients and its expert industry. A FOCUS ON THE FUTURE While much remains uncertain in the SECURE CAPITAL FLOWS Expertise, governance, robust platforms future, for me there are many good reasons for Jersey to remain positive. and solid advice will be increasingly sought, as moving capital from multiple We are committed to the communities sources securely, rapidly and efficiently and clients we work with; we are resilient, future-focused and adaptable. to where it is needed becomes more At almost 60 years old, our industry and more important. offers a clear vision for global investors The scale and complexity of the and economies alike. ● impact investment and stimulus being 41
FUTURE VIEW: WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Making a positive difference “Wealthy families have it in their power to make a difference in a targeted and values-driven way…”
Allan Wood, Global Head of Business Development, Jersey Finance
and Jersey Finance’s recent research on the evolution of family offices in Asia backs this up. In the context of the Gulf region, findings in PwC’s Future-proofing Middle East family businesses report showed that less than one-third of large family businesses in the region had effective policies and practices in place to govern the family business. Specifically, they lacked policies to address challenging family dynamics and common conflicts – a significant finding given that family businesses make up 90% of the private sector. Encouragingly, there has been a trend for the next generation to work more closely with external advisers to professionalise family wealth structures. In Asia, for example, historically families have relied on basic succession tools such as simple wills or holding companies to manage wealth transition. Now, it is increasingly common for the founder generation in Asian families to bring in the next generation and integrate them into the business, working with external professional advisers.
t times of crisis, you want a calm and professional influence to help guide you forwards. This is where Jersey, as an international finance centre (IFC), has always been at the fore – both in the current situation and for ever before. For almost 60 years, Jersey’s modern and sophisticated legal framework, ongoing stability and robust regulatory adherence have enabled it to lead the way in delivering private client services, proving vital in safeguarding assets and enabling families to pursue their global objectives. For instance, its innovative foundations law has led to the growth in the number of Jersey foundations, with 391 formed since 2009. Added to this, Jersey has one of the largest branches of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) globally. WEALTH-X – DRIVING THE CHANGE With the Great Wealth Transfer set to pass on an estimated $15trn to the next generation by 2030 (Wealth-X), wealthy families are already focusing on how their investment decisions could make a positive impact on the world. To secure the longevity of their wealth, families are looking at ways to diversify, both geographically and in terms of strategy. Research suggests, for instance, that the next generation is seeking more innovative and sustainable investment strategies. UBS’s Global Family Office Report 2019 predicts portfolio shares in sustainable investing will rise from 19% to 32% within the next five years. Of course, there is now a very immediate issue to address in the form of the pandemic, and the various situations that will arise from it. Wealthy families have it in their power to make a difference in a targeted and values-driven way.
A DIGITAL FUTURE Families that are becoming increasingly international in nature are exploring digital opportunities to help professionalise their infrastructure, bolster their governance capabilities, and communicate better with each other across borders and time zones. It’s why Jersey, as a forward-thinking IFC, has a leading digital strategy that ensures the delivery of high-speed fibre connectivity to every household and office on the island – a strategy that has enabled more than 400 digital and creative businesses and a community of more than 3,000 digital and technology professionals to flourish in Jersey. Because of this long-term investment, the financial services industry has been able to maintain its high-quality services to a global client base, with the island’s company registry continuing to facilitate new incorporations and transfers – largely unaffected by the crisis – and the majority of financial services businesses working from home in a seamless manner.
A ROBUST FOUNDATION OF GOVERNANCE Family offices are becoming increasingly complex: global, multi-faceted, multi-generational, digitally driven and facing ever greater rafts of regulation and reporting requirements. However, knowing ‘how’ wealth is managed can help to avoid rifts between siblings and parents, as well as build on the family’s values in a way that suits everyone involved – 42
JERSEY FINANCE REGIONAL DIFFERENCES Jersey Finance prides itself on understanding regional discrepancies between wealthy individuals and families, so that its member firms can provide a highly tailored approach to their work. A piece of fieldwork that Jersey Finance undertook with family offices last year, Jersey: The Clear Choice for Family Offices, found that, while there are similarities in the behaviours and needs of ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) families, there is also huge diversity across the family office space and significant differences that are unique to different markets. Jersey Finance’s experts, with their global experience spanning not only the UK and Europe, but the Gulf region, Asia, Africa and the US too, are focused on understanding the specific needs of families in those markets, to ensure a smooth generational wealth transfer, and to support their distinct ambitions. For example, we see that families with a US connection look predominantly for bespoke, tailored solutions. Meanwhile in Asia, the traditional ‘command and control’
as the internet of things, AI and blockchain. Understanding and identifying these regional differences and the impact they have on wealth management is what really gives Jersey firms the edge and makes them attractive to clients the world over. A VALUES-DRIVEN APPROACH One universal similarity is that wealthy families are more focused on aligning their investments with their values than ever before. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, this is likely to be heightened even further when the dust begins to settle, and it is important that IFCs are alive to this. In the US, for instance – home to more UHNWIs than Asia and Europe combined, according to Knight Frank – impact investing is growing at a rapid rate. This pursuit for ‘doing good’ matches up with the findings of Knight Frank’s 2019 Wealth Report, with almost 70% of respondents saying their clients’ philanthropic activities were increasing. It is at times like this that the groundwork which has already been set by IFCs such as Jersey is proving to be invaluable. Knowing and understanding the subtle
Jersey is ready and armed with knowledge and understanding to help an international client base move forwards and make a positive difference discrepancies between regions and generations is key to providing a truly long-term, sensitive and professional service for clients around the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed sharpened the focus on the fundamentals required by family offices from their IFC partners – stability, flexibility, service quality and international connectivity – as they look to enhance their governance credentials and meet their principles-driven investment aspirations in the years ahead. Jersey is flying the flag in this area and is ready and armed with knowledge and understanding to help an international client base move forwards and make a positive difference. ●
style of business is being challenged by the next generation, who are looking for innovative ways to change leadership models. In Africa, wealth creation is on the rise and the number of millionaires is set to increase – by 16% in South Africa, 22% in Kenya and 11% in Nigeria, according to Knight Frank – and families are spreading that wealth due to the trend for children to be educated and to settle in the West. Meanwhile, the Gulf region has become home to a pool of talented women who are actively contributing to shaping their countries’ financial future. In addition, there is a strong push by governments to become front-runners in adopting new technologies such 43
FUTURE VIEW: ESG INVESTING
The responsible recession “It’s too soon to claim a ‘victory for ESG’, but the initial returns suggest a longer-term approach to risk has insulated ESG funds from the worst…”
Tim Ford, Investment Director, Rathbone Investment Management International
huge amount has changed in the first six months of this year, so much so that the world will look a little different and be permanently changed to some degree once we finally overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 is having a very significant impact on communities and economies across the globe. As the world falls into recession, we draw on our history and strong heritage of seeking to think, act and invest responsibly in order to ponder whether the trend towards ESG investing has simply been a luxury afforded by the longest bull market in living memory. In doing so we are able to use our extensive experience in ESG investing, not just through our specialist ethical team at Rathbone Greenbank but also through the lens of our Responsible Investment framework, to fully explore how ESG has fared during a global crisis that was not, on this occasion, manifested in the financial markets.
Back then, as now, ethics are seemingly in conflict with seeking value. Can we afford to push responsible capitalism in the current environment? We think we can and should. It’s clear to us that a more responsible form of capitalism could have prevented the worst impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The warning signs about the vulnerability of our globalised world were there for everyone to see. Bill Gates, one of history’s greatest capitalists, was sounding the alarm: “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes… We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”1 He went further, noting that we all need to be better prepared and that technology would be the building block of a response system. But there simply isn’t the will to spend a little to save millions of people.
ETHICS AND VALUE Back during the global financial crisis of 2008, knives were out for nascent ESG funds. That familiar, well-worn argument for investing in traditional, defensive stocks which was wheeled out then still echoes today: ‘Invest in stocks steadily in demand’. That means alcohol, tobacco and arms.
MIXED MOTIVES Our healthcare system is beset by incentivisation issues and has seen more than its fair share of scandals. The private sector has little motive to invest in researching goods that might not be immediately lucrative. Its focus instead has been on lifestyle drugs. We need coordinated investment in the continued 44
RATHBONE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT INTERNATIONAL development of antibiotics. Government will has been lacking here, but the private sector could have rallied and built more resilience into the system. If companies took the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as seriously as their next quarterly earnings report, the world would be a more resilient and prosperous place by 2030. ESG OUTPERFORMANCE The immediate impacts of this particular crisis have been kinder to ESG investments. According to Morningstar data quoted in the Financial Times, while the MSCI World index fell by 14.5% in March, well over half of global ESG large-cap funds outperformed their benchmark.2 Much of this outperformance can be explained by the sectoral exclusions applied by most ESG funds, especially those excluding oil and gas, which have been hit by Covid-19 and a price war. But for many of these funds, the avoidance of oil and gas was not accidental; it was built on a solid analysis of what climate change could mean for demand. Furthermore, a focus on what a more connected, clean, tech-driven future might look like has increased ESG funds’ exposure to the kind of industries doing well in the ‘new normal’ of 2020. Video conferencing, remote working, online teams and networking were all touted as industries of the future, and most ESG funds were more heavily weighted to these areas. So far, these sectors haven’t just survived, they’ve thrived. INSULATED BY ETHICS It’s too soon to claim a ‘victory for ESG’, but the initial returns suggest a longer-term approach to risk has insulated ESG funds from the worst. In 2020, being vocally responsible has been very positive for business, and those acting fast to protect their workers and customers have received favourable press. The insurance company Admiral is a case in point. In April, it gave its car insurance customers a partial refund as recognition of the 70% fall in road traffic because of the lockdown. With fewer cars on the road, there have been fewer accidents and fewer claims. Admiral could have kept the £110m windfall, but instead it’s returning it to its customers. This type of conduct sent a positive message and will build resilience into its business. Being known as a good citizen – or at least committing to trying to be a better one – has also proven beneficial when it comes to seeking support. February saw the first ever sustainability-linked loan granted to JetBlue, an American no-frills airline.
A more responsible capitalism could have prevented the worst impacts of Covid-19
The business has arranged a new $550m credit facility with French ESG-leader BNP Paribas, featuring an innovative incentive structure. It means that the cost of repayments will vary according to the company’s ESG ratings and the reduction of its carbon footprint. So why have the ESG-conscious companies seemingly done well? It’s helpful to make the distinction between those trends caused purely by the pandemic, and those accelerated by it. Shortlived supply chain failures of basic goods, for example, or the sudden cut in transport activity are likely to bounce back. But in other areas, Covid-19 has sped up trends which were visible, but their evolution and maturity have been hastened. As we move through this crisis and emerge on the other side into a different world, we believe that now more than ever it is in our clients’ best interests for the companies in which we invest to adopt best practice in managing environmental, social and governance risks. This provides a framework for each company to be managed according to the long-term interests of all its stakeholders. Mindful of our responsibilities to our clients, we act as good, long-term stewards of the investments which we manage on their behalf, as expressed in our Responsible Investment Policy.3 ●
1 www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready/transcript?language=en 2 www.ft.com/content/46bb05a9-23b2-4958-888a-c3e614d75199 3 A copy of our Responsible Investing Policy is available on our website at www.rathbones.com/investment-approach/responsible-investment-policy
FUTURE VIEW: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Creating trust to drive recovery “Recovery from a crisis provides an opportunity to redesign operating models to suit clients’ needs and engage employees while leveraging technology to increase efficiency, manage risk and deliver transparency to regulators…”
outlook outwards, to consider how financial services and finance centres can help to facilitate investment into solutions that the world needs now. It is important to seize the opportunity to assist and quickly develop products and services to aid the current situation. This is the time when the islands can be agile and show their true value. The fund sector will help to pool capital resources and then fund recovery and development projects. Private equity, real estate, infrastructure and other alternative asset funds will be key players in the recovery, as well as offering investors both a financial return and a purpose for their monies. The Channel Islands’ wealth management industry is helping its clients to navigate uncertainty in the markets, employing assets for recovery and defensive strategies, and the insurance industry is moving to develop products for external and self-insurance to match the new risks. Behind those specialist financial services, audit, advisory and tax professionals all have a part to play in the journey to thriving economically and socially, in ensuring trust is created via a stable framework through which business can thrive. NAVIGATE THE UNKNOWNS AND BUILD CONFIDENCE The challenges that audit professionals are tackling are complex and are not typically visible to those outside of the corporate world. They range from the pandemic’s impact on asset valuations, provisions and uncertainty in future cashflow modelling, to the tightening of credit conditions and a host of other issues. Being able to identify and navigate the uncertainties and try to create pockets of certainty and security in a changing world is critical for economic recovery. Equally important is the role of audit in challenging and benchmarking management’s assumptions regarding the nature, extent and duration of the situation and their forecasts of the pandemic’s impact on capital and liquidity issues such as bank covenant breaches, going concern, pension scheme accounting, goodwill and intangibles, expected credit losses and so on.
John Clacy, Partner in Charge, Deloitte Channel Islands
essons have been learnt within the corporate world, including breaking down barriers to collaboration using technology, encouraging innovation, flattening business structures and simplifying decision-making. Trust in colleagues and the community was at the heart of so many of these responses, and creating trust must be the foundation of the islands’ recovery. This article focuses on how those within the islands’ financial services business community can help lead this. LOOK OUTWARDS AND SHOW VALUE CONFIDENTLY Looking ahead, the Channel Islands will have a crucial role to play in the recovery of the UK, European and global economies and this role will span all the islands’ major finance industries. Industry confidence in the Channel Islands will be key to ensuring the islands can play their full role in the recovery. The islands have emerged from lockdown at a faster pace than most financial centres, they have proven infrastructure and connectivity, and their prudent and appropriate regulatory regimes are tailor-made for these times. Those corporates on the islands will need to shift their
CREATE VALUE THROUGH TRUST In the assurance world, assessing, reporting on and improving the quality of management information helps key stakeholders make informed decisions on taking a business forward, possibly into new markets or new directions. Better information, transparently shared, creates trust. This can be achieved through controls reports and other bespoke assurance projects. The quality of external corporate reporting is also critical 46
DELOITTE in equipping broader stakeholders (individual investors, employees, pension holders) with meaningful information to make informed decisions. One of the outcomes of the Brydon Report is to consider the expansion of the traditional audit to cover areas outside the historic IFRS financial information, linked to the corporate business model and risks. ADVISE ON THE NEXT NORMAL While the Channel Islands’ financial services industry has responded well to the immediate challenge, as we move into recovery, financial stresses will increase. Rapid engagement with stakeholders will maximise the benefits of these activities for recovery, releasing capital into more productive activity and minimising the downsides. The agility of the islands in changing ways of working and deployment of technology has accelerated discussions on how the business community wants to work in the future, and the value that can be delivered to customers. Recovery from a crisis provides an opportunity to redesign operating models to suit clients’ needs and engage employees whilst leveraging technology to increase efficiency, manage risk and deliver transparency to regulators. We were already living in a time of significant change, with digitisation beginning to transform all industries, and can already see how recovery will accelerate that trend. Some businesses will be left behind whilst others will grasp the opportunities and thrive. However, there are new risks as well as opportunities; successfully managing the change requires a broad spectrum of traditional and new capabilities combined with a structured approach. There are three main digital business themes emerging in the journey towards post-Covid-19 recovery: 1. H uman-centred design – reimagining customer experience by focusing on the needs of the human user 2. M erging the physical and digital world to create new services and more value 3. E stablishing trust as a core driver and differentiator through digital security and delivery of customer experience.
THE TAX RESPONSE The tax function is no longer simply a question of compliance. Cognitive technologies and new digital models are driving tax leaders to increase their investment in digital and tax technology, aiming to add both value and transparency. In the current context, the tax department of a company is central to making adjustments to the business model. Modelling the tax impact of alternative growth patterns and considering the impact on financial statements, cash mobilisation, legal requirements and transfer pricing is complex, but must be tackled quickly and accurately. There is also a growing move towards resourcing specialist support outside the core tax function using thirdparty providers and professional services. In the context of recovery, as the forces of globalisation, digitisation and social transformation take hold, the way companies operate has changed dramatically and will continue to do so. Tax professionals need to support change and growth with the evolving international tax laws and regulations. This is particularly complex with the acceleration of the digitisation of services and products offered by companies on an international scale. Equally, the need for tax revenues to fuel economic recovery will accelerate further change. The pressure on the tax function to maintain a clear and transparent tax strategy has never been greater.
Advisory teams are not only helping business to redefine ways of working, develop new business models and seek refinancing or new capital structures, they are also focused on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda. ESG-principled investments have seen capital inflows since Covid-19 and are considered the direction of travel for government stimulus packages. Revisiting the theme of trust as a driver of recovery, governance, oversight and transparency around ESG will be fundamental to its good growth. Guernsey has already set out its stall as a centre for green investment and the Channel Islands have many of the key requirements to succeed here.
CONCLUSION The way that most professional services businesses were able to adapt to working from home almost overnight was incredible – it’s a good demonstration of how flexible companies and the workforce can be when it really matters. Business leaders cannot control the pandemic, they can only control their response to its impact. Embedding trust through robust professional services and making trust a catalyst for change will help organisations serve their customers, shareholders and employees to rebuild after the crisis. ● 47
FUTURE VIEW: REGULATION
A new approach for a ‘new’ world? “Policy and decision makers in governments and firms will need to strike the right balance between cost reduction and maintaining control and oversight…”
here is much talk of the ‘new normal’ in terms of regulation and ways of working as a result of Covid-19. As some industries and sectors are being fundamentally restructured, we are only starting to scratch the surface of some key regulatory changes. The longer the consequences of the pandemic continue to have an effect, the greater the impact of shifting working patterns will be. While I do not have access to a crystal ball, there have been immediate effects, both internationally and in the Channel Islands, for financial services regulation. In many cases, some trends that were already gaining momentum pre-Covid-19 are accelerating. FINTECH AND REGTECH – THE WINNERS? Although fintech has become part of our jargon in recent years, some would say that the pace of change has not been fast enough. Adopting fintech is rapidly becoming a necessity for financial services firms’ survival. The current conditions have brought its prevalence to the forefront – electronic identification and verification have already received much attention from the JFSC and GFSC, for example. The pace of advancement will likely accelerate, with fintech and regtech companies well placed to disrupt what are seen as the more ‘high touch’, personalised aspects of the financial services industry.
Malin Nilsson, Managing Director, Duff & Phelps Channel Islands
SOME COSTS GO UP, SOME DOWN Firms will likely see an increase in IT capital expenditure to facilitate remote working. At the same time, they are likely to do away with expensive, unused business continuity offices because the most effective form of business resilience is to ensure that employees can work from home. While it is clear that a significant proportion of the financial services industry can work from home, this may result in a shift in preferences for the longer term. If people can work remotely, staff may choose to live further away from key financial centres such as London, New York or Hong Kong. Decreases in living costs may lead to a reduced pressure on salaries and a reduced need for commercial buildings. This can have many impacts. Will commercial buildings in London be converted into residential homes? If so, how will this impact real estate funds, many of which are administered in Jersey? It may be too soon to tell, but we are witnessing the start of a paradigm shift in how people choose to work and how companies plan for it. There are risks to working from home as well. For one, it represents an increased risk of cyber attacks as employees access firm systems and client data from their home networks, which are not subject to the same level of surveillance and protection as office networks. 48
DUFF & PHELPS Firms need to ensure that employees are, more than ever, aware of red flags and reporting mechanisms in case of suspicion of cyber-attack attempts. Compliance programmes and monitoring will need to evolve to enable remote oversight of employee data access and use. Equally, employee fraud will likely increase, as collusion, managing conflicts of interest and monitoring staff behaviours become more difficult. For instance, one household could consist of traders from multiple firms or parties who benefit from sharing information. Will working from home come at a cost to individual privacy rights? In the age of focus on data privacy, this is difficult to predict. To enable a truly flexible work-from-home environment, firms will need to invest in compliance systems. For some, however, there is no substitute for physical colocation, and effective monitoring is dependent on mutual trust and setting the cultural tone from the top through observable behaviours rather than a weekly video conference. THE EYES HAVE IT The way regulators supervise and interact with firms has also been disrupted since face-to-face meetings – so often the most important tool of the regulator in being able to look into the whites of someone’s eyes – have been abandoned and replaced with virtual meetings and remote review of documentation. If the judicial system in Jersey, France, the US and other countries can work via video conference, why not supervision and enforcement? While it is possible, it is not desirable given the loss of human interaction that makes crucial interviews and fact-finding exercises so effective. Regulators are extremely sensitive to lapses regarding anti-money laundering (AML). During the pandemic, though not always because of it, culprits still need dirty money to move around the financial system. Criminals can find loopholes in firms whose surveillance and monitoring capacity and ability is reduced. Money laundering reporting officers (MLROs) must consider what new typologies of financial crime may arise as a result of the crisis and how to monitor for them. The Financial Action Task Force recently issued a statement urging people to remain vigilant in the face of Covid-19-related financial crime, including
advertising and trafficking in counterfeit medicines, fraudulent investment opportunities and phishing schemes that prey on virus-related fears. Government financial support for businesses impacted by Covid-19 will likely lead to an increase in fraud as a result of false claims and misuse, but how this is monitored remains to be seen. AML is not just the proceeds from arms and drug money, it encompasses ordinary situations such as firms being placed under financial stress in the midst of a crisis. OFFSHORE AND SUBSTANCE COMPLEXITIES Another area of regulation where Covid-19 has already had an impact is related to substance requirements. Both Jersey and Guernsey have confirmed that where operating practices (for instance, the location of board meetings) have to be adjusted, these do not affect economic substance or tax residency requirements, provided the adjustments mitigate the threats from the outbreak and any changes are temporary. Similar temporary provisions have been granted in other jurisdictions including Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands. However, under the new normal, policymakers may have to make more permanent changes to substance requirements and consider other criteria that do not involve the physical presence of individuals in a certain jurisdiction. This exposes some fundamental questions – if an individual is allocated to supervise entities in one jurisdiction and is physically located elsewhere, able to perform all duties via connectivity to systems, information and people, what is the justification for that individual to be located in the same jurisdiction as the entity? GAME-CHANGERS We are at an inflexion point now. The effects of Covid-19 will lead to changes, but the magnitude of them remains to be seen. Policy and decision makers in governments and firms will need to strike the right balance between cost reduction and maintaining control and oversight. Ultimately, the question arises as to whether the focus of regulations – which have been very much based around maintaining local and physical expertise, substance and governance – change in our ability to work remotely. Has our world changed forever or will we play it safe? This is yet to be seen. ●
FUTURE VIEW: LEGAL SERVICES
A collective game-changer “There will be some who will inevitably wish to return to the way things were, but for the majority in legal practice, it will be a case of change and yet more change…”
David Cadin, Managing Partner, Jersey, Bedell Cristin
so perfectly satisfactorily; documents are being executed or witnessed digitally (and accepted); and for disputes, mediations or formal court proceedings these are all being conducted remotely. It is truly amazing. The absence of choice has forced us all to adapt, and technology has facilitated that change to an extent we would have found hard to contemplate this time last year. So what does the future hold for lawyers and the practice of law - more change or a return to the rhythm and ritual of the past once we can return to our offices? Some will inevitably wish to return to the way things were, but for most in legal practice, it will be a case of change and yet more change. That is how I see it developing and I set out five examples:
his is not an article about Covid-19 but about people and attitudes. Simply put, over the past five months, the impossible has become the inevitable; from my perspective as both a lawyer and the Managing Partner of Bedell Cristin’s Jersey office, processes and procedures that were unimaginable or unachievable previously have become commonplace. Over the past five months, nearly half of the world’s population has been subject to some form of lockdown; hospitals have been built in weeks rather than being planned for years; and despite more than 300,000 people dying of Covid-19 without a vaccine or cure being found, countries around the world are optimistically taking the first steps towards lifting lockdown. Yet from my business’s perspective, meetings are and have been taking place daily, across time zones and jurisdictions, with minimal hassle between teams and clients; all are operating remotely from desks, sofas and kitchen tables, on a wide variety of equipment – and doing
DIGITAL COURTS Social distancing has meant that across the globe, Courts have had to work virtually, with video hearings being the only practical way of functioning. But with video hearings has come the need to file and use electronic bundles, 50
BEDELL CRISTIN resolution or even appointing a ‘private judge’ to make a binding expert determination). Now, more than ever, clients will expect options and innovative solutions, products or routes (and that probably includes pricing too); if jurisdictions, Courts or lawyers cannot meet these requirements, then clients will vote with their feet. Conversely, for a jurisdiction that leads the way, hand in hand with its Courts in terms of process and procedure, provided it is coupled with judicial independence and integrity, there is a tantalizing prospect of becoming a global jurisdiction of choice for a whole host of matters.
hyperlinked documents, and to operate without reliance on the paper, which lawyers love. While at present we may be using email to file the materials, it is a relatively small step from where we are now to creating a portal for proper digital processes. Naturally, there have been some challenges with the technology and some issues translating established real-world processes to a virtual environment (such as wearing Court robes for video hearings), but, in the main, those issues have been overcome. Courts and practitioners are now stress-testing the virtual model to see where it is, and is not, appropriate to use. But any philosophical objection to online Courts has probably evaporated. The next stage of development will be to streamline the processes and their application to a point at which, for certain matters, the application of judicial artificial intelligence becomes a credible, and societally acceptable, possibility.
SOFT BORDERS One thing that has become clear over the past few months is that lawyers can work anywhere. Without physically travelling, the jurisdiction in which lawyers work and practise can be different to the one in which they live. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge, in that no longer are firms competing against their peers, they are competing globally for their local market – and doing so against groups of lawyers who have now become adept at working across borders and time zones with virtual teams built from scratch. It is an opportunity, in that offshore law firms have proven themselves to be far more fleet of foot and agile than their onshore colleagues in rising to these challenges. In my view, best in breed will survive and flourish, not just in their home jurisdiction but more widely too. Conversely, there will be no place for local and mediocre.
FLEXIBILITY Everyone who has been working at home over the past few months will have had to find workarounds; the Court and lawyers are no different. But what has been interesting to observe are the steps taken to ensure the integrity of any process and to maintain appropriate safeguards – such as asking a person swearing an affidavit over a video link to confirm that they are alone and not being forced to do anything, or allowing parties their own virtual rooms to discuss matters when conducting negotiations or mediations over video conference facilities. Courts that have historically relied on adversarial advocacy have found new ways of proceeding on the basis of documents only (particularly since documents have had to be filed far earlier than before, which has given the Court the option to consider them properly, in advance of any scheduled hearing); and what’s more, practitioners and clients have accepted these changes. Going forward, while some might want a return to familiar processes, I do not expect Courts and practitioners simply to pick up where they left off. I think processes and procedures will be looked at afresh and a variety of new ones will be created to allow access to justice at a price that clients are willing to pay and Courts are able to deliver. If an issue can be determined satisfactorily on the basis of the (electronic) papers, why should there be an oral hearing? The possibility of multiple different routes through the justice system (a mix and match scheme according to needs) is a tantalizing possibility.
JUNIOR LAWYERS If the senior lawyers have had an epiphany over the past few months in realising that they can still function effectively without their usual offices, armies of junior lawyers and the assistance of administrative support, then those junior lawyers will have had a shock. Not only have they been isolated by being removed from the office and their friends and colleagues, but the first casualty in an economic crisis is delegation and, anecdotally, the recent crisis was no different. For those who are thinking of a career as a lawyer, the future role of the junior lawyer will be very different to that of today. But, there again, perhaps that’s not a bad thing. The next generation of lawyers should be different to my generation; they will need different skills and experience (in addition to a good legal grounding). So, perhaps now might be the time for a discussion about whether the law should become a secondary career rather than a primary one, and what skills (particularly those that my generation lacks) the aspiring lawyers of the future will need. On their own, none of these developments is gamechanging, but collectively I think that they herald the start of an exciting period in which the practice of law will undergo a radical reimagining. The challenge for all of us is to be part of that change, rather than a consequence of it. ●
ADAPT OR DIE What if Courts choose not to adapt and revert to type? Like it or not, lawyers, judges and Courts all serve the interests of clients (whether that is the State in criminal matters, spouses in matrimonial proceedings, individuals or corporates). If lawyers or the justice system do not respond to client demands, clients will find a workaround (and that has previously included alternative dispute 51
FUTURE VIEW: BUSINESS STRATEGY
What are your clients costing you?
Stuart Richford, Managing Partner, Sionic
“Understanding the activities a client demands, the impact they have on the business and the value they deliver in return are the first steps to understanding both the client’s value to you and the cost of the business decisions you make…”
f you were asked to name the largest expenses in your business, you would probably come up with staff, compliance, premises and centralised IT, to name just a few. Undoubtedly, these are costs, and do receive the attention needed at board level. But the answer has some fundamental flaws and misses a wider truth. The answer behind each and every one of the sources of expenditure in the finance industry is, simply, the client. Ultimately, the reason why the majority of us are employed is to serve clients well and profitably. It is with this in mind that incredible sums are spent on innovative digital marketing campaigns, staff recruitment and retention programmes, technology implementations and upholding ever more rigorous compliance standards. There is a typical trend towards functionalising the business environment by hiring specialists to focus on their area of expertise. This excellence in departmentalisation is sensible and can unlock considerable economies of scale. However, in doing so, many businesses have segregated the concept of revenue generation from cost generation, despite the intrinsic link to a single source – the client.
A company with few cost controls is unlikely to outperform a company with opposing targets, such as simultaneous growth and cost reduction, and runs the risk of restricting long-term growth through a distinct lack of innovation and slowly falling service standards as staff are whittled away over time. Compounding matters further, front and back office reporting lines often report to different group functions. As a result, some executives who are given the ‘autonomy’ to manage the business, in fact have limited control, given the remote, executive decision-making structure. When reviewing the operating model of a business that has a disconnect between its clients and its costs, the findings tend to include the following: • The company is out of touch with its client base and preoccupied with its own internal agenda • The company has lost sight of the interconnectedness between client/service/product lines • Focus is on revenue and not profit, further compounded by poor onboarding control, poor management information and overly optimistic targets • Extensive discounting and inconsistent pricing are present • There are persistent delays in service optimisation • Managers have little or no knowledge of the actual cost of relationship service • Managers have a limited decision-making remit to effect the changes needed.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN? Where there is a functional split between business units, most businesses have chosen to align reward structures in accordance with the primary focus of the unit. If new business development is primarily a revenue-driven target, then without appropriate onboarding controls, a focus on short-term sales targets quickly becomes the norm – with limited regard to the long-term costs associated with providing the services the client now expects. By contrast, managers within operational functions are often tasked solely with cost management.
MONITORING CURRENT VALUE Monitoring the financial amounts received by a company is typically a well established process for obvious reasons. However, revenue is not profit and therefore any activity undertaken without the consideration of cost is unlikely to 52
SIONIC Management priorities
FUTURE VALUE When measuring the potential value of a client, current profitability is only the first consideration. Different client groups have different potentials for future income. Some clients look profitable at first glance but are actually made unprofitable through heavy discounting, a lack of automation in service, or a simple lack of awareness in the costs associated with supporting the client. With clients like this, simple changes can be made to make the client profitable, such as process improvements, behavioural changes or further negotiation with the client through relationship management. To gain a deeper understanding of value creation, we can use a simplified model (see diagram), which will provide an insight into the differing challenges being experienced in the business and the areas requiring management attention.
Key Clients Long-term potential
be geared towards delivering the best possible value for the business. When choosing to target a certain client segment or perform a given service, the company should understand the resources that are expected to be consumed and at what rate. Moreover, analysis of the cost/income structure will help management determine whether to focus attention towards cost reduction, pricing increases or service improvements. The logical value to the business is measured in terms of the margin the client is willing to accept for a product or service rather than price. By understanding the sources of revenue and the activities that generate costs, we can separate the clients and activities that contribute to the central overheads from those that do not.
Key clients: Typically small percentage of clients generating significant returns – the future of any business, they should be the focus of service improvements, resources and staff Core clients: Clients that need a maintenance programme and tend to be unintended beneficiaries of service improvement ?: Often new clients that need nurturing or mature ‘large’ clients that are over-serviced and/or have extensive volume-based price discounts – a key focus area for short-term improvements
LONG-TERM IMPACT OF DECISIONS Most financial services providers gauge success in terms of the current fiscal period, despite the espoused long-term value creation and growth desired by investors plus other stakeholders in a sustainable business. At some stage, almost every senior manager has been called to a meeting expressly to discuss how they will hit the quarter-end targets by delaying a valuable service improvement, halting marketing expenditure or banning business travel. While short-term targets may be met, the damage to the long-term future of the company caused by the adverse impact on interactions between staff and clients or delays to service improvements is typically a greater cost – albeit less visible. The impact of decisions on client trust is a complex issue in its own right and value creation is a challenging balancing act between current and future profits. Nonetheless, assessing and understanding the activities that a client demands, the impact they have on the business and the value they deliver in return are the first steps in understanding both the client’s value to you and the cost of the business decisions you make. MAINTAING THE COMPETITIVE EDGE Ultimately, any effective strategy requires clear decisions around the organisation’s objectives. A decision to expand 53
Ballast: Non-critical, small, slightly profitable clients that make up a significant proportion of the client base – long-term strategic viability requires periodic review Exit: Clients that will not negotiate and therefore would be better serviced by an alternative provider
capabilities to meet business needs is a significant one. Therefore, executive decision-makers should sensibly review and understand whether that action will improve the lifetime value of the business. In contrast, the most important decision may be to decide what services you won’t provide, and even clients that you won’t serve. As business leaders, we must not fall into the trap of affording all clients equal attention. Instead, we must do all we can to focus our attention on the company’s most precious asset: its key clients. Making all of their customers generally happy most of the time is a noble quest for politicians, doctors and teachers. However, for commercial business, such a pursuit is quite unsound. This isn’t democracy; this is capitalism. ●
FUTURE VIEW: REGTECH
Regulatory technology “Identifying risks and mitigating them to ensure business survival and meeting regulatory obligations is fundamentally important – and now more so than ever…”
hile the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority states that “regtech applies to new technologies developed to help overcome regulatory challenges in financial services”, at Aspida we see utilising regtech as wider, to provide substantially more benefits to businesses. Regtech has to be an enabler for businesses and proactively deal with the demands of risk management, complexity, cost and compliance in an environment that isn’t getting any easier. The period during Covid-19 is a good example of why technology will be essential in this area, and without it businesses strategies may be at risk. There has been plenty of discussion on the future of regtech and the benefits to firms. Many businesses are struggling to determine how to use technology to their best advantage to manage their regulatory obligations and to improve efficiency in compliance. In itself, the marriage of regulation and technology is not new, but it is becoming more and more crucial as levels of regulation rise and focus on data and reporting increases. Financial institutions have shelled out more than $300bn in fines since the financial crisis, according to Bloomberg. The cost of compliance spending is steadily increasing, with up to 15% of firms’ staff working on governance, risk management and compliance, according to the Financial Times. Regtech has the potential to significantly reduce this figure by filling compliance gaps, reducing costs and detecting enterprise risks before the regulators. Regtech puts a particular emphasis on regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliance, but we at Aspida believe that, importantly, to be practical it needs to assist in managing risks, identifying control issues and providing valuable business insight. This in turn can produce positive outcomes for those businesses’ clients. Think about how businesses can demonstrate better protection for customers, while providing improved and faster services. Identifying risks and mitigating them to ensure business survival and meeting regulatory obligations is fundamental, now more so than ever with the difficulties in operating in the unusual environment during Covid-19. You, your clients and the regulator are largely interested 54
Peter Mills, Co-Chairman, Aspida Group
in the same aspects, namely business resilience, meeting financial resource requirements, minimising operational risks, avoiding fraud and other financial crimes. These are aspects that are very difficult to manage through the use of spreadsheets or other similar tools. INTEGRATED SYSTEM This is where technology can play an important part and finally bridge the gap between risk management and compliance management. Governance, risk and compliance (GRC) platforms – commonly known as integrated risk management/enterprise-wide risks management systems – should be the answer, but often have some significant shortcomings. They are not normally specific enough regarding the regulatory environment within which businesses operate, can become very difficult to manage and therefore costly. They often fail to provide useful feedback to assist in the identification of issues that could lead to identifying whether risks are not as expected by the business. Historically, GRC systems have been useful to assist in the creation of risk registers and determining whether the associated controls are effective, along with giving key risk indicators to give an ‘early warning’ of possible changing risks. Assuming someone has populated the system with the relevant laws, rules and regulations, then this will also be helpful in determining areas of compliance. Even if the GRC system is effective in these areas, more often than not the risk management element of the system is not linked with the compliance management element, limiting the system capability and providing the business with only limited valuable information. As a result, most compliance monitoring is responsive to issues rather than looking forward to proactively identify potential risks and issues. Development in these systems has been needed to make them useful for businesses and to overcome many of their problems. In this regard, Aspida is leading on the development to provide a practical solution for all businesses. One key aspect is linking typical processes and controls with the compliance frameworks to provide
ASPIDA GROUP immediate benefits to the organisation. Any risk assessment can directly influence the compliance monitoring programme. Any controls identified as deficient, where there is a high inherent risk which would typically leave a high residual risk, should be areas of immediate focus. However, controls that are working effectively, where there is a lower inherent risk and therefore lower residual risk, should be tested less frequently, or perhaps not at all. Linking the controls with the compliance framework immediately means the system has helped the business identify the important areas to test under the compliance monitoring programme. Any compliance testing, or other data such as incidents or complaints, should be used to identify control deficiencies and provide immediate feedback to the business on the appropriateness of the assessments of the risks. GRC systems should be able to determine whether the residual risk assessment is appropriate and provide input to the business to determine whether controls and/or risks need to be adjusted accordingly. In this scenario, the testing is genuinely providing corroboration of the risks and controls for the business and allowing attention to be focused on key areas. GRC systems need to trigger the re-testing of areas that failed first time, trigger testing from other data (such as incidents or complaints) and provide automatic notifications to ensure that regulatory reporting is undertaken as required. The risks and the testing of a compliance monitoring programme need to flex to take into account the changing environment. This linking of risk management and compliance management naturally enables this to happen. It is impossible to identify all risks and many people did not foresee the potential issues around Covid-19. Aon’s 2019 Global Risk Management Survey identified pandemics as 60th in the list of risks. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report did not have infectious diseases in the top 10 most likely risks. No doubt this risk will be included in most businesses’ risk registers going forward, but it is often the ability to react swiftly to risks, identify the controls and compliance aspects that is important. GRC systems need to provide that immediate benefit. BUSINESS CONTINUITY Sticking with Covid-19, businesses have had to think about many relevant risks and have tested the resilience of their businesses. Initially it commenced with business continuity and how we continue to operate during this time. A lot of businesses implemented work-from-home plans (whether they were part of their normal plans or not). This itself leads to further risks around information security, data protection, operational risks associated with errors, cyber or fraud. Then there is the importance of financial resilience and health and safety, the latter being especially important as the business starts to work under the new arrangements of social distancing. It is essential that businesses can evaluate each risk and determine the appropriateness of the controls, while continuing to meet legal and regulatory obligations. This is a challenge, but made all the easier by a well-designed and forward-thinking GRC platform that links these aspects. By tracking certain key risk indicators (KRIs) and getting early 55
warning information, it is possible to avoid or mitigate breaches for operational incidents. Having a system that allows you to monitor those risks ‘live’ through KRIs, which are linked directly to any relevant regulations, is hugely beneficial. During Covid-19, liquidity risk is a key risk with a potentially large impact to the business. The basic regulatory requirement (Financial Resources Requirement) may be to maintain a minimum of 25% of liquid assets of annual expenditure. Setting appropriate KRIs (monitoring the Financial Resources Requirement, debtors and cash collection), creating thresholds and tracking the trend on a regular basis would give an early warning to the business if the liquidity looks like it could become a problem. Monitoring this ‘live’ in a GRC platform enables the business to plan, take action and if necessary forewarn the regulator, rather than wait for the actual breach. EXTERNAL BENCHMARKS It is also important for businesses to get some external factors to determine whether their level of risk and controls is in line with peers, or at least at a level where they can understand why they are prepared to accept more or less risk or have looser or tighter controls. By combining anonymous data within a GRC system, it is possible to give key information to determine whether the business is an outlier. Again, this is helpful during Covid-19, but how often have businesses been told they are an outlier compared with their peers by the regulator but have no information to determine that prior to an onsite visit by the regulator? Where GRC platforms need to develop further is in providing appropriate feedback to the business to enable swift changes to their operating environment. By evaluating the data, it may be possible to determine a competitive edge – for example, where the business is able to demonstrate a better controls environment than their competitors, allowing the take-on of different types of client. Aspida has developed a GRC system that covers these aspects more effectively, and yet is also able to deliver another key element which is to reduce the cost of compliance. Just maintaining a programme to meet the current rules and regulations and adjusting to the relevant risks and controls environment is almost a full-time job for a compliance officer. Our system does that, but we are well aware of areas that we want to develop further. When we look to the future, it is about how we can incorporate machine learning in risk assessment and testing. The system should be able to test certain areas if fed data and then do a peer comparison automatically. We should even get to the stage that the GRC platform is able to determine the risk assessment based on the external factors influencing the inherent risk and the internal factors determining the residual risk. Exciting times – but a demonstration that a properly developed GRC platform can truly become an enabler for the whole business. ●
FUTURE VIEW: CLOUD TECHNOLOGY
Is cloud the silver lining we’ve been waiting for?
Ian Kelly, CEO, Sure
“We are witnessing a worldwide change in how local and national businesses of all sizes are handling their data so that it can be accessed remotely…”
usiness connectivity has never been more important than in recent months. The global Covid-19 pandemic has brought remote working into the spotlight and demonstrated the value of a technology solution that is just as geared towards remote working as office working. The trend of remote working is coinciding with the ongoing development in the technology sector. Supply and demand are parallel and we’re seeing many businesses across the Channel Islands listen to their staff needs and begin implementing digital solutions that provide remote and flexible working opportunities. But how do businesses introduce this offering to their team, continue offering a high level of service to their customers and manage the financial and security implications? Our partner, Trustwave, recently published a report, Cyber Resiliency in the Multi-Cloud Era, which examines exactly what businesses are doing to change the way they meet consumer demand. And the answer, it concludes, increasingly lies in the cloud.
financial systems requires a specialist, secure solution. As well as cost-saving, high-speed and reliability advantages, cloud technology can be implemented quickly and efficiently with as little disruption as possible for employees, customers and the business as a whole. It’s never too late to provide remote working opportunities through the right technological solutions. Giving your team the power to control their working days requires a degree of trust, but putting that faith in your team will be rewarded with more productive, loyal and grateful members of staff. Increased flexibility in the workplace can come with increased risk. Remote working can mean you have multiple dangerous entry points into your business, so how do businesses make the transition to a flexible working environment while keeping their data safe? Many believe it’s down to the businesses to have appropriate security measures in place, and of course this is true. But equally important is training your team on what to look out for and how to use technology.
A WORLDWIDE CULTURE CHANGE We are witnessing a worldwide change in how local and national businesses of all sizes are handling their data, so that it can be accessed remotely. Many businesses are ahead of the curve in this area by already providing simple, easy-to-access opportunities to work out of the office, but the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted that more businesses were unprepared, ill-equipped or both when it came to responding to a mass change in working habits. Accessing emails anywhere, at any time, has been the norm for years now, but accessing files, data and
CHANNEL ISLANDS PRIVACY FACTOR Having your business data reside in a cloud that is hosted in a jurisdiction such as the Channel Islands is a great comfort, as the implications of global data regulations have made the privacy discussion even more important. The extensive legal checks and balances that exist in each island make them a safe location where sensitive information cannot be inadvertently disclosed. As the islands are self-governed, local privacy Acts exist to control any information gathering by law enforcement agencies, curtailing mass surveillance. For large organisations, pinpointing sensitive data
is difficult enough, but an added layer of complexity is introduced in the form of privacy laws that vary depending on whose data it is and where it’s located. Therefore, keeping high-value infrastructure, applications and data here, where regulation is familiar and access points controlled, makes sense. As networking and cloud security specialists, we are aware of the comfort factor that comes with local hosting and the trust that this gives our customers. ‘Data certainty’ is something we frequently discuss with our customers – and by that we mean the absolute confidence that their data resides in the Channel Islands. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we’ve developed a unique dual-data-centre solution for our own cyber security needs, which is hosted out of our Tier III Jersey and Guernsey data centres. Channel Islands businesses can choose where their data is hosted – Jersey or Guernsey – and, where necessary, asynchronously replicate, or host a data back-up in the other location. This delivers resilience as well as security, as their data is hosted across multiple environments, providing peace of mind. This dual-island set-up is ideal for hosting private clouds for companies with data that they do not want to entrust to public clouds and for Sure’s own multitenant enterprise cloud. Where other public clouds are used, our team of consultants and the specialist security companies we work with act as our customers’ trusted partners to address their security concerns. THE FUTURE OF CLOUD Businesses email, unified communications, intranets, finance and CRM systems have moved away from on-premises equipment to more centralised hosted and public cloud services. Many organisations’ working practices have also changed with the availability of unified connections and collaboration tools in both public and private cloud environments. This has led to fundamental changes in business continuity and the adoption of a distributed workforce supported by the enhancements in cloud architectures. The effects of this have been felt keenly in recent months, but the technology was heading this way anyway. A new class of application has emerged requiring the computing to the point where the service is consumed. This is driven by a need to reduce network latency delays to enable real-time data, due to developments in technologies such as machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT). More recently, edge computing has enabled the 57
consumption of cloud services in the location of the user’s choice, taking advantage of reduced connectivity costs and near-instant access to data and resources. The days of centralised cloud service architectures are not quite over yet, and distributed cloud is still in its infancy, but with the growth in ML and IoT, the demand for edge computing is set to rise rapidly. The recent situation has highlighted the benefits of a robust cloud-based system to enable employees to work as normal from wherever they are. But the trend towards the cloud was under way long before Covid-19 and many businesses in the Channel Islands are already, at least in part, using the cloud. Sure’s cloud-based solutions provide businesses with much-needed security, thanks to our partnerships with leading cyber-security experts. Our partnership with Trustwave offers the highest level of cyber security to organisations to fight the perfect storm of cyber attacks, scams and phishing attempts. According to the 2020 Trustwave Global Security Report, Trustwave’s Secure Email Gateway Cloud blocks 99.9% of spam from reaching the recipient. Optimising IT solutions using cloud technologies has benefits for businesses and their increasingly mobile customers, so finding the right solution really can have a significant impact on the bottom line. At Sure, we have a team of specialist consultants who are able to advise on every aspect of cloud solutions – from the right mix of public and private clouds to specific data residency requirements – and how to maximise them to reap significant business benefits. ●
For more news and views on the latest business issues in the Channel Islands, visit the Businesslife website at www.blglobal.co.uk
Girts Ragelis / Shutterstock.com
for the future of the work
Words: Jessica Furseth
WHEN THE WORLD went into lockdown in March, nearly all knowledge-based businesses shifted almost overnight to fully dispersed workforces. Staff all around the world created makeshift offices in their kitchens or bedrooms, propping up their laptops to resume office life via video conferencing. It’s been a massive transition. Remote working has been on the rise for years, but suddenly every company has been forced to truly embrace a fully remote workforce. “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital
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Much has been written about the speed and agility with which companies around the world moved entire workforces to remote working almost overnight. But will these more flexible and remote working practices remain once the crisis is over and the world returns to some semblance of normality?
Some of the meetings we’re now having remotely are having the same impact, if not a better impact
So, how will recent experiences change the workplace once lockdown is over and companies no longer ‘have to’ allow their employees to work remotely? Will remote working continue – and how will firms manage the impact on their employees?
CHANGE OF EMPHASIS
transformation in two months,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in April. Lockdown has catapulted the workplace into the future: we’re realising that it’s perfectly possible to do business remotely, and be productive colleagues, while working from home. And the challenges haven’t just been practical. Companies have also had to manage the emotional and mental health impacts of the huge transition. “The technology of remote working and cloud-based computing has been around for years,” says Chris Clark, Founder and CEO of technology consultancy Prosperity 24/7 in Jersey. “The mental and the cultural impact – that’s where people have been struggling.”
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Work used to be seen as a place we went to. However, for those working primarily on computers at least, it’s increasingly becoming ‘a thing we do’. Olly Duquemin, CEO of technology outsourcing specialist Resolution IT in Guernsey, says lockdown has forced businesses to speed up the journey to embracing digital technology. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in people wanting to digitise their processes,” he says. “That cultural change has happened very quickly because it’s had to. In the past, there might have been more resistance.” Duquemin says he’s seen an increase of digital workflows, conference calls and digital transformation processes, all of which are necessary for people to work efficiently from home. While some of this has made companies
more efficient, coronavirus has also been a harsh teacher. For many, the experiment in mass remote working has been hampered by the mental stress of dealing with a dangerous illness and isolating from friends and family. And for parents having to handle childcare and schooling alongside their jobs, lockdown has meant having to adapt to untraditional working hours. That’s something that has been difficult to implement on a large scale in offices in the past, but perhaps lockdown will prove that people can be trusted with such freedom and flexibility. Duquemin expects staff will want to keep some of that flexibility after lockdown. “Leaders and organisations can see that people can be fairly efficient and continue to do their jobs well, provided they have the right technology in place. So why not?” Clark at Prosperity 24/7 believes remote working could also make it easier for businesses to measure productivity. “There’s far more scrutiny on outcomes in this new world,” he says. “People who are unproductive may have been able to ‘hide’ in the office environment – you may have been the cool person to chat to at the
coffee machine, for instance, and able to hide in plain sight.” But getting by on charm isn’t possible when everyone is remote, he adds. “The people who are productive are being recognised far more easily.” Improved facilities for – and acceptance of – remote workers could also be a positive for locations suffering from skills shortages. The change of emphasis will allow businesses in areas requiring specific skills or sector knowledge, such as the Channel Islands, to hire experts from elsewhere and have them work remotely.
DEATH OF THE BUSINESS TRIP? The coronavirus pandemic also led to the cancellation of 99% of business trips by European companies in April, according to a survey by the Global Business Travel Association. In the face of 14-day quarantines and restrictions on movement, video conferencing has become the ‘go to’ method of meeting and will likely replace travel for some time to come. While the loss of face-to-face contact is a concern for many in relationship-led businesses, others are reporting that clients are ‘more available’ now, in part because they’re saving so much time by staying put themselves. “We’ve had to embrace different ways to communicate,” says Brian Carey, Director of Private Wealth at Intertrust in
Jersey. Carey is accustomed to frequent travel to the UK, Europe and the Middle East, but since lockdown, he has relied on video, phone calls and email. “You have to follow up with different methods of communication to ensure you’re all communicating and [understanding] what the expectations are,” he says. Until we know more about how the aviation industry will handle social distancing, it’s difficult to speculate on the future of business travel. But, says Carey: “I don’t think travelling is going to be as intense as before. People are becoming accustomed to seeing faces on screens and having a conversation in that manner. “While the methods may be different, the culture of business meetings remains much the same. It’s still very much a faceto-face conversation.” Frequent business travel can also be mentally and physically taxing, as many studies have demonstrated. So, do we really need to do all that travelling? Will this be the moment that we strip back the ‘show’ of travelling half way round the world to shake hands with a business partner and simply put the meeting agenda first? “Some of the meetings we’re now having remotely are having the same impact, if not a better impact,” says Nick Vermeulen, Partner, Innovation and Technology, at PwC Channel Islands, who is based in
Teambuilding at a distance With remote working removing office interaction, and in some cases putting pressure on employees’ mental health, many companies have ramped up their teambuilding and ‘all staff’ social activities – moving them online instead. From virtual coffees to staff quizzes, online drinks and even remote karaoke, companies have realised there’s a need to maintain team camaraderie. The 500 employees of active wealth, corporate and fund services provider Zedra even had the opportunity to cook alongside master chefs in a company-wide initiative. “Staff wellbeing is important during a crisis such as this pandemic, and we have to manage that and not just look at productivity,” says Stuart Esslemont, Global Head of Legal and Compliance at Zedra in Jersey.
Guernsey. “You look at it and think: ‘Does it actually make sense to travel so much?’. At least for internal meetings, with people you already know, it may not.” You can get a lot done over video when you have to, says Vermeulen – PwC is currently holding a series of remote client pitches, and a new staff member hired after lockdown began completed their entire onboarding remotely. However, as Vermeulen points out: “Most of the business stuff, you can do remotely – but it can be difficult to be empathetic over video.” He believes people will still want to “sit down in person together, at least occasionally”.
INTO THE UNKNOWN The lockdown has forced companies into realisations they might otherwise never have made, some of which could be revolutionary in the move towards flexible working. Barclays CEO Jes Staley said in April that “the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past”. Vermeulen agrees that there will be a rethink of the physical office space. “Hopefully you’ll still have an office, but the shape of it will be different, and what you actually do there might be different,” he says. “The office may become a place for meetings and client encounters rather than a default place to just sit.” Zedra Global Head of Legal and Compliance Stuart Esslemont says his company has always supported flexible working, but the tendency has been for people to come into the office and work traditional hours. He expects this to change. “For some, this has been very positive in terms of how they’ve bonded with their partners or their children by being at home,” he says. “Once this is over, I think a lot more people will be approaching us to work from home more frequently and be in the office maybe a couple of days a week.” Chris Clark is already considering repurposing his office space. “We’ve always been [set up] to work from anywhere, and we have a high ratio of meeting rooms to workspace,” he says. “But we’re now talking about possibly converting more space so it can become a hub for collaboration.” As the world starts to open up again post-lockdown, some of the new habits from this era of enforced home-working are likely to become permanent. Now that we know it’s possible to have a little more flexibility and still be productive, it will be hard to argue against making that permanent. n
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The response of Jersey’s and Guernsey’s governments to business needs resulting from Covid-19 far exceeded any previous requirements placed on them. So how can businesses and authorities team up to preserve reputation and build market share?
THE WORD ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ has become the standout phrase in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on business and the global economy – practically the tagline of this horrific and tragic crisis. The reason is that, while previous recessions and economic downturns, such as the 2008 credit crisis, dealt a blow to businesses, the level of destruction to the world’s finances caused by coronavirus has been unimaginable. To begin, coronavirus was, of course, a medical crisis – and huge loss of life is horrific. But the lockdown and social distancing measures put in place in response to the virus quickly also led to economic collapse. Businesses have struggled to operate without people meeting face to face, without interacting with their clients and customers in the usual ways, and without off-island travel to win new business. It’s no surprise, then, that governments around the world have had to be resourceful and creative like never before in finding ways to support business through the initial impact of the pandemic – and in devising a plan for rebuilding, recovery, growth and innovation. The Channel Islands are no different.
HEIGHTENED ENGAGEMENT Early indications suggested that help to the tune of £500m would be needed to support employers in each of the Channel Islands – a package of measures to help them navigate lockdown and to stimulate new economic growth. Most of the islands’ businesses are trading companies employing fewer than 20 people – and simply did not have the reserves required to see them through restricted working or complete shutdown. In healthier times, there has been
relatively little interaction between the governments and the business community in the islands. But this quickly shifted to a high level of engagement as government sought clarification on where the most pain was being felt by employers, while businesses sought to ensure that the right kind of support packages were put in place for them. Adam Budworth, Managing Director of Grant Thornton in the Channel islands, recognises something of a sea change. “This is new. There’s an understanding that business and stakeholders can play an important part in the recovery. It has brought the two sides together,” he says. “What’s recovery going to look like
There’s an understanding that business and stakeholders can play an important part in the recovery. It has brought the two sides together
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Words: Steve Falla
Government has had to be agile and deal with complex areas as to how schemes are delivered. There has been incredibly good communication
and how do we bring private and public sectors together to do that? There’s a place going forward for more dialogue and more engagement and collaboration. “You’re not going to satisfy everybody. But by taking other views on board you get to a quicker and earlier decision than you do by writing a policy and finding it doesn’t work.”
A CHANGE OF CONVERSATION Budworth’s view is echoed by Tom Carey, Partner at Carey Olsen. “It’s a different dialogue,” he says. “In good times, businesses would rather government left them alone. It will be a different conversation over the next few years: fine, you can have the money or raise the money, but how are you going to allocate that resource? How can we help? “Crisis situations give rise both to entrepreneurial flair and crisis management, and civil servants like having non-public sector experts around the table to provide a third-party view on life. There’s an added value they find highly beneficial.” He says the islands’ authorities have been much more engaged with business experts during the crisis and more willing to listen to views and advice, and the results have been positive. For example, a government-underwritten loan guarantee scheme operated by banks to provide businesses with cashflow and liquidity was established collaboratively within two weeks – ordinarily, it might have taken months. Graeme Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Jersey Business, recognises the value of government working through the medium
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of representative business bodies to ensure good communication and understanding, so that the support schemes rolled out are effective and understood. “Any one of those schemes would probably have taken 12 months in times gone by,” he tells BL. “Government has had to be agile and deal with complex areas as to how schemes are delivered. There has been incredibly good communication. “We understand how business thinks and we are seen by both parties as being independent. We have felt government has really opened up to us, so we have been able to help influence their thinking – one case being the reduction of exclusions to payroll schemes.” As the governments in both islands work on recovery plans for the economy and individual sectors, it’s clear that there will need to be significant investment in infrastructure and systems – including marketing, advice and consultancy. These are key areas where attention will need to be focused, in the view of Deputy Charles Parkinson, President of Guernsey’s Committee for Economic Development. “We need to think about overcoming the obstacles to doing business – planning, the population management regime, any liberalisation steps we can take to free up the economy,” he says. Parkinson is quick to point out that business and government were certainly talking before the pandemic and that, in fact, the relationship was quite close. But there was always a recognition that any effective partnership with the private sector depended on the sector’s input of ideas, energy and resources. “The crisis is
forcing us to address some of the issues we should have been addressing anyway, which suddenly come to the forefront when you are talking about survival. “For example, we need to have a good look at the telecoms strategy. It’s been subject to the ultimate stress test to support business, remote learning and social interactions,” he says. The Channel Islands have accumulated capital from investment growth in recent years, both Jersey and Guernsey have good credit ratings – and thoughts are now turning to borrowing. However, some believe there was a false perception that the governments of both islands had access to ‘bottomless pits’ of financial reserves to be deployed in such a situation as Covid-19.
REPAYING THE DEBT The reality is that part of the recovery plan depends on the support given being repaid in the future – perhaps funded by raising taxes or by stimulating the economy. Guernsey’s Deputy Lyndon Trott, who led on the support packages for the Policy and Resources Committee, says he has been surprised by how little understanding of public finance the average citizen has. “People have been saying we’ve got billions, with pension schemes, the contingency reserve, capital reserve and so on,” he says. “But despite the fact we have hundreds of millions of reserves, which sets the Channel Islands aside from almost every other community, the amount we have is significantly less than people believe.” Trott maintains that the States’ prime
motivation was to encourage businesses to keep people in employment. But any measures put in place must be balanced against the requirements of the taxpayer. “We certainly need business to keep on talking to us and telling us where they feel pain and stress, and where they need support,” he adds. “There’s only so much government can do – particularly in a political environment where there’s a reluctance to borrow. It’s about having some dry powder left post-crisis.”
TIME TO TALK The size and scale of the Channel Islands also meant that politicians and business people were easily accessible during the crisis – and discussions on Brexit had been a good rehearsal, paving the way for consultation over the current crisis. “We’re far more hands-on than any of us want to be as the custodians of
taxpayer funds,” says Trott. “None of us in government have any amount of exclusivity on wisdom and we have asked for ideas on how we can get the maximum multiplier for the recovery stage. “There’s a fertile environment for ideas and suggestions being fed in. We are not ‘all in this together’ right now, but in recovery we will be. There’s definitely going to be more opportunity for shared risk and reward.” Trott believes this is the time to be outward looking and to talk to the world about what the islands do and how they do it. His mantra is to hope for the best and continue to plan for the worst. Business will have a huge role to play in the rebuild and restructure of the economy. And the islands – historically conservative with a ‘small c’ and now out of their comfort zone – should be able to move quicker and with more agility. Carey is looking to government to
preserve the stability that is at the heart of the Channel Islands’ sales pitch. “The government’s part is to create a stable, well-governed environment that is supportive of employment and employers in the economic crisis and to engage on the world stage as a sensible member of the global economy. “The crisis will only be solved by global interaction. With sensible lawmaking and economic policy, we can work hand in hand. “Although people are hamstrung by the inability to go out and market the jurisdiction face to face, when they do, economic and political stability is a great thing to be able to sell,” he adds. Parkinson has great faith in the experience and expertise of the Channel Islands’ business communities, too. “If they are given the opportunity to get back to work, businesses will sort out most of the problems themselves.” n
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Virtual reality Global lockdown has forced managers to embrace a new style of leadership
Words: Amy Carroll
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TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES HAVE been telling us for years that it is possible to work from any corner of the planet. But for most organisations, it has taken a worldwide pandemic to force their hand. Indeed, according to the Office for National Statistics, only 30% of UK employees had ever worked from home prior to 2020. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent international lockdown have turned those statistics on their head. Overnight, workers have had to get used to operating from their kitchen table – while also home-schooling their children. Their managers, meanwhile, have faced a steep learning curve when it comes to embracing the role of virtual leader. After all, the challenges involved in managing a virtual team are very different to managing a team in the workplace. Those challenges have been exacerbated by the severity of the current crisis and the speed of its onset. “The biggest challenge most of us have with virtual leadership is that it’s a new way of working and we are unpractised
at it,” says Julian Burrows, Director at financial services consultancy Sionic. “Good leadership always involves the ability to build trust, to motivate, inspire and continuously deliver in order to be successful,” he adds. “All of these requirements remain when leading teams and businesses remotely. But they require proactive changes to our leadership style and for us to consciously practise emotional intelligence, conceptual agility and collaboration.”
RESETTING EXPECTATIONS First, it has been essential to recognise that leadership structures themselves must change. “You mustn’t spend too long trying to manage a crisis through your existing structures. You need to move quickly to a new model,” says Andrew McLaughlin, CEO at RBS International, which established a new leadership structure around five key pillars over the first weekend of lockdown. “In other crises – and I’ve been through
a few – it took people a while to catch up with the full reality of the situation. This time around, colleagues very quickly knew this was highly unusual. “Business goals and budgets have been affected to the point where they may not be entirely relevant. People needed immediate clarity about how they should apply themselves during this period.” Elvina Aghajanyan, Head of HR at HSBC in the Channel Islands, agrees that managing expectations is key. “Set expectations as early on as possible,” she says. “In times of change, there will be a requirement to revisit objectives, goals and responsibilities. The majority of us work more effectively when we have clear deliverables, guidelines and timeframes.” But understanding that it might not always be possible to meet those objectives, given the extraordinary circumstances in which people find themselves, is also important, says Martin Keelagher, CEO at Agile Automations. “It’s about understanding that your team might want to be working more, performing better and hitting those
Let’s make sure we keep learning lessons and balancing how people are feeling today with what might work tomorrow
deadlines, but sometimes that just isn’t attainable,” he says. Burrows adds: “Employees are in an unprecedented situation where they are trying to be mothers and fathers, carers, teachers and partners, while still trying to deliver on their work. “Setting realistic expectations of our teams is essential. Consider what others are going through and flex your style. Talk to your teams, collaborate and try and inspire your workforce to achieve new heights.” Good communication has never been more important. For McLaughlin, the key to supporting and motivating remote staff during these tumultuous times is always to start with how people are feeling, not what they are thinking. “With in-person meetings, you can get so much information from body language,” McLaughlin says. “Working virtually, you are denied that – and yet you know it is almost impossible for anyone not to have some kind of fear or sadness about the current situation. Prioritising feeling over thinking is vital.” It isn’t just the stresses of working
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We encourage each person in the team to have a virtual coffee or a virtual beer with their colleagues so they are having the conversations they would have had in the office
from home, adds Keelagher. Employees also have childcare, vulnerable relatives and insecurity around their livelihoods to consider. “There are a plethora of challenges facing the entire workforce,” he says. “We’ve never seen that before. “Even in the global financial crisis, many people felt quite removed. With the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone is affected. No one can escape its grasp.”
GETTING THE TONE RIGHT Establishing the right cadence for communication is key. Burrows says: “Emotional intelligence is essential right now – keeping conversations open, building connections, being flexible and employing empathy. Listening carefully during these times will reap rewards for the future.” “You have to be inherently mindful of using emotion far more than your IQ,” adds Chris Clark, CEO of Channel Islandsbased technology company Prosperity 24/7. Aghajanyan adds: “As much as leaders want to lead and manage the business, it
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is critical that they prioritise leading people. The power of human connection, of kindness and empathy, has never been more important.” And, as McLaughlin points out, when leaders sign up to lead, the pressure is on to keep up the good work. “You may only see a West End show once,” he says, “but the actors might be in the middle of a 100-night run. You need to give every performance that same energy and care that you would on the opening night.” Inspiring collaboration and creativity can also be difficult when people are, by definition, isolated. Tech advances have been timely, enabling orderly group calls involving large numbers, as well as the opportunity for smaller breakout groups for brainstorming. According to the Chartered Management Institute, 66% of managers have reported increased levels of innovation among staff during this time and, for many, the use of technology has revolutionised decision-making. “If you think about normal meetings, you will often get a ‘meeting hogger’ or a ‘mood hoover’ who can change the dynamic,” explains McLaughlin. “But if you chair it properly, there is actually something very democratic about the use of technology. It can enable everyone to make their contribution in a way that doesn’t always happen in person.” When elderly and vulnerable customers were put into lockdown before the rest of
the population in Jersey and Guernsey, RBS recognised that these people would have an issue accessing cash. So McLaughlin’s team ran a collaboration session to generate ideas for a solution. “From that meeting came the idea to give those customers a time-sensitive code that they could pass on to a carer to take to an ATM, withdrawing a pre-selected amount, thus protecting them from fraud,” he explains. “From thought to finish, that took five days in a virtual environment. I am not sure it would have happened that quickly if we had all been in the office.” In addition to the ubiquitous Teams and Zoom, meanwhile, Aghajanyan highlights other technology platforms – such as Mentimeter and Kahoot – that encourage inclusivity, gamification and play. Because for many, the office environment is about more than just work. Social interactions are key to individual, and team, wellbeing and performance. Isolation, in that sense, can represent a very real business risk. But it is possible to recreate water cooler moments or ‘work nights out’ while in lockdown. Chris Clark has hosted a virtual karaoke night – which he describes as “disastrous but entertaining” – and junior staff have implemented online coffee mornings. Aghajanyan suggests quiz nights, wellbeing challenges, yoga, ballet and Zumba sessions, as well as virtual fundraising for community support.
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A question of trust A virtual organisation requires an inherent level of trust that many managers have struggled with in the past. It can be challenging to strike the right balance between being supportive of people working off-site and micro-managing. Explaining that you trust everyone to get their work done, just as they would in the office, is key, according to HSBC Channel Islands’ Head of HR, Elvina Aghajanyan. “Encourage people to take short breaks during the day and have a set time for lunch – just as they would in the workplace – but ask that they let you know if they will be unavailable for long periods due to conference calls or project deadlines,” she says. “For many, a five-minute check-in call at the beginning or end of the day will prove very useful. Make sure you are tracking objectives and monitoring progress.”
RBS’s diversity and inclusion team even recently hosted a virtual ‘bring your child to work’ initiative. “We also arranged for a Teams clapping virtual project, motivating peers to celebrate the excellent support they provide to our customers, our community and to each other,” she says. Elsewhere, Sionic has hired a trainer, who hosts group gym sessions, and also offers movie and book clubs. “We encourage each person in the team to have a virtual coffee or a virtual beer with their colleagues so that they are having the conversations they would have had in the office,” says Burrows.
Chris Clark of Prosperity 24/7 believes a virtual environment can expose staff who are less hardworking and trustworthy more effectively than in the office. “If there are mischievous people, they will be mischievous in the office just as much as they are mischievous at home. “It is possible to hide poor productivity more
Many believe society has changed. Twitter recently announced it would allow its staff to work from home for good
LASTING CHANGE? Many believe that the way society operates has changed fundamentally. Twitter recently announced it would allow its staff to work from home for good. “People have grown used to being able to be flexible and companies should embrace it by giving people opportunities to work remotely, to work from home more often, select more flexible hours and reduce the need for expensive office space,” says Burrows. “This should also be part of the island plan for a greener community, by encouraging people to work from home and not having the need for significant amounts of parking in town.”
Clark is convinced there will be a large reduction in demand for office space going forward as the anywhere, anytime, anyplace ‘Martini principle’ – long promulgated by tech companies – takes hold and businesses grapple with the health and safety requirements for using bathrooms or kitchens. “It could become a case of PPE to pee,” Clark says. “There is a lot to be aware of going forward.”
easily in the office workspace because of the social interaction – everyone likes that guy at the coffee machine. And that can hide an abundance of sins. “Working remotely is about selfmotivation,” he adds. “And there will be more scrutiny on those individuals who fail to deliver.”
McLaughlin, however, believes it would be rash to assume that all businesses should reject the physical environment in order to become virtual organisations. “It is true that we won’t go back to the way we were. But you have to be careful,” he says. “Many people are now working in a home environment that they never imagined would be required. “For some people, work-life balance may be improved; for others, it may be detrimentally impacted and they may desperately want to get back to the office.” Companies will need to strike a new bargain with colleagues about the balance between home and office working. “If we do that,” says McLaughlin, “there is a chance we can improve the engagement, motivation, wellbeing and happiness of our colleagues. “But we are only a few months in. So, let’s make sure we keep learning lessons and balancing how people are feeling today with what might work tomorrow.” Aghajanyan adds: “Covid-19 has been a great catalyst to what companies are capable of, how we can mobilise and utilise our resources more efficiently and with less red tape and bureaucracy. “Now, in the rush to return things to normal, we need to use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth getting back to.” n
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fast forward Innovation The Covid-19 pandemic has changed temporary working practices far beyond employees working from home, with centuries-old processes replaced almost overnight. But how will the lessons learned during lockdown shape our business, finance and legal sectors going forward?
Words: David Craik
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carry out hearings that, for centuries, have been carried out largely in person. Jersey’s and Guernsey’s business and finance sectors have also adapted their working practices. So what has been done? And will these changes to working practices remain postlockdown, or will we go back to the way we‘ve always done things?
FLEXIBLE BENEFITS The most talked-about change has been the need for staff to work from home. Most companies can share tales of setting up employees for instant remote access to servers, files and phone systems. The experience of Matt Claxton, Global Head of Corporate Solutions at Apex Group in Jersey, is typical. “We have 350 staff in Jersey and Guernsey carrying out fund administration, corporate services and private client work,” he explains. “In just a couple of weeks,
well over 90% of our global staff began working from home.” The move has been beneficial for staff – “giving them back time” and saving them the money previously spent commuting. “It’s enabling a more flexible way of working, for sure,” Claxton says. Stuart Esslemont, Global Head of Legal and Compliance at Zedra, highlights positive staff feedback – and envisages more flexible working options postpandemic. “It has benefited their personal lives and productivity,” he says. “We are already considering whether it’s appropriate for us to have large offices in a number of jurisdictions. Do we need the footprint?”
VIRTUAL HEARINGS AND MEETINGS A notable characteristic of the new remote worker is the use of video communication apps and websites such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype.
NOBODY COULD HAVE predicted at the turn of the year that, within a few months, most of the world would have put their societies – and in effect their economies – into lockdown. The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has made that a reality and altered every part of our lives. It has brought with it numerous challenges – and the human and financial costs have been tragic and crippling. However, the coronavirus pandemic has also inspired great fortitude, generosity and innovation. The NHS, for example, which has spent decades trying to overcome inefficiencies and archaic working practices, managed to turn a convention centre on the outskirts of London into a fully working hospital in just nine days. Schools have pivoted to online learning, while legal institutions, including the Royal Court of Guernsey, have begun using video conferencing to
Images: Michael Tubi and JordanCrosby / Shutterstock.com
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People will have seen how quickly we adapted to the crisis – and that will have reinforced our reputation as a safe haven to do business
“With the vast majority of our clients, we interact by telephone and email as we have a diverse base,” explains Claxton. “Although we still use those methods, I have been finding myself spending 10 hours a day on Microsoft Teams. It’s certainly accelerated their adoption within our business.” Esslemont says these practices are likely to continue post-lockdown, given the efficiencies they have brought. “We will reassess why we’ve been doing so much travelling when we return,” he says. “The main benefit from Zoom calls is that you can get yourself in front of more clients in a 24-hour period than you can do travelling.” Technology has also improved interactions between staff. “I’m engaging a lot more on a regular basis with legal and
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compliance teams,” Esslemont says. “People right across the business are having short, sharp regular meetings rather than the two to three-hour meetings you might have had in the office.” There are limitations, however, to the future growth of virtual communications. Natasha Newell, Counsel at Carey Olsen in Guernsey, has been contacting her clients and offering advice on legal issues via video calls. “It has worked because it’s needed to work. The fact that we can do this will lead to change in the post-coronavirus era. Nobody wants to go back to the way things were before,” she says. “However, I don’t think video calls are appropriate for every kind of client meeting. As an employment lawyer, if I am working for an employer or employee,
sensitivities can be running very high. There are certain nuances that are not as easy to discern from being on a video conference compared with speaking to someone live.” This, she argues, could also dampen the prospect of virtual hearings in courtrooms. “The Royal Court has adapted to video hearings quickly and easily. It’s been very impressive – unheard of before this pandemic,” says Newell. “But when someone gives evidence in a courtroom, in a witness box, you don’t just listen to what they say, it’s how they say it. It’s their demeanour and reaction to questions. You can better analyse their credibility if they are in front of you. “I believe the norm after lockdown will be court hearings where everyone must attend but, if someone has a good reason not to be there, then the court will be more open to hearing them via a video link.”
ELECTRONIC ID&V Another newly adopted facility that was overlooked pre-pandemic is the electronic ID and verification check. “A lot of the business we’ve done historically has been paper-based,” explains Esslemont. “So, regulators, bankers and financial institutions have required us to present hard-copy identification and verification (ID&V) documents and get them notarised or certified. “That’s been removed during lockdown. Electronic ID&V has been around for some time and, even though we’ve seen a huge benefit in adopting it, we have faced some challenges in doing so. “Some regulators have been very clear as
to what they would and wouldn’t accept, and banks for offshore jurisdictions have been even more reluctant to accept it.” However, lockdown and the need to change working practices almost overnight have led to increased use of electronic ID&V at Zedra – and a growing acceptance of the technology by banks and regulators who recognise that business just has to continue. “Lockdown has forced people’s hands – a silver lining for me is that going forward, the institutions that have been reluctant to accept new technology can now see the benefits,” Esslemont says. “It is very straightforward to use – we send an SMS to a prospective or existing client, and that takes them to a link to provide their documentation. “The application has various security features in it to ensure it stays on the right side of data protection and the gathering of personal information. “It is superior to the old method of taking a picture of a passport or utility bill and then getting it certified. I really hope we don’t revert back to our old ways.” He acknowledges, however, that some reticence might remain. “A number of banks might want to go back and gather hard copy before they can properly riskassess the technology that we and other companies are using,” Esslemont adds. “It will also change how they risk-assess us, because they need to be comfortable with the technologies. “So, although regulators will embrace it, I think there will be a period of time until banks do so.”
SIGN OF THE TIMES Electronic signatures are also likely to be used more often after lockdown, according to many working in business. Before the crisis, it was already legal in both Jersey and Guernsey to sign some documents electronically – for a new memorandum of association when forming a new company, for example. Bodies such as the Land Registry have also recently allowed a temporary relaxation of requirements for an original wet ink signature for registration purposes. “The framework has been there, but people have not taken advantage of it,” says Edward Scott, Partner at Dickinson Gleeson. “If you apply your PDF signature to a document, it is as though you’ve signed it yourself. “We are seeing people use it more often now as it makes things a lot easier for moving documents around when people are isolated in their homes. “Also, counterparties have become more relaxed about accepting documents with
electronic signatures. This will continue post-lockdown, in my view, as will greater awareness that it is possible to do so under existing rules.” Claxton adds that using e-signatures has helped reduce some of the paper processes and complexities within Apex’s working practices. “The technology is quite mature and we adopted it rapidly,” he says, adding: “It reduced the amount of physical printing by an enormous amount, benefiting efficiency.” Scott believes online filing will also become second nature to companies. “The Jersey Financial Services Commission has narrowed the exceptions for online filing and registrations. It was mostly there before the pandemic, but it’s hastened the move,” he says.
QUICKER DECISIONS These measures, while mainly introduced with a view to ensuring business continuity during the pandemic, may in turn hasten quicker decision-making among owners and employees, according to many. “There has been a willingness across the group to make quicker decisions,” says Jackie Videgrain, Vice President of Risk at Butterfield Bank, Jersey. “Things are coming up at the last minute that nobody has ever thought of before. From making decisions in virtual meetings, to implementing our remote working plan or a change in policy regarding call-back processes for clients working at home – things are being agreed and put in place far quicker.” Videgrain hopes that the lockdown will result in a more collaborative and openminded culture. “We’ve worked hard on developing our relationship management with clients,” she says. “We are doing a lot of calls, saying we realise how difficult it is for people and that we are here to help. We very much want that to continue.” Scott agrees that organisational empathy may be on the increase. “Management who may not have been involved in the nitty-gritty of getting administrative tasks done have had to get involved in these processes,” he says. “They have had an opportunity to get to grips with them, re-engineer and innovate with technology to do things more efficiently.” Scott also believes that all the work done by Jersey and Guernsey businesses to adapt to the new ways of working will have boosted the jurisdiction’s reputation for professionalism and efficiency. “People from outside will have seen how quickly we adapted to the crisis and how robust we’ve been – and that will have reinforced our reputation as a safe haven to
Lockdown has forced people’s hands – going forward, the institutions that have been reluctant to accept new technology can now see the benefits
do business,” he says. “From crisis comes opportunity.” It is an opportunity that businesses must not squander, declares Alexia McClure, Chief Operating Officer at Jersey Business. “In just five weeks, the adaptation of new working practices has accelerated change that would ordinarily have taken businesses years,” she says. “Those that can adapt and show innovation will thrive, whereas those that assume they will simply go back to their same business model may well struggle.” n
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Knowledge Brain food for the busy business professional
The Knowledge is compiled by Alexander Garrett Takeaways hurt house prices
points AI ‘must be fair’
More than two thirds of consumers are worried about artificial intelligence (AI) discriminating against them, and more than three quarters say that companies must take action to avoid bias, according to a study by digital transformation firm Genpact. The study – AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down? – is based on data from research in the US, UK, Japan and Australia. It found that companies that do take steps to address potential bias in their AI systems will be rewarded by consumers. More than a quarter (28%) of senior executives canvassed said their organisations were implementing AI extensively to re-imagine their business, while 37% reported that their organisation had invested more than $10m in AI.
Having takeaway restaurants on your doorstep may seem a good idea – but it’s likely to damage the price of your home, according to estate agency comparison site GetAgent. The firm carried out research looking at the total number of takeaways in local authorities across England and the density based on the number of takeaways per 100,000 of the population. In areas with more than 100 takeaways per 100,000 population, the average property price was £216,606; in areas with the lowest density – 40 or fewer takeaways per 100,000 – it rose to £378,855. On the positive side, said GetAgent founder Colby Short: “You can get on the ladder for a lot less money in areas where you’re surrounded by your favourite takeaways.”
Keeping Rover safe
People drive more carefully when they have their dog in the car, according to research by car maker Seat UK. The Spanish car firm’s survey found that more than half of all dog-owning drivers surveyed (54%) said they take more care when travelling with their pet in the car, rising to 69% among 18to 24-year-olds. Having a dog in the car can also reduce driver stress levels, with 35% of those surveyed saying they feel calmer when their dog is in the car. But a fifth of drivers admitted they don’t restrain their dog while it is a passenger – and 90% were unaware that there’s a maximum nine-point penalty and £5,000 fine for driving without due care and attention when driving with a dog.
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have developed a camera that can record 70 trillion frames per second, fast enough to capture the movement of lightwaves, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications. The technology behind the world’s fastest camera – compressed ultrafast spectral photography (CUSP) – uses extremely short pulses of laser light, each one quadrillionth of a second, which are then split into even shorter flashes. Lead author Lihong Wang said: “We envision applications in a rich variety of extremely fast phenomena, such as ultrashort light propagation, wave propagation, nuclear fusion, photon transport in clouds and biological tissues, and fluorescent decay of biomolecules.”
Hedgies turn over new leaf
Hedge fund managers are increasingly using ‘alternative’ data to gain a competitive edge, according to a report by the global Alternative Investment Management Association. The report, Casting the Net, says more than one in two managers (53%) are now using such information – nonmarket data that doesn’t fall within the realms of traditional financial and economic data – to inform their investment decisions and improve risk management. Some of the main types of data used are consumer spending and lifestyle data such as retail footfall; web-crawled data, extracting information stored within web pages; bespoke data sourced from expert networks; and climate-related data. The report also highlights the regulatory and compliance challenges fund managers face.
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New in… BOOKS
No filter: the inside story of how Instagram transformed business, celebrity and our culture by Sarah Frier (Cornerstone Digital, £20, hardback) This is the story behind the meteoric rise of the social media photo app – including interviews with its founders – charting its rise from humble beginnings to ownership by Facebook and a $100bn valuation. But it’s also about the ascendancy of Instagram influencers, who have become a significant business sector in their own right – with contributions from the likes of Anna Wintour – and the app’s impact on popular culture.
The trick: why some people can make money and other people can’t by William Leith (Bloomsbury Publishing, £20, hardback) Exploring journalist Leith’s obsession with what makes some people rich and not others, this draws on his career of interviewing the rich and famous – from the real-life Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort to publisher Felix Dennis and financier Nassim Taleb. His conclusion is that there’s no simple formula to becoming mega-wealthy. But, as well as working incredibly hard, you need to be able to shrug off failure.
dressed for work
Green and prosperous land: a blueprint for rescuing the British countryside by Dieter Helm (William Collins, £9.99, paperback) This might seem an unlikely tome to spring from the pen of an Oxford economist. In fact, rather than placing the economy and the environment as adversaries, Helm’s central argument is that they must work together to deliver sustainable, eco-friendly economic growth. He offers a 25-year plan which starts from the premise that a prosperous countryside is synonymous with a pleasant countryside, with all that implies in terms of being clean, aesthetically attractive, healthy and not demanding huge public subsidies. The book, says Helm, is a blueprint for how to get there – “Not rocket science, but just applying good economic principles to our natural environment.”
Working in pyjamas: how to thrive while working from home by Caitlin McAllister (Amazon, £3.99, Kindle edition) A book for anyone suddenly facing the prospect of WFH for the first time in their life, the author is a freelance writer who’s been doing it for quite a while. McAllister tells you not just how to manage the physical challenges, such as setting up a workspace, but how to cope with the mental challenges, from dealing with isolation to being organised and strategic about your day. Does she actually work in her pyjamas? You’ll have to read it to find out.
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In numbers: Gold
Price in US dollars of one troy ounce of gold, 15/06/20 Source: World Gold Council
48-hour start-up: From idea to launch in 1 weekend Fraser Doherty’s crash course in developing a business from scratch in a couple of days has been launched as an audiobook. It takes an online approach to building a business and gives you the lowdown on aspects such as testing your idea, building a website and promoting it through digital marketing. All starting with a blank piece of paper. Available from www.audible.co.uk
The number of Olympic swimming pools it would take to hold the world’s entire volume of gold Source: Forbes
Meaning Business A new podcast from the Daily Mail’s This is Money brand, the focus is on business as a force for good. Presenter Simon Lambert’s first interviewee is Craig Wilson, Managing Director of F1 powerhouse Williams Advanced Engineering, which got involved in the Ventilator Challenge UK race to build vital equipment in the fight against Covid-19. bit.ly/3dSu4bB
172,748 Bank of England gold reserve in ounces, 31/12/2019 Source: Bank of England
Luxury Property Network This ‘virtual private members club’ specialises in luxury property and construction. Founded by Priya Rawal, Construction Associate at CMS UK, it aims to “facilitate the advancement of the luxury property industry through networking, developing strong business collaborations, shared knowledge, experience and contacts”. It will hold online events during lockdown, and gatherings with drinks and food once safe. www.theluxurypropertynetwork.com
29.24 Percentage rise in gold price over 12 months 15/06/20 Source: World Gold Council
Virtual Island Summit If that big autumn conference you planned to attend has been called off, why not visit the Virtual Island Summit from 6-11 September? This free online event will host speakers and attendees from more than 100 island communities to discuss a range of development, innovation and sustainability issues. There will be interactive sessions in various formats, and opportunities to interact with speakers and other attendees. www.virtualislandsummit.com
The year the gold price hit its highest ever dollar value – in £ and € terms it has already breached that in 2020 Source: Chards
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...manage a crisis So Covid-19 came from nowhere – or did it? One thing the pandemic has shown is that every business needs to have a plan for the unexpected, and most of all for the situations that could put your very existence into question.
Be prepared The first step in any crisis management plan is risk assessment. According to specialist risk consultancy Control Risks: “A key component of being ready for crises and incidents is the clear identification, understanding and management of the risks that pose the greatest threat to your organisation’s operations, reputation and brand.” That’s not a one-off exercise, but it involves constantly monitoring the external environment for new and emerging issues. For each one, you need to consider the impact it could have on the organisation and whether that risk can be avoided.
Understand its nature
“When leaders appear calm, concerned, knowledgeable and in charge, workers feel encouraged and are more likely to have confidence that things are under control”
There are different types of crisis, and each might require a particular strategy to deal with it. A natural disaster – such as flood, earthquake or even a pandemic – cannot necessarily be avoided; whereas management misconduct certainly can if you have the right controls in place. Technological failure and malevolent attacks against your organisation are two other different types of crisis you should be ready for.
Make a business continuity plan This is your Plan B, tailored for each of the significant risks you’ve identified. Your aim is to keep your business going and protect its reputation; the plan tells key individuals how to
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respond when the worst happens – so you’re not having to make up your response on the spot and everybody knows what to do. According to Lloyds Bank, a contingency plan can help you identify the threat, reduce the impact of incidents, minimise downtime and improve recovery time. “It’s worth knowing that more than 40% of businesses affected by the Manchester Arena bombing went out of business never to return,” the bank points out.
Rehearse To find out how your team would respond in a crisis, and any unexpected challenges that would arise, carry out a simulation of the real thing. The Business Continuity Institute has an online incident simulation game – BC24 – which creates a fictitious scenario and lets you put your key directors and managers to the test, with feedback delivered on your performance.
Build an early warning system Signals detection is about looking for the signs that a crisis could be imminent. In practice, it means that you have to identify the information sources that could alert you to a crisis and ensure they are being monitored and that the information gathered is being analysed or evaluated in order to sound the alarm.
Keep the show on the road After addressing the root cause of the crisis, the priority is business continuity – putting your plan into action. That could mean taking
Business leaders on making it to the top
Getting ahead Alice Dumoitier, Director, Equiom Jersey extraordinary action – such as setting up an emergency operations centre or getting staff to work from home – or it could mean taking radical cost-cutting steps to stave off financial collapse.
How did you take your first steps towards a career in finance?
Take the lead
Why should young people consider a financial services career?
During any crisis, it is the role of leadership to lead and be highly visible. Leaders must not hide but appear frequently in interviews and other broadcasts. “Particularly during a crisis, employees have a need to hear from their leaders frequently. When leaders appear calm, concerned, knowledgeable and in charge, workers feel encouraged and are more likely to have confidence that things are under control and will be fine,” says Gene Klann, author of the US Center for Creative Leadership’s book Crisis Leadership.
It provides a great platform to learn transferable skills and study for a professional qualification that can be used anywhere. The industry provides an opportunity for international travel and it’s an exciting industry that continues to move quickly as the global platform for business changes. Young people bring fresh ideas that invigorate our industry and make us continually re-evaluate how we do business.
Transparency If there are issues of safety at stake – for example, in the case of a major product recall – your key challenge is re-establishing the confidence and trust of stakeholders, including your customers and your own employees. “When information regarding what is happening is scarce or non-existent, people revert to gossip and rumours and to making stuff up,” Klann says. “Invariably, what they make up will be worse than reality, no matter how bad reality is.”
I volunteered at a youth club, as a teaching assistant and in a nursing home, but was undecided on what to do when I left school. I shared my CV with potential employers, which resulted in some interviews and an insight into the finance industry. Luckily, I was offered a role as a trainee bookkeeper in a small trust company and haven’t looked back.
What should they look for in a potential employer? A forward-thinking business supports the growth and training of new starters, regardless of their years of experience, and offers a different outlook on the traditional business model. Jersey Good Business Charter companies such as Equiom are a good place to start as they have showed their commitment to standards such as those relating to the wellbeing of their people and building a better community.
What have you gained from educational or career initiatives? I hope sharing my own journey will help people realise you don’t need to go to university. Many of the greatest minds in business didn’t go down the academic route and there are entry-level opportunities in Jersey. We aim to help young people achieve something they may not have believed possible by supporting on-the-job training, studying and coaching from colleagues who’ve been in the industry for years.
What do you do to stay on top of your game? I love running and going to Transform Together team sessions and am a member of the Jersey Gymnastics Club committee. At work, I have an amazing team who give me fantastic support, and in return I invest my time and energy into helping them be the best they can be.
What tips would you give your younger self? Enjoy the opportunities a finance career can provide – even things you don’t enjoy will widen your skill set. Always go to your boss with a solution to an issue – it might not be the answer they’re looking for, but you will show your ability to think independently.
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surprising individual has emerged as a voice of authority the world, primarily (at least to begin with) through healthcare. on the global stage in relation to Covid-19 – the ex-richest Gates’ vision subsequently persuaded fellow tycoon-philanthropist guy in the world whose software powers the vast majority Warren Buffett to invest most of his fortune in the foundation. of the world’s desktop and laptop computers. The initial focus was the elimination of malaria, the world’s Bill Gates – William Henry Gates III – wasn’t exactly alone in biggest killer disease, and this has since been broadened to cover a forecasting a pandemic, but he warned about it repeatedly for much wider range of health and non-healthcare issues. over a decade. In a 2015 TED Talk, he said governments What’s given Gates his credibility in the current crisis is the were seriously unprepared and predicted many of the foundation’s track record, together with his belief that consequences that have come to pass. “If anything the greatest challenges can be overcome, and his ability “If anything kills kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, to leverage political capital in support of the most over 10 million it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather rigorous science in order to do so. people, it’s most than a war,” he said. “Not missiles, but microbes.” There are scientists with greater expertise on pretty Describing Ebola as a “wake-up call”, he said a much any specialist topic, but Gates is the person the likely to be a flu-type epidemic could be far worse and chided the world will listen to. virus rather than world’s governments for not investing in the doctors, Hardly surprising that, as founder of Microsoft, a war” nurses, equipment and epidemiologists who would which he started with Paul Allen in a garage in 1975, be needed when the time came. He also foresaw the dire Gates believes IT will play a key part in overcoming economic consequences of a pandemic not being quickly checked. coronavirus, through the use of vast databases and tracing apps. Gates’ authority stems to a large degree from his decision 20 He’s also pledged billions to help develop a vaccine, despite the years ago to plough his vast wealth into the Bill & Melinda Gates fact that, bizarrely, conspiracy theorists have been spreading the Foundation, dedicated to improving the lives of individuals across baseless rumour that he was behind the virus in the first place.
Covid-19 has spawned a veritable lexicon of terms – covidiots (people who refuse to obey the rules of social distancing, itself a new concept); flattening the curve (to denote the management of the crisis); R-nought (a technical expression for the transmission rate). Then there’s zoombombing – people (including children) who turn up on your Zoom call, sometimes with malicious intent. But a term that came about before the virus is likely to become a lot more prevalent: untact. It’s short for interacting with your customers with no face-toface contact, and perfectly sums up the increasingly common activity of leaving goods on doorsteps without getting a signature. The origin is South Korea, where increasing numbers of young adults identify as ‘honjok’ or loners and avoid human contact when they buy anything from a coffee to a meal in a diner. With the pandemic, the word is quickly embracing a whole raft of services, from doorstep deliveries to banking to customer services people working from home. There’s even talk of an ‘untact economy’ in Korea, as more people seek to maintain social distancing.
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Spinnish English that is heavily spun
Glass cliff When a woman is picked for a job in circumstances where there is a high risk of failure
ALSO NEW IN THE WORLD OF
Top tech The best of video conferencing ZOOM HAS SHOT TO FAME DURING THE PANDEMIC, BUT THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES OUT THERE – SO WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO YOUR TEAM WHILE SITTING IN FRONT OF YOUR LAPTOP IN YOUR PYJAMA BOTTOMS?
Apple’s offering in the video talk market was acquired in 2011 and is pre-installed on most Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and Macbooks. The advantage is that, in the Apple universe, there’s no further downloading to do and you can talk to another user simply by clicking the button on your device or through your contact list. The big disadvantage is it doesn’t work on non-Apple devices, notably Windows and Android. FaceTime can be used for conferencing but can only support up to 32 users at once – so probably best for spontaneous one-to-one calls with someone you know has an Apple phone. apps.apple.com/gb/app/facetime/id1110145091
Microsoft’s rival to Slack, this comes free with Office 365 and features video meetings as one of its modules. It’s good for collaborating on documents and integrating with other Microsoft apps. And you can blur your background to avoid your toddler being seen wandering into shot. Other participants have to be invited to a meeting. teamsdemo.office.com
Google Hangouts There are two versions of Google’s video app – Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. The first is the paid-for enterprise-level version, supporting conferences for up to 250 people; the second is the free consumer-level one, supporting calls for up to 25. For both, you need a Google account to get started and an invite has to be sent. On the plus side, it has a modern feel and fun features such as emojis, stickers and GIFs. The appeal depends if you are a heavy Google user or not. hangouts.google.com
HOT LET IT SHINE Nanoleaf promises to “shake up your work from home” setting with a range of light panels that can brighten up your home office. The displays on offer range from sunrises to leafy collages, from £89, nanoleaf.me
Skype Also Microsoft, Skype is the daddy of internet video-calling apps, first released in 2003. Critics say it’s been left behind, still largely desktop rather than mobile-based. Conferences can host up to 50 people and the free version gives you calls for up to four hours, but the recording function is erratic and the interface is described by Wired as ‘clunky’. You also need to set up a Skype account to use it. www.skype.com
Webex Another early player, Webex started in 1995 and was later bought by Cisco. It has a range of videoconferencing applications, but you’re unlikely to see your teenage kids using it. There’s a freemium version that can host conferences for up to 100. www.webex.com
Launched in 2016, Houseparty is the video tool the kids are increasingly using, nearing the top of the table in download rankings in several Englishspeaking countries. Described as a face-to-face social network, it’s primarily for socialising and chatting. And if you’re a contact of someone on a call, you can automatically join in. Lots of conversations revolve around a series of games you can play while chatting. It’s on Android and Apple but probably not one for a client meeting. www.houseparty.com
And so to Zoom. Launched in 2011, its meteoric rise has been attributed to its ease of use, widespread compatibility, and the fact that you can invite anyone to a call without registration. Features include one-on-one meetings, group video conferences, screen sharing, plugins, browser extensions and the ability to record and transcribe meetings. You can even select a virtual background as your backdrop. On the minus side, it’s got a lot of flak for alleged security weaknesses. zoom.us
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION Facebook’s Portal TV features a camera that automatically pans and zooms to follow you around during video calls, and widens to include everyone, £149, portal.facebook. com/gb/ products/ portal-tv/
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Directory To advertise in the directory in print or online contact Carl Methven on + 44 (0)1534 615886 or email@example.com
OFFSHORE LEGAL ADVICE & SERVICES
Unleash the Power of Automations with Agile Automations Agile Automations specialise in developing bespoke Robotic Process Automations (RPA) and Robotic Desktop Automations (RDA), putting automation at the very heart of your organisation’s infrastructure. An organisation – where employees perform predictable, rule lead, highvolume, transactional processes and data manipulation – will boost their capabilities, increase accuracy, save money and time with RPA. Our robotics act with outstanding efficiency and accuracy, 24 hours a day, while offering enhanced Risk & Governance controls, sometimes eliminating the need for human engagement altogether. At Agile Automations, we do not use any robotics platforms, which allows us to offer a complete, yet flexible solution, for our clients; each automation is bespoke, designed to their unique individual requirements, without any need to compromise. This results in an enhanced Return on Investment. Just as we have seen robots revolutionise manufacturing – by increasing production rates, improving quality and cost savings – RPA is revolutionising the way we think about business processes. To find out how Agile Automations could automate your business, please do not hesitate to contact our CEO Martin Keelagher Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.agileautomations.co.uk Twitter: twitter.com/AAutomations LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ agile-automations/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/ AgileAutomations/
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Great learning boosts performance It’s a simple fact of business that people who know how to use their IT systems properly are more productive and happier at work. At ALX Training, it is our mission to ensure that every person we work with can use their essential applications properly, saving time, smoothing processes and creating a more productive workplace.
OFFSHORE LEGAL ADVICE & SERVICES
Appleby is one of the world’s largest providers of offshore legal advice and services. Uniquely positioned in the key offshore jurisdictions of Bermuda, BVI, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius and the Seychelles, as well as the international financial centres of Hong Kong and Shanghai. We are also the only firm to have offices in all three British Crown Dependencies. Our services include:
Our trainers are renowned for their product knowledge, and their friendly and energetic attitudes to training help them get the best from every person they teach.
l Corporate l Dispute Resolution l Private Client & Trusts l Property
Learning starts at induction We are well-known for our range of Microsoft Office courses which includes Office 365, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Project, SharePoint and Visio but our clients know we can do much more.
Members of the Jersey and Guernsey offices regularly advise London City and international law firms on all legal aspects of offshore corporate, finance and investment fund transactions and arrangements in the Channel Islands.
Not only do we train on well-known accounting packages such a Xero and QuickBooks but we create courses on bespoke in-house systems. We design unique courses specifically for your organisation, so that your staff learn precisely the information they need to work efficiently and effectively.
For more information visit our website www.applebyglobal.com
We know there’s no better place for your new colleagues to start learning than during their induction programme, so we develop bespoke induction courses that give your new starters all the information they need to hit the ground running. We can even deliver content online, so training can be ongoing and continuous.
James Gaudin (Managing Partner - Jersey) Email: email@example.com Jeremy Berchem (Office Managing Group Partner – Guernsey) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact us to discover great learning opportunities: T: 01534 873785 E : email@example.com www.alxtraining.com
Independent and Professional We offer a full range of management and fiduciary services to our domestic and international private clients and corporate structures: Family office - bespoke assurance Wealth management - your strategy l Trustee - impartiality with vision l Corporate services - attention to detail l Good governance - a helpful eye l Strategic guidance - controlled ideas
Be Secure is a consultancy business providing services in the following areas; GDPR data protection ISO 27001 Information Security l Cyber Security l EU Representative services l l
(via Irish office)
Our team has many years of experience dealing with a wide range of clients in different countries. We look to provide good corporate governance to achieve your aim. Contact us: Tim Cartwright – Director firstname.lastname@example.org Lisette Le Creurer – Associate Director email@example.com Wendy Warder – Associate Director firstname.lastname@example.org Áine O’Reilly – Director email@example.com www.baccata.co.je Tel: 00 44 1534 870670 We aim to assist in the provision of personal service to meet your requirements. Ask us. Being vigilant and proactive in the face of a fast changing legal, economic and fiscal landscape. We can provide the focus to your solution. Try us. Regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission
Be Secure, in association with partners who are experienced professionals in data protection, technology, cyber security and legal services are working to deliver high standard assurance and advisory services to Channel Islands organisations. We work as a business partner to your organisation in support of the board of directors, trustees, partners, senior management and staff in managing the governance obligations of data protection in this new GDPR data protection world! Be Secure is lead by a highly experienced finance professional, who has worked in senior roles in private equity owned businesses, in both commercial and financial services business sectors. As a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (“iapp”) and an accredited Certified Information Privacy Professional Europe (CIPP/E), Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM), Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT), GDPR Practitioner, ISO 27001 Lead Implementer and Lead Auditor, Be Secure’s founder and director can help you, and your colleagues, manage this area in a professional and practical way for your organisation and clients. For further information please contact:
Carey Olsen is a leading offshore law firm. We advise on Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey law across a global network of nine international offices. We are a full service law firm working across banking and finance, corporate and M&A, investment funds and private equity, trusts and private wealth, dispute resolution, insolvency and property law. Our clients include global financial institutions, investment funds, private equity houses, multinational corporations, public organisations, sovereign wealth funds, high net worth individuals, family offices, directors, trustees and private clients. We work alongside all of the major onshore law firms, accountancy firms and insolvency practitioners on corporate transactions and matters involving our jurisdictions. Our advice is delivered by an approachable and experienced team of globally-minded lawyers who work in partnership with our clients to help them achieve their objectives. We have the expertise and resources to handle the most complex international transactions combined with a personal approach to business. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org T +44 (0)1481 727272 email@example.com T +44 (0)1534 888900 www.careyolsen.com
Brian Siney, Founder and Director, CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, ISO 27K Lead Implementer, Lead Auditor, FCA firstname.lastname@example.org +44 7797 738743 or www.besecure-consultants.com
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Deloitte LLP provides audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services, bringing world-class capabilities and high-quality services to clients. The company has the broadest and deepest range of skills of any global business advisory organisation and is a world leader in the professional services industry. We advise and deliver for the public sector as well as global and local businesses across every industry. Deloitte employs over 200 professionals in Jersey and Guernsey and is part of Deloitte North South Europe (NSE). The NSE firm brings together 13 countries and over 40,000 talented people, giving the firm the expertise to solve organisations’ most complex challenges and make an impact that matters. John Clacy Partner, Guernsey D: +44 1481 703 210 email@example.com Jo Huxtable Partner, Guernsey D: +44 1481 703 308 firstname.lastname@example.org Alex Adam Partner, Guernsey D: +44 1481 703 214 email@example.com Martin Rowley Partner | Jersey D: +44 20 7007 7665 firstname.lastname@example.org Siobhan Durcan Partner, Jersey D: +44 1534 82 4274 email@example.com Theo Brennand Partner, Jersey D: +44 20 7303 0035 firstname.lastname@example.org www.deloitte.co.uk
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Fiduchi is a leading independent financial services company providing solutions to high-net-worth individuals and businesses around the globe. Our independence ensures we have the flexibility to deliver bespoke solutions - that’s what makes us different! Over 25 years, our director-led teams have built long-term valued relationships with clients and their professional advisors, ensuring a pragmatic and trusted approach to their wealth structuring needs. Using the latest technological cloud-based solutions ensures we have the flexibility to deliver timely and innovative solutions that our clients require. Visit our website to see the comprehensive range of services we provide in the following areas: l Private Wealth l Corporate Services l Fund Services l Yacht Services l Employee Services For more information, visit www.fiduchi.com Alternatively, you can contact: Robert Ayliffe - Executive Director Tel: +44 7700 349 750 Heidi Thompson - Executive Director Tel: +44 7797 966 408 Terry Northcott - Executive Director Tel: +44 7797 715 421 Follow us: Dubai / Jersey / London Fiduchi is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Full legal, data and regulatory notices are published on our website. Fiduchi® is a registered trademark of Fiduchi Group Limited.
Highvern Trustees is a leading provider of wealth structuring, governance and advisory services to an international client base of high-net worth individuals, their families and businesses. It offers senior industry expertise and client focus, developing long term, sustainable client relationships by working closely with getting to know the individual ambitions of every client with whom it works. Highvern Fund Administrators provides a fully tailored suite of bespoke fund services to investment managers and family offices across private capital markets including renewables, private equity, real estate and debt. Both businesses are built on cutting edge technology, truly independent ownership and a team of experts with the shared vision of responding to clients’ needs in a flexible, timely and constructive manner. To discuss how Highvern can help you or your business achieve your goals please contact: Family Office Naomi Rive, Group Director +44(0)1534 480601 email@example.com Private Client Philip Carlton, Client Director +44(0)1534 480610 firstname.lastname@example.org Corporate Naomi Rive, Group Director +44(0)1534 480601 email@example.com Funds Aidan O’Flanagan, Head of Funds +44(0)1534 480690 firstname.lastname@example.org highvern.com Highvern is the registered business name of Highvern Trustees Limited & Highvern Fund Administrators Limited which are regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.
www.blglobal.co.uk To advertise in the directory in print or online contact Carl Methven on + 44 (0)1534 615886 or email@example.com
Intertrust is a global leader in providing techenabled corporate and fund solutions to clients operating and investing in the international business environment. The Company has more than 3,500 employees across 30 jurisdictions in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle-East. Intertrust delivers high-quality, tailored fund, corporate, capital market and private wealth services to its clients, with a view to building long-term relationships. The Company works with global law firms and accountancy firms, multinational corporations, financial institutions, fund managers, high net worth individuals and family offices. In the Channel Islands we offer a comprehensive range of services to our clients and business partners:-
Julius Baer’s origins date back to 1890. From that time the renowned Swiss private banking group has been dedicated to serving and advising sophisticated private clients and family offices from around the world – going on 125 years now. Julius Baer employs more than 120 personnel in Guernsey and offers a full range of financial services, including discretionary portfolio management, investment advisory, structured products and credit services. There is also a dedicated team that supports the needs of External Asset Managers and the Branch works closely with the wider Julius Baer Group through the provision of administration and support services that are delivered from its booking centre.
Corporate Services Fund Services l Real Estate Services l Capital Markets l Private Wealth l Performance & Reward Management Services
Stephen Burt Branch Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
We pride ourselves on providing professional, personal and cross-border services to our clients across the globe, enabling businesses to grow sustainably.
Craig Allen Head of Investment Management email@example.com
For further information, please contact Jacob Smed Managing Director, Jersey +44 (0) 1534 504000 firstname.lastname@example.org Marie McNeela Managing Director, Guernsey +44 (0) 1481 211275 email@example.com Intertrust Jersey is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and Intertrust Guernsey is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.
Jean-Luc Le Tocq Head of Private Banking firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaun Kelling Head of External Asset Management email@example.com https://www.juliusbaer.com/gg/en/home/ Bank Julius Baer & Co Ltd, Guernsey Branch is licensed in Guernsey to provide banking and investment services and is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.
Ogier provides legal advice on BVI, Cayman, Guernsey, Jersey and Luxembourg law. Our network of locations also includes Hong Kong, London, Shanghai and Tokyo. Legal services for the corporate and financial sectors form the core of the business, principally in the areas of banking and finance, corporate, investment funds, dispute resolution, private equity and private wealth. Ogier has strong practices in the areas of employee benefits and incentives, employment law, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency and property. We are a registered listing agent for The International Stock Exchange (TISE, formerly known as The Channel Islands Securities Exchange or CISE) and frequently advise companies listing on other exchanges whether offshore or onshore. We also provide pan-Island legal services for local Channel Islands businesses and individuals. Contact: Guernsey Redwood House St Julian’s Avenue St Peter Port Guernsey GY1 1WA T +44 (0)1481 721672 E firstname.lastname@example.org Jersey 44 Esplanade St Helier Jersey Channel Islands JE4 9WG T +44 (0)1534 514000 E email@example.com Website: www.ogier.com
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To advertise in the directory in print or online contact Carl Methven on + 44 (0)1534 615886 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialty: Bespoke IT Development & Business Consultancy
Building trust in society and solving important problems
Puritas is an award-winning provider of intuitive software and business solutions for the financial services industry.
We focus on three things at PwC in the Channel Islands: assurance, tax and advisory services. But how we use our knowledge and experience depends on what you want to achieve. So whichever one of our 390 staff in the Channel Islands you work with (or 225,000 people across the PwC global network of member firms), they’ll start by asking the following questions:
Specifically designed to meet the increasingly complex accounting, compliance, and reporting needs of our clients, all software features robust audit and control capabilities which can be easily updated to reflect changes in the regulatory environment. Our products include: l PureFunds - a unitized product platform specifically designed to support many different types of asset class and fund structures and help fund administrators and portfolio managers better manage investor activity l P ureClient - an advanced customer due diligence/client management system which will maintain and update client records for any entity or relationship and provides the necessary transparency and look-through reporting that is needed to manage sophisticated structures l PureManager - a bespoke software package for fund and investment managers which provides for effective control, analysis, reconciliation and reporting of daily trading activity. As well as software development, our services include: l Systems integration and implementation l Programme and project management l Project and business consultancy To find out more how Puritas can help your business. Contact: Mike Feighan - Director Phone: +44 (0) 1534 874100 Email: email@example.com
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Are you looking to build trust? Give your shareholders more value? Or do you want to do something completely different with your strategy? When we work with you we really listen, to understand you better. We’ll get to know you, your business and your goals. Then we’ll share what we’ve learned to help you get there. We want to deliver the value that you, our clients, our people and our communities are looking for. Talk to us about your issues and aspirations. For further information, please contact: John Roche, Partner, Guernsey Phone: +44 1481 752040 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Karl Hairon, Partner, Jersey Phone: +44 1534 838276 Email: email@example.com Follow us: @PwC_CI www.pwc.com/jg
About RBC Wealth Management For more than a century, RBC Wealth Management has provided trusted advice and wealth management solutions to individuals, families and institutions. We are truly a global organisation, bringing our diverse expertise and deep knowledge to the sophisticated financial needs of our clients around the world. As one of the world’s top five largest wealth managers*, RBC Wealth Management directly serves clients globally with a full suite of banking, investment, trust and other wealth management solutions, from our key operational hubs in Canada, the United States, the British Isles, and Asia. The business also provides asset management products and services directly and through RBC and third party distributors to institutional and individual clients, through its RBC Global Asset Management business (which includes BlueBay Asset Management). For more information, please visit www.rbcwealthmanagement.com Contact: Phone number Tel. +44 (0) 1534 283 000 Address Gaspé House 66-72 Esplanade St. Helier, Jersey Channel Islands, JE2 3QT *Scorpio Partnership Global Private Banking KPI Benchmark 2018. In the United States, securities are offered through RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. Member NYSE/FINRA/ SIPC. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.
BL Directory Redcoin – Your Cyber Security is our Priority. Redcoin are a Jersey based IT Security Distributor, providing Cyber Security Solutions, Services and Support across the Channel Islands and UK markets, through our established Reseller Channels. Our objectives are to deliver guidance, education and support to the Islands businesses, to enhance their protection and understanding of the ever-changing Cyber Security Treat landscape. Our Independent security reviews are designed to give a baseline understanding of the Companies current IT position, supported by an informative and high-level report summarizing areas of strength, areas that can be improved by optimizing existing IT investment, along with key areas for consideration when planning future IT spend. Our technology portfolio provides Industry leading technologies, at an affordable cost, for all sizes and requirements of our Channel Islands clients. We can supply and support local resellers with the implementation of chosen solutions or make unbiased recommendations of other more suitable offerings outside of our portfolio.
ONLINE DIRECTORY THE ONLINE DIRECTORY THAT WILL GET YOUR FIRM NOTICED. With a profile summary on every press release, and a historical press release archive linked to your directory entry, BLGlobal.co.uk is the place to be
Only £150m per annu
For more information please visit – www.redcoin.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Linkedin – Redcoin Limited
TO GET YOUR FIRM LISTED IN THE DIRECTORY CONTACT CARL METHVEN +44 (0) 1534 615886 / +44 (0) 7797 796377 OR CARL.METHVEN BLGLOBAL.CO.UK
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questions with ANDY SHAW
Tea or coffee? Tea for me, but it must be strong. Favourite song ever? Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It’s an anthem. Most amazing place you’ve ever visited? I was left in awe of the Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The 1,000-year-old temple provided an unrivalled atmosphere in the middle of the Cambodian jungle. Your best quality? Friendliness. The worst thing about you? I’m a really quick walker. People comment on it all the time, but I just can’t change it.
WAT A TEMPLE
Favourite food? Macaroni cheese. Cats or dogs? Cats – but not scratchy ones. The calm ones. Can you play a musical instrument? Like many people, I wish I could, but I can’t. First job you had? Electrical salesman at the retailer Comet. Worst job you’ve done? I’d have to say it was working as an ice rink attendant at Friday night disco sessions. You’re working while everyone else is having fun. What’s at the top of your bucket list? I would really love to go to the Wimbledon finals day and take in the drama of it all live. Favourite book? I’m not really into novels, but I am a big fan of anything on wildlife.
Sweet or savoury? Savoury. Always.
Have you ever met anyone famous? I met Boris Becker and The Rock at a mall in Miami – on the same day!
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with? As a keen Aberdeen FC fan, I would have to say Alex Ferguson, so he could lift the lid on some of his ideas and tactics – and obviously reminisce about AFC’s glory days. He was a great manager for us before he had even more success with Manchester United. Who would be your three perfect dinner party guests? I would love to have dinner with Pep Guardiola, as his teammanagement skills are second to none, and it would be great to get some tips from him. I would also have to have Liam Gallagher there as I’m a huge Oasis fan. Finally, it would be Brian May, as I’m sure he would have some great stories to share over dinner from the Queen days.
Dwayne Johnson image: Kathy Hutchins, Brian May image: Avis De Miranda / Shutterstock.com
What one item would you save if your house was on fire (family excepted)? My road bike. What buzzword do you hate the most? Granularity. What do you have for breakfast? Weetabix with raisins. It’s a great way to start the day. Tell us something about you that people might be surprised by? Despite the fact that I have never been on skis in my life, I am a very keen snowboarder! Andy was recently appointed Senior Manager at Grant Thornton in the Channel Islands, having moved across from the UK.
90 june/july 2020
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