Working from home increased consideration of mental health, combatting cyber security, pivoting the advice process, and managing overseas and physically remote clients. These were just a few examples of the risks and changes that COVID-19 has forced our business to adapt to in the last year. Whilst challenging at times, these operational and lifestyle shifts have taught us how resilient we really are. They have showed us that we have the skillset to pivot the business quickly and efficiently in times of need to continue to meet the needs of our clients.
Despite the difficulties that COVID-19 brought with it, it also sharpened our focus on the strategic risks inherent in digital transformation, as we strived to continue to deliver services to our clients outside the traditional face to face meeting model. This has allowed us to rethink and reframe our approach to cyber security and data privacy in a way that we expect will deliver longer term benefits to both our clients and our business.
The risk profession in particular felt the impact of COVID-19 as process, policy and its role in the business were elevated in response, so it was an interesting time to lead our risk and compliance team and become the Chief Risk Officer for the Group. Although challenging it enabled us as a business to use this time to focus on our risk capability and use it in our pivotal decision making. The focus was on key areas: how we support our clients, our staff and ensure our business continues to deliver and remain profitable in this challenging environment.
I am proud of our legal, risk and compliance teams in how they stood up to the challenge, provided sound advice and supported the business through this time while still keeping our existing processes working. This was coupled with a proactive leadership team that was able to embrace change and leverage our compliance and risk frameworks to make sound decisions that will take us into the future.
Our next year will continue to provide further challenges resulting from strategies to manage COVID-19, continued mental and technology impacts, and significant regulatory change in our financial services obligations, but if we have learnt anything from this past year, it’s that change is inevitable and unpredictable.
Different challenges will continue to come our way, and whether they originate from industry, health events, shifts in client engagement models, regulation, cyber threats, or global economic changes, we know that being prepared, willing to learn and knowing our risks places us in the driver’s seat in adapting to and managing the new landscape.
Kasia Gascoigne is Chief Risk Officer at Viridian Advisory.
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