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SPECIAL REPORT: Analysis of COVID-19’s impact on financial services firms

How are financial service firms delivering for customers during the current pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented chaos and uncertainty. Financial services firms are struggling to maintain a degree of stability while still delivering required customer outcomes. The ramifications for firms and, particularly, their risk and compliance functions, will be profound.

Seeking to ensure that a firm remains compliant is a full-time job even in ordinary times; in this crisis, it requires a well-resourced in-house compliance function that is empowered, agile, and flexible enough to help the overall organization navigate through the worst of the uncertainty.

This report, COVID-19: Q1 summary of analysis highlighting the impact on financial services firms, prepared by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence (TRRI) is a collection of extracts from articles that have appeared been published by TRRI during the first quarter of this year, as the pandemic was beginning to escalate. It focuses on the regulatory (rather than the fiscal, economic, or financial) impact of the crisis and is not intended to be a detailed chronology of how the crisis developed.

You can download a full copy of TRRI’s report, COVID-19: Q1 summary of analysis highlighting the impact on financial services firms, here.

The report covers the main areas of TRRI’s coverage and is intended to help inform the global risk and compliance community on regulatory developments during this difficult time. It is divided into the following sections:

        • planning for uncertainty;
        • managing risks;
        • communicating with regulators;
        • working remotely; and
        • responding to the crisis.

The report’s primary focus is on what firms and their compliance functions can and should do to remain compliant with evolving regulatory actions and expectations.

Firms and their clients are in survival mode — they’re dealing with the impact of the pandemic, while at the same time, planning for uncertain timescales and unfolding responses. The best advice for firms is to stick to the bare minimum in terms of business activity, to seek continued good customer outcomes, and to document what they have done and why.

In the turmoil of the crisis, regulators have been giving firms considerable latitude, but that will not stop forbearance from turning into prescriptive hindsight once COVID-19 is in the past.

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