EY’s Paul Traynor recently provided the below commentary for the Finance Dublin Yearbook (published August 2020).
Q: Ireland’s funds industry provides direct employment for over 16,000 people. Rapid technological change is taking place, affecting the work processes of many of the workforce in the industry. Covid-19, with its working from home and social distancing, will provide new organisational challenges for the funds industry, as it does for all FS businesses.
In what major ways can this major challenge be surmounted by the industry in 2020?
Covid-19 responses have illustrated the potential for scaled transformation at speed. New conceptions of resilience and agility, combined with the prevailing economic conditions, will influence the boldness of future decisions.
The initial focus of the funds industry was the safety and wellbeing of employees. While the rush to working from home was largely successful, there were bumps in the road:
The focus quickly shifted to putting in place processes and tools that would facilitate a prolonged period of working from home. Firms turned their attention to:
More will need to be done to industrialise the work from home environment. No doubt the Central Bank will be evaluating how firms’ risk management and liquidity frameworks and governance more generally held up, perhaps tagged on to their upcoming organisational effectiveness thematic inspections.
Societal, customer and employee behaviours and expectations have shifted; for example:
Ireland’s funds industry has an opportunity to play a significant role in the transformation of the investment management industry globally. Covid-19 has demonstrated that technology-enabled hybrid and distributed work models can be very effective. The industry in Ireland can help solve the challenges of cost-effective service delivery and the need for regulatory substance arising from Brexit by re-shoring to Ireland value-added activities from other financial centres.
Given the talent pool (including individuals currently employed in the tech sector) and our proximity to the EU, the UK and the US, the industry is well placed to play an extended role in areas such as:
By embracing this opportunity, we will grow employment, position Ireland at the centre of responsible investing and play a role in solving the global savings shortfall.
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