IT teams: In the eye of the storm - the importance of remaining calmPublished on 02 Apr 2020
Q&A: Nicholas Bernard, Chief Technology Officer
What is the most important thing to remember when crisis strikes?
It sounds simple but remain calm and focus on your people. Slow down and absorb the information delivered to you. From here, you analyse, make decisions and communicate in a timely manner. If things go wrong, blame should not come in to it. It is about finding a solution that will mitigate risk.
How do you reassure clients during a time of crisis?
When it comes to reassuring clients, we must first be able to demonstrate we are able to work remotely, prove we have the systems in place and that and we are still there for them.
Having been a relationship manager myself for many years, I know how important it is to stay in touch with clients. Now is not the time to put up a front: have empathy and be honest – it is important to be authentic.
What is your modus operandi for this period of uncertainty?
We are fortunate to have leaders in the firm who have a thorough understanding of risk and are willing to invest in best-of-breed technology. Our mantra is: hope for the best but expect the worst. This focus on risk mitigation stems from a promise we make to our clients - that we are a robust, stable, secure firm.
What makes IT run smoothly?
In many ways, it is more about the people than the technology. As CTO, my job is to ensure that we have a great team. Our systems offer a platform but it is the team that has responsible for the firm’s ability to move quickly to new working practices. They have been absolutely brilliant. They have successfully moved 100% of staff to remote working and have truly demonstrated the value of our people and systems, helping us serve clients.
How will the coronavirus change the way we work?
It has already sped up the adoption of digital technologies of course, but it will also alter client expectations. Virtual meetings and remote working are the new norm.
For a while, we have been investing in our platform with a view to enabling agile working from multiple locations. It has been hugely beneficial to have this capability in place to accommodate the new environment. We will continue to embrace technology to remain relevant to the next generation of clients. There will always be value in face-to-face contact however I believe we are seeing a cultural shift in real time.
Nicholas Bernard joined the Group in 2006, originally working for TriAlpha Investment Advisors in London as a Financial Analyst and then moving to Switzerland to head up the Client Reporting Division. He is a Partner and the Chief Technology Officer for the Group.