As COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) continues to spread across the globe, financial firms are focused on serving clients, customers and communities and supporting the broader economy. This includes a variety of measures and activating continuity plans to safeguard operations during a period of heightened disruption. The focus of this IIF Staff Paper – “Managing Through the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Financial Firms are Responding” – is on how the financial services industry has been responding to date to the pandemic with an emphasis on the role of business continuity plans – which include measures for possible pandemics. While it is still early to know what the eventual full impact of COVID-19 will be, the financial sector is preparing for the different possible outcomes.
Regulators are currently considering operational resilience frameworks and industry guidance regarding the importance of anticipating and testing for a wide range of disruptions. The recent focus by regulators and supervisors on operational resilience is aimed at ensuring the ability of firms and the financial system as a whole to identify, detect, protect, adapt and respond to, as well as recover and learn from, operational disruptions. This IIF paper describes the preventative measures that firms are taking to safeguard their workforce and clients, and to prepare for possible further and continued disruptions to their operations and explores the comprehensive policies, procedures and processes in place for ensuring that critical operations can be maintained or recovered through disruptions – including for pandemics.