Comment: Pandemic boosts digitalisation across the industry

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Comment: Pandemic boosts digitalisation across the industry

Traditional ways of working have changed very quickly as a result of the covid-19 pandemic unfolding at an unprecedented pace, needing us to adapt to changing circumstances rapidly. Kavitha Ramachandran considers the implications for the funds industry.

The pandemic has certainly accelerated change and digitalisation in ways that we never imagined, including the funds industry in Luxembourg.

Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Planning processes used to be tested on an annual basis and reports updated for Operational Due Diligence and regulatory compliance purposes. Teleworking and working from home were often talked about and debated, yet very few companies actually implemented this given cross-border issues. The pandemic rapidly accelerated this from an idea to be debated pre-covid-19 to urgent implementation as the pandemic escalated to global lockdowns.

Talent is a key topic for the Luxembourg finance and wider funds industry. With enhanced cross-border working post covid-19, companies would be able to draw on talent virtually."

Do we want to make permanent changes to the way we work and our environment?
The question now arises, do companies need to invest the same amount of resources in space and machines that remain idle, or better use these resources to further enhance the digital impact through investing in measures for their employees to work from home?

Talent is a key topic for the Luxembourg finance and wider funds industry. With enhanced cross-border working post covid-19, companies would be able to draw on talent virtually.

Travel bans have meant less movement of people and movement towards a virtual reality which is here to stay - so why not make use of this? Conferences will never be the same again and this is an area where we are going to see virtual reality play a major role as organisations move to digi-conference mode. Key industry bodies are boldly pioneering these efforts. We will also see further enhancement of digital marketing content as we lean towards social media for distribution.

Digitalisation of meetings could help save costs and time and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of board and shareholder meetings. Electronic or e-signatures are here to stay.

It may indeed be that we would in fact prefer not to revert to our office commute and printing days.

All this is testimony to one of the biggest focuses - climate change and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) aspects. It is not only the "E" that the lens should focus on but the "S" factors as well combined with good governance. Irrespective of the asset class, be it traditional funds or alternative assets, ESG aspects will be coming to the fore as investors seek to better differentiate between products and services.

This is where technology and digitalisation will be valuable contributors as we build meaningful measuring standards and dashboards for both investors and those managing assets. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will doubtless play key roles in taking this to the next level and beyond.

IT infrastructure, strengthened cyber security, and a well-stocked bookshelf serving as a backdrop for conference calls, are proving to be cornerstones as we adjust to a new normal post covid-19 and "hit reset."

Kavitha Ramachandran is head of business development and client management (Continental Europe) at Maitland, in Luxembourg.

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