Remote working is risky for investment industry report warns

FICC markets industry report warns of nine key risks from the 'new normal' including behaviour and mental health

Remote working is risky for investment industry report warns
Steve Randall

This year has given many industries a taste of what’s possible when necessity drives change in working practices.

For the fixed income, currencies, and commodities (FICC) industry, like many others, remote working has played a major role in keeping business as near normal as possible during global lockdowns.

But an industry body report warns that remote working poses several key risks.

The report is from the UK’s FICC Markets Standards Board (FMSB) which brought together (virtually of course), a working group including Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Barclays, and BlackRock, to consider the impacts of financial services activities being undertaken by a workforce which is widely distributed and using remote working.

Among the concerns are that those working from home may be less likely to admit mistakes which may then be undetected. It will also be harder for firms to pick up on mental health issues and other matters such as substance abuse or domestic violence.

Some professionals may feel pressured to return to the workplace or feel that they need to take riskier decisions to better compete with colleagues who may be in the office and perceived as closer to managers.

The nine risk factors
Nine main themes have been identified by the report as risks:

  1. Control limitations – e.g. keeping track of suspicious activity
  2. Execution risks – e.g. trader profiteering
  3. Governance – e.g. policy/procedure breeches
  4. Heightened cyber risk
  5. Sales lifecycle – e.g. weakened client communications
  6. Sharing of confidential information – e.g. using personal IT
  7. Staff treatment and productivity -e.g. unsuitable home working environments
  8. Third party risk – e.g. loss of third party staff services
  9. Threats to market effectiveness – e.g. increased reliance on critical technology

FMSB CEO Martin Pluves says the report will help industry firms identify and mitigate the risks during this ongoing period of significant change.

“The rapid transition to widespread and prolonged remote working presented significant new challenges for all participants in wholesale FICC markets,” he said. “It would appear that remote working in one form or another is here to stay and each firm must navigate its own unique set of challenges.”

The report is available at: