Posted on 28 April 2020

Business as Usual: Outsourced Service Providers Prove Their Worth

2020 AR 009 - Ross McCann (Finance Dublin) Header


As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact all corners of the globe, orders to ‘stay at home’ are commonplace worldwide. With investment managers’ time heavily prioritised toward staying in front of their investors and investments while trying to strategize around potential opportunities, it becomes more important than ever that outsourced service providers are in a strong position to deal with unexpected events, take care of ‘BAU’ and indeed stand ready to support new fund launches and new clients.


Business Resilience is Key

Scalability, resource flexibility, expertise and operating model efficiency are typically hailed as the main benefits to partnering with outsourced service providers. Growing global risks in recent years however, such as cyber security and climate change, mean managers and regulators have been placing greater focus on the robustness of service providers’ Business Continuity Plans.


Ongoing testing of plans is standard, however the ISO 22301 Certification for Business Continuity Management is another key way that service providers can assess and continually improve their business resilience whilst demonstrating to existing and potential clients that the business is strongly placed to minimise or avoid disruption if a significant event occurs.


“Resilience has always been important when selecting service providers. The current environment will galvanise the view that one of the foremost criteria should be reliability of service and robustness of business continuity planning,” explained Ross McCann, Head of Fund Services Ireland for Alter Domus. “Investment managers rely on providers to give them scalability but it must be robust. They should have reassurance that service providers can maintain delivery under the most challenging circumstances, and COVID-19 is making it readily apparent why this is critical.”


“In the event of a crisis or force majeure event, service providers with the latest technology are clearly in a stronger position to maintain or indeed enhance delivery,” Ross continued. “It is also important from a staffing and resource perspective to ensure staff can easily interact and collaborate across the business.”



The trend of flexible working, including working from home, has been growing in popularity as technology has advanced and in full employment markets, companies saw growing demand from employees to better balance their home and work life. For those who embraced it, in many ways this trend has contributed to business resilience in the current pandemic scenario.


However, whilst most companies in the Financial Services sector built ‘working from home’ into their Business Continuity Plans, they will not have envisaged such a full scale scenario over such a long time period and this has required some adjustments and tailoring. For example original short term working solutions for staff may have been ramped up in terms of both hardware and software to enable employees to work in more comfortable and secure home office environments. Changes made in these last weeks may be required to last for several months. The more comfortable, equipped and connected employees are the easier it will be for ‘BAU’.     


Human Resources Support

The Human Resource function is perhaps a less considered area when selecting service providers or considering their business resilience, but one whose importance to maintaining and growing headcount has become ever more apparent in a COVID-19 world. In a sudden, enforced and long-term material change to ‘normal’ working conditions, service providers, more than ever, need flexibility in managing the human/social impact of COVID-19 on its employees. Key is utilising HR functions which are well resourced and engaged, needing to successfully on-board and support staff, making them feel part of their organisation whilst not being physically in the office. This requires sophisticated and interactive training, coaching and collaboration.


Structures in place from service model to technology to human focus are equally critical to the long-term welfare of employees and the success and growth of the business and its clients.


Ross concluded, “An outsourced service provider like Alter Domus demonstrates its true worth during times of crisis. The most capable providers will have the resources, experience and insight to lead clients through volatile times and support their operations under the most challenging business environments.”



  Ross McCann

  Head of Fund Services Ireland

  +353 1 486 6618