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Time to flourish: A practical guide to enhancing operational resilience in the UK financial services sector

The UK financial services sector has experienced market shocks as diverse as the global financial crisis, geopolitical events, technology failures and a hostile cyber environment. In response, regulatory attention is focusing on how firms and financial market infrastructures (FMI) improve their operational resilience to high-impact events.

In July 2018, the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority published a discussion paper recognising the complexity of the financial services sector and proposing ways firms and FMI can improve operational resilience to severe but plausible events.

I would like our firms to be on a WAR footing: with-stand, absorb, recover.

Lyndon Nelson, Deputy CEO & Executive Director, Bank of England

In our latest report, we outline how the financial services sector can get ahead of the regulator and enhance operational resilience within their organisations. Our practical guide identifies five opportunities and includes worked examples. These opportunities are:

1. Business Services

Firms and FMI should adopt a business services view to focus time, effort and resources on what is important to the customer, consumers more generally and the sector as a whole.

2. Impact categories

Business services should be prioritised by their relative importance against three main categories: financial stability; organisational viability; and customers and other market participants harm.

3. Impact tolerances

Firms and FMI should express their tolerated threshold for severe but plausible disruption to important business services as well as setting an objective to ensure that threshold is not breached. These are not just time-based but clear business statements of outcome-based objectives.

4. Communications

Firms and FMI should thoroughly think about how to manage prompt and meaningful communications during a disruption, including ensuring the necessary capacity to do so, to maintain confidence in the organisation and reduce harm caused.

5. Scenario testing

Once tolerances for disruption are established, they should be tested against dynamic scenarios to prove they can be met.


Find out how we can help your organisation


As leaders and pioneers in resilience and crisis management over the last 10 years, we have a depth and breadth of expertise and are well placed to help firms and FMI understand the complexities and nuances involved in building operational resilience.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues or opportunities raised in this report, get in touch with one of our team.

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