Seven Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic Changes the Fiduciary Sector

By Costas Christoforou, CEO at CPM Corporate Administration Services

It is increasingly likely that the corporate administration and wider fiduciary industry will see  drastic changes as of March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organisation declared a global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The business world accepts that the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our economy, financial systems, healthcare systems, and even on the long-accepted structure of a day at the office. 

Although it has come as a major shock, in hindsight some of the rapid changes may be adopted by companies going forward because they offer flexibility and efficiencies that could benefit the bottom line, saving time and money. 

Seven of these changes stand out as good examples. 

Increase in remote communications

As the lockdowns restrict our daily work lives, an extraordinary number of employees are working from home. There has been a sudden, extensive surge in remote communications of online video and conference calls. 

Remote communications systems are now an even more integral and necessary part of carrying out administrative tasks or communicating daily work agendas. They have enabled business continuity plans and kept teams together through the crisis. 

Not least, the new en masse remote workers have more psychological ease because they can be closer to their families, meaning they are more motivated and productive considering the circumstances. 

Higher efficiencies due to increase in online services

We’re experiencing a skyrocketing rate of online services, resulting in higher efficiencies. 

The use of online software for submitting tax and other administrative forms is set to become more sophisticated. The crisis has prompted a rapid evolution towards online systems that are more conducive to social distancing, remote work teams, quarantine and self-isolation. 

Increase in digitalisation

Nothing can replace human relationships between colleagues and associates, but an increase in digitalisation can help maintain these relationships during the pandemic. 

Social media workspaces and professional networking media like Linkedin are set to become even more influential in maintaining productive relationships.

Going forward, it’s likely there will be an emphasis on digital communications like intra-nets and online client accounts as an effective way of staying in touch, sharing fast-changing information and quicker work processing. 

More specialisation in digital services

As digital services become more prevalent, it’s likely that administrative services firms will invest more resources in virtual systems to serve their clients seamlessly. Virtual reality meetings and use of artificial intelligence may become routine as digital services become more deeply integrated in our working lives. 

Of course, enhancements in the IT department would be a priority to ensure strong security measures and data protection. 

This makes sense during times of crisis and beyond. 

Changing HR needs

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to trigger some fundamental changes in human resource practices, resulting in a focus on candidates and employees who are at ease with online communication and digitalisation of fiduciary services. 

More teleconferences, video conferences

As self-isolation becomes part of state-operated departments like company registrars, it’s likely for the immediate future that teleconferences and video conferences will become more common. This would be more hygienic, healthier and more efficient all around, while boosting virtual globalisation.  That said, when businesses return to normality, in-person visits will be added on the agenda.

Increased digital signatures and email signoffs

Manual approvals and signatures on documents have traditionally dragged on the pace of administration but that may all change in the coronavirus reality. Digital signatures and email sign-offs will likely become routine as methods of staying healthy and avoiding risky face-to-face meetings under the coronavirus circumstances. 

In conclusion, after the virus is stopped in its tracks with medical and social containment methods, it is likely there will still be lingering caution and a need to keep our distance for hopefully not too much time to come. In the meantime, the solution for administrative services firms is to consider which digital systems and working practices benefit them the most and adapt accordingly in order to best service client needs.