Monday 1 June 2020 12:01 am

Exclusive: Financial services firms unlikely to return to the 'old normal'

The coronavirus crisis is likely to accelerate the adoption of technology within financial services, according to accountancy firm EY. 

In an EY poll of more than 200 financial services firms, almost two thirds of respondents think the workplace will fundamentally change after the pandemic. A further 30 per cent expect moderate change. 

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Simon Turner, a financial services partner at EY said: “Financial services is unlikely to return to the ‘old normal’, and new ways of working – incorporating a far greater degree of technology and flexible working – seem inevitable.” 

Technology is expected to develop at an accelerated pace, with 87 per cent of those polled claim that working from home during lockdown will result in firms transforming their technology faster than anticipated. 

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City firms have started to plot their return to work but most banks have indicated that they are unlikely to have the majority of employees return to the office until at least September.

It is likely that strict social distancing guidelines, paired with staggered travel times may make some firms reconsider a return since working from home is working well on the most part. 

EY’s survey found that 99 per cent of firms have found their employees are working “productively and effectively”.

Turner adds that the predicted shift away from predominantly office-based work will “mean new ways of idea creation and knowledge sharing will need to be carefully thought-through and developed.” 

Read more: Coronavirus triggers profit warning spike for financial services businesses

The shift in working is also likely to increase the focus on climate change, as over half of respondents believe their firms will actively want to do more within the space.

There has been a shift in attitudes over the past few years, with ESG issues dominating many AGMs. And, almost a third believe the coronavirus crisis will be a turning point for climate change issues.

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