Our integrated service model has shown its strength during the COVID-19 pandemic, say David Le Cloirec, Head of Onboarding and Executive Committee member at Credit Suisse Fund Services, and Caroline Denies, Head of Governance at MultiConcept Fund Management, Credit Suisse Asset Servicing’s super ManCo. Interview.
How did Credit Suisse ensure business continuity during the Covid-19 crisis?
David Le Cloirec: First of all, on behalf of the entire management team of our entities in Luxembourg, we would like to send a message of support to all the victims of the crisis and a message of thanks to all medical staff and all key workers who have helped and continue to deal with the crisis. The health and safety of our employees, clients, partners and stakeholders remains our top priority. The focus during this demanding time was on being responsive and on quickly implementing effective measures to protect our employees, partners and communities. Specifically, we deployed our robust business continuity management capabilities to ensure continuity of service for our clients and to implement the various measures required. We set up a split organisation, with separate teams, paying particular attention to employees with heightened risk and to departments with business critical processes and services. We then ensured a rapid roll-out of remote working capabilities for all our employees globally. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have, from an early stage, implemented various health and safety measures that are consistent with the guidance and recommendations from both the national and international health authorities, as well as regulatory authorities.
Caroline Denies: From a business continuity perspective, we remain completely in line with MultiConcept Fund Management’s #4S approach: Substance, Safety, Service, Sustainability. Our Substance was ensured with 100% of our employees working from home, allowing unimpeded service delivery to our clients, while remaining in full compliance with the regulator’s guidelines.
David Le Cloirec and Caroline Denies (Credit Suisse): the virtues of an integrated model
"During the crisis, our integrated "one-stop-shop" model, which covers the entire value chain of Credit Suisse Asset Servicing and Custodian Bank, proved its strength"
Have your clients’ needs changed during this period?
DLC: There has been need for additional support and advice during the COVID-19 crisis but our first impression is that our clients’ needs have not fundamentally changed. Some project postponements have occurred but these were linked to some of our clients’ constraints in terms of time and resources. On the contrary, the continuity of our business has even enabled us to partially offset the temporary decline in asset value related to market turmoil. We have continued to integrate new clients, to launch new funds and to collect additional assets for our existing funds. We have a strong pipeline of new clients, new fund launches and additional assets under management in our existing funds, which is a testament to the appeal of our service offering. During the crisis, our integrated "one-stop-shop" model, which covers the entire value chain of Credit Suisse Asset Servicing and Custodian Bank, proved its strength. Our clients were able to benefit from the synergies within the group and the proximity of the various teams and entities, which were well co-ordinated and synchronised in the face of the crisis. We believe that this has resulted in a better client experience compared to more fragmented models which include different service providers.
CD: We had to adapt to continue delivering our services, including adopting remote communications with our customers. The best example is the holding of virtual board meetings which we have organised in application of the crisis legislatives measures. In addition, we have seen an emerging need for support for projects related to the economic situation and intended to help the most affected communities. Investment vehicles are in preparation and we are working with our clients to bring them to life in the near future.
"We ensured unimpeded service delivery to our clients, while remaining in full compliance with the regulator’s guidelines."
What role did technology play?
DLC: Technology has played a key role in ensuring the continuity and relationship management. By facilitating new processes, technology has enabled us to virtualise our relationships. This complicated period has been an excellent opportunity for digitisation and the implementation of different ways of working which will be essential in the future. The most agile and resilient companies will emerge stronger from this crisis, with a service model and an operational structure adapted to the post-COVID-19 era. We were already in a favourable position and are now poised to emerge even stronger from this crisis.