The need to plan and prepare for operational disruption within the financial services industry has never been more important. Advancements in automation and artificial intelligence, growing cyber risk, increased outsourcing, economic disruptions such as Brexit and climate risk have all made this need more acute. Historically, firms have focused on preventing disruption, but increasingly regulators are requiring firms to assume disruption will occur and have plans in place to ensure continuity of service. 

While media coverage of operational resilience focuses on major incidents or outages within financial services firms, the national headlines throughout 2019 have also highlighted that operational resilience is a key focus for a number of other industries. Telecoms outages, energy supply interruptions and service pressures in the NHS are just a few examples. Throughout this paper, we will investigate how other sectors approach resilience and what lessons the financial services industry can learn from them, focusing on the following questions: 

  • Who is responsible for ensuring resilience?
  • What services do firms need to ensure are resilient?
  • How resilient does a firm need to be?
  • How can firms assess resilience? What happens when it all goes wrong?
  • How can firms assess the impacts of a resilience incident?
  • What does good resilience testing look like?
  • What role can the regulator and industry play?

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