Managing extensive remote working arrangements

FIs remain vigilant towards remote working risks and take pre-emptive steps to mitigate them.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) jointly issued today a paper on managing new risks that could emerge from extensive remote working arrangements adopted by financial institutions (FIs) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The paper “Risk Management and Operational Resilience in a Remote Working Environment” highlights that, in view of the protracted remote working arrangements and the likely adoption of hybrid working arrangements in future, it is important that FIs remain vigilant towards remote working risks and take pre-emptive steps to mitigate them.

MAS encourages FIs to benchmark their remote working controls against the examples in the Paper. FIs should also continually review and enhance their risk management practices addressing evolving risks.

The Paper is part of the ongoing collaboration between MAS and ABS’ Return to Onsite Operations Taskforce (ROOT), to coordinate responses to the crisis and prepare for a post COVID-19 new normal said Ong Chong Tee deputy managing director (Financial Supervision) at MAS.

“Financial institutions in Singapore have swiftly adapted to remote working and split-team arrangements in response to COVID-19,” he said. “The operational resilience of our financial institutions during this period reflects the soundness of their business continuity management plans. It also underscores the importance of regular tests through internal drills and industry-wide exercises jointly organised by the MAS and the financial industry.”

Tee noted investments in the digitalisation of work processes and services over the past five years have also enabled our financial institutions to continue to provide a high level of support to meet the needs of individuals and businesses, during the pandemic.

Over the years, banks have invested consistently and significantly in risk management and technology, said Samuel Tsien chairman of ABS.

“The investments have enabled the industry to quickly and effectively respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure that banking services are not disrupted during the crisis,” he said.

Where their roles permitted, banks have decided to facilitate their employees to work from home in a safe and secured environment and allowed the continued provision of services that our customers needed.

“This outcome is not only due to individual banks’ efforts,” noted Tsien. “It was also a collective one. ABS and ROOT, working together with MAS, coordinated the financial sector’s response to the crisis. It will serve as a valuable reference guide to all banks as remote and flexible work arrangements continue to be adopted as the pandemic evolves.”




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