The NZ investment back-office switched seamlessly into COVID mode again last week as operational practices adopted in 2020 proved resilient, according to MMC chief, Vedran Babic.
Babic said with the investment industry now attuned to pandemic-related disruption, market players were able to comfortably ride out the latest lockdown.
He said as Auckland-based investment firms reverted to work-from-home protocols their core operations continued without interruption, supported by new technology and a now in-depth knowledge of how to manage through COVID level volatility.
“Both MMC and our clients now have plenty of practice in handling the uncertainty of short-notice lockdowns,” Babic said. “We’ve adapted quickly to the threats posed by COVID with flexible work policies and technological solutions that ensure the investment machinery functions smoothly.”
Just prior to the latest jump to COVID Level 3 in Auckland, MMC published a case study outlining how the company and its clients managed the first round of the pandemic last year.
“As the first lockdown was announced, MMC transitioned smoothly and swiftly into full remote working, where everyone was set up to be productive from home and continue delivering business as usual services to clients,” Babic said.
MMC clients including Mint Asset Management, Rutherford Rede and Westpac also noted the first dive into Level 4 lockdown put extreme pressure on the NZ investment architecture.
Quentin Peri, Westpac senior investment operations manager, said in the study that the value of robust business continuity plans shone through as the crisis unfolded.
Peri said Westpac relied on MMC to keep the data flowing as staff moved to remote working, market volatility increased and year-end reporting loomed.
“During this period, we were in regular contact with MMC around shifting timelines and deliverables. MMC were responsive and flexible, able to accommodate changes at short notice as required by us for settlement and funding activities,” Peri said. “These changes had knock-on effects to other downstream teams, but MMC were able to adapt without incident.”
Likewise, David Boyle, Mint head of marketing, said the first COVID shock was a true test of the NZ investment back-office resilience.
“The pandemic has put a lot of stress on all industry players as the market turned volatile which also lead to an increase in investor activity,” Boyle said. “It was important that MMC delivered continuity around unit pricing. They kept us up to date on a regular basis, which was so welcomed in respect of the clients we were talking to and making sure that our information was accurate.”
According to Babic, MMC was able to instantly switch to remote access client servicing thanks to its earlier call to shift all operations online in an effort developed with technology partner, Lancom.
After the first lockdown ended last year, MMC retained flexible working practices and fine-tuned pandemic-resistant technological processes.
“What’s around the corner is never constant but how we plan and approach it can be. Adapting to change is vital to our business and how we service our clients,” he said. “We believe in empowering our talent with technology to nurture collaboration and productivity to accelerate our clients’ success in all situations, from anywhere.”
Auckland moved back to COVID Level 2 settings on Sunday.