“Putting a crisis plan together is no easy cooking recipe.”
Role: Business Continuity Manager at Pictet Asset Management
Based in: Geneva
Joined Pictet: 1999
What is your Pictet story?
I joined Pictet in 1999 to reinforce the online presence of the Group, before moving to Pictet Funds (now Pictet Asset Management) to work on internet projects and collaborative solutions. In 2015, I heard about the opportunity to become Business Continuity Manager. At the time, I had no idea what it implied, but I decided to take on the challenge. After getting certified, I was captivated by the job.
In a few words, business continuity management is about thinking of every possible crisis scenario (e.g., cyber-attack, natural catastrophe) and planning, simulating and testing different solutions. My motto: “I am doing my best, but I hope that my work won’t be used.”
How did you and your team react when you learned about COVID-19?
We were following closely what was happening in Asia already, as PAM has several offices in the region. In the second half of February, things started escalating quickly in Europe. Fortunately, we were not starting with a blank canvas.
Mid-March, I would compare the situation to a popcorn machine, we were getting requests from all sides. My mission went beyond ensuring business continuity. I had to reassure colleagues about health, the safety of their families and new working arrangements.
Our plans included scenarios like sending colleagues to a Business Continuity Site or to another city, but with national lockdowns and social distancing, we had to rethink our approach. I worked for 31 days straight alongside our talented Tech&Ops colleagues. Thanks to their ingenuity and agility, we managed to setup remote accesses for almost everyone.
We ended up joking about the fact that teams at Tech&Ops were already reaching some of their 2024 targets in terms of digitalisation of the workplace.
Any particular challenge you want to share?
Ensuring that our trading colleagues could keep on working was essential. As their tasks require multiple screens and keyboards, we created tailor-made setups for each person. That implied loading our cars with 38’’ monitors, which we would exceptionally deliver and setup in their homes, by respecting all precautionary measures (social distancing, protective equipment etc.).
What lesson did you draw from this crisis?
Each person can contribute to the final solution as we all have different skills and competencies. Putting together a crisis plan is no easy cooking recipe. It is only by putting individual pieces together that a solid plan can emerge.
I’ve been through many crises along the years and each time everyone came together. It is the strength of the Pictet Group, regardless of each person’s business line, we are all aligned thanks to a common spirit, positive attitude and desire to do good.
What impact do you see for Pictet, the financial industry and society as a whole?
There will be a pre and post 2020. The ways of working, collaborating and communicating will change deeply. I envision a positive impact on peoples’ lifestyles in terms of work-life balance, family interactions and extra-curricular activities. At Pictet, we will strive to become even more agile in order to maintain the quality of our services for our clients and colleagues.