Evidence is all around us of businesses that have been badly impacted by COVID-19 – from the local café to tourism operators. Some will struggle through and flourish again; some will not.
Financial institutions are not immune. Super funds have had to deal with special withdrawals, with consequences for operations and liquidity; life insurance companies are exposed to higher mortality (though in Australia so far, this impact may prove small) and very likely significant increases in disability claims. Falling asset values have compounded the problem. Much lower interest rates affect both income and the value of liabilities.
Where will all of this lead?
An institution’s very purpose may be called into question; its long term objectives may be compromised; and its strategy may prove to be no longer appropriate.
It is helpful to think in terms of horizons.
In the short term, there will be a desire and need to shore the business up so that it gets through the immediate pressures in reasonable condition.
In the medium term, there may be a need to help the business recover and this may need a variety of changes to operations.
In the longer term, there may be a need to reset strategy and change the business model.
Advice provided to Board and management could usefully consider these horizons, to better assess long term consequences.
In this Pandemic Resource Centre: