The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) jointly issued 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 “Risk Management and Operational Resilience in a Remote Working Environment” 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.
The paper 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.
The paper seeks to raise awareness of key remote working risks in the financial sector, share good practices adopted by FIs to mitigate key remote working risks, and encourage all FIs to adopt good practices on managing remote working risks.
The paper also looks at possible risks to FIs in the areas of operations, technology and information security, fraud and staff misconduct, and legal and regulatory risks.
Furthermore, it examines the impact on people and culture that may be brought about by remote working, drawing from the experiences of ABS member banks.
MAS encourages FIs to benchmark their remote working controls against the examples in the paper as well as to continually review and enhance their risk management practices to address evolving risks.
The risks and risk mitigation measures set out in the paper are also applicable to non-FIs.
Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision), MAS said,
“Financial institutions in Singapore have swiftly adapted to remote working and split-team arrangements in response to COVID-19. 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.”
Samuel Tsien, Chairman of ABS said,
“ABS and ROOT, working together with MAS, coordinated the financial sector’s response to the crisis. The good practices are now captured in this Paper.
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. The paper is also a good guide to banks when dealing with other types of crises”.