The United States has experienced extreme turmoil in recent months from the widespread damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey and Irma on numerous southern cities. These hurricanes have demonstrated how natural disasters, whether expected or not, can impose immense restrictions on advisory firms that are expected to keep business operations intact. Advisers should therefore prioritize the implementation of a written business continuity and transition plan to minimize operational disruptions as arising from natural disasters, data security breaches and the departure of important personnel.
In order to maximize the efficiency of the written business continuity and transition plan, advisers should focus on a variety of business components, including:
- Maintenance of systems and protection of data;
- Pre-arranged alternative physical locations;
- Communications plans;
- Annual testing and training requirements;
- Evaluation of third-party service providers; and
- Plan of transition in the event the adviser is winding down or is unable to continue providing advisory services.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
Advisers are encouraged to act preemptively and begin developing a written business continuity and transition plan that would mitigate any identified risks in the adviser’s business practices. Establishing a response team, collecting contact information for all employees and service providers, and conducting periodic testing are just some of the recommended protocols that can elevate the plan’s effectiveness.
Please contact Fairview if you have any questions or concerns about your firm and its need to either create or improve a written business continuity and transition plan.