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Adviser workshop: how to plan for an emergency

In this edition of our adviser workshop series, New Model Adviser® features editor Natasha Turner asks the advice profession about their emergency planning.

Austyn says...

All our client paperwork contains an ‘in case of emergency’ contact. For me, a disaster recovery plan extends to the systems we have in place for our business. We should all have these in place, as they are a Financial Conduct Authority and compliance requirement.

If there is an emergency, we have to be up and running within 48 hours. Using a Google cloud-based system means we can work remotely, in case we cannot get into the office. It is encrypted and has a two-stage authentication process, with trackers in all of our computers that can be wiped remotely.

Our phone system is WiFi-based so we can call clients from anywhere using a London number if we need to. We are also a member of Regus remote offices. This allows us to walk into any Regus office if needs be and get help.

We used an independent IT consultant to set our up our plan. I have known him for around 10 years. He is on retainer so will check the system regularly, as will our compliance team.

The plan could be implemented for things such as flooding, fire damage or a terror attack. We used to work in a building that was around 200 years old and it got woodworm. We have also had a leaking roof. But because we have several locations and some remote staff, we have the systems in place to deal with these kinds of situation anyway.

Top tip: Move from a local to a cloud-based server.

Austin is managing director of Austyn Smith Associates

Austyn says...

All our client paperwork contains an ‘in case of emergency’ contact. For me, a disaster recovery plan extends to the systems we have in place for our business. We should all have these in place, as they are a Financial Conduct Authority and compliance requirement.

If there is an emergency, we have to be up and running within 48 hours. Using a Google cloud-based system means we can work remotely, in case we cannot get into the office. It is encrypted and has a two-stage authentication process, with trackers in all of our computers that can be wiped remotely.

Our phone system is WiFi-based so we can call clients from anywhere using a London number if we need to. We are also a member of Regus remote offices. This allows us to walk into any Regus office if needs be and get help.

We used an independent IT consultant to set our up our plan. I have known him for around 10 years. He is on retainer so will check the system regularly, as will our compliance team.

The plan could be implemented for things such as flooding, fire damage or a terror attack. We used to work in a building that was around 200 years old and it got woodworm. We have also had a leaking roof. But because we have several locations and some remote staff, we have the systems in place to deal with these kinds of situation anyway.

Top tip: Move from a local to a cloud-based server.

Austin is managing director of Austyn Smith Associates

Vivien says...

We have a business continuity plan that contains all of our procedures in case of a disaster scenario. This includes who to contact in case of emergency, as well as all of our staff details and their contacts. This is reviewed annually so everything is up to date.

All client files are scanned so their paperwork can be retrieved. We use Intelligent Office as a back-office system so all staff could work from home if necessary. For IT support, we use RND, a technology support and consultancy service. RND backs up all of our work and it can rebuild our servers in the event of an emergency. 

There is a contingency plan if for any reason we cannot get in the building. In this scenario, Julian Gilbert [managing director] or I would phone all our staff, providers, utilities and the Financial Conduct Authority to inform them of the issue. The plan also details contacts who can arrange temporary premises if necessary.

Everyone is given a copy of the plan, which they keep at home. It might have to be used in the case of a fire in our offices, for instance. But thankfully we have not had to use it yet.

Top tip: Make sure all staff know who to contact in case of emergency.

Vivien is associate director at Wealth Matters

What the Twittersphere says...

New Model Adviser® features editor Natasha Turner asked the advice profession on Twitter whether they had emergency plans and what they looked like:

Comment & analysis

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