This article first appeared in the Times on 11 April 2019.
RISK AND REWARD
Forged in the heat of the financial crisis in 2009, Parker Fitzgerald has quietly gone about its business of being a consulting partner to the world’s leading financial institutions. “We are probably the City’s best kept secret,” says founder and CEO Scott Vincent, after scooping the Best New Consultancy award.
Headquartered in London and with 300 staff globally, Parker Fitzgerald also has offices in New York, Singapore, Paris and Sydney. This multiple-award-winning organisation is rapidly becoming recognised as a challenger brand in a highly competitive sector.
A practitioner-led operation, Parker Fitzgerald prides itself on talking on the “same side of the table” as the industry.
The explosion in digital tech has created new “risk landscapes”, and Parker Fitzgerald’s work is increasingly focused on its impact on finance.
These days, potential hazards are not just conventionally tied to a bank’s loan book and balance sheet. “Banking failures” from data breaches can quickly damage an institution’s reputation.
Addressing this risk landscape is where Parker Fitzgerald comes in. Last year, it identified UK Finance – previously the British Bankers Association – as one of its strategic thought leadership partners.
Their report, “Sustainable Financial Services in the Digital Age”, explores how banks, tech firms and regulators can manage operational resilience.
With risk implications and regulatory responses associated with the use of AI, cloud computing and blockchain, the report offers practical suggestions on integrating technologies safely.
“A lot of firms talk about digital transformation and the upside potential. But what we focus on, if you go through this digital transformation journey, is the kind of risks you need to look out for,” says Kuangyi Wei, Parker Fitzgerald’s strategy and external affairs director.
“As you transform a business model, risks present themselves in very different ways from what banks and financial institutions have historically dealt with,” adds Vincent.
One of these issues is cybercrime. “The main thing that financial institutions have to do is protect their digital assets and customer information. And the threat landscape becomes more sophisticated on a daily basis,” he says.
Parker Fitzgerald was also chosen by a global investment bank for a pioneering project to prove the value of data-driven analytics in Risk and Compliance.
Key challenges included the scale of global technology change across the organisation, the complexity of identifying and mitigating underlying causes of IT change-related incidents, and the finite capacity of existing technology management and support teams to manage the risks.
“We applied AI and took in for the first time unstructured data that allowed the client to look at how toxic combinations of risk could manifest themselves in their global architecture,” says Vincent.
Despite its range of offerings, Parker Fitzgerald was still under ten years old and eligible for the MCA’s new consultancy contest. “Competition has been very strong,” says Vincent, “so it’s amazing to be recognised by such a prestigious industry body.”
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