COVID-19 Update: Almost business as usual

The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdowns over a large part of the world have created a challenging environment for businesses everywhere. At VP Securities, we have also had to change our way of working to comply with the guidelines set forth by competent authorities. In this article, we provide a short status update regarding our operations and business.

“It was definitely an unusual situation,” recalls Henrik Ohlsen, Customers & Communications Director at VP. “On Thursday, you have a full house, with everyone working and going about their daily tasks, and on Monday you have a completely decentralised organisation, with everyone working remotely.” Undoubtedly, if anyone had asked a few months ago how quickly a 180-employee financial institution could go 100% virtual, the answer probably wouldn’t have been one working day. Yet, in reality, that’s how long it took.

Virtually up and running

Of course, going from face-to-face interactions to a purely virtual environment requires some adjustments, particularly in the beginning. “Virtual communication tools and processes were an established part of our work prior to the crisis, but never to this extent. So, the first few days were an adjustment period, not just for our own employees, but our customers as well,” says Henrik Ohlsen.

Customer meetings are now held virtually, as well as daily departmental briefings, “stand-up” meetings and even social activities. “All of our development projects are continuing as well; the teams just hold ‘virtual’ SCRUM meetings instead of physical ones. Our compliance projects, such as the ones related to the Shareholders’ Rights Directive and CSDR, are also proceeding at full-speed,” Henrik Ohlsen comments.

When we do emerge from lockdown, Henrik Ohlsen believes teams will have benefited from adapting to an all-virtual way of working. “I think we’ve learned a great deal about how to work together effectively, lessons that I hope we can take with us when things return to normal again,” Henrik Ohlsen states.

Daily operations unimpacted

From a service and operational perspective, VP is focused on ensuring stable, continuous service. “We’ve optimised our processes so our customers can continue to access all of our services,” relates Morten Kierkegaard, Chief Operating Officer at VP. “Our number one priority has been to protect the stability of our daily operations, which is why we’ve placed a hold on non-critical system updates. Every time you update the system, you can increase the likelihood of a service disruption, which can be challenging to tackle remotely. So, for now, we’re only implementing critical changes, including security updates.”

Customer support team at the ready

Customer Support is also fully-operational and adapting to the peculiarities of remote working. “Our customers are decentralised as well, and we’re in close communication with all of them to make sure things run smoothly,” explains Morten Kierkegaard. “We have gladly taken on the role of ‘central point of contact’ in many situations, and we can see how everyone is gradually coming to terms with this new way of working and adjusting their processes accordingly.”

We find ourselves in unchartered territory, with many describing the economic ramifications of the crisis as more far-reaching than the 2008 financial crisis. While we have no way of knowing how the financial landscape will look on the other side of COVID-19, we are committed to providing our customers with the same level of service for the duration of this situation. “Of course, we all hope that this crisis is over as quickly as possible. But from an operational perspective, we can continue managing operations remotely for quite some time,” Morten Kierkegaard states. “Ensuring secure and stable operations is far more important to us than getting ‘back to normal’, so that will always be our primary consideration in determining when and how we move operations back on-site.”

Henrik Ohlsen

Customer Relations & Sales Director

+45 2910 1202
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It is all about simplicity for our customers and thereby more efficient processes

- Henrik Ohlsen, Customer Relations & Sales Director