2020 Annual Report

Spotlight on Risk Advisory

An interview with Andy Morris, Managing Partner for Risk Advisory, Deloitte UK

What have been some of the key growth areas for Risk Advisory this year?

The Risk Advisory team at Deloitte supports clients through continuous and rapid change in many aspects of their business including digital transformation, reputation management, customer engagement and the supply chain. We help them to navigate complex issues, manage risk and build trust. Our solutions in areas like cyber, finance and compliance enable them to demonstrate resilience, heighten security and create responsible businesses.

Essentially, we give our clients, people and society the confidence to grow responsibly in an ever-changing world.

The past year has been a catalyst for change. New ways of working as a result of COVID-19 may result in fundamental and long-term shifts in behaviour. Even before the pandemic, as Britain left the EU, trading relationships and the regulatory landscape were being reset. Alongside this, issues like climate change, the increased use of technology and the need to become a responsible business were at the forefront for clients.

Our Risk Advisory team serves all UK industries and market segments. However, such change and the need to control associated risks have driven particular growth in Cyber and our Managed Services business. This provides outsourced, fully managed operations to clients, to deal with large complex issues and unexpected spikes in activity. This year we have also expanded our offering in Financial Services; Technology, Media and Telecoms; and Government and Public Services.

What has COVID-19 meant for Risk Advisory and our clients?

Initially, many clients sought advice and guidance on their crisis management activities in response to the pandemic, and our crisis preparedness teams sprang into action to provide operational support.

Our ability to quickly deploy managed services has been particularly important for Financial Services and Government and Public Sector clients. For example, we set up and ran a customer contact centre at a major high street bank to handle the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the nature of our work, the impact of disruption tends to become clear faster than in some other businesses, but fortunately so does recovery. At the start of the pandemic, clients were focusing on their transition into digitalising operations. More recently, they’ve been relying on us to manage the risks attached to these decisions. Pre COVID-19, digital risk was already a rapidly developing area of our expertise but we are now finding that capabilities in this field are more coveted than ever.

Unfortunately, the cyber threat to companies has increased during the pandemic. We’re working with clients to strengthen their defences so they can respond to and recover from major incidents.

What are the big trends/shifts you’re expecting in the months and year ahead?

We expect greater focus on operational, financial and reputational resilience as clients seek to understand how they can be better prepared for crises. Over the next few months we will see an increasingly cost-conscious world and companies will need to prioritise optimising their finance functions and operations.

Organisations are now even more eager to continue their journey to becoming responsible businesses. We expect sustainability and climate change to move further up the agenda and become part of their resilience considerations.

As companies increase their digital presence, there has been an up-tick in the amount of personal data being held by organisations. As a result, there will be a greater need to protect and ensure the accuracy of this data – and manage the compliance requirements of those organisations holding it. Alongside this, greater dependence on the cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning is likely to mean these topics become more prominent on the regulatory agenda.

What are you most worried about?

For organisations, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty about the “new normal” – in terms of how they will work and how their services will change. As they make fast-paced decisions in areas like digital, finance, the supply chain and customer engagement to keep day-to-day operations going, they may not be as aware or in control of the potential risks attached. As someone focused on risk, that troubles me.

I’m confident that our team is doing a fantastic job of ensuring our current clients are as prepared as possible and I hope that we can begin to help new organisations to manage risk going forward.

Have there been any positives for you through COVID-19 that you’d like to share?

I’ve been so impressed with the way our people have demonstrated flexibility, resilience and ingenuity as we’ve responded to the impact of the pandemic. Communication within the Risk Advisory team has been different, but in some ways it’s even better than before. The lack of face-to-face contact could have been very limiting but, if anything, people are more interested in how and what their colleagues are doing, and engagement between members of the team has thrived. I really hope this continues.

From a personal perspective, I’ve enjoyed the extra time I have to get out running on the off-road trails near my home rather than commuting into London every day. I’m looking forward to being with my clients and team members again but I need to make sure I don’t fall back into old habits by not making time for this too.