The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) tasked the National Examination Program (NEP) with reviewing the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans of dozens of financial services firms in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. It was the goal of the SEC and NEP to understand how financial services firms were impacted by the storm, how they enacted their BC and DR plans, and determine any opportunities for improvement. You can read their full report here.
One of the weaknesses noted by the NEP was, “some advisers did not adequately plan how to contact and deploy employees during a crisis, and inconsistently maintained communications with clients and employees.” While it’s essential to have an overall BC plan, here are five tips on best practices for your company’s crisis communication plans:
1. Have an Emergency Notification System which uses SMS text, email and voice messages to communicate with your employees and clients. Draft communications to send before, during, and after the incidents using pre-made templates.
2. Maintain regular communications, even if there isn’t any news to report. Plan to send a messages every day until operations have returned to normal. These should come from a central point of communications.
3. Before the incident, determine who should send out your daily communications. In most instances, this would be your public information officer (or PIO) but there should be more than one party trained on the communications plan in the event your PIO is unavailable.
4. Contact all your clients at least 24 hours before the incident, immediately after, and continue communicating throughout the disruption. The staff member responsible for this account should handle communications, but consider having another employee on standby as a backup in case something happens to the primary account manager.
5. Post a recorded message to your main telephone line, and on your company’s website, alerting your office will be closed due to the incident and update it when new or pertinent information is available.
For more information about how to ensure your communications plan is comprehensive for your organization, download our 7 steps to preparedness e-book or request a demo to see how Preparis can help your firm meet the requirements of the CFTC and SEC.