International Financial Center: COVID-centric trends

The year 2020 has definitely presented challenging times in the economy with the widespread havoc caused by COVID-19. However, luckily, those working in the financial industry, for the most part, experienced increased job security and increased dependence by customers, all while working from home. The IFC team has been following several trends during COVID and currently some of the most prominent are the classification by global Institutions of countries based on the level of threat. Such as South Korea being allocated a Level 2 Risk and China a Level 3 Risk. Additionally, we have noticed a clear movement towards increasing call center capabilities and thus an increase in hiring in those centers.

The big question remains, what do we see happening in the future?

  1. Going Forward
  • IFC noticed a slow down in the short-term level of engagement from our international clients due to:
    • General hiring freezes and internship cancellations.
    • No staff layoffs.
    • Pause on restructuring plans.
  1. Six to Twelve Month Trends
  • IFC intel suggests the following on reshoring and nearshoring due to cost efficiency brought on by COVID: manufacturers are thinking about it, politicians want it, but will Financial Institutions follow?
    • At first glance - reshoring will be limited.
  • Bank Trends:
    • Large banks are rethinking “skyscraper” presence.
    • Satellite offices – Back to the suburbs and WFH (work from home).
    • Technological costs increasing linked to WFH.
    • Services that can be offered remotely.

To conclude, the COVID trends and the IFC necessities for survival all circle back to the financial services industry’s requirement for experienced, highly educated, qualified and dedicated staff. Furthermore, with institutions providing added capital to a large percentage of their customers effected by COVID, internal cost management and cost reduction efficiency remains imperative. Thus, the increased reliance on a great labour force, industry leading digitalisation and technology, and lower operational costs, positions Montreal once again at the forefront for a location of choice for any international financial institution! It will keep us laser focused in 2021.

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