To support businesses in this new normal, the financial industry has had to change its ways. Interview with Nadine Renaud-Tinker.

The financial sectors are among the industries that have shown considerable agility since the beginning of the pandemic, including RBC Quebec Headquarters, which quickly placed its entire team in full solution mode to support businesses and individuals.

Nadine Renaud-Tinker, President, Quebec Headquarters of Canada’s leading bank shared her observations and advice with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s President and CEO, Emilio B. Imbriglio, on September 3, 2020 as part of the One-on-One series.

From emergency response mode to a one-on-one approach

“This was not an easy year for our entrepreneurs or any organization,” Renaud-Tinker stated at the start of the interview. “A health crisis, which led to an economic and financial health crisis […]. We’ve never seen anything like it in 150 years at the RBC. The challenge now is to begin Phase 2, the recovery phase, and prepare for the future, even if uncertainty remains.”

Transparency, communication and empathy are an integral part of her team’s customer relationship.

She said, “I work extensively with our leaders and teams to ensure we continue the conversations with our clients. For the first few months, we were in emergency mode and in business solutions mode […] We put government measures and moratoriums in place very quickly. We acted promptly for our clients and our employees, without really asking any questions.”

Renaud-Tinker added that the first phase involved generating cash to support customers, entrepreneurs and individuals and that RBC is working differently in the second phase.

“It’s a balancing act for companies and individuals alike. Rather than automatically continuing moratoriums, it’s more of a case-by-case approach.” Moratoriums are not always the best answer because they lead to customer debt. “We granted over $27M in payment deferrals in recent months. That’s huge and we’ve never done that before,” she added.

She went on to say that their teams “must now focus on each customer’s situation to create the appropriate structure. The bank is therefore working on one-on-one solutions. […] Nobody wants to lose companies. We want to find solutions together with our customers.” Patience, empathy and proactiveness are tendencies that will remain.

Slow economic recovery

Renaud-Tinker indicates that, according to its economists, the economic recovery may take two to three years for sectors such as hotels, travel, restaurants, culture, arts and aviation, and emphasizes the need for more industry-specific measures in these cases. The challenge is to get through the next two to three years and then survive. As in all industries, “we all have to reinvent ourselves”.

Could the role of financial institutions be redefined?

Referring to the government’s interventionist role, which will not disappear in the near future, Imbriglio asked whether the role of the banks could be expected to evolve, going beyond that of lender to that of owner, for example. In Renaud-Tinker’s view, this change is not for the foreseeable future, although the world is changing rapidly.

“We are large organizations with our capital markets, insurance, wealth management […] Our strength comes from the fact that we have a wide variety of solutions and advice. The bank’s overall performance is exceptional. We are already investing in Quebec businesses and will continue to do so.”

RBC in Québec versus the rest of Canada

Speaking about the bank’s differences in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada, the Quebec executive responds that RBC in Quebec has an opportunity to continue to grow, ranking third in market share with the strength of 7,000 employees, while in the rest of Canada, the institution has by far been the leader in terms of market shares.

“A significant portion of the head office remained in Quebec. Whether it be operations, mutual funds, risk, fraud, the Visa center, our call center in Montreal which serves all of Canada… We have a national office with a good team.” She adds that they are much more involved in local decision-making.

The President also indicated that all RBC branches are currently open and, on average, 50% of the workforce is working on site, while all other employees are teleworking in order to maintain distance.

Some advice for entrepreneurs

Our President and CEO asked Renaud-Tinker if she had any advice for entrepreneurs. “To continue to be creative and resilient. Businesses here have shown so much courage. We were expecting much worse in the first six months and it’s thanks to Québec entrepreneurs who made the right decisions quickly that we’re here today. Innovate, constantly adjust and stay close to your people – because without our employees, we have no customers and we have no business.”

As for the relationship between entrepreneurs and their bank, Renaud-Tinker advised “Don’t forget to ask for help and share information […] Be transparent. We are partners with our customers. The more we know about your situation, the more we will be able to build a strategy or a structure that will help you.”

Renaud-Tinker also stresses the importance of preparing projections based on what entrepreneurs know (suppliers, contracts, etc.). “Without a projection or a plan that is adapted and adjusted to the present or the future, it is difficult for us to build a structure that will work going forward.”

View this very dynamic exchange in our online video.

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The health sector is not immune to phishing attempts. To prevent cyber attacks, it is essential to be well prepared.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in the number of phishing campaigns, ransomware attacks and social engineering.

Indeed, malicious actors are taking advantage of the vulnerability of certain clinics and practices because nonclinical health care professionals such as financial, administrative, healthcare IT teams are working from home, some without any cybersecurity controls in place.

These cyber vulnerabilities are resulting in even more weaknesses in the healthcare system, patient support systems and the protection of patient information.

This is why hospitals, treatment clinics, care homes and medical laboratories must, in their new normality, plan, prepare and be extremely careful when it comes to their cybersecurity.

Healthcare Industry Threats

With the evolution of medical equipments, which now depends more on your network infrastructure (IoT), cybersecurity enables patient safety and care by preserving the accuracy of the patient data, while still protecting patient confidentiality and privacy. Cyber criminals may take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis, using the increased pressure being placed on health organizations to extract ransom payments or mask other compromise.

Consequently, a cyber attack that makes patient data inaccessible to clinicians, or disables medical devices, could be very damaging to the healthcare industry and, more importantly, to the patients’ health.

Breach costs in the Healthcare Industry

Unlike most industries, the cost of breach in the health care sector is highly sensitive given the nature of the data and is evidence by having the highest cost of breach for the 9th consecutive year, or nearly $ 6.5 million on average, a percentage of over 60% higher than that of other sectors.

The Top Risks in the Heathcare Industry

Cybersecurity Risk

Due to the abrupt nature of the COVID-19 crisis, some organizations, large or small, lack the infrastructure, technology, or policies to ensure endpoints and data are secure outside of the corporate environment. e.g., data loss prevention is not in place, existing infrastructure does not allow security policies/controls to be applied to endpoints not connected to the network, and no secure way to connect remotely.

1. Data Loss

As more people are being forced to work remotely, organizations need to ensure their data is safe and used appropriately. More employees are moving files via a removable store, cloud stage, and emails (corporate/personal) so they can continue to be productive. Without adequate tools and controls like email encryption and data loss prevention (DLP), organizations run the risk of the data being compromised intentionally or unintentionally.

2. BYOD

More employees are relying on employees to work on their personal laptops or devices, which may result in the compromise of company data or network as appropriate security such as advanced antivirus solutions may not be in place. Employees need to ensure proper control is in place to protect the data, and policies should be created to provide directives on accessing corporate data and systems.

3. Inadequate Network Monitoring

Having the right visibility to what’s happening on the network is key to being able to prevent, detect, and respond to security incidents. Due to the unforeseen and rapid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasis placed on getting the business up and running, organizations that did put security monitoring in place are at risk of having undetected security events.

Privacy Risk

With the COVID-19 crisis, employees (prepared or not) are required to utilize video/audio conferencing solutions. Data (confidential, sensitive, or regulated like PIPEDA/HIPPA) are being shared unprotected/unencrypted mostly via email.

Business Risk

Being able to recover from a disaster is critical for a company survivor. Lack of preparedness, inadequate backup, untested DR, and not having a business continuity plan could have a lasting impact if a cyber event compromises organizations. Unfortunately, since a lot of organizations did not foresee and plan for COVID-19 and its impact, they are incredibly vulnerable.

Reduce and Mitigate your Risk

Your organization can quickly benefit from integrated cybersecurity solutions to minimize the negative impacts of the coronavirus situation:

  • 24/7 monitoring and antivirus/antimalware protection of your workstations and servers as well as temporary workstations used by remote employees;
  • Sophisticated email security with artificial intelligence emails to detect URLs and malicious attachments, and block phishing and social engineering, including identity theft, which is growing exponentially;
  • Email encryption tools to secure, exchange and protect sensitive and confidential information with employees and third parties;
  • Interactive and customizable information security awareness platform to educate your employees and ensuring employees are paying heightened attention to phishing attempts, and social engineering and are able to easily identify and report on it;
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) solution with machine learning capabilities to protect your critical, sensitive and regulated data anytime, anywhere, any device;
  • Security Advisory (CISO) to help provide strategic guidance, best practices, and security policies and threat intelligence.

Protect your most valuable assets with the help of our dedicated experts

Contact our team today.

In addition, if you have been victim of a security incident, we invite you to immediately call the VARS emergency service at 514-949-6876 or 514-941-7829. We can help you now.

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The effects of the pandemic on several SMEs encouraged them to find new ways to reach customers, particularly through online sales and remote services.

The e-commerce and remote services trend have reached a new level, which will now be part of a new normal. Although it has shaken up some less well-prepared companies, it brings new business opportunities and emerging customers that your organization could take advantage of in order to continue your activities and generate new income.

Here are a few things you should consider when reassessing your business model.

Promote online sales

E-commerce is becoming a necessity for retailers in a post-pandemic world. Not only this will allow you to expand your geographic reach beyond your community, but an online store will also allow you to be more competitive within your market. Take advantage of this new consumer habit to reorient your strategy and strengthen your online presence. As an exemple:

  • Introduce deals or discounts to promote sales;
  • Cut shipping costs to remove this disincentive;
  • Offer freebies to get your name out there and boost sales of your other products or services;
  • Encourage your customers to share through social media your online store to increase your brand awareness;
  • Partner with local networks, such as a chamber of commerce or a local business association, to boost your products and services online.

Your business could benefit from support measures, such as the government’s initiative Le Panier Bleu, the City of Montreal’s urban delivery and digital shift support, as well as a Québec program to help update the skills of your employees. Consult the summary of available support measures, updated on a regular basis on our website.

Focus on your digital shift

The digital customer experience is, in the new normal, a must for any type of business. Companies that have innovated and provided an unparalleled buying experience for their customers will be able to take advantage of this current digital trend and gain significant market share.

When focusing on your digital shift, you must redefine the client journey. For an e-commerce platform, you have to rethink all the points of contact with your clients, including the information gathering, delivery and after-sale service stages.

Ask yourself these questions to better understand your client journey and how the digital experience fits in:

• How to promote your online store (website, social networks, referrers, purchase of keywords or advertisements, partnerships, etc.)?
• How to maximize the client online experience (secure and efficient transactional website, easy-to-access information, email, online chat, etc.)?
• How to ensure your clients enjoyed their online shopping experience (follow-up emails, surveys, etc.)?

While the digital transformation can contribute to diversifying your revenues and improving operational efficiency, it should not be at the expense of the client experience. Digitalization strategies are not just transaction focused, they also allow you to drive client commitment and foster relationships and partnerships.

There are several transactional platforms in Quebec that can help you start your online business, and many specialize in online sales for smaller businesses.

Bandeau - Management RCGT

Use technology to provide your services

There are great tools available to help professional service companies manage their customer relations and accounts:

  • Turn to tech platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts to keep in touch with clients and offer virtual support;
  • Remain present on traditional and online media;
  • Send relevant information in your customer newsletter;
  • Create content like webinars and live videos to keep relationships alive and maybe even generate new revenues;
  • Engage with customers on social media.

Rethink your business priorities

This is a time for renewal and innovate in new products and services to add value to your current offering. Seize this opportunity to make adjustments so that your business will be stronger than ever before. Consider adding new technologies to expand the offering and distribution of your products or services.

There is also an opportunity to reinvent your business by finding new ways to create value for your clients and expand your offer to generate income and keep your clients.

It’s not always easy to know which avenues to pursue. Our experts are here for you. They can help you reassess your business model and develop a winning strategy.

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The Grant Thornton International IFRS team has published Insights into IFRIC 23.

Effective for financial years beginning on or after January 1, 2019, IFRIC 23 Uncertainty Over Income Tax Treatments (the “Interpretation”) requires entities to consider the potential for adverse tax determinations being made by taxing authorities while under a hypothetical tax review – and record a liability (and expense) where such a finding is considered “probable”. Many entities may not experience a financial impact as a result of this, but the Interpretation remains applicable and certain disclosures may be appropriate.

The publication Insights into IFRIC 23 provides an overview of IFRIC 23, explaining the relevant definitions, the initial tax assessment and subsequent measurement, together with some practical application and examples.