11 Nov Even more than wars, great epidemics have marked the history of the world
“Even more than wars, great epidemics have marked the history of the world.
Their demographic consequences have changed the balance of power within countries, but it should be noted that men’s relationship with their own spirituality has also been impacted.
Today, when we were steeped in certainties, accustomed to believing ourselves in possession of a certain form of mastery of things and time, a viral plague is becoming global and sends us back to our condition as men subject to a sort of dictate of the infinitely small: in 2020, the world has lost what was left of it carelessness…
While Europe is at the time of re-containment, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy is already measurable and differs by industry.
There is one industry that I know better than the others: that of Finance, having the benefit of more than 25 years of experience in banking, asset management and private equity.
The restructuring or risk teams have experienced an increase in their workload and this is explained since their role is to significantly modify the financial and operational aspects of a company facing financial pressures in order to limit as much as possible the harm incurred.
Reducing costs can allow a company to re-structure itself in the literal sense of the word by reducing its payroll, or a reduction in size induced by the sale of assets.
The audit also took advantage of the crisis.
It was mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions that were put on hold, as well as the consulting sector that was impacted by the lockdown.
Looking at the banks, the impact is not only financial but also human. HSBC’s financial results, for example, showed a 57% drop in net profit in the first quarter, but the restructuring plan was also resumed with 35,000 job cuts worldwide.
The Private Equity sector is gauging the impact of the crisis as having to last at least until the end of 2021, anticipating reductions of up to 70% of their turnover.
Another global finding is that which underlines the acceleration of digitization at the service of the customer for companies in the financial sector.
This is evidenced by the Symphony secure messaging platform, used in particular by BNP Paribas or Credit Suisse, which has thus recorded a 500% increase in usage rates since the start of the crisis.
The same goes for the Zoom videoconferencing software, which has been very successful and has become an essential working tool.
Digital should retain a more important place in the daily life of financiers, especially in private banks: customers seem to have appreciated the good habits adopted during confinement, hence an increased need for asset managers to perfect their digital experience to remain competitive. against some of their competitors.
Social networks have worked more than ever.
Should we congratulate ourselves or fear the “side effects”? Always fond of small murderous sentences or even “good swear words”, they loop poisonous comments and vitriolic challenges. Recent events in France demonstrate, if there was still a need for them, that they can also be vectors of hatred and incitement to barbarism. A sounding board for the dark side of Man, they echo each other with various insults and derogatory comments. Insults and other filthy words are spreading, polluting our digital environment as surely as an oil spill of non-degradable products and permanently dirtying our social environment.
It is therefore a safe bet that our survival, regardless of health aspects, will also require the establishment of an “ecology” of communication. It would be wise to start thinking about it now.
The technologies of control, put at the service of the will to curb the pandemic raise a certain questioning and a concern: some see in it the specter of practices of the authoritarian powers aiming at weakening the democracies. Perhaps we also need to review the meaning of our institutions …
The confinement that is on the horizon may perhaps be thought-provoking and help us revisit the idea of what should be called the “World before” … to better prepare the world after “.