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Banking/Financial Services: Protect your most important investment

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Protect your most important investment

In the financial services, private equity and banking industries, clients face more than the uncertainties of the marketplace. Because of their wealth and status, they and their families also face personal risks: violent crime, burglary, cyberstalking and other risks to their safety and well-being.

Clients can’t focus on their investments when they’re worried about safety. Many don’t even realize the risks they and their families face. Safety should be part of every investment plan, freeing people to manage their assets and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Most people might be surprised by how vulnerable they and their families are at work, in school, at home and while travelling. A risk assessment will often reveal security gaps that call for a protection plan. Even people who don’t need a full-time executive protection program can still benefit by learning about how to recognize and avoid the threats they might face.

As an example, we had a client who, in his day-to-day life, didn’t face any significant security threats. However, several of his friends were very high-profile individuals, and when he entertained them at his home, he (and they) required executive protection.

There is no privacy

Many executives have no idea how much information about them is publicly available. For any executive or high-profile individual, hundreds of pages of information about their private lives is easily found on the Internet. The schools their children attend, where their spouse shops, the dates and locations of their upcoming vacation: executives and other high-profile individuals are continually surprised by how public their lives are.

Proactive, not reactive

The best protection identifies and mitigates risks before they occur. Skilled executive and family protection is about having a team of professionals, backed by technology, that can help executives and their families avoid problems.

Awareness is the best defense against home invasions, school violence, travel-related kidnappings, stalkers and other threats.

Safety in the office

Workplace violence from disgruntled or terminated employees, estranged spouses and others is an all too common news story. The more high-profile the executive, the more likely the target he or she ma y be.

A proactive approach uses a multi-disciplinary team that includes security professionals, psychologists and other experts to evaluate potential threats and educate executives, managers

and employers about the warning signs of workplace violence. Is an employee who’s suspected of stealing or embezzlement fearful of getting caught and becoming increasingly agitated? Has a key employee’s behavior suddenly changed? Is an executive going through a messy divorce, or has someone recently been terminated and claimed it was unfair?

Is the facility itself secure, and is security technology sufficient to protect the facility and the people in it? Is the area surrounding the facility secure? These are all key questions to consider in protecting executives and other employees.

Protecting the manor

Many executives are vulnerable in the home and when travelling between the home and office. Often, movements are so predictable, or an executive’s wealth is so evident, that criminals are tempted.

The key is to train executives and their families on how to enhance their own safety by changing their behavior and being more aware of their surroundings. A comprehensive family security plan, for example, might include a detailed review of the lifestyles, activities, habits and hobbies of every family member. It might also involve background investigations of everyone who has regular contact with the family, an upgraded home security system, vehicle security technology and other risk mitigation strategies.

Security doesn’t mean turning a family’s lives upside down. It means identifying the places, times and situations where family members are vulnerable, and then devising strategies to lessen or eliminate those risks.

Travel security

For many people, travel can present some of the most high-risk situations. At the minimum, travel precautions should include the following:

  • Pre-planning and site visits by security professionals to identify potential risks.
  • Contingency plans for every facility and action, including alternative routes, location of emergency medical care, and other precautions.
  • Family training in avoiding unwanted attention, such as wearing expensive jewelry or clothes, visiting unsafe areas at night, and other strategies.
  • Pre-trip contact with U.S. embassy officials, local law enforcement, and resident security professionals who know the area.
  • Pre-trip and ongoing research on crime, terrorists and other threats in the areas being visited.
  • An understanding of the culture and people of the areas being visited.

Up-to-date intelligence is critical. Is a small terrorist group trying to make a name for itself by targeting westerners? Is a union threatening a strike that could become violent? Is the family visiting an area that is being contested by two different ethnic groups that have clashed violently in the past?

Research and preparation to answer questions like these often begins weeks, or in the case of a trip to a major world event (such as the World Cup or Olympics), months before the actual trip.

Again, families must learn what behaviors and activities should be avoided while on the trip. When the trip is for business, security professionals can also provide background information and other due diligence on all of the individuals an executive expects to meet, not only for security purposes, but also for business intelligence.

Protecting valuable assets

For the financial services industry, helping their clients means not only looking out for their financial assets, but also for their safety. Security professionals who can provide training, consultation and other services can be a key component of this sound investment strategy.