The Forum Weekly Roundup: coronavirus, interest rate announcements and multi-lingual content challenges

David Cowan

Managing Director

The Financial Services Forum

The current extraordinary circumstances are presenting challenges for all of us in our business and personal lives. As a Member business, whose main channel is events, we have been reviewing our future programme and not surprisingly, have made very significant changes to see us through the next two and a half months.

We have reviewed our forthcoming events and decided to either replace them with live webinars or postpone them until later in the year. I’ve detailed an overview of our latest changes at the bottom of this email. We will continue with our regular member communications to ensure that everyone is kept up to date and informed with our plans as we navigate our way through these challenging times.

Look out for our announcement about an additional webinar about how to get your communications strategy right in times of crises.

Over the past couple of weeks, Members have been instrumental in keeping us up to date on the evolution of company policies addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions and advice on travel and event attendance.


In order to formalise this into something that will be useful to you and your business we have put together a very short survey to help us to understand the restrictions you are facing on live event attendance and travel. The link is here and we’d be very grateful if you took a few minutes to complete it. All returns are treated in confidence and the survey results will be anonymised.

This enforced break sees us leaving our live events on a very good note, having held two excellent seminars this week. On Tuesday we were joined by Colt Foutz of Transperfect, Piers Currie of Warhorse Partners and Matt Lowe of for our ‘Transcending Borders: Marketing to the World with Multilingual Content’ event, kindly supported and hosted by Transperfect.

The discussion centred around the importance of localising content, not just by language but also cultural context, to create brand resonance and build engagement in international markets. Matt Lowe provided some fascinating insights on how understanding of the ‘intent’ of users in search, then translating that intent into SEO and content proposition, can help brands to optimise their websites, content and digital channels.


On Thursday, a small group from our Mortgages Community met at HSBC, with the objective of discussing if the residential property market will be on a boom or bust trajectory following Brexit. Not to be overshadowed by the ‘C’ or the ‘B’ word, the conversation was further embellished by the Bank of England’s shock interest rate announcement that very morning.

Truly, there had never been a better time to get five of the most senior mortgage industry heads in the same room together to have a frank and honest discussion about the mortgage market. From conveyancing through to lending, we were joined by Dev Malle of My Home Move, Ben Thompson of Mortgage Advice Bureau, Richard Fearon of Leeds Building Society, Jon Round of LSL Property Services and Kevin Webb of Legal and General Surveying Services, chaired with experience by Stephen Smith.

The narrative was clearly dominated by current events; if we didn’t have this Coronavirus pandemic, we would be in a residential boom period or something close to it. Given the context of current world health problems, we of course aren’t in a boom period – but the consensus was that demand will return and the outlook is positive for a strong post C market.


The greatest priority is everyone keeping healthy and I hope you and your family remain clear of the virus. With little sport to watch and markets crashing, treat yourselves to a large glass of something special!

Have a great weekend.

Speak to you soon,


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