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Black Monday Memories: Zurich's Thompson: 'We moved to daily pricing that day!'

Black Monday Memories: Zurich's Thompson: 'We moved to daily pricing that day!'

In a special series, leading City figures give us their recollections of Black Monday, 30 years on from the great crash of 1987. For Zurich Investment Services UK head of authorised funds Jon Thompson, it was to prove a serious operational headache.

I had joined Allied Dunbar earlier that year and one of my responsibilities was to move the unit pricing of their life and pension funds from a fortnightly to a daily process.

The chosen date was Monday 19 October 1987, and the team had been expanded for the additional work and planned changes made to systems, controls and procedures.

The 'great storm' had hit on the Thursday evening and Friday was almost quietly surreal with much of the City of London shut.

Come Monday, and the UK caught up with the fall in worldwide stock markets and everything was a challenge, including getting 'good' market prices. We had originally planned to have price files available by about 4 pm, completion was nearer to 10 pm and I still remember one of the new recruits looking at me around 8 pm, and asking if the process would be like this every day? To which I replied yes!!

The next few days remained a challenge, as the markets continued to oscillate around.

The experience taught me the benefit of good planning; making sure the whole process was understood to enable good decisions to made on your feet and the importance of team work and communications. All of these lessons have served me in good stead when delivering large change projects in financial services.


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