17 Mar 2020
As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, and in line with currently conceived best practices, including Government guidelines in each of our jurisdictions, we have clear plans in place to continue our business operations in the face of potentially disruptive challenges.
We would like to reassure you that we are well prepared for the potential impacts of the pandemic and we have set out below the steps we are taking. First and foremost, we are focused on the wellbeing of our staff and protecting core business functions so that we can continue to serve our clients. Our approach will flex regionally to maximise its relevance and effectiveness in a local context.
A global task team, our Resilience and Continuity Steering Group, is meeting daily. Its responsibilities include assimilating all relevant developments and analysing risks to the business; pre-empting and mitigating any disruptions; assessing the wellbeing of our staff and offering support; and making firm and immediate decisions on appropriate actions.
Over recent weeks, we have undertaken a series of targeted and volumetric tests of our crisis management response plans, specifically for business continuity, and these have given comfort that they will be effective should they need to be invoked.
Official guidance: We are following the guidance of local health and government authorities in each of our jurisdictions, rather than having a blanket global rule.
Empowering employees: Our employees are our most important asset. We continue to provide them with all available information to make informed decisions for themselves and their teams.
Travel: We have eliminated all non-critical business travel as we believe this is the responsible course of action. We have also asked our employees to consider very carefully any travel they have planned in a personal capacity. All employees who have recently travelled have been asked to observe regional requirements, such as mandatory self-isolation or screening.
Health and safety: We have actioned guidance on health and safety measures in our offices, with personal accountability and responsibility encouraged. We have been providing frequent communication to our employees on key guidelines and our ongoing approach. We have also implemented policies on non-coronavirus sickness to protect the rest of the workforce.
Crisis management plan: We have a dynamic Crisis Management Plan which is assessed and developed continuously. This includes a pandemic-specific scenario which considers several possible outcomes with varying degrees of employee and business impact. We have documented response plans for each of these.
Business functions: As a global organisation with multiple operating centres, a primary tool at our disposal is redeployment of tasks or resources across operating centres. This is an established part of our standard operating model.
Remote working: Our remote working capabilities are advanced. We have encouraged a policy of increased flexible working for a number of years, with many employees working remotely on a regular basis prior to the pandemic. Our flexible working policy has been in the context of pragmatic decision making and the current pandemic is no different. Employees are enabled with the technology, connectivity and support to be fully mobile. All of our core processes can be undertaken remotely. Critical processes and their resourcing needs have been identified and prioritised. Our technology infrastructure is capable of handling high volume to support remote working options.
Regional offices: We have identified Crisis Leads in every operating location. They remain fully connected with key information and updates from the Resilience & Continuity Steering Group and are fully empowered to invoke a range of local actions as dictated by the local situation.
Communication: Underpinning all our continuity and crisis management efforts is a constant stream of clear and concise communication. Our communication strategy covers all stakeholders (including clients), communication channels and approval mechanisms.
For any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact your Ninety One Relationship Manager.