COVID-19: How we are responding
The COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to spread aggressively. We wanted to let you know what we are doing to protect our business, our people and our clients at this uncertain time.
Stonehage Fleming has robust Business Continuity Plans in place across the business which are routinely tested to ensure we are as prepared as we can be to fulfil our responsibilities to our clients, irrespective of the circumstances and operating environment we may encounter.
In addition to the recovery arrangements we have in place in the event of systems failures or office closures, we recognise the most valuable asset is our people. In the current environment our primary focus is on minimising the risk to them, both for their own wellbeing and so we can maintain our services at the level our clients are entitled to expect.
What preparations are we making in response to a potential widespread outbreak in the locations where we operate?
- A team comprising our Executive Committee and other members of our leadership team from across key services and support functions is meeting at least twice weekly to evaluate the situation as it evolves and respond accordingly.
- We’re monitoring and acting on the advice of Governments in the territories in which we operate, the World Health Organisation and other authorities such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
- We are communicating with our colleagues and providing regularly updated guidance as to how we can minimise the risk of staff contracting and/or communicating the virus.
- Whilst at this point we do not have any colleagues who are confirmed as having the virus, anyone exhibiting symptoms has been instructed to self-isolate until such time as the symptoms have disappeared.
What precautions are we taking?
- We have suspended business travel not just to “Category One” countries (i.e. those currently worst affected by the virus) but in general.
- Meetings with clients requiring international travel are by exception and only permissible in extremis. Whilst we obviously want to maintain contact with our clients at the level they require, we have a responsibility to our clients, business partners and to our people to minimise risk wherever possible and curtailing travel is an obvious and straightforward means of so doing.
- Interoffice travel is again by exception and we are strongly encouraging both clients and staff to meet by video or audio conference wherever possible.
- Anyone who has travelled through Category One areas is excluded from our offices for 14 days from the date of their return.
Flexible and remote working
- We already enable our colleagues to work flexibly and to have full access to our operational infrastructure irrespective of their location, and a significant number are already working at home across our Group.
- We have physically split and redeployed members of some teams so that in the event of illness within the team we have the necessary resources in place to continue service provision to our clients.
- Being an international business we have “built-in” diversification of risk, with specialist resources in the various regions in which we operate, and we have the capacity to redeploy colleagues as circumstances require.
- We have cancelled or postponed certain client and staff events until such time as the situation improves.
- Events scheduled for the future will be reviewed and a decision taken given the circumstances at the time, in the best interests of our clients and our people.
What are we doing to ensure the continuity of our supply chain?
- We’re in contact with our suppliers and service partners who have contractual obligations to support us, and require them to demonstrate how they are intending to ensure the continuity of the supply of goods and services to us.
- Where appropriate we are increasing our inventory of core technology products essential to running our operations and allowing our colleagues to work flexibly and remotely.
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