Message from our CEO
16 March 2020
As we closely monitor ongoing developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, continued care and support for our clients and our people remains our priority.
We appreciate that you will have questions around how HSBC Global Asset Management is managing your portfolios and operating given the global response to the pandemic and current market volatility, and wanted to reassure you that we have put measures in place to ensure that we continue to deliver our services to you. These measures include homeworking and split site arrangements, including for our Portfolio Managers and analysts. We don’t expect any change to the support that we provide, and I would like to outline below some of the steps we are taking.
Business Continuity Plans & Procedures:
From a business continuity view, we have well-practiced measures in place that ensure critical processes continue to be maintained, so that we can provide you with an ongoing service. These procedures have now been activated. Regular meetings are taking place to closely monitor developments and assess and respond to the evolving situation, by coordinating and directing actions across HSBC Global Asset Management’s network. We routinely test all our contingency measures, and since the outbreak started, each country has been retesting their solutions and working on scenario planning, so that we can minimise any operational impact. We are also working with our third parties to ensure that they remain resilient.
Home-Working & Split Site Arrangements:
Supporting our people remains a top priority. We have now implemented a number of measures including home working and split site arrangements. We have asked at least a third of our employees globally, across all teams, to work from home. In higher impacted locations, we have asked in excess of 60% of our people to work from home. Portfolio Managers & analysts are also included in this process. Where certain roles cannot be performed as effectively remotely, those teams are now working under split site arrangements in the higher impacted locations, dividing between two HSBC locations. Since the outbreak in Asia, many of our colleagues in the region have been working from home for several weeks, and we have not seen any major operational issues and have continued to deliver services to clients as normal. In all regions, our working from home capacity has been expanded to cater for increased numbers.
Business Travel & Employee Guidance:
We have now restricted all international business travel (except for special circumstances for business continuity or regulatory reasons), and asked our colleagues to consider government advice for personal travel. We have provided colleagues with access to travel advisory messaging, which is updated according to the evolving situation. We have also asked our colleagues to not travel between domestic HSBC locations. Where there are meetings or events organised by HSBC with attendees from different sites, they are now connecting digitally, or by phone.
We have measures in place to use technology to deliver face to face client events as required and we are now not inviting external guests or clients into our offices. We are also asking colleagues to practice social distancing in their work interactions and meetings.
Like many other organisations, we have implemented self-quarantine requirements for impacted HSBC Global Asset Management employees. Employees must notify HSBC and work from home for a period of 14 days if they, or someone they have had close contact with, has travelled to or through mainland China, northern Italy, Japan or South Korea (special care zones) in the last 14 days, and the same for France, Germany, elsewhere in Italy and Spain since 9 March 2020. Employees must also self-quarantine if they have been in close contact with anyone, whilst they were symptomatic, who is suspected of having or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, whether they have travelled or not.
As global risk assets have sold off sharply and volatility has surged, the current environment suggests that a global recession is now the most probable scenario. The main question is how long and how deep it is likely to be. We believe it makes sense to adopt a more neutral tactical view on developed market equities in such a highly uncertain and volatile environment. However, we maintain a strategically pro-risk stance in the context of hugely improved relative valuations for risky assets. If you would like to discuss your portfolio positioning with us, please let us know and we can organise an electronic meeting with our investments team.
Our priority remains the wellbeing of our clients and staff and ensuring that we continue to meet your investment needs. Our vision is to be a trusted asset manager for our clients, and we are currently delivering all services and meeting our quality guidelines – and all indications remain that we will continue to do so.
Please contact us if you have any queries or require any further information. If we believe there is a chance our ability to provide a normal service to you should change, we will contact you immediately.
With best regards,
CEO, HSBC Global Asset Management