Dear EQ client,
I want to update you on what EQ is doing to minimise risk to the health of our staff and your wealth. Last Thursday, in the light of the rapidly deteriorating news and reports of the situation in Italy, we gave all staff the option of working from home for the foreseeable future. We have robust IT systems in place to allow this to work effectively and currently just over half of our staff have elected to do this.
I can assure you that this does not affect our ability to manage your money. Our investment managers are meeting by video link every day and have all of their usual systems available. In these highly volatile markets, it may actually be beneficial to have a little physical distance.
Given the risks, we certainly don’t expect to be holding the usual number of face-to-face client meetings, even though we understand how important these are. However, modern video technology is very effective and easily available to anyone with a broadband connection and camera. Please get in touch if you would like to set up a video call with your adviser.
This situation is unlike anything that I’ve faced in my life and it’s clear that painful days lie ahead. The analogy of being in Florida waiting for a hurricane to strike seems accurate. We know that considerable damage is going to occur, but we are not sure exactly when or who will be affected. Eventually life will return to normal, but the waiting is very stressful.
Some of you may feel tempted to liquidate and preserve the current value of your investments, even after the steep falls. This may lower your immediate stress levels, which in itself is highly desirable. However, there may be a financial cost: at some point you will need to reinvest and if you wait until the outlook is clearer it is likely that markets will be much higher by then.
We can already see that some sectors, such as travel, and discretionary consumer spending are going to be hit hard. But there are others which look resilient, such as healthcare, telecommunications, food retailers. There are even a few (e.g. producers of face masks and ventilators) that will do extremely well.
Please do talk to us if you are unsure what action to take. I can assure you that EQ is here to help you cope as the situation unfolds and I look forward to welcoming you back to the EQ office as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, stay safe and keep reading the jokes – humour is a great way to dissolve stress.
We will keep you updated as the situation develops.
John Spiers, CEO