Letter from Rathbones' Chief Executive Paul Stockton
Given the recent escalation in the UK’s response to COVID-19, I am contacting you directly to explain the steps Rathbones are taking to deal with the outbreak and maintain client service levels over the next few weeks.
Many of our employees, including all those in our London office, are now working remotely, meaning your Investment Manager or other usual Rathbones contact may be working from a location outside the office. The technology we use means that you can still make direct contact with their usual phone numbers and email addresses. Where possible we would ask that you please correspond with us by telephone or email rather than by post otherwise there could be unavoidable delays in responding. I also hope you will understand that in line with the Government’s social distancing guidelines, we believe it is in everyone’s best interests to suspend face-to-face meetings for the time being. We have also decided to cancel or postpone all of our events for clients until circumstances change. Please do continue to keep in touch with your usual contact at Rathbones and check our website for updates on the crisis, market corrections and our response to the situation.
I am sure that you are concerned by the falls we are currently seeing in equity markets. Volatility in the stock markets is always unsettling, but our role will continue to be to invest on your behalf for the long-term, adjusting and adapting our approach to market movements as they happen. Rathbones’ experienced Investment Managers are supported by a world-class Research capability and Operations teams, all of whom are working effectively during this crisis to ensure we continue to make the right decisions for your long-term financial objectives.
Please be assured that the health and well-being of our clients and our employees is our absolute priority and that we are doing everything we can to help everyone stay safe. We are also working extremely hard to ensure we continue supporting you by managing your investments as comprehensively as ever throughout these extraordinary circumstances.
Rathbones has been in business since 1742 and we have weathered many global events in our long history. We maintain a conservative balance sheet and a strong regulatory capital position. The business is primarily funded by shareholders, with only a small amount of debt finance. As well as the mandatory regulatory capital buffers we are required to hold by the Prudential Regulation Authority, the group also maintains internal capital buffers designed specifically to weather volatility such as the market conditions we have recently experienced. We also invest our cash balances very conservatively. In our preliminary results announcement for 2019 (found on pages 16-19) we reported treasury assets of over £2.8 billion, of which £1.9 billion was held on deposit with the Bank of England. You can find further details here.
I wish to end with a final note of caution. Please take extra care with your financial transactions at the moment. Periods of uncertainty often create opportunities for fraudsters. I would urge you to be alert to possible scams and always contact your Investment Manager through the usual contact details you have for them.
Our best wishes go to all of you who have been affected by this crisis or, indeed, are helping to resolve it.
My thanks and best wishes again.