We are fully committed to doing whatever we can in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) both in the present challenge to tackle the virus and also in the longer term, when the social and economic impacts will continue to be felt. We believe in the power of working together to ensure we support those most in need through these difficult times. We have committed our support, along with hundreds of other institutions, to the C-19 Business Pledge which aims to harness the power of business as a force for good in tackling the Coronavirus to support colleagues, customers and communities.
There are over 4,800 Quilter colleagues in the UK and a small number of overseas locations, and over 4,000 financial advisers with whom we have close working relationships; their safety and wellbeing is our top priority. In line with Government guidance, almost all colleagues began working from home early in the crisis. Where a small number of colleagues continued to work in our offices to perform critical activities, we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. We are adhering to the guidance as we plan a safe return to our buildings, including:
- Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment and sharing the results with colleagues
- Cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
- Taking all reasonable steps to help people work from home
- Taking all reasonable steps to maintain appropriate social distancing in the workplace
- And where people cannot maintain social distance, we have done everything practical to manage transmission risk
We recognise this is a challenging time for people and are supporting them with appropriate technology, new ways of working, flexible work arrangements, regular communications and practical guidance. Our existing wellbeing programme, Thrive, has also been updated to provide colleagues with appropriate mental, financial, physical and social wellbeing support. The role of line managers in these times is particularly important to ensure colleagues remain connected and supported, and we’ve created specific guidance for line managers which are updated regularly to reflect changing needs.
Customers and advisers
The global pandemic has created economic uncertainty and volatility in investment markets which can be unsettling for customers. Throughout the crisis, we have ensured continuity of our services, in particular those which are most critical to advisers and customers, such as payments out, upon which customers rely. We know that customers in more vulnerable circumstances and those in need of urgent help, often want to talk to us over the phone. To ensure they can do so, we have enhanced the information available online so that other customers to use online facilities where possible for some services and information requests. We’ve also temporarily introduced more flexibility into certain activities by removing the need for paper-based processes.
We are making information, guidance and expert commentary available online, to support customers and their advisers during this market volatility, via our dedicated There for You website. Customers and advisers can also get up to date insights from our weekly live webcast featuring a panel of investment experts from across the business. We have promoted guidance on how to avoid financial scams during the crisis, including how to protect identity and internet security and avoid fraudulent activity.
We have active relationships with thousands of financial advisers through multiple channels, including financial advisers who are appointed representatives of Quilter in our network as well as financial advisers external to Quilter. We are supporting them with a range of information, guidance and other measures to help them support customers and protect their business during and after this period of uncertainty. We have also extended our internal wellbeing programme, Thrive, to advisers external to Quilter, which provides a wide range of mental, physical and wellbeing information, support and guidance.
The Coronavirus is creating serious health, social and economic impacts which will continue to be felt deeply for some time to come. Sadly it’s often those in the most vulnerable circumstances that bear the greatest weight from isolation, loneliness, health and household financial issues. To provide support we have donated £193,500 from the Quilter Foundation to the National Emergency Trust (NET) COVID-19 appeal. The NET is distributing funds to those who need it most through an established link with Community Foundations nationally. This will ensure the funds reach local charities delivering urgent support to the elderly and other vulnerable groups that are being impacted through the crisis. To boost our support we’re matching funds raised by colleagues for the NET appeal. The Quilter Foundation also has a number of strategic charity partners who support thousands of young people facing multiple challenges in our communities. In particular, the Foundation’s Young Carers campaign supports the mental health and wellbeing of young carers who look after loved ones with disabilities, long-term illnesses, mental health issues, and addiction problems. We have reaffirmed our commitment to our strategic charity partners and are identifying new ways of working with them and supporting them through this period. More information about our charity partners can be found here.
As well as supporting communities in the UK, The Quilter Foundation has also donated £50,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee international appeal launched in response to the Coronavirus crisis. The appeal will seek to deliver urgent support to vulnerable and displaced people in areas where basic healthcare provision and issues of sanitation and nutrition have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. Help will also be provided to regions where healthcare systems have been unable to cope or where malnutrition and chronic ill health has become increasingly prevalent. The primary focus of the appeal will initially target communities living in refugee and internal displacement camps in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, such as the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, as well as specific regions and countries like Gaza, Burkina Faso and Haiti.
To conclude, we are committed to doing all that we can to help tackle Coronavirus, to support our colleagues, customers, advisers and communities through these difficult times.
CEO, Quilter plc
10 June 2020