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 to 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. Following Government guidance, almost all of our colleagues are now working from home. 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. A very small number of colleagues need to visit our offices to perform critical activities, such as those that require on-site systems access, managing post, carrying out essential property maintenance activities, or supporting IT infrastructure. Where this is the case we are following Government guidelines with respect to social distancing and hygiene.
Customers and advisers
The global pandemic has created economic uncertainty and volatility in investment markets which can be unsettling for customers. 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. Our customers are finding value and comfort in communicating with us at this this. 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’re encouraging other customers to use online facilities where possible for some services and information requests. We’ve also temporarily introduced more flexibility into certain activities removing the need for paper based processes, making it easier for customers and removing the need for colleagues to be in the office.
We are making information, guidance and expert commentary available online, to support customers and their advisers during this market volatility, via our dedicated Coronavirus Hub. 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 independent financial advisers. 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.
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 immediate support we donated £100,000 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.
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
17 April 2020