With the recent news that COVID-19 Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic, and with continuing turbulence in the markets, it is important to reassure all stakeholders that Peel Hunt remains robust, ready and resolved to continue business as usual. We have taken a number of measures to mitigate against and respond to all existing and potential future threats, in what is currently a constantly evolving situation.
Employee and Client Health & Wellbeing
Peel Hunt continue to monitor and adhere to HM Government’s advice relating to COVID-19 and implemented early preventative measures to safeguard client and employee health and wellbeing. All employees are now working from home, with regulators, supervisory bodies and exchanges consulted and informed. Measures include, but are not limited to:
- Providing clear guidance and expectations of staff regarding social distancing / isolation (HM Government’s advice is monitored continuously and adopted and relayed if/when it changes)
- Providing early clear communication to all clients with planned visits to our offices that those who have visited the latest HM government defined at risk countries within the past 14 days will be required to join meetings only by audio/video conference until further notice
- Imposing a no exceptions 2 week self-isolation rule for employees who returned from at-risk countries, following the establishment of HM Government’s COVID-19 related travel advice
- Requiring all remaining employees to work from home effective 23rd March (following initial transitions which commenced in February)
- Daily updates from HR / CEO to ensure staff are kept abreast of key developments and changes to HM Government advice
Operational Resilience & Responsiveness
Peel Hunt remains a financially sound business with capital and liquidity well in excess of minimum regulatory requirements. Risk exposures are monitored and stress-tested daily to provide assurance that they fall within our defined risk appetite, and third party vendors and providers are continually assessed to ensure they can continue to provide Peel Hunt with a continuous service level in the event of further BCP related developments. In addition to regular risk self-assessments, scenario tests, a pre-prepared BCP plan and Disaster Recovery site (both of which are regularly tested and audited to ensure they remain fit for purpose and aligned to the latest FCA guidance on Operation Resilience) and initially ring-fencing the two office locations, the firm transitioned to all staff working from home on 23rd March.
The firm established a COVID-19 BCP working group in February, comprising senior managers across all divisions and functions of the firm which continues to meet daily to ensure;
- the firm is and continues to be appropriately prepared
- all communications are centralised/coordinated
- an agile response is prepared in case of further environmental changes.
The firm has already tested and heavily invested in providing secure, stable systems to promote working from home, and most employees already had (and regularly utilised) this infrastructure. A central objective of the BCP contingency, further to the temporary activation of ring-fenced office locations, was to stress-test and then extend this to all staff such that we could switch to this approach for as long as is required (until government working-from-home advice changes), and continue to provide clients with no loss of service whilst fulfilling all market obligations and regulatory requirements.