Coronation Update: COVID-19 Lockdown - March 2020

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Kirshni Totaram

Kirshni Totaram

Kirshni is Global Head of Institutional Business. She joined Coronation in 2000.

There is no doubt that we are in unprecedented times – this is probably the biggest global crisis of our generation thus far. As with all crises, information is changing quickly, necessitating the need for quick and agile decision-making. Governments all around the world are, at the time of writing, escalating their national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday night, President Ramaphosa announced a 21-day nation-wide lockdown, commencing at midnight on 26 March 2020. We support the Government’s announced measures and are committed to playing our part in “flattening the curve” and assisting our country to overcome this extraordinary challenge.

The Presidency has identified financial services companies as providing essential services during the COVID-19 lockdown and we are thus required to remain operational during this time.

You can trust that we will be working hard to ensure an uninterrupted and high-quality service to you. At the same time, as always, our first priority is to ensure the well-being and safety of our clients and staff.

This means that we have invoked our robust business continuity plans and extensive remote working capabilities. All of these have been in operation for more than a week already and will continue. However, there are certain vital functions that need to be performed by certain team members in a highly controlled environment and our key staff performing these vital functions will be in the office daily.

In light of the above, please be mindful of the following:

  • All client interactions will be conducted via VC or telecon. We ask for your understanding should you hear children or pets on our end of the calls as more staff work from home.
  • There are no limits on subscriptions and withdrawals into our strategies or client portfolios but we will strictly observe the contractual liquidity terms in relation, for example, to notice periods.
  • For any subscriptions or withdrawals during this period, please continue to direct all notices to your regular client relationship manager, but also include your client services fund manager and Madeleine Setzkorn (msetzkorn@coronation.com) in all correspondence.
  • For all segregated mandates, your current contractual terms will apply. However, please be mindful that liquidity conditions in the market are incredibly limited and transitions may take longer. We will communicate this directly to you and ask for your understanding in this regard.
  • We are cognizant that many authorized signatories may be working from home and may not necessarily have the ability to follow the usual process for authorising instructions on your Coronation portfolios. If this is the case, please contact us as soon as possible if you need us to consider and agree an alternative to your existing contracted authorisation process.
  • There will be no interruption to our delivery of reporting to you.

We further assure you that our administrators, JP Morgan and Intembeko are fully operational and there are no interruptions to their services to us.

During this volatile time in the markets, we strongly caution against large flows (in either direction), as market pricing is very irrational and market liquidity extremely low. Please feel free to contact your client services fund manager to discuss any pending flows and an appropriate action plan.

We are constantly monitoring the state of the global pandemic and are escalating our crisis response plans accordingly. We therefore remain confident in our ability to deliver our service to you without any interruption throughout. In the unlikely event of any unforeseen disruptions, we commit to keeping you immediately informed.

In addition, any queries or concerns can be escalated to either our COO Llewellyn Smith at lsmith@coronation.com or directly to me.

Your client services fund manager and client relationship managers, as always, also remain available to deal with any concerns you may have.

The individual, social and financial repercussions of this pandemic have been, and will continue to be, significant. We continue to engage regularly as an industry and business to ensure we collaborate with businesses and policymakers in South Africa to respond appropriately to the challenges we now all face. In addition, we have also agreed to contribute to the Solidarity Fund, a fund established by the business community to support not only small businesses, but also the medical profession.

Coronation deeply values our continued partnership which allows us to face this challenge together. We are indeed in unchartered waters. The mark of the strength of any society is the ability to stay united in tumultuous times. The one striking and exceptional thing that I have learned about South Africans is that our societies, and our people, are remarkably resilient. We find ways to adapt, thrive and bounce back from adversity. This gives us great hope that by working together in a sensible and considered manner, we will navigate through this crisis.

We wish you, your family and your colleagues strength, fortitude and good health during these extraordinary times. 

Kirshni Totaram
Global Head of Institutional Business