News & Views

Managing in a Crisis

5th June 2020

Andrew Hannay of RobMac answers some questions on the crisis and gives an insight on working at home and how this has changed our business lives and daily routine.


What changes did you make at the outset?

“Initially it was news filtering through from London that offices were beginning to close and staff being sent home to work and isolate that led us to act. We quickly devised a plan to do this and effectively set up a series of home mini offices equipped with communications, computer kit and full access to our back-office services.

Next, we emailed or wrote to all clients with details of what we were doing to maintain services and protect staff. Importantly too we stressed the merit of remaining invested and referred to their financial plan.

Looking back, I can recall some teething problems but some 8 weeks further down the line the systems are secure and working well and our market advice has proved sound.”

Did you speak to clients?

“We set out a rolling program to talk to all our clients on a regular basis and this was well received. Again, the message focused very much on remaining invested, having enough funds on deposit, reviewing long and short-term goals. And if I am honest, we also discussed well-being and family matters too. Most clients seemed in good spirits although some days for some were better than others.

There was a lot of discussion about income and expenditure and as you can imagine each experience of lockdown is different particularly for those in business.

We are continuing with this and we are about to start over again.”

Are you changing the investment strategies you are following?

“Broadly speaking no; not right now.

At RobMac we have a four-person investment committee that sits formally on a quarterly basis and informally every two weeks. We have a high-level discussion about markets in general, look at what is happening in the world and then we will discuss individual holdings held within and outside our recommended holdings.

Each of the funds undergoes detailed analysis to make sure they are performing as we would expect.

Individual holdings make up an overall risk strategy and it is the aggregate return that we will measure against various benchmarks.

It is in the committee meetings that we discuss risk, strategy, portfolio balances and other important issues such as pension income drawdown.

A less formal information structure sits alongside this with regular conversations, sharing of ideas and so on.

Citywire and Morningstar are our investment friends and we keep well away from the noise of the financial press and Bloomberg on TV.”

When do you think you will be back into the office?

“Right now, we are not sure, but we will be carrying out risk assessment of what a return to the office might look like. I think we have already got enough space for everyone to return and observe social distancing. The same applies to our meeting rooms too. We will also be adhering to the government guidelines as the last thing we want to do is place our people and clients at risk.

Our stated objective is to return to HQ at Manor Place but obviously for the foreseeable future we will continue to operate from home.

I imagine we have seen about two years of technological advances in the last couple of months and we certainly have the skill set and capability to reach out to clients and help run their affairs and finances pretty much as before.

So right now, it is business as usual.”

If you would like to discuss your financial position further with one of our consultants (without obligation), then click on the link and select a suitable time and date to arrange an online meeting.