Investment Week has asked some of the country’s leading asset management firms what workplace precautions they have put in place to prevent coronavirus outbreaks, and how this will impact the day-to-day running of their businesses.
Janus Henderson Global Investors
"We have suspended all business travel to affected countries/regions on company business. Any applications for an exception to this must be agreed by a member of the Executive Committee of Janus Henderson. Colleagues based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan or Japan are not travelling to any of our other offices globally.
"Anyone returning from an affected region (whether for business or personal reasons) are required to 'self-quarantine' at home for 14 calendar days (and work from home during this period).
"Likewise, if a colleague has a close relative returning from an affected country then they need to tell their manager and need to stay at home, notify their manager and work from home for 14 days.
"Staff have been encouraged to test their capability to work from home and take corporate laptops home on a daily basis in the event we need to implement business contingency plans at short notice.
"For those staff who do not currently have remote access, we have requested that they do so with our IT team immediately.
"High-touch areas in our offices (i.e. door handles, lifts) are being deep-cleaned on a regular basis. Extra hand sanitiser gel and anti-bacterial wipes have been distributed across our offices.
"This may be a particularly worrying or concerning time for people, so we have reminded staff of our Employee Assistance Programme which includes our mental mealth provision for those who might need support.
"We have also reminded them that we provide International SOS for international medical and security advice or assistance."
"While it is impossible to predict at this stage the extent and pace with which the coronavirus will spread, the asset management industry has always proved itself resilient in the past.
"Unlike, for example, the hospitality industry and airlines, we are not necessarily reliant on the physical presence of clients, so we have not taken the immediate hit from the outbreak that many of those companies have in terms of lost business.
"Meanwhile from a staffing perspective, many aspects of our work can be performed remotely, if necessary, and we have regularly tested plans and scenario testing in place to implement this should we need to.
"Looking to the longer term, it is true that we are entering uncharted waters with this virus and there may be implications that haven't yet been thought of, but the industry has always proved highly adaptable and capable of overcoming significant challenges.
"Aside from keeping our staff updated on developments and ensuring we promote the recommended approaches to hygiene in the workplace, our senior management teams are meeting to plan specific scenarios and play them out, so we can be confident we have robust contingency plans and arrangements in place.
"This is an extension to our normal business continuity planning and testing, but with this specific scenario in mind. We are also limiting business-related travel and ensuring staff are using more remote conferencing facilities and online collaboration tools as opposed to face-to-face meetings. We feel these are sensible precautionary measures."
"Currently, business travel to Italy, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan has been restricted, requiring approval from senior management. Split working arrangements are in place in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and Milan.
"Unrelated to coronavirus, for some time now Schroders has placed a greater emphasis on video conferencing where viable as an alternative to business travel to underpin our focus on sustainability from a corporate, as well as an investment perspective.
"In terms of flexible working, over the past few years Schroders has been placing a greater focus on workplace flexibility across the group and has invested in technology to ensure employees can benefit from working remotely.
"We are confident Schroders will be able to operate business as usual, should working remotely become a greater necessity."
"Currently business travel is not permitted to any of the regions set out in the FCO guidelines, nor are staff members in those regions currently permitted to travel anywhere on business. Similarly, any engagement with clients in the affected countries is being done through virtual means. Staff members who have visited the affected areas have been asked to self-quarantine per government guidelines.
"We have a full contingency plan in place to ensure business as usual if a large number of the workplace are required to work from home."
"The health and safety of our employees is our utmost priority. We are following all World Health Organization (WHO) and government guidance in our various locations and have a robust and well-developed business continuity (BCP) plan in place to protect our employees and to ensure we meet the needs of our clients.
"Business travel between countries has been limited to business-critical meetings and will need to be approved by Fidelity's senior leadership team. We have implemented working from home arrangements in the APAC region and Italy in line with government guidance, with the exception of teams where specific arrangements have been made to work from our offices. For business-critical functions where employees are required in the office, split teams are in place.
"Our BCP teams are meeting on a daily basis to monitor the situation and respond accordingly."
CRUX Asset Management
"As with most businesses in the industry, we have been keeping a close eye on the spread of Covid-19 for some time. We have travel restrictions and advice for all staff in place and have taken all practical precautions for visitors to the offices.
"We will follow government guidelines and advice on this issue at all times. CRUX has invested heavily in technology to ensure business continuity and should the need arise; our team is able to work remotely without interruption."
"We have reminded all staff about the Public Health England guidance regarding travelling and all the basic hygiene advice. We already have processes that manage absence rates and reasons for absence, so if there were any suspected cases we would know about these straight away and could take appropriate steps to help reduce any potential spread.
"Our business continuity plans already account for scenarios where high numbers of staff can't access the office for any reason, including working from home or an alternative site. We continue to monitor the situation and would evolve our planning if there were to be a significant outbreak in the UK."