Practices stay the course as outbreak widens

Despite the government’s refusal to embrace draconian isolation measures, more and more practices are enacting business continuity plans to weather the coronavirus outbreak.

Stanford Brown has become the latest practice to make sweeping business changes, including splitting its office into two groups – with each group working interchangeably from home and on-site – ceasing all business travel, and taking its meetings online.

“Over the past three years, we have made our business systems entirely cloud-based and built a discretionary portfolio management process. This allows our staff to securely operate from remote locations and permits the investment committee and your adviser to enact all client portfolio transactions,” Stanford Brown chief executive Jonathan Hoyle said in a letter to clients.

“The adoption of this cutting-edge technology infrastructure puts Stanford Brown in an extremely strong position to manage your capital with the continuity, calm and rigour that you expect. For many of you, we are the guardians of your life’s work – a responsibility and a privilege we take extremely seriously.”

Stanford Brown will also be seeking email confirmations to record consent for transactions and ongoing services, and asked clients who have been travelling abroad or who are experiencing flu-like symptoms not to visit their office.

“This is an evolving situation and we will continue to monitor developments,” Mr Hoyle said.

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Plan For Life – which is now owned by ISS Market Intelligence – is also preparing its business continuity plans.

“The vast majority of our staff across jurisdictions are equipped to perform their daily tasks remotely or shift responsibilities to locations that remain unaffected,” ISS CEO Gary Retelny wrote in a letter to clients.

“We are committed to the health and safety of our employees and those with whom we work while working to ensure continuity in the provision of our products and services to our clients.”

Online wealth management platform myprosperity has seen a 110 per cent increase in the use of its online forms since December 2019, something it attributes to advisers going digital due to the outbreak.

“For advisers and accountants, the spread of the virus means there’s a forced shift from face-to-face meetings to online ones and they’re having to collaborate digitally, helping small businesses and households brace for tougher times,” said myprosperity founder Peter McCarthy.

Practices stay the course as outbreak widens
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