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Hawksmoor CEO – COVID-19 pandemic

Update to Clients, Contacts and Shareholders – March 27th 2020

It has been another extraordinary week for the human race as world leaders act in various ways to control the spread of the coronavirus. When I wrote my update a week ago, pubs, bars and restaurants were being closed down but clearly this was not enough and by Monday evening we had gone into lockdown. I am pleased to say the swift action of everyone at Hawksmoor meant that we were prepared for this and every member of staff had the capability of working remotely by the time Boris addressed the nation. There have, I am pleased to say, been very few teething problems and everyone has adjusted well to the new way of working.

The Executive Committee have held daily conference calls to ensure the firm continues to run smoothly and to maintain the same level of service to our clients at all times. In order to achieve this it has become apparent that we rapidly need to adjust the way we communicate as using the traditional method by post is simply not viable any more. We are currently in the process of building a client portal which will be available in July, but in the meantime telephone and email are the two most efficient ways of keeping in touch. Similarly, bank transfers are a much faster and safer way of moving money than cheques and we will be working with everyone in the Hawksmoor community to operate in this way. I am very conscious that this will not suit everyone and if you have concerns please do not hesitate to talk to your usual contact so we can find an appropriate solution.

Global markets have been extremely erratic this week-on some days rising by the same amount as they had fallen the previous day. We simply do not know what the impact is going to be in the long term, but some traders use the falls as an opportunity to buy good quality companies much cheaper than they were a month ago. What has helped is the support of the UK government for British businesses and a further reduction in interest rates by the Bank of England. Our highly experienced fund and investment managers together with the research team are monitoring the situation very closely and positioning portfolios accordingly. As I have said before, history has proved that if you hold tight and ride out the storm then you do better in the long term and I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case now.

It is a scary time for us all and we must put the health and welfare of family and friends before anything else. The level of human kindness that has been demonstrated as a result of this situation has been extraordinary. However it is also a worrying time for investors which is why we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time about any concerns you may have, be it investment related or otherwise. It is the least we can do.

Finally, as with all things in life, there are positives with the negatives. Spring is definitely in the air and for most of us the weather has been glorious this week; the blossom on the trees, colourful flowers emerging and noticeably louder bird song! The advantage of being forced to slow down is that we can take time to appreciate some of these things which we might otherwise take for granted and that has to be a good thing.

With very best wishes

Sarah Soar – Chief Executive

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