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Hawksmoor CEO – COVID-19 update

Update to Clients, Contacts and Shareholders – March 20th 2020

Further to my post on 17th March, I thought you might like an update on what has happened this week and how we are dealing with the constantly changing environment both from an operational aspect and in respect to global stock markets and investments in general.

We have now split our staff into three teams, one permanently working remotely and the other two alternating on a fortnightly basis between working in the office and working from home to avoid cross contamination. The intention being that if any of our staff fall sick we have healthy back up to continue to manage portfolios and keep the firm running. In the possible event that the country goes into total lockdown, I am comfortable that we can all work remotely until such time as we can return to the office. Our priority is to ensure we maintain the highest possible levels of service to you and it is fortunate that technology allows us to do so. In order to be able to communicate with you as effectively as possible, this is best done by telephone, email and other forms of digital communication. Please avoid sending us anything by post as there could be delays in responding. Due to the current social distancing requirements we will not be carrying out any face to face meetings for the foreseeable future and all client events have been cancelled or postponed.

The significant falls in stock markets in the last few weeks have been unprecedented and, more notably, exceptionally fast. Whilst this is extremely unnerving for investors, history shows us that riding out these storms is far better than panic selling. The vast majority of our clients are invested for the long term and our investment strategies reflect that. We have a strong research team to support our investment managers and our CIO, Jim Wood-Smith is providing regular market commentary to support our strategies.

Hawksmoor may be a young company but it is a very robust one and I am pleased to say we have a balance sheet to reflect that. We have no debt and a strong regulatory capital position which is designed to carry us through extreme volatility such as we are experiencing at the moment. We will be announcing our 2019 results shortly and it will be apparent that our healthy financial position will help us in the coming months until everything stabilises. For further reassurance, we outsource the safe custody of our investments to Pershing, a subsidiary of the Bank of New York Mellon, which is one of the largest providers of custody services in the world. Your assets are therefore held in a ring-fenced account.

It is unfortunate that I must draw your attention to the fact that in unsettled times such as these, criminals use the opportunity to try and exploit people when they are at their most vulnerable. Please be extra careful in relation to calls or emails you receive, even if they appear to come from a known source. If you are in any doubt please do not hesitate to contact your investment manager either by email or on his or her direct phone number.

With very best wishes to you and your family during these challenging times.

Sarah Soar – Chief Executive

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