The escalation of the COVID‐19 into a worldwide pandemic over the past few weeks has sparked societal and financial market panics. Both panics have pushed us into unchartered waters where there is limited precedent upon which to navigate the environment. The market’s spiraling descent into bear market territory has been the most rapid in history, declining over 20% in a ten day span. This sell off has been universally punishing, offering equity investors no historical safe havens in which to hide and sparing no one. We do not attempt to forecast the future and cannot offer any insight about the market’s likely course in the weeks ahead, but we remain confident in the long term outlook for the equity markets and that our adherence to taking this long view will continue to serve our clients well. We want you to know that we remain fully committed to you and are available to discuss questions and concerns you may have.
We remain equally committed to the health and well‐being of our team and their families, and have taken a series of steps to protect our most valuable asset. First, we have suspended travel and will continue to conduct meetings and communications outreach through teleconferencing and videoconferencing. We intend to be accessible without putting our teammates at risk. Secondly, we are limiting visitors, particularly those coming from already‐established high risk areas. Next we are requesting that employees limit personal travel, and will require self‐ quarantining for those employees or their household members who have traveled to impacted areas or through major airports. We have fully tested our capabilities to remain “business as usual” remotely many times over the past few years, in preparation for such a disruptive scenario. Thus we can assure you that we are ready to serve all of our constituencies in the event that a complete shutdown of our office becomes necessary.
These are gut‐wrenching times, punctuated with extreme volatility and a barrage of scary headlines with conflicting views and opinions that change by the day and the hour. But today’s challenges can become tomorrow’s opportunities, and that is the view that we are taking in response to these twin panics. We cannot predict when, but we know they will subside and we will move ahead, much as we did following the 2008‐2009 Great Recession. The path will not be a smooth one but we will get through this together. We urge you to stay the course and not succumb to the emotions that we all are feeling.