Our Response to the Coronavirus

Our Response to the Coronavirus

Given the wide reporting on the potential risk posed by the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus, we decided to outline how we at Leith Wheeler are preparing for any potential impacts it may have on our business. The following is a summary of the Coronavirus Plan developed by our Chief Information Security Officer, James Goodchild, in conjunction with our Management Committee. Below you can also find a report prepared by Edinburgh Partners, one of our investment sub-advisors, which provides a good summary of the facts known so far about the virus, along with a reasonable view on the current situation from an investment perspective. 

As a firm, our responsibility is to ensure our services to our clients are not interrupted. We do this by planning for:

  1. Business Continuity. Leith Wheeler has a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that will allow us to continue operations if a pandemic is called by authorities. In such a scenario, employees will be asked to work from home. The firm has invested in remote working capabilities which enable all employees to log in and access all files and programs necessary to do their work from anywhere in the world. The BCP response team annually tests connectivity and core business capabilities and will be asked to remotely access Leith Wheeler technical services to continue trading, valuation and other key business processes during a pandemic.
  2. Employee Safety. The wellbeing of all employees is core to Leith Wheeler values. We will engage with stakeholders to provide the safest possible working environment for our people.  
  3. Communication. Leith Wheeler will:
    1. Communicate with clients and authorities as required if business operations are impacted by a pandemic call.
    2. Keep employees informed of any updates pertinent to the coronavirus situation.

As employees of Leith Wheeler, we accept the following personal responsibilities:

  1. Protect ourselves. This includes practicing good hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an antibacterial gel; using a tissue or covering mouths with sleeves when coughing or sneezing; avoiding where possible handling or touching public items such as handrails, or, if contact is unavoidable, washing hands or using antibacterial gel at the first opportunity after contact; and avoiding close contact with anyone who is exhibiting signs of a fever, coughing or indicates they are not feeling well. Employees are also directed to additional health information updates and tips at: Vancouver Coast Health, Alberta Health Services, Toronto Health Services and BC CDC websites.
  2. Understand the symptoms. Typical symptoms of Coronavirus include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell.
  3. Get checked out. If we or family members are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, we will see a doctor, a clinic or a hospital and only return to work when we are cleared. 
  4. Advise Leith Wheeler. If we are feeling ill, we won’t come into the office. We will get checked out and keep managers and the COO up to date on any information that we can share
  5. Minimize travel to certain locations. If possible, we will consider limiting travel to locations known to be at a heightened state of caution because of the Coronavirus. The Government of Canada constantly updates their website with travel advisories.  If we have a business trip planned for one of these locations, we will discuss options with our manager.

Investing opportunities / threats:

As noted, we have linked below to a report published today by Edinburgh Partners analyst, Lauran Halpin (click image below to open). It is too early to speculate on the full impact that Coronavirus may have on markets, but we will be diligent in our coverage of any developments, and patient in the execution of our plan.