May 1, 2020
COVID-19 Update and Communication
Rarely in our history have we – as individuals, as companies, as countries and as a global society – faced such uncertainty. Over the last several weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in rapidly changing circumstances and accelerated decision making, leaving many fearful of what is to come.
As the lockdown in the UK rolls on, we continue to see our everyday lives affected by the pandemic. The regular Government briefings continue to bring further sombre news, although there are some positive signs from around the world as more countries now feel able to relax the strict rules on social isolation. Thankfully, most people in the UK have adhered to the guidelines and finally we are seeing a slowdown in rates of infection and more importantly in fatalities, at least in our busy hospitals.
In these extraordinary times we want you to know that we are still with you… every step of the way.
From the inception of Brighton Capital Management back in April 2015 we set up our business and systems so every member of the team could work from home allowing us to deliver all our services remotely.
Our Hove office is now temporarily closed but Brighton Capital Management is very much open for business. The team will continue to answer calls, respond to email queries and provide advice as usual.
You can find our contact details here.
We know that some clients prefer to send documents or cheques to the office by post, particularly at the beginning of a new tax year (i.e. ISA subscriptions). Despite the temporary closure of the office any post is still being retrieved on a daily basis, by one member of the team (a couple of us live within 10-20 mins walk or cycle from the office). Post is then scanned and distributed to the appropriate person for action. We have experienced some delays with the post, so where possible we would encourage you to make payments electronically or send documents by email.
A large number of product providers (insurance/pension companies) and indeed our own platform provider, Raymond James, have relaxed some of their requirements for hard copies and wet signatures, now allowing scanned documents and digital signatures as an alternative. Please speak to your adviser if you have any questions about sending any documents electronically.
If you haven’t already got access to Raymond James Investor Access (our online client portal) then please contact us to find out more – the service has recently been enhanced to include projected income and yield figures. Further work is in the pipeline to provide asset allocation breakdown and options to ‘go paperless’. Investor Access is fully mobile responsive and can be accessed from the majority of mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets.
In terms of client communication, we continue to make every effort to strike a balance between keeping you fully updated on your investments whilst not wishing to draw unnecessary focus to the short term or the volatility in markets, which is quite normal at times of stress. These are the critical moments for us as investors, when markets are moving so quickly, it is important that we are able to react, but not panic and lose sight of our principles and long term aims. Ewen’s regular market updates have been well received and clients can opt for correspondence by email or letter.
Meeting clients on a regular basis has always been an important part of the business for us and something we have enjoyed the most over our many years in the industry. Like many other businesses we have had to adapt to the lockdown and potentially the ‘new world’ which will follow. For the time being we are making very good use of new technologies like Zoom and are now able to schedule video conference meetings. All that you need to participate in a Zoom meeting is a decent Internet connection and a laptop, tablet or smartphone. We will take care of the rest and send you an invitation with all the details you need to log onto the video call. Alternatively, a simple telephone call still works well to keep in contact and allows us to check in and hear if there are any changes that may impact how we are managing your investments.
Brighton Capital Management is very fortunate to have a robust and relatively strong financial position. All of our team, the majority of whom have worked together for more than 10 years, are still working hard and we have not had to take advantage of the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme.
Our platform partner, Raymond James, remains one of the world’s most conservatively managed financial businesses. Raymond James Financial Inc (the US parent) is over-capitalised and entered this year with more than $1 billion in cash, with a total capital ratio roughly two-and-a-half times the US regulatory requirement. Their S&P rating is BBB+ with a stable outlook, the same as many of the largest firms in the industry. From a UK perspective, Raymond James Investment Services Ltd is also extremely conservatively capitalised – again at over two-and-a-half times UK regulatory requirements.
At times like these having a strong business and platform partner, means we are confident that we can continue to provide the quality of service and operational capability that you expect from us, albeit perhaps delivered in a different way than usual.
Whilst we can no longer meet you in person, at least for now, we are still here and on hand when you need us, as always.
Thank you for your continued support in these difficult times; we wish and you your family well and look forward to seeing you on the other side.
Love the BCM team