20 March 2020
With the ongoing spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) around the world, including in Australia, we wanted to provide an update on the measures we at Qualitas are taking to minimise the risks to our staff, our clients and our business more broadly. Whilst such risk cannot be entirely eliminated, we can take practical measures to manage the risks in the current environment.
We have provided the following measures and guidelines to our people:
- Restrictions have been placed on all international travel and interstate travel should be avoided if possible until further notice;
- If any individual staff, their immediate family or household members do or have to travel to countries designated as medium or high risk by the World Health Organisation and/or the Australian Government Department of Health, they must immediately isolate themselves and work from home for a period of 14 days after their return. They may only return to work after this period of self-isolation and are cleared of showing any symptoms;
- If any staff member comes into contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19, has contact with a person suspected of COVID-19 or develops any flu like symptoms, they are to self-isolate immediately for a period of 14 days. They may not return to work until they have provided a medical certificate clearing them accordingly; and
- In any of the above situations staff members may not engage with clients and post the self-isolation period they are to advise clients of their previous status.
Working from home
- All staff have been advised that they may voluntarily work from home effective immediately.
- The executive leadership team as well as staff deemed to be key dependencies based on current work flows and projects are to work from home effective immediately.
- Necessary IT software and hardware has been deployed to provide for safe and efficient work from home practices for our staff.
- As a prudent precautionary measure, we are requesting all individuals attending our offices to advise us if they, their immediate family, or other household members have travelled overseas in the past 14 days. This includes whether or not they have been in contact with anyone who has recently travelled overseas. These individuals will not be able to attend meetings at our offices to minimise risk and we are requesting that staff have telephonic meetings or use video conference facilities where applicable.
While working remotely we are committed to maintaining our governance and high-quality standards at all times. We have tested our systems and infrastructure and we are confident that we can continue to support our clients’ needs as they would expect from us.
From an investment risk perspective, we remain diligent with our regular asset management reviews of individual loans and investments across all our funds and portfolios, in accordance with our existing asset management policies. In light of the current environment of heightened risk and the likely impact on the economy more broadly we are increasing the frequency of our asset review assessments and also applying appropriate invasiveness to these reviews. We expect this situation will continue for some time and, if required, we will look to actively manage any positions within our portfolios as part of our usual course of business.
Supporting our partners and opportunities
Longer term opportunities often present themselves in these times and we will look to work with our partners on these opportunities if we consider that it is in the best interest of our investors and clients. We continue to be highly selective and disciplined in our investment decisions in order to find the right balance between acceptable risk and return. We believe that strong and enduring partnerships with business partners, investors and clients are formed during challenging times and will seek to support our relationships to navigate the current environment.
We will continue to manage the situation as it evolves with a measured and calculated approach and will provide periodic updates accordingly.
Best wishes and health to everybody’s families and colleagues.