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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How Are Fundsters Adapting to the Pandemic?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, fund firms (like other businesses) are finding themselves in a new kind of work world, at least for now. Financial services titans' reactions are already getting a lot of attention and conferences are being postponed or cancelled; here's a sampling of how other fundsters at different firms are adapting to the coronavirus situation.

Robert Hamilton Steers
Cohen & Steers, Inc.
CEO, Co-Founder

Cohen and Steers

The team at New York City-based Cohen and Steers, a publicly traded asset manager known for its real estate funds, informed clients this morning that they're now encouraging staff "to work from home until further notice." (About 35 percent of Cohen and Steers' workforce works remote regularly anyway.) Yet not everyone will be WFH (working from home).

"Our offices will remain staffed and open, with appropriate physical distancing, to support our remote team members and clients," the company's "stakeholder update" reads.

They're also restricting meetings and travel, though not completely.

"We are strongly discouraging all non-essential business travel and client meetings and will require partner approval on a case-by-case basis," the notice reads.

Manning and Napier

The team at Fairport, New York-based Manning and Napier, a publicly traded fund firm with a specialty in asset allocation funds, is also keeping their lights on.

"The firm will remain open and our day-to-day operations will continue," a notice on Manning and Napier's site reads. "However, out of precaution, we have moved to a reduced onsite workforce with the majority of our employees working remotely. Any internal meetings will be held virtually."

They're also shifting to virtual meetings, though they, too, seem to be stopping short of restricting in-person meetings completely. Events, too, are being pushed.

"To support the health and safety of our communities, we are encouraging phone or video meetings in place of face-to-face meetings with clients & partners and are asking clients, partners, and vendors to avoid coming into our offices at this time," the notice reads. "Additionally, we have postponed several events that were set to occur within the next few weeks."

Azzad Asset Management

The team at Azzad Asset Management, a faith-based asset management firm based in Falls Church, Virginia, has gone completely remote.

"In order to best serve our clients and protect our colleagues, Azzad has implemented its Business Continuity Plan for the next two weeks," the team told their clients via a notice on Monday. "This means that staff will work remotely until Monday, March 30, at which time we will reassess the situation and update accordingly."

Client calls and meetings will continue, the notice confirms, except meetings scheduled for Azzad HQ will shift to being virtual. 

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