A letter from BBH Managing Partner, Bill Tyree
Updated March 27, 2020
To our valued clients,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented set of events created by the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and exacerbated by dramatic price swings in global markets. We have been communicating with you through a variety of electronic means to update you on the actions BBH is taking to ensure the well-being of our employees and the continuity of our business. We are also deeply concerned about your well-being and stand ready to provide whatever support we can to assist you. The purpose of this letter is to further update you on the effectiveness of our business resiliency efforts and the current state of our operations. Our Asia offices have now been operating under our contingency program for nine weeks, and our US and Europe offices for three weeks.
First of all, we are focused on the health and well-being of the more than 6,000 BBHers who serve our clients from 18 locations around the world. Our first line of defense is to have BBHers work from home where possible and not come into the office. Over 94% of our global staff are now working exclusively from home, with the rest divided among 16 BBH offices. We continue to actively use four of our five recovery sites, recently deactivating our Boston recovery site and temporarily closing two regional BBH offices which are no longer needed as BBHers settle into their home workstations. We are confident in our ability to meet core deliverables within this arrangement, and are taking an “abundance of caution” approach to ensure the completeness and accuracy of our work. We have experienced no disruption to our operations, including executing four new client conversions since we declared a contingency event.
Between those who continue to come into the office and those designated to work from home, we have intentionally split our processing teams to create location-based resiliency. Team members in our offices are using vacated spaces to increase social distancing. Throughout, we have also implemented supplemental cleaning, disinfecting and disease control protocols. We have carefully expanded the footprint of our alternate working arrangements over the past several weeks, and have the full co-operation of our staff as we continue to operate under established contingency protocols across the firm. Throughout this process, we have supported our employees with resources and tools to assist their transition into virtual work and to help guide their adjustment into full work-life integration. Our team has made this shift quickly, and I am proud of the way our employees have come together to deliver on key client deliverables without interruption.
Of course, we have paused travel, in-person meetings, conferences, and other events, and have asked our employees to only interact with clients digitally. We are using technology in new ways to stay connected as we navigate these markets together. Many of you will receive invitations for BBH webinars or teleconference meetings to discuss the continuing market implications of COVID-19, and I would encourage you to join. We plan to continue offering these and other means of sharing thoughtful and timely insights with you.
Lastly, we remain in close contact with our third-party providers (including sub-advisors, sub-custodians, and other outsourcing partners). We have been impressed by how effectively they have implemented their plans to address the coronavirus. Up to now, we have not experienced any material interruptions in their service.
We know that the challenges created by trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 will continue for some time. We also appreciate that these challenges affect not only our workplace, but our families, friends, and communities at large. We want to help in any way we can, and encourage you to reach out to your relationship manager, to a Managing Director or Partner, or to me directly to have a conversation about the challenges you are facing and how we can assist.
Best regards and stay safe,