March 26, 2020
Dear Friends and Clients,
This is a challenging time for the country, and the world. The spread of coronavirus will directly afflict hundreds of thousands—and more likely millions—of individuals and families. It will materially impact our economy and will disproportionately affect those who are most vulnerable. When the outbreak does conclude—which we are confident it will—we will return to a sense of normalcy, but one that will be greatly influenced by the toll that coronavirus will have already wrought.
While there will continue to be plenty of media coverage of the pandemic’s pain, there are already a number of stories of how people are coming together to tackle these unprecedented challenges. Through food pantry drop-offs for homebound elders, special grocery store hours for at-risk populations, and free Internet service for those without, we are once again seeing the best of our society during this time.
Fiduciary Trust has navigated life’s challenges for more than 135 years. Not only are we in the business of overseeing clients’ investments, but we also serve as our clients’ partners, through good times and bad. We take our responsibilities seriously and deeply care about our clients, our professional colleagues, and our broader community’s wellbeing.
As I mentioned in my previous note, we have moved to phone and video conference conversations with clients in an effort to protect them and to hopefully limit the spread of the virus. Like many businesses, we have transitioned to a largely work-from-home operating paradigm and after gaining our initial footing, are functioning well. Significant credit for our seamless changeover goes to the tireless work of our operating and technology departments.
While we greatly prefer an in-person operating environment, our temporary remote working experience is accelerating our pace of implementing tools that further improve efficiency and eliminate paper. These will provide lasting benefits to our business processes, our clients, and the environment. It is also expanding our clients’ use of multiple channels for engaging with us, including video conferencing and our client portal.
While much continues to be unknown at this time, we are planning for a prolonged period of operating remotely. This will be new for us, our clients, and our communities. Physical isolation can be challenging and we believe it’s important to find ways to connect while living and working apart. We have established a page on our website (www.fidtrustco.com/engaged) dedicated to articles, videos, and podcasts to help you stay healthy during this period. We also have provided links to some of the most engaging Internet content that we have uncovered in order to keep our minds and spirits fresh.
Concurrent with addressing both the health and operational risks presented by coronavirus, we have also been navigating the volatile global investment markets over the past month on our clients’ behalf. As has proved prudent time and again, we prioritize our investment tenets of: 1) taking a long-term approach, 2) avoiding behavioral biases, 3) making judicious tactical adjustment, and 4) balancing risks and rewards when opportunistic investments present themselves. Given the shifting nature of the current markets, we will provide ongoing market updates through articles, videos, and podcasts to keep you informed.
On a personal note, like many of you, I have been “hunkered down” in our house. In addition to busy work days for me and my wife and new online school activities for our daughters, we have used our family time to start an ongoing ping pong tournament on our dining room table and have enjoyed spirited Monopoly games. We, like many others, have been following CDC and state guidelines and have been FaceTiming with family and friends, sharing our thoughts and affection.
Fiduciary is a special institution that has weathered major national and global challenges before and we have high confidence we will continue to do so for decades to come. We hope to be a steady and reliable partner for our clients and colleagues through this turbulent time. Please stay well as you focus on your and your family’s wellbeing. If there is anything, on any topic, for which we may be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Investment Officer or me directly (617-574-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Austin V. Shapard
President & CEO
Fiduciary Trust Company