Arbuthnot Latham coronavirus update
The events of the past couple of weeks have presented significant challenges for all of us; these look set to continue.
At Arbuthnot Latham, we are confident in our ability to deliver through difficult circumstances, even those as complex as the ones we currently face. We are following government advice and taking a number of steps to reduce the risk of infection and help protect the continuity of our services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Arbuthnot Latham’s core businesses (Private and Commercial Banking, Investment Management and Wealth Planning) and its subsidiaries (Renaissance Asset Finance, Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending and Arbuthnot Specialist Finance Limited) are all open for business, although working in slightly differing ways.
The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in very volatile markets in recent weeks. At Arbuthnot Latham, we believe in long-term investing – this requires both patience and discipline. It is not possible to control markets and we do, from time-to-time, see sharp market movements, but knee-jerk decisions based on the short-term often result in wealth destruction. For this reason, we strongly advocate a structured, patient and disciplined approach to managing our portfolios.
We take the responsibility for managing your wealth very seriously. Our Investment Management team under the leadership of our Co-CIOs Eren Osman and Gregory Perdon remain vigilant on your behalf. We will keep you regularly updated on any movements and market updates. Your investment manager and banker are always available to host a call if you wish to discuss you portfolio position and outlooks.
In times like these, it is important to reassure clients of our ability to endure the current downturn.
After the financial crisis, banks were required to maintain certain levels of capital measured against their assets; known as their Common Equity Tier 1 Ratio (CET1). This requirement was introduced to ensure banks had the necessary capital to absorb unexpected losses. Arbuthnot Latham maintains a CET1 ratio of 14.4% (June 2019), above the amount required of the bank by the regulations.
Arbuthnot Latham also maintains very strong liquidity. Its loan-to-deposit ratio is in the region of 70%, meaning that the bank has loaned out around 70% of the value of the total deposits it holds from clients. Most banks operate a loan-to-deposit ratio of around 100%.
Another strategic aim of Arbuthnot Latham is to maintain a very high quality of loan. The bank places paramount importance on giving loans to those with the means to pay them back, rather than offering higher interest loans to riskier applicants.
Following the increase of COVID-19 diagnoses in London and the recent escalation of containment measures by the Government, we have taken the decision to close our London office and will be asking staff to work from home. We have also decided to reduce operations in our Dubai, Manchester, Bristol and Exeter offices; the majority of staff in those locations will also be working from home.
In view of these circumstances, we will not host client meetings at any of our offices until further notice. We suggest these take place over telephone, audio conference or video conference, if possible.
Over the past few weeks, we have been working hard to ensure that our business continuity plan minimises the impact on our ability to deliver for you. Bankers will be available via email, mobile and, where possible, direct landline numbers will be diverted to mobile phones. Please bear with us if it takes a little longer than normal to answer your calls and deal with requests. Should you have an urgent request, please do not email a specific banker, but call us on the switchboard number.
It is important to point out that the majority of our day-to-day bank services are running as normal.
- In the short term, we will not be able to communicate via post. We are currently looking at alternative arrangements and will provide an update as soon as possible. Online banking users will still receive their charge card and bank statements online.
- Bank cards and chequebooks will be sent directly rather than via your banker, but there are likely to be delays receiving these.
- Cash withdrawals will continue as normal, although not from our Wilson Street office.
- We can still receive Sterling cheques, but not non-Sterling – please retain these and seek guidance from your banker. In the short term, the clearing of cheques sent to us in the post might take longer than anticipated due to post redirection.
We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”). The FSCS can pay compensation to depositors if a bank is unable to meet its financial obligations. Most depositors – including most individuals and small businesses – are covered by the scheme. In the event of our default or insolvency where you are an eligible depositor, you may be entitled to make a claim to the FSCS.
All eligible depositors are entitled to claim up to £85,000. This amount applies to all the bank’s trading names. Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Limited also trades under the name of Arbuthnot Direct. This means that all eligible deposits with Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Limited and Arbuthnot Direct are in total covered up to £85,000.
For joint accounts, each account holder is treated as having a claim in respect of their share so, for a joint account held by two eligible depositors, the maximum amount that could be claimed would be £85,000 each (a total of £170,000). The £85,000 limit relates to the combined amount in all the eligible depositor’s accounts with the bank including their share of any joint account, and not to each separate account.
I am concerned about coronavirus contagion at store PIN pad terminals. Are there any changes being introduced to my debit and/or charge card contactless limit?
Yes, the contactless limit for in-store card transactions is increasing from £30 to £45 from 1st April 2020. This change will take place over a period of time as not all UK stores have the resources required to make the change immediately. In most cases, your card should allow you to make contactless payments up to £45, however there may be instances where this will remain at £30 until all settings have been updated.
This change will enable you to make more payments without touching the PIN pad terminals.
I am a Commercial client, is Arbuthnot Latham able to facilitate the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme?
We are not presently partners of this loan scheme. However, we have started the process to potentially become participants. We will keep these pages updated with further details.
We are doing everything possible to support our clients during this time. If you are concerned about repayments on any lending you have with us, please do get in touch with your designated banker.
We understand some of our clients, particularly business owners, may be facing cash flow issues arising from disrupted supply chains, delayed invoice payments, and revenue-generating business/orders declining. Our bankers are ready to support you should you face disruption, so please contact your banker if you have any concerns, we are here to help you in this difficult time.
As ever difficult times can present opportunities for fraudsters. Please be aware there are criminals posing as HMRC officials offering tax refunds linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
This evolves from an earlier scam where fraudsters pretended to be from the World Health Organisation to trick people.
We urge you to be careful, avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, and contact us if you have any concerns.
Please see our updated advice here.
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