To say that the consequences of Covid19 have been, and are likely to continue to be, unprecedented is no exaggeration. A health and economic crisis as impactful as a world war, the pandemic is proving to be a multi-generation black swan event that has taken and altered lives indiscriminately.
Responses have varied from country to country but, with the notable exception of Sweden, lockdown has been the common approach adopted by governments to ‘flatten the curve’ of infections. At the time of writing, the WHO estimates that there have been c500,000 deaths and c9.75m infections, notwithstanding that over one third of the world’s population has lived under some form of restriction post outbreak. The death toll will continue to rise, albeit now trending at a reduced rate to the peak in early April.
Countries that expediently implemented the most stringent isolation protocols and/or comprehensive testing regimens are now leading the way in gradually lifting lockdown restrictions. Jersey, for example, has outlined a four stage relaxation policy beginning in May. This trend will provide a much needed revival of social interaction and economic productivity, the latter perhaps most shockingly exemplified by the unprecedented spike in US unemployment. A deep, global recession is unavoidable albeit the recovery profile following such unique black swan event is difficult to predict.Ultimately only time will tell as to how, and for how long, the economic consequences of the pandemic and associated global lockdown will persist. This raises an interesting and very emotive question as to the relative value of human lives - in protecting the elderly and most vulnerable in the short term, have we simply passed on a long term economic and heath crisis to younger generations? In protecting the minority, we may have sacrificed the interests of the majority. My view is that the world has reacted in the ‘right’ way by prioritising human life, but we should expect challenges to this altruistic view in the months and years ahead if poverty levels increase.
At Enhance, our staff have proved to be incredibly resilient and adaptable in challenging circumstances and for that I am truly grateful. We will begin to reintroduce our team gradually back into the office in July, ending over 3 months of remote working. Flexible working hours and video conferencing have become the new normal, so the challenge for our business is similar to most others in that we now need to find an optimum balance between the benefits of the traditional office and remote working to not just survive but prosper from our lockdown learnings.
We are very fortunate to have cloud based technology as our core infrastructure. This has made business continuity and disaster recovery an infinitely easier challenge to overcome, supported in no small part by operating out of a jurisdiction with the third faster broadband connectivity in the world. Both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have become demonstrably reliable and secure cloud partners, along with the Citrix software we utilise to provide our staff with a full desktop experience via a simple internet connection on any device. Our research and investment in technology partners has proven to be time and money well spent.
We were also able to successfully launch our new proprietary investment monitoring software Mosaic 2.0 at the beginning of April, despite this coinciding almost exactly with a full lockdown protocol being implemented by the Government of Jersey. We believe that this software firmly entrenches Enhance as global leader in the fiduciary investment monitoring and advice space and there will be continual releases of new functionality in the months and years ahead, delivering best-in-class services and setting an evolutionary pace that our competition simply won’t be able to keep up with.
Mosaic 2.0 powers Enhance’s Monitoring, Portfolio and Consultancy services; delivering an internal operational platform, a data portal and client portal all seamlessly integrated and configurable to specific requirements. Combining proprietary technology based on 15 years of fiduciary domain experience with world class data and analytics, our offering is only limited by the portfolio data that Investment Managers and Banks provide to us. Going forward we will be leading the charge for data democracy and transparency on behalf of Trust Companies and I look forward to sharing our plans here in due course.
Enhance has been a business that has made ownership and strategic changes in recent years and therefore Covid19 feels like the beginning of a new era for our company on a number of levels. We have approached the challenges of the pandemic intelligently and optimistically in equal measure and this will follow in the post pandemic world. Combining a client first approach with great people and technology has to be a standard formula for all successful businesses going forward - I hope our clients take comfort from the fact that Enhance already follows this mantra.