Not Quite Business As Usual


In the first of a series of short reads from the Kleinwort Hambros Wealth Planning team, Patrick Treliving gives his take on how the team are operating not quite as usual.

Early March: Kleinwort Hambros asks the majority of all staff to test working from home. At the start of the year, maximum work from home is capacity is 200. We have 800 staff. By the end of the week capacity is 2000.

A small victory, our working lives transformed in a matter of days. Last year’s decision to drop the desk top phones for Skype, a blinder.

We are all here, working for our clients. Are you okay and how is the family? There is heightened market volatility, and asset allocation is proving its worth, but such matters seem secondary for the time being. Asset allocation is the strategy of dividing investments among different asset categories, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, cash etc. Asset allocation aims to control risk by diversifying an investment portfolio.

March 23: Boris announces a formal lockdown. Schools are shut. 9 – 5 no longer applies. Clear boundaries must be set, apportioning family time, working time, and sleeping hours.

How does a people business operate remotely? We discover the insides of our colleagues’ homes and occasionally out-of-control facial hair.

Covid-19 doesn’t care about the end of the tax year, pension contributions to process and withdrawals to be made.

Pension providers and insurance companies, so often a stickler for bureaucracy, start accepting electronic documentation. We’re all in this together. DocuSign, the digital signature platform becomes essential. Forms are completed electronically, portfolios open within a day. No paper in sight.

Tax year end passes without a hiccup. Just.

For all the terrible tragedy, the lockdown has accelerated innovation and creative ways to form work communities. Virtual coffee mornings, Zumba and pub quizzes, to name but a few.

Normality will return, but in some ways it won’t. The private banking world will never be the same.

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Any services and investments may have tax consequences and it is important to bear in mind that the Kleinwort Hambros Group does not provide tax advice. The level of taxation depends on individual circumstances and such levels and bases of taxation can change. You should seek professional tax advice in order to understand any applicable tax consequences. All Kleinwort Hambros Group entities must comply with the Societe Generale Group Tax Code of Conduct.