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Reporting from the Helm June 2021

I am sure you all enjoyed celebrating Father’s Day in some form. However, this was probably more strained than ever before as we all try and navigate this third wave that is proving to be far worse than anything we have experienced yet. Since my letter of two weeks ago when I shared that we would be closing the offices, Gauteng certainly has been hard hit, including many staff and their families. My son was sent home sick from boarding school; he had a negative test at school but then tested positive four days later, so we were all on tenterhooks. Unfortunately I tested positive on Tuesday. All six of our family have had Covid, and thankfully they all made a full recovery; I am hopeful that I will do the same.

Reflecting back on my 27-year career, we have been through a few extreme financial crises, which at the time seemed catastrophic, but nothing has been as far-reaching as this pandemic. As the number of deaths globally crossed the four million mark this past week, it really highlighted the horrific human toll and how our lives have been transformed. The one example that I experience every day is how we now work, and I often reflect on a day at my desk where I have had several hours of meetings on zoom without leaving my seat; who would have believed that this would ever be possible.

The consequences of the pandemic have been widespread. We have seen the tourism and hospitality industries probably taking the most significant knock as governments worldwide have been swift to limit people’s movement and prevent gatherings; other industries have flourished. We have all enjoyed the stock market recovery, which bodes well for growth as the pandemic subsides, yet the current situation remains one of economic devastation.

At Chartered, we soldier on, and although this third wave has had the most impact on our people, we are doing all we can to support them and their loved ones. The vaccines are gradually being rolled out, and I am sure we will all have benefitted from this programme by the end of the year. Most of our clients have now had the first vaccine and hopefully feeling a little more confident going up against this virus.

Lastly, many of you have also lost loved ones and have family members who are ill, and our thoughts are with all of you. Please keep us informed and let us know how we can support you during this fragile time.

On a positive note, a special thank you to all our clients for persevering through this challenging time. Without you all taking the time out to embrace technology and being so willing to learn how to use zoom and sign documents online, we would not have managed. We have really missed all our face-to-face client functions and are grateful that many of you take the time out to join us online occasionally. Please continue to give us feedback as to how we can improve our service to you.

Take care, warm regards