COVID–19: So, what is PW Harvey & Co doing? From Director Gavin Harvey

Watching CNN, I see that Donald Trump refers to himself as a “wartime president”. I was fortunate enough not to have been in any wars, just my stint on the “Border” while doing my military service. Although, I must say, as we are ‘bunkering’ down to what they think will be 21 days of lockdown, I feel like a modern-day ‘General’ going into battle, trying to strategise under difficult conditions as how to run PW Harvey & Co – what to do about the world stock markets, how to look after our clients, making sure that our staff are equipped to run their own home offices so that they can stay connected, filtering through the enormous amount of email messages/articles from everyone giving their advice and trying to help, and to make sure my family is safe.

PW Harvey & Co have experienced several world stock market crashes over their 124 years of existence. Markets usually do correct, but not all countries recover over the same period. All the unit trust fund managers/stockbrokers always tell us not to panic, that we are in equities for the long term.

It’s all very well for them to say this, because most of them don’t deal directly with the client – as clients don’t always have the time. We must also remember that unit trust fund managers/stockbrokers get rewarded by the AUM (Assets Under Management), so it’s not often that a unit trust fund manager or stockbroker will recommend you to cash out and invest in cash/fixed deposits, as they know it will be difficult to get the cash back to invest.

These are the headlines of articles we recently received – it is nearly impossible to read them all:

  • “COVID-19 Patience and Perspective are key” – Old Mutual Private Wealth Securities
  • “Why Equities” – Sanlam Private Wealth
  • “Investing through a market crisis” – Stanlib
  • “Rezco’s view on investment opportunities in the current market turmoil” – Rezco Asset Managers
  • “Time on our hands” – Ainsley To, Head of Multi-Asset at Credo Wealth
  • “What will it take to turn markets around” – Quilter
  • “Why we are bullish” – RECM becoming Counterpoint
  • “COVID-19 offers huge opportunities” – Efficient Group Ltd
  • “Market crashes happen, but so do recoveries” – Piet Viljoen, Executive Chairman of RECM
  • “This time it’s not different” – Deon Gouws, Chief Investment Officer of Credo Wealth
  • “Managing your capital through a time of crisis” – Coronation

For us working from home, the various teams at PW Harvey & Co are trying to provide clients with the same service as before. It has not been easy, and tasks that are usually simple, are now taking a long time to perform – thus delaying the chain of events. We will endeavor to provide you, the client, with the service you deserve but we ask you to be patient as technology is not always hassle-free. We certainly are watching the markets and looking for ways to mitigate losses. The S&P 500 was up over 5% the day before we went into lockdown.

There are still other factors that have an impact, such as:

  • Drop in interest rate (good for some, bad for others)
  • Drop in oil price
  • Weakening of the Rand
  • Drop in the global stock markets due to the deadly Coronavirus

More to follow on this, as it’s business as usual at PW Harvey & Co.

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