A message from our CEO and CIO

 

June 29, 2020

It has been more than 15 weeks since our employees transitioned to working remotely, and as our North American teams celebrate Canada Day and Independence Day, we are finally seeing restrictions starting to lift here in Toronto and across many parts of the world. These re-openings are the positive signs we have been looking for, though of course we remain vigilant in ensuring our employees’ physical and mental health in this precarious time.

We’ve also come to the halfway point of the year and are taking stock of what we’ve seen in markets in what has been a unique first half of 2020 – what a difference a few months can make. An optimistic start to 2020 that promised an extended economic cycle and buoyant equity markets turned for the worse in late February when it was clear that COVID-19 couldn’t be contained and that the tragedy of a global pandemic was inevitable. With unprecedented speed, the record-highs we saw gave way to a record-setting downturn. After the low on March 23, markets climbed back toward pre-crash levels on the strength of significant monetary and fiscal stimulus and the prospect of more on the way. But they’ve wavered of late on concerns about an uptick in virus cases as the economy reopens, and the fear of a slower, longer path back.

Whether the reopening can take hold without sparking a second wave will be crucial to markets continuing their climb. At the same time, the upcoming U.S. election, trade disputes, the deteriorating U.S.-China relationship and geopolitical wild cards will come into sharper focus as we look ahead to the second half of the year. I expect there will be new challenges, but also new opportunities, in the coming months and I recently sat down with the members of the Office of the Chief Investment Officer , which includes senior leaders from the investment management, trading and risk management teams, to discuss the ongoing crisis and what investors can expect over the next six months as it continues to play out. You can read our thoughts here.

I’ve also taken the opportunity at this mid-year point to pause and reflect personally on things I can do differently – I’ve found this experience has been a great time for introspection and, for me, an important principle of character is to continually evolve. Similarly, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on our business and plan for the new opportunities that will arise. We have engaged all our employees in discussions for a workstream we refer to as ‘Disruption’. We are challenging our teams to examine our industry, consider the impact of COVID-19 on the way we work, and focus in on the trends this experience has accelerated as well as the new trends that are emerging. We are listening to and considering their thoughts on our industry’s evolution as well as what else is changing around us to ensure we are prepared for what is next.

Nearly all of AGF’s global staff remain working from home and I’m pleased to report that business operations have continued without interruption. You can read our most recent COVID-19 preparedness statement here. We anticipate September will be the earliest we will consider any material return to the office and are currently refining our global back-to-office plans.

Through this time of change and uncertainty, we remain focused on providing the best possible stewardship of the investments entrusted to our care and to providing an exceptional client experience – put simply: we remain focused on delivering for you.

At AGF, we understand that our efforts to safeguard and support our employees, clients and communities – in addition to the performance we deliver during this period – will determine our standing in your eyes both now and well into the future.

We want you to continue holding us to a high standard and we remain committed to delivering on your expectations.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Kevin McCreadie signature

 

Kevin McCreadie
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer
AGF Management Limited

 

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