I hope this update finds you well. As another month in quarantine comes to a close and cities are slowly starting to reopen, step by step, we’re seeing the economy come back to life. It seems there is some light at the end of the tunnel, although there is still some way to go yet.
FINANCIAL YEAR END
For most companies, the first effects of the COVID-19 pandemic quickly created a challenge to operating and business models. Everything came into question, from how and where employees worked to how we engaged with clients and how we could quickly adapt. Pareto was able to take quick and decisive action and successfully moved the majority of our team to remote working whilst maintaining business continuity, integrity and ensuring our clients continued to receive the same quality of service.
Despite the obvious challenges which presented us towards the end of our financial year, Pareto is pleased to report a 10% increase in turnover on 2019. We also have £131m new funds under influence, taking us to over £750m in total.
In October 2019, Pareto moved to a new office space in Spinningfields in the heart of Manchester to facilitate continued growth and an expanding team, which grew by 20% last year. We also invested in IT which proved invaluable during this period of remote working.
Looking to the markets – over the last few months stock markets have gone through a volatile period in both directions!
The below table highlights how different markets have performed over two different time periods this year. The first is from the beginning of the year to the 23rd March – which was the low in the US stock market (S&P 500). The second column shows how markets have performed since then to the end of May.
All stock markets saw heavy losses in the first few months of the year – with global markets circa 30% lower. Since then there’s been a rebound as investors look forward and start to think about economies reopening and companies trading more “normally”. US stock markets have led the resurgence driven by their exposure to technology-based companies – a winning sector against the current backdrop.
While equity markets have been under pressure other “safe haven” assets have highlighted their importance in portfolios with both government bonds (UK Gilts) and Gold delivering positive returns in the first few months of the year and since.
As we look to the next ‘new normal’ phase, Pareto, after completing careful risk assessments and consultations will begin the next step on our journey. We are looking to start reopening our office and phase staff back over the coming months. Our staff welfare remains our priority and we continue to be vigilant and are continually assessing the situation whilst closely following government guidelines.
As a company, we remain committed to our clients and pride ourselves on our continued commitment to delivery and service. We have throughout the pandemic and continue to be available for all our clients and professional connections as usual. Although we don’t plan on having any in-person company events for the remainder of 2020, we look forward to being able to see you as and when it is safe to do so.