announcement

30th March 2020 – DDCAP Group – Our Response to COVID-19

DDCAP Group (“DDCAP”) is continually monitoring developments related to the global outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and responding to them.

Founded more than twenty years ago, we are a financial sector business with offices in London, where we have our headquarters, the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) and Kuala Lumpur. As a consequence of the information that we received about COVID-19 and following related directives subsequently issued by the UK government and relevant authorities of the United Kingdom; by the government of the United Arab Emirates and the DIFC Authority, and; by the government and relevant authorities of Malaysia, in January 2020 we initiated re-testing and, where relevant, updated our long-standing, detailed Business Continuity Plan (“BCP”).

In line with best market practice and the stipulation of the UK financial services authorities, our BCP is regularly submitted to challenge and testing. Given the accelerating and unprecedented global uncertainty caused by the virus, between mid-January and mid-March we conducted an internal review specific to the likely impact of COVID-19. Our purpose was to ensure that DDCAP Group was as fully prepared as possible for evolving developments  and was also sufficiently flexible to adapt to them and to respond to them rapidly. As part of this process, we have sought to predict and assess likely, additional client requirements of us, as well as the challenges faced by third party relationships as the situation became more difficult to contain. We also extended our testing beyond pre-existing BCP assumptions to validate DDCAP’s full operational capability in the event that COVID-19 was designated a viral pandemic situation, which it subsequently has been, with the accompanying imposition of additional laws and directives by governments worldwide.

We considered the demands of various working and workplace scenarios. These included remaining office-based, but operating with reduced headcount and staff on rotation in our head office in London or moving personnel outside of London to secondary workplaces,  in accordance with certain of our pre-existing BCP provisions. Alternatively, we had the option to invoke fully remote operations throughout our office network, which was another pre-existing BCP provision. Throughout the eight week period of our recent review, our testing was designed to further challenge our existing BCP assumptions and review existing provisions for the continuation of our front office business procedures and each of our support functions. We revisited and tested our systems capability, including our ability to continue important development work and planned enhancements to ETHOS AFP™ alongside our ongoing support for regular maintenance and functionality releases. We also sought to ascertain and prove our capacity to manage, for a sustained and indefinite  period, the daily volume and diversity of business that we are accustomed to receiving in our normal, office-based environment. We repeated testing for each of the revised working scenarios set out in our BCP, and above, and duly considered the merits of each as a viable alternative to our regular, office based practices.

In parallel to testing and providing for the ongoing availability of our full range of services and business and systems offerings, our management engaged and worked closely with our market counterparties, our third party suppliers and with vendors. We thank them for their co-operation in enabling us to review their own plans for COVID-19 risk mitigation, so that we could identify specific, additional risks and be satisfied that each relationship was, and is, positioned to fully support us in accordance with pre-existing contractual terms.

Whilst we remained in our office locations, we followed evolving UK government advice and instruction (as well as that of the other authorities relevant to our overseas presences) for effective employee safety, with preventative advice that included workplace hygiene, the management and support of affected individuals and new protocols for office access and internal meetings. We immediately implemented restriction on unnecessary business travel by our employees until the situation was more certain and we closed our offices to external visitors.

The safety and well-being of our employees has always been at the forefront of our considerations.  Our recent review of our BCP was designed to ensure our ability to provide a seamless service to our clients if i) we were to transfer our personnel to secondary, business continuity sites and ii) with the assumption that a majority percentage or, otherwise, all of our staff would instead be asked to work remotely from their homes. As a consequence of our early preparations and testing, our executive management concluded, at a similarly early stage, that the health and well-being of  DDCAP’s employees would be best provided for if the Company invoked fully remote business operations. Thereafter, we prioritised and focused our efforts to deliver against that objective.

We were fully satisfied, as a result of the completion of our tests and actions taken, that our Company and our staff were prepared for the changing, business demands of the COVID-19 situation, irrespective of their geographical location or place of work, and we will continue to test and ensure our ongoing readiness and ability to respond to new developments. For this, our thanks and appreciation to our dedicated and committed staff, many of whom worked out of hours, through nights and weekends, in the interests of providing a robust and resilient test environment for our purposes.

Having completed the testing procedures, our Executive Directors made a recommendation to our Board and to our shareholders, to invoke BCP and that recommendation was immediately approved. Two weeks ago, DDCAP moved to fully remote business operations. As a business providing our services to the global financial market, we have a long-established BCP. Our recent testing was modelled specifically on what we perceived would be, and now know will continue to be, the particular challenges of COVID-19. As a result of our actions, we are confident that our business is positioned effectively, fully able to support our clients.

To date, our transition to office remote operations has been seamless and our clients and counterparties have not reported any material adverse impact to our services. On occasion, we have already found ourselves asked and we have been well placed to provide, additional assistance and services to our clients as they embark upon, and adjust to, their own business transitions. We encourage our valued clients and business relationships to contact us and we will do our utmost to accommodate requests for variation to existing transactional practices, or for additional support. It is important that we stay closely connected to you, our clients, stakeholders and business relationships during this unprecedented time and our executives and managers will be in regular contact and available to you, as they always are. For further assistance please do contact your preferred DDCAP relationship manager, who will be very pleased to assist you.

 

It will likely be some time before any of us will be able to travel or have meetings as we used to. In the meantime, DDCAP’s technology will enable us to continue our discussions and meetings through our own solutions but can otherwise accommodate client preferences.

Finally, and from all of us at DDCAP Group, we extend our warmest wishes to you, as well as our sincere hope that you and your loved ones will stay safe during these very difficult times.

Board of Directors

DDCAP Group

Contacts:

For Business and Transaction services and enquiries please contact Lawrence Oliver, Executive Director, Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Tel: +44 207 863 1252 / Mobile: +44 7767 684349 / Email: l.oliver@ddcap.co.uk

For Systems and Operational Infrastructure enquiries (including Business Continuity) please contact Martin Harris, Director – Tel: +44 207 863 1239 / Email: m.harris@ddcap.co.uk

For Sustainable and Responsible Actions (SRA, including CSR) enquires please contact Jennifer Schwalbenberg, Associate Director, Head of Corporate Responsibility – Tel: +44 207 863 1247 / Email: j.schwalbenberg@ddcap.co.uk  

For Compliance and Governance enquiries please contact Andrew Betkowski, Associate Director / Joint Company Secretary – Tel: + 44 207 863 1264 / Email: a.betkowski@ddcap.co.uk

For Finance and Vendor enquiries please contact – Jateender Matharu, Associate Director – Finance – Tel: +44 207 863 1202 / Email: j.matharu@ddcap.co.uk

For Company Secretariat, Resources and Logistics enquiries please contact Natalie Morse, Associate Director / Joint Company Secretary, Executive Assistant to Managing Director – Tel: +44 207 863 1253 / Mob: +44 7921 849 311 / Email: n.morse@ddcap.co.uk  

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