2020 'Asia Pacific’s Leader' CSC: COVID 19 Response

02 Mar 2021

In 2020, COVID-19 turned the world’s markets and workplaces on their heads.

CSC was, however, recently recognised for our response to COVID-19, from both an investment and employee welfare point of view.

At the 2020 AsianInvestor Institutional Excellence Awards*, CSC was named ‘Asia Pacific’s Leader’ for Response to COVID-19.

We efficiently changed our working conditions to keep our employees safe and our customers satisfied, with the awards panel noting: “We were impressed by CSC’s early response to the spread of Covid-19 both in terms of investment plans and operational changes, as well as your organisation’s devotion to the safety and support of your personnel during a difficult time”.

OUR STAFF

We had to be nimble and responsive. Most staff moved to a work from home (WFH) environment, and critical onsite functions were part of split, rotating teams.

Allowances were made for additional sick leave where staff members or their families were impacted by COVID-19.

The CSC crisis management team (CMT) was set up with the purpose of closely monitoring guidance from Government and health advisory bodies. The CMT held regular meetings to determine next steps as authorities issued new guidelines and laws as the pandemic unfolded. 

We launched additional mental health support and resources for staff, and provided seminars and resources to assist staff with developing practical skills related to remote working and online meetings.

OUR CUSTOMERS

Understandably, our customers wanted to understand how their superannuation was impacted.

They looked to us for information on how to minimise the impact on their balances and our staff responded to these concerns efficiently, publishing additional fact sheets and guides, or referring customers to seek financial advice if appropriate.

With the early release of superannuation funds to those suffering financial hardship, we responded when needed and our governance processes reduced the opportunity for fraud or misuse of hard-earned superannuation balances.

CSC AND COVID-19 – INVESTMENT RESPONSE

Our strategy and commitment to guiding you towards your retirement dream has not changed through COVID-19.

In February 2020, when China’s manufacturing sector was compromised, we began reducing risk. We were concerned about the impact of that on global supply chains given China’s central role in manufacturing.

In March, we had already altered our asset allocation to mitigate the impact of global economic shutdowns to our customers’ balances.

Our actions in February and March helped us avoid approximately 40% of the downside in equity markets in that period.

Although short-term one-year results have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, they have been small losses compared to those recorded in equity markets over the period.

BRINGING THE FUTURE FORWARD

Having operated “remotely” for some considerable time, we have “brought the future forward” through greater digital interaction with our customers.

Our business was able to seamlessly transition into remote working and customers saw no decrease in customer service standards.

We increased our use of our digital channels for external communication to share vital information with our customers by:

  • Providing news and information updates on our website
  • Delivering all education and transition (ADF) seminars virtually
  • Conducting video or telephone financial advice meetings, rather than holding in-person meetings
  • Delivering virtual Q&A sessions and other events
  • Providing proactive customer messaging predominately via electronic means  to update customers about changes to service offerings and other useful information, e.g. early release of super
  • Increasing our presence on social media including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube
  • Publishing our Video Vault: https://video.csc.gov.au/

The need to communicate to our members effectively was critical. It was a daunting time for many, so to provide our 700,000 customers with the right information at the right time was crucial.

Our authorised financial planners** also made more than 700 calls to customers to offer free general financial advice.

MENTAL HEALTH

In August 2020, CSC partnered with SuperFriend to support customers and staff, and help reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

We also partnered with crisis support service, Lifeline, in October 2020 to increase awareness of mental health support and resources. Calls to the service lifted by 30%nationally during the pandemic.

Our CEO, Damian Hill, has encouraged leaders in our organisation to “not be afraid of the conversations” about mental health with staff.

* AsiaInvestor’s awards are designed to identify and recognise excellence and best practice among Asia Pacific-based institutional investors

** Our authorised financial planners are authorised to provide advice by Guideway Financial Services (ABN 46 156 498 538, AFSL 420367.).  Guideway is a licensed financial services business providing CSC financial planners with support to provide members with specialist advice, education and strategies.

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