Carmen Wee, CEO of the Investment Management Association of Singapore, in an email, said IMAS members continue to hope the strong steps taken by China's government in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak will make the industry's period of uncertainty shorter than that of 2003's SARS crisis, which lasted five months.
An IMAS survey, released Tuesday, of member business continuity plans after Singapore's government raised its disease outbreak response alert level to its second-highest setting on Feb. 7 showed all but one of 51 respondents suspending travel to China.
A spokeswoman for IMAS declined to identify the lone respondent who said it was continuing to allow its employees to travel to the mainland — the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus, which is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that's a close cousin to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus.
Respondents to the survey — conducted Feb. 10 to Feb. 24 — included industry giants such as BlackRock, Amundi, State Street Global Advisors, Invesco Asset Management, Franklin Templeton and BNY Mellon Investment Management.
The survey found more than 80% of respondents working to limit contact among their employees, with 20% asking all employees with no need to access systems that can't be accessed remotely to telecommute.
Another 45% are following a policy of splitting their teams, with one camp working at the office and the other telecommuting, and another 18% working to physically segregate teams in different office locations.
Meanwhile, 73% of respondents said they're canceling or deferring business-related events due to COVID-19.
Only 29% of respondents said it was unlikely that their China-related fund launches or fund business would be affected by the virus.