The Russian attack on Ukraine has shaken the world and united many to widely condemn these actions, the human cost of which is horrifying. The commencement of war in Europe today is hard to comprehend and our immediate concern is the humanitarian impact on those directly affected by this terrible event.

In addition to matching employee contributions through our Community Impact Programme, as part of BNY Mellon we are contributing funds to several non-governmental organisations to further their life-saving humanitarian work. Given the speed with which events are unfolding, we will continue to monitor the situation to determine the best way to deploy resources to meet the growing and changing needs of Ukraine and the region, including Poland.

Naturally, the attack has far-reaching implications for global markets. While tensions between Russia and Ukraine had clearly been building over recent months, the nature and severity of the invasion has taken politicians and financial markets by surprise and has resulted in a drawdown in risk assets.

In such situations, our focus is on our normal process of constantly re-evaluating portfolios and trying to ensure that we can continue to create meaningful progress for our clients in the light of the new circumstances that we face.

The constant monitoring of potential risks is an essential part of how we manage our investments, and we continue to watch developments very closely given the changing dynamics and resultant market volatility. As always, we think it is important to avoid getting swept up in the turbulence of short-term events and think carefully about the longer-term implications for areas such as commodity prices, the energy complex more broadly, and the interplay between major world powers on the geopolitical stage. Most importantly, we must consider which asset classes and companies are likely to weather this period of turbulence intact or indeed come out of it even stronger.

As a firm we have historically had low exposure to Russian investments, as our fundamental research process, which incorporates ESG analysis (where applicable and as appropriate), has highlighted concerns in relation to political stability, the rule of law and control of corruption, and has directed us to what we believe to be better opportunities elsewhere. The vast majority of our investment strategies came into this period with no exposure to Russian securities, and those strategies which do have some exposure (mainly emerging-market portfolios) only own small positions in a very limited number of securities. Our strategies have no exposure to Belarusian securities, and we have no plans to purchase further Russian or Belarusian securities at this time.

We will continue to evaluate and actively engage with non-Russian holdings with exposure to the region as part of our ESG research and activity, and we will take appropriate action on a case-by-case basis.

We are deeply aware of the importance of what our industry is being asked to do by governments to support their efforts to restore peace. Together with BNY Mellon, we continue to monitor and assess actual or possible future actions taken by global governments and official bodies, and any potential impacts on our clients and their portfolios. Any actions required by us or our clients in response to recently imposed or future sanctions will be carefully assessed and implemented in line with those protocols.

We also remain vigilant and guarded against any increased risk of cybersecurity incidents. We have multiple levels of technology threat protection in place and proactively assess the threat landscape to protect the company and our clients.

At the current time, our foremost thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and all those who are being affected by the current tragic events. We will be regularly updating our website with comment and analysis from our investment experts about the market implications of the events unfolding in Russia and Ukraine. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the usual channels.