Lockdown in South Africa and Ince’s arrangements to support our clients during this lockdown period
Published - 30 March, 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020, until midnight on 16 April 2020. All South Africans are confined to our homes and all businesses, except those exempt need to close.
Those businesses which can continue operating with staff working from their homes are encouraged to remain open for business so that they can support the economy during these challenging times.
Ince is one of those businesses which can continue to operate, and we have been planning for this event for the last few weeks.
As matters progress, we have been, and continue taking progressive steps to ensure the wellness of our staff, while striving to maintain business continuity and ensuring as little or no disruption in our services to clients.
Ince has put the following arrangements in place:
- Ince surveyed all staff on 9 March 2020 about their home connectivity and their ability to set up home offices. Of our 128 staff members, 19 were not able to work from home due to connectivity issues.
- Ince acquired over 60 connectivity devices so that those staff who had connectivity challenges could be assisted.
- Ince doubled our bandwidth in all three offices to support all staff members who are accessing our servers.
- Cyber security is ensured through accessing the servers remotely through our Virtual Private Network (“VPN”). For the past 18 months we have been working with an outside IT Governance, Risk and Compliance consultant, RSecure to assess risks, and various risk mitigation steps have been implemented.
- Our server room can be accessed remotely by our IT staff and we have offsite disaster recovery facilities in case our server room cannot function.
- In January 2013, Ince introduced iEdit as a collaboration tool to produce designed Integrated Annual Reports and Circulars from Microsoft Word and Excel so that Issuers and their Advisors can communicate with shareholders. Over the last seven years the iEdit platform has been tested and enhanced and is now a robust platform used by many issuers and advisors in South Africa. iEdit enables the staff of our clients as well as Ince staff, to work remotely from their homes and collaborate and edit the documents.
- Ince has a database of the 2.3 million shareholders on South African Issuer registers and the documents produced on iEdit can be distributed electronically, which is compliant with the Companies Act and JSE and other exchange regulations. With the lockdown it will not be possible to print any of the documents. Using electronic delivery, legal requirements to deliver documents within the prescribed notice periods can be met.
- Ince has developed iMeetings and iProxy to enable shareholders to attend meetings virtually and to vote their proxies electronically both before the meeting or in the virtual meeting.
- iEdit, iMeetings and iProxy are all endorsed by the Listing Department of the JSE and Ince has been added to the Critical Suppliers List of the JSE. As the President has announced, the JSE is one of the critical institutions that will remain open for business. Ince has the systems and infrastructure in place to support the JSE and their stakeholders at this time.
- Ince has a Virtual Data Room (“VDR”) platform called InceLink which allows corporate finance transactions such as mergers and acquisitions to be processed in a virtual environment. Part of this solution includes InceRoadshow which uses the VDR to communicate with potential investors in a capital raise.
- Ince has a board pack App, iBoardpapers, which allows Directors to access Board packs online to annotate the papers, communicate with other Board members and even sign resolutions.
- Our internal Project Management System (ZOHO Projects) allows for all work in progress to be tracked and includes online real-time collaboration tools to be accessed by those working from home on a particular project. Ince has staff in place to service clients, with two shifts working, Monday to Friday and over weekends.
- All projects are actively trafficked through our Traffic Management Department – comprising three individuals who work on shifts.
- All staff have access to the iConnect Telecom application allowing them to make and receive all business-related calls on their mobile devices. Our switchboard infrastructure is being transferred to the homes of our switchboard staff and we will continue to service our clients who dial in.
- Ince is using Microsoft Teams and since 16 March 2020 we have been using the solution to have daily “stand-ups” with those Ince staff working from home, as well as internal meetings and client meetings and we have found it to be very robust.
As is the case for most of us, we are continuously reviewing the situation and will adapt our response, doing all that we can to ensure that we act in the best interests of our staff as well as you, our Valued Clients.
Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me directly on +27 82 807 2682 or AlbanA@ince.co.za
Be safe and take care.
Ince (Pty) Ltd