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Investing in a Post-COVID World
Daniel D. Parker, Jr., Business Development and Assistant Vice President, State Street Global Advisors and Ann Kolakowski, CAP®, NCGPC
NCGPC: Tell us a little bit about State Street Global Advisors. What are your company's values? Have your company's values shifted, adapted or shone brighter in the face of COVID-19?
Daniel Parker (DP): Founded 40 years ago as the asset management arm of State Street Corporation, State Street Global Advisors is grounded in our 225-year heritage of helping people manage their assets wisely. Today, we’re the world’s fourth largest asset manager with $3.90 trillion in assets under management for more than 2,300 clients, ranging from central banks and sovereign wealth funds, to pensions, foundations, and investment advisors.
To help our clients achieve their financial goals, we live by our guiding principles each and every day:
- Start with rigor
- Build from breadth
- Invest as stewards
- Invent the future
These principles have helped millions of people secure their financial futures. This takes each of our employees in 30 offices around the world, and a firm-wide conviction that we can always do it better.
NCGPC: How has COVID-19 affected your business operations and how have you adapted?
DP: The health and safety of State Street’s employees has been paramount for our firm throughout the pandemic. Beginning in Spring 2020, our company began working remotely at more than 90 percent and implemented additional measures to ensure a greater sense of security and peace of mind for employees and their families, including expanding paid leave for employees in need.
The pandemic created extreme volatility as well as record trading volumes across the financial markets. Our experts were called upon by regulators and central banks throughout the world to provide real-time insights into market structures and liquidity.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues remained key value drivers for us. However, in March 2020, State Street issued guidance to clarify that we would focus on more immediate ESG challenges such as employee safety, customer and supply chain issues, and financial resiliency.
NCGPC: Share a success story or a creative solution that was prompted by the challenges of the pandemic. How did your team resolve the challenge to best support your charitable clients?
DP: State Street participated in a virtual day of service organized by the Boston-based nonprofit organization Common Impact, which connects business professionals to local nonprofits that need assistance in information technology, marketing, human resources, operations, and finance. About 15 nonprofits came to us looking for solutions. After listening to their challenges, we developed a sample proposal for them to use when reaching out to corporations to solicit funds. We also put together suggested actions they could take for enhancing their websites, working with corporations to identify and/or create internships, and other opportunities to leverage their alumni and member networks.
NCGPC: What do you value most about your relationship with NCGPC that made you decide to continue supporting us during a challenging and uncertain year?
DP: We knew our support was even more important than ever. We have continued to support NCGPC’s Planned Giving Days Conference because educating gift planning professionals strengthens both their organizations and their communities. This year we funded two Scholarships for individuals from Diverse Communities. Knowing that we could not be together in person, we wanted to step up and do our part.
NCGPC: Will COVID-19 change the way your company conducts business in the future? If so, how? What does the future of your business look like post-COVID?
DP: In October 2020, our CEO provided the five most important predictions and how the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated and intensified investment and industry trends: