b'Strategic report Governance Financial statementsThe backbone of our culture isCOVID-19 The results disclosed in this Annual Report and our people In response to the challenges posed byconsolidated financial statements show the The wellbeing of our staff has always been aCOVID-19, the Groups focus has been on threetangible progress that the Group has made priority within Mercia. The current lockdownpriorities: the safety of our employees,during the year towards the achievement ofhas helped bring our ever-growing communitycontinued support for our portfolioits strategic objectives. They also show the even closer together; be it via the weeklycompanies, and maintaining long-term valuenear-term impact on asset values arising from Zoom staff updates, team-specific check-ins, creation potential for our shareholders andthe markets reaction to COVID-19 and its likely a weekly Mercia quiz, our many internal Slackthe investors in our managed funds.impact on the global economy. channels, our in-house newsletter FridayThroughout this crisis, Mercia has adhered at Files or our ongoing charity and team buildingall times to UK Government directives and willAs our 25 March 2020 business update initiatives. These daily interactions havecontinue to do so. We have successfullyannouncement made clear, where contracted helped preserve our group-wide cohesion andimplemented our business continuity plansrevenues are directly linked to the carrying common purpose, being to deliver superiorand the Groups transition to all staff workingvalue of fund or trust assets, those recurring long-term returns for our shareholders andfrom home has been remarkably smooth.revenues will reduce, until the value of the fund stakeholders alike. underlying assets recovers. This is likely to be Every portfolio company has been riskthe case for the current financial year and as a Since lockdown commenced, there has beenassessed and all are being closely monitored.result the Group has already taken a number of an increased focus on the impact of remoteWe have an investment team of considerablecost containment actions.working on the mental health and wellbeing calibre and experience that has assessedof our staff. The increased level of team andthe needs of each portfolio company. OurTimes such as these can be challenging and group-wide communications reflected above,significant balance sheet and managed fundsdifficult, but they can also be defining and the very obvious care and compassion forliquidity will be deployed wisely in the currentmoments. I am proud to be part of #OneMercia, each other being demonstrated by so many ofyear, to preserve the inherent future valuewhich is full of people who care about the funds our staff across the business, speak louderwithin each portfolio. As a result of ourwe manage, the companies in which we invest than any words about Mercias culture. Weincreased active engagement with all portfolioor to whom we lend and, most important of all, have been fortunate thus far that the vastcompanies across our asset classes, no staffwho care about each other. Thank you to all of majority of our staff remain fit and well,have been furloughed. Furthermore, given ourthose people.although we have also been saddened to hearstrong liquidity position, the Group has not that several members of the team have lostneeded to seek any government-supportedFinally, I should like to thank our shareholders, relatives due to the virus. Our thoughts aredebt funding. both new and existing, for your continuing with them and their wider families. support during this challenging period of Outlook economic and social upheaval. Mercia has a Those of us who have been through previousfocused business model, great people and a sharp downturns in the UK economy, if perhapsstrong balance sheet. Hence, notwithstanding not as stark as this one, will know that thethe current economic challenges facing our survival of any company, large or small, new orcountry, I am confident that Mercia will be able old, often depends on two thingsthe strengthto successfully execute its strategic objectives of its balance sheet and the quality of itsin the months and years ahead.people. At a time when cash is king, Mercia is blessed in having a very strong balance sheet,Ian R Metcalfewith approximately 30million of unrestricted cash, combined with an extremely capable andNon-executive Chairexperienced leadership team, all of whom are pulling together in the same direction. Mercia Asset Management PLC 11Annual Report and Accounts 2020'