Just a quick update today to answer a couple of questions I've received from some of you.
1. Will the stock exchange close?
All of the exchanges have consistently said they will not close, and there really isn't a reason to: while trading has been volatile, the systems have all performed well, and all markets recognize the need for investors to access capital. Today the NYSE announced they will move to fully electronic trading as of Monday, which will be an unnoticeable change-- the NASDAQ market is an all-electronic exchange, and the CBOE and CME moved to electronic trading last week. So when you see images of an empty trading floor next week know that it's a good opportunity for the media but doesn't mean a thing to operation of markets.
2. Should I be worried about SEI having financial troubles?
The answer is no. But I'll also share with you this release SEI put out this afternoon in regards to increasing in their share repurchase plan:
OAKS, Pa., March 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of SEI Investments Company (NASDAQ: SEIC) today announced an increase in its stock repurchase program by an additional $250 million, increasing the available authorization under the program to approximately $272 million. Since the beginning of calendar year 2020, the Company repurchased approximately 1.677 million shares at a cost of approximately $96 million.
"Today, the world is coping with a pandemic, posing challenges for companies and our way of life. Protecting the health and well-being of our employees, their families, and clients is our priority," said Alfred P. West, Jr., SEI Chairman and CEO. "We believe we are well-prepared to manage through this period of disruption and uncertainty. While the SEI team is currently in a work-from-home environment for all but essential operations personnel, our operational integrity remains strong globally. Our innovative workforce, strong cash flow and resilient operations will help us navigate these turbulent times and continue to deliver for our clients."
And a final optimistic thought: a week ago today, President Trump spoke from the White House, and his only plan to deal with the Coronavirus was to ban travel from Europe (feels like a year ago but that was just a week!). Over the past seven days, the response to the pandemic has changed dramatically for the better. From public health initiatives to immense fiscal (government) and monetary (Federal Reserve) policy moves, a lot has happened. This won't instantly reverse the course of this crisis, and it's very unsettling to many, but it's a necessary step in working towards an end to this. A week ago I wrote about a crisis of confidence, but today I feel much more confident that we're not only taking this virus seriously but also taking steps to enable both individuals and businesses to weather this storm. Things are far from perfect, and the plan is changing almost daily, but it's a heck of a lot better than the denial and chaos we saw just a week ago.
Stay well and please reach out if you need anything.