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Sanlam UK shuts offices and freezes pay in Covid-19 fallout

Sanlam has shut three regional offices and frozen pay as part of a widescale cost-cutting plan in the wake of the pandemic, Citywire has learned.

Sanlam UK shuts offices and freezes pay in Covid-19 fallout

Sanlam UK has shut three regional offices, and frozen pay as it tried to deal with the coronavirus fallout, Citywire has learned.

The business had earlier furloughed ‘dozens’ of staff members it revealed, who have now either returned to their former roles or been redeployed.

The firm’s Bath, Kirkby Lonsdale and Andoversford offices will merge into bigger branches with staff either relocating or working from home on a permanent basis.

Sanlam’s Bath office is to close, with most of the eight staff members moving to the firm’s 200-strong Bristol branch.

Kirkby Lonsdale, with a headcount of three, will merge into Sanlam’s Preston arm while the firm’s Andoversford office, which only houses support and admin staff, will also shut with the majority of staff working from home and some out of Bristol.

The closures mean the company, which recently doubled office space in its London headquarters, now has 14 locations nationwide.

Costs

Chief executive Jonathan Polin said the leases of the three offices were expiring and the company had taken the decision on cost grounds.

He said: ‘Like everyone we are reviewing our real estate and we have some offices that are not in the most popular places. We will review them when their leases expire.’

The firm has also frozen pay for all employees with previously announced increases announced in March never materialising.

According to Polin, staff were consulted and agreed to waive salary increases in order to help the business grapple with the pandemic. Bonuses were paid in full, however.

Polin said the level of economic uncertainty meant the business was unable to offer guidance on when the freeze might be lifted.

Around 30 staff in roles which they were unable to perform from home, such as receptionists and post room staff, had been furloughed for two months, but have now returned to the business either in their former roles or new positions.

The South African-owned company had not used the UK government’s furlough scheme to pay employee salaries for two months before the lockdown was eased, Polin said.

‘It may seem that things are bad but these decisions were just good house-keeping,’ he added.

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