Impact of COVID-19 on our investment process
During the COVID-19 pandemic, FMO has increased the financial and non-financial support to its existing customers to help them withstand the economic impact of the pandemic. Our ability to onboard new customers has temporarily been hampered by the travel restrictions that are currently in place. Not being able to meet in person makes it more difficult to execute proper due diligence. At the same time, FMO has implemented several changes to adjust to the new situation. For instance, we introduced guidelines for remote due diligence to service existing customers and to onboard new customers selectively. We also adapted our governance structure to enhance decision-making and delegated approval authority to investment teams on providing deferrals on principal and interest payments. In addition, we further strengthened cooperation with our partners, to mitigate the impact of travel restrictions on deal sourcing and execution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the way in which we monitor the portfolio. In 2020, we held regular portfolio meetings to discuss the most recent developments in our sectors and regions. We normally visit our customers once or twice a year. Since the pandemic, we have increased the engagement with our customers. In some cases as frequent as once to twice a month. Due to the crisis, several customers requested temporary payment deferrals or a waiver of financial covenants. In order to streamline decision-making for such requests, FMO worked closely with its partners (in particular other European DFIs and Multilateral Development Banks) to agree on a joint approach. In addition, we streamlined internal processes and standardized documentation as much as possible. These measures enabled FMO to meet the needs of our customers and to respond in an adequate and timely manner.