A letter to clients regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Standing with you through times of crisis

Dear clients and partners,

We are outraged by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the largest ground war assault in Europe since World War II. This represents a humanitarian tragedy with devastating implications for millions of people. It is heartbreaking to witness the effects of this violence, yet inspiring to see the bravery of the Ukrainian leadership and people. We join the vast and growing majority of the global community in raising our voices to call for peace - and our firm and associates have stepped up to contribute to relief efforts.

There will be continued economic and market uncertainty as the war unfolds. Overall, our direct exposure to Russia and Ukraine in client portfolios is limited, but the broader implications for European and global political stability remain a key concern. Given the current situation, we do not believe the crisis, on its own, will lead to a global recession. This view might change if the economic impacts of this war begin to expand beyond Ukraine and Russia - especially if Europe’s Russian energy supply is cut off and we see sustained price spikes in oil and gas.

Our teams are doing what they do best during volatile times - staying calm, focused and ready to act. Through our dynamic investment decision-making process, we continually focus on unsustainable market dislocations. We evaluate sentiment and market pricing (valuation) to inform any material changes to our cycle view, but the bar is high given the uncertainties associated with geopolitical events of this nature.

A key to navigating this highly volatile market is delivered through our global trading platform and implementation capabilities, which give us market access and insights to manage both opportunities and risks on your behalf. Uniquely, this is balanced by leveraging the full power of our platform by reaching out to our multitude of sub-advisers to better understand how they are positioning their investments and identifying those risks they are most concerned about. Importantly, we are fully complying with the wide range of sanctions that have been implemented globally in recent days, and we have a dedicated team focused on ensuring that we remain in compliance as these sanctions evolve.

It is worth noting, many global markets were nearing bear market territory prior to the outbreak of war in Ukraine. On Tuesday 1 March, we hosted a client call with members of our investment team to discuss some of the broader stresses in the markets and the increased volatility we have seen throughout the year. We are also sharing market updates in real-time via our Russell Investments blog and encourage you to visit this site for our most current views.

You have entrusted us with a tremendous responsibility, and we will remain side-by-side with you throughout this crisis. Through our vigilance and focus, we aim to strengthen our partnership with you during volatile times such as this. Your dedicated regional team at Russell Investments is available for you. We welcome your calls.

In support and partnership,

Kate El-Hillow, Global Chief Investment Officer

Kate El-Hillow
President & Global Chief Investment Officer

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