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Back view of three seniors sitting on a bench
fixed income




company name
Chartwell Retirement Residences
core business
Seniors’ housing provider 
Mississauga, Canada
esg consideration
Actions amid COVID-19 & gender diversity

Company Overview

Chartwell Retirement Residences owns and operates a range of senior housing communities, including independent supportive living, assisted living, and long-term care. With over 200 retirement communities in four provinces, Chartwell is the largest operator in the Canadian seniors living sector, and Chartwell bonds have been a long-term holding across Burgundy’s fixed income strategies.
retirement communities in 4 provinces

ESG Consideration

Actions amid COVID-19

Retirement homes were forced to react quickly during COVID-19. While personal protective equipment (PPE) has long been used in these facilities, the pandemic created an initial surge in demand, which led to shortages in these products. To protect staff and residents, Chartwell purchased more than 5.7 million pieces of PPE, many of which were acquired prior to public health mandates. While companies in other industries were furloughing workers to cut costs, Chartwell was hiring. The company hired approximately 6,000 employees and increased screening, cleaning, disinfecting, and surveillance of visitors. Despite these efforts, the virus continued to spread, bringing the staffing limitations of long-term care and retirement home businesses.
> 5.7 million
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Chartwell purchased more than 5.7 million pieces of PPE, many of which were acquired prior to public health mandates.
≈ 6,000 
The company hired approximately 6,000 employees since the start of the pandemic. 
95% to 98%
of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of August 2021. 
Part way through the COVID-19 outbreaks, the government moved to limit the ability of employees to work at more than one home. At the time, the leading cause of outbreaks in homes was staff bringing the virus in and unknowingly transmitting it to residents and other staff. Not everyone who works part-time wants to work full-time; however, to the extent that they could, Chartwell tried to increase the number of full-time employees on the payroll. Ultimately, improved staffing policies and a better understanding of how the virus spread allowed retirement-home operators to control outbreaks and wait for vaccines. Moving forward, we believe Chartwell will learn from the experience of the pandemic and emerge a stronger operator. 

Gender diversity

At the time of the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2003, all of Chartwell’s Directors were men. We believe Chartwell has come a long way to ensure female representation in leadership positions. The board is now comprised of 43% female independent Directors, 52% of the company’s senior management are women, and 82% of employees overall are women. 
Final thoughts
We consider Chartwell to be among the highest-quality retirement home operators in North America, a belief buoyed by the company’s efforts amid the pandemic and its strides in gender diversity. Chartwell’s ability to navigate an extremely difficult environment during COVID-19 combined with its governance record gives us confidence that the company will emerge as a stronger, more responsible company going forward. 

Sources: Burgundy research, Chartwell filings 
About the authors
James Arnold
About the authors
James Arnold, CFA
Vice President, Portfolio Manager
In investing, you can never hide from your results. James learned this lesson early on when he was participating in stock market competitions during university. James’ appreciation for a long-term, value-based approach to investing was cemented during these competitions as short-term performance was often uncorrelated to the quality or depth of research. For James, one of the most fascinating aspects of fixed income investing is examining the unique risks and characteristics of debt securities alongside company and industry analysis. While company fundamentals, and not macro-events, are the foundation of Burgundy’s investment theses, the close link between macroeconomic conditions and bond prices adds a welcome layer of analysis to the fixed income investing process. 
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Vince Hunt
Vincent Hunt, CFA
Vice President, Portfolio Manager
Vince began his investment career during the 1997-1998 Asian crisis and was immediately intrigued by the interaction of fear, greed and central bank actions on market prices. His interest in credit and interest rate cycles has continued ever since. Vince believes oppor-tunities present themselves only periodically and an astute investor must be ready to act decisively to produce exceptional long-term results. As a fixed income Portfolio Manager at Burgundy, he patiently waits for opportunities where he can apply Burgundy’s investment philosophy. 
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