As the global Coronavirus crisis continues, financial advisers have had to adapt to the changing environment. Whether that is reacting to client demands, falling stock markets, to changing their place of work.
Many advisers have switched to working from home and have been making the most of web conferencing tools in order to keep in touch with existing clients and maintain a “business as usual approach.”
Ricky Chan, director of IFS Wealth & Pensions , chartered financial planner (CFP) says: “Unlike some businesses that have lost their livelihoods overnight, established advisory firms and advisers are in a very fortunate position, where generally speaking, they can continue to service clients with investments and pensions.
“Hence, now is not the time to shy away. Clients need advisers to keep in touch, update them on what’s happening in the markets as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, reassure them regarding their financial plans, let clients know what actions they should and shouldn’t be taking. They need advisers to continue doing the great work behind the scenes despite the current situation and while working remotely.”
Keeping up with client demands
Chan said he hasn’t noticed the widespread panic amongst his clients, as suggested in the media.
“We haven’t been inundated with calls/e-mails from clients – a few e-mails and messages yes, but nothing to signal an apocalypse like the tabloids would have you believe when the markets fell heavily in the past two weeks.
“As well as e-mailing and calling clients, we have starting using Zoom conference meetings more often for team and client meetings, which I’m sure many firms would have too. In addition, where possible, we’ve been encouraging clients to use electronic signatures to avoid unnecessary trips out the home while continuing with business as usual to some extent. This is of course limited by the number of providers who accept them as many still insist on wet signatures.”
It is important for advisers to move their clients away from panic selling during the Coronavirus crisis, according to CFP Dom Spalding at Oxfordshire-based firm Expert Wealth Management.
In an article in Professional Adviser recently, Spalding says: “Advisers should be steering their clients away from panic sell-offs and from a narrow focus on mainstream media to prevent them from making “big mistakes” during the pandemic.
Spalding says: “We try and concentrate on educational things for our clients, because we just feel that that’s of value, to help them understand a bit more about the investment piece. I like to think we can walk them back from the ledge – in portfolio terms stand between them and a big mistake that their portfolio will unlikely ever recover from.
“What we say to clients is…we stress test all the plans to make sure we’ve expected this to happen at some point, both in terms of the financial planning aspect of the cash flow, forecasting and in terms of the portfolio construction.”