Asset classes have dislocated from reality. Fundamentals and technicals are out the window and clients are looking for guidance from their advisor. These are the times that the value of a professional Wealth Manager will ultimately be most appreciated and have the largest positive impact on a client’s future. You must be present for your clients during this time.
Resist the urge to hypothesize on a game plan. The situation is fluid and long-term investors should ignore short term moves (regardless of the size and scale). The pricing mechanisms in the market are clearly broken short term which will provide future opportunity, but we should allow the crisis to unfold to get a better sense of the total economic impact.
Helping investors understand and quantify “crisis risk” is also important. We are in the 2nd and 3rd deviation of statistical data sets. This is the 5% of the non-quantifiable risk that all investors accept when allocating capital. This risk doesn’t destroy diversification, nor the prudent measures put in place when creating portfolios, but it does make investors act irrational when these events occur. Long-term investors should be reminded of this and the reason why we allocated to risk assets.
Beyond the portfolio, our advice should be a measured voice in a sea of noise. Be a steward of verified and reliable data effecting your clients. Do not engage in rumor or hysteria. We have a duty as fiduciaries to act in an impartial and prudent matter. This means helping clients make wise decisions both financially and personally.
Check in with your clients in the risk demographics (60 years and older) or anyone with a preexisting health condition. Make sure they have adequate resources (food, water and medicine) or have support to get these crucial items. We must help each other through this crisis, and I can think of no better person than their trusted advisor.
Other follow up ideas/strategies:
- Providing clients an update on your office hours/sanitization procedures/staffing levels.
- Make clients aware of online tools (custodian website access, Orion portal and Money Guide Pro planning).
- Ensure clients who have recurring money movement instructions have sufficient cash to cover their individual needs.
- Guide clients with margin or secured lines on potential calls or overdraft.
- Give clients the opportunity to use the firm’s virtual meeting software as a way to replace in-person meetings and travel.
We are Wealth Managers, we provide so much more than investment advice. We are friends, coaches, clear minds and advocates for our clients. Let’s us continue to be that influence in our client’s lives.
Sean McGillivray, CEO