The financial services industry is responding to the coronavirus crisis as firms try to come to grips with extreme market volatility, speculation of recession, and general health and welfare concerns.
Adjusting to a new operating paradigm
And just like many other service providers, financial advisers are finding new ways to adapt and operate.
For example, many financial advice firms are already enabling employees to work from home, while clients and advisers alike are being supported with online content, regular communications, and webinars.
Unfortunately, face-to-face meetings are impossible or ill-advised for most clients; however, advisers have responded to the challenge by setting up telephone consultations, Skype messaging and video-call sessions to help clients stay informed and, crucially, disciplined during the crisis.
But with regulatory requirements not immediately designed to cater to the crisis, there are concerns that some directives could lead advisers into uniquely challenging territory.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that it expects firms “to be taking reasonable steps to ensure they are prepared to meet the challenges coronavirus could pose to customers”.*
To this end, it has emphasised the need for firms to prioritise clarity and transparency while at the same time ensuring they stress-test so that they have the resilience to continue. The regulator also said that it would consider delaying or postponing any regulatory activity that is not integral to customer service and market integrity.
The FCA response stated that the organisation is “ready to take any steps necessary to ensure customers are protected and markets continue to function well”. *
MiFid II and extra stress for wealth management firms
Keith Richards, CEO of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) said, “Business continuity plans are being put to the test as financial advisers ensure they can continue to meet regulatory requirements and deliver the service agreed with clients while trying to delay the spread of the coronavirus.”**
However, he warned that the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid) II is creating unsustainable levels of pressure and stress at a time when market volatility is at a peak. He added that the PFS would stay in contact with government and regulators regarding the impact as challenges in serving the public may continue to arise over the coming months.
Blacktower Financial Management Group – trusted advice in difficult times
Blacktower’s experience of helping clients to weather uncertain times has been honed over numerous financial crises during recent decades. From the dot.com bubble through to the 2008 crash, the Eurozone crisis and Brexit, our clients rely on us to help them stay disciplined and secure, while always remaining committed to long-term financial prosperity.
The above article was kindly provided by Blacktower Financial Management Group and originally posted at: https://www.blacktowerfm.com/news/753-independent-financial-advice-for-difficult-times