As a financial adviser, during lockdown I had the luxury of time to keep in touch with clients, albeit remotely.
In the first few weeks, the mission was to send out some facts and reassurance so that my clients all knew I was still there, whatever the current circumstances. But as the weeks went by, I had time to learn about how clients were reacting and whether they might feel their situation was under threat in any way. Was anything I was saying, helping them; was I missing any vital signals where help was needed?
My first experience with a major stock market crash was in 1987 and from that I learnt that the priority, when investing money, is to ensure you have a sufficient emergency reserve. Doing so will allow the upheaval to resolve itself without the desperate need to draw on investments during the most unfavourable times. Those needing income from their investments worry the most, but as long as everyone remains invested they have better potential to recover from sharp falls. March presented the toughest time.
At The Spectrum IFA Group we maintained weekly Zoom meetings with fellow advisers in Spain and from this came the concept of a questionnaire to send out, which I adopted to become The Lockdown Questionnaire.
The results were reassuring and informative, giving me the opportunity to provide additional support where it was needed. It is still ongoing as not everyone has yet responded, although have told me they will do soon.
In brief, the results so far revealed the following:
8% only, had found lockdown difficult.
70% were very comfortable talking over the phone, on video chat or email.
78% were worried about their investments but understood that sitting tight was the key.
31% only, felt that now was a good investment opportunity.
78% have saved on their spending and felt in control financially.
31% felt their priorities with money had changed through lockdown.
92% which was reassuring, had enough emergency money set aside for the short term.
100% which was an excellent result, have an up to date will.
This is evidence to me that health comes first, but knowing that their money was doing the best it could under the circumstances and having regular contact does help to give peace of mind.
There is much ongoing activity for me now to follow up with. Some more hand holding, some more reviewing of income requirements, without any need to recommend a will!