Featured in Financial Adviser.
My favourite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, once told me that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, though psychology tells us that (pre-Covid) the greatest worry shared among people was often money and job security, with health coming slightly further down the list.
I imagine Covid-19 bumped health up the rankings, but it became obvious that finance worries had not been replaced by health worries; in many cases, they were exacerbated.
Through lockdown, being aware that we could not do much about the virus, or therefore people’s health worries, we focused on what we as paraplanners could do to help educate people about finance as well as help advisers alleviate their wealth worries.
As soon as lockdown hit, we spoke to as many advisers as we could, to find out what they were doing, how they were dealing with it and what we could do to help.
Finding new ways to communicate with clients, both existing and prospective, was high up the list for most.
We helped to support the servicing of their existing clients by introducing a virtual paraplanning service, whereby we would provide the video conferencing software, along with a trained client-facing paraplanner within the meeting to help smooth over adapting to a new process.
The market uncertainty was impacting hugely on people and cash flow modelling was a way to make the impact more tangible and reduce the level of fear.
We therefore rolled out a new cash flow initiative, modelling scenarios for clients – factoring in furlough, redundancy, and potentially a sooner than previously anticipated death.
These were the real fears being caused by Covid-19, and turning that into a practical model to discuss with their clients really helped advisers to reassure them.
We provided a business owner’s pack to provide hints and tips for advisers who were business owners, or who had some as clients, to help provide some clarity.
We also engaged with our community to see what we could do as a group to help the wider world throughout these unprecedented times, knowing advisers still had to service their clients, pandemic or not.
However, with many with many paraplanners busier than ever, annual suitability reports quickly became at risk of being delayed or missed altogether. We therefore offered free templates and guides to other paraplanners and advisers to streamline the process.
With everyone’s income taking a sudden and severe dip, we looked at what resources we had that we could give away, at no cost, to help others. We collated all our guides, templates, documents and white papers and put them on our website for free.
We believe now is a time for more people to get advice, and protect themselves from the volatility, but meeting a new adviser can be intimidating at the best of times, let alone when it has to be via Zoom.
So we made a video to help educate the public about how to find an adviser, why they should see one, what to expect, and how to avoid getting scammed.
It is in times of crisis that we need to look after our whole community and not just ourselves.
Supporting advice companies means helping them hopefully ride out the challenges and a stronger financial services profession for us all, and our clients, in coming years.
Now we are now in another national lockdown, I will once again be looking to see what we can do to help and support those around us. If you need help in any way, please feel free to get in touch.