"Going into March 2020 felt worse than the global financial crisis period of 2008. Clients were panicked and concerned about markets falling daily. Even as markets recovered in the summer, clients remained concerned that markets might fall again."
Andy Butcher at Raymond James, John Street notes the response to his concerned clients last year is not something that was particularly strange or new. He has, after all, experienced market falls before and as usual, the strategy for investing nearly always remains the same: in well diversified portfolios, where risk levels have been appropriately assessed for the client, the focus is always on long-term returns rather than short-term losses.
As such, Butcher assured his clients that despite the heightened market volatility they remained committed and focused on long-term goals. He reminded clients that whilst no one knows what is going to happen next, no investor should be aiming to time the market, and in an adequately diversified portfolio losses can be curbed.
Yet adviser reassurances were online, rather than in person and sometimes investors continued to panic. Clients were faced with harsh realities: income loss and unemployment and the expectations of advice changed.
The need for more detailed conversations not just about finances but life plans quickly became the norm. Clients no longer wanted to know just where their money was invested but needed advice on how they could adequately prepare for the unexpected: What did the great market rebound of 2020 mean? How had the global pandemic changed companies? Trust was paramount in answering these questions, but sometimes difficult for advisers over digital pixels on a screen. This new reality of advisory firms is changing the face of the financial adviser business.
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