Maybe you have been tentatively venturing out recently as lockdown measures have eased.
Yes, things have changed but we have to accept we are now ‘living with Covid-19’ or rather the risk of it. It’s a good way of focusing on the need to work towards some kind of normality.
I’m sure many Financial Planner clients are going through the same process of tentatively venturing out, seeing loved ones in person again and, importantly, beginning to plan.
It’s too early to guess what the long-term impact of the Coronavirus epidemic will be on clients. Things will change, there will likely be more remote working and communication, more use of tech but I’ve said before I’m sceptical clients will ever accept a complete block on seeing their planner face to face. It is, after all, what planners do best because planning takes time and getting to know the client in person is key before planning takes place.
Anecdotally, I understand some planners have been venturing back to the office (some have clearly never left the office permanently). We’re carrying out a small Twitter poll on whether planners are actually seeing clients face to face and there is some evidence they are. Admittedly they are small numbers but things are beginning to shift slowly forward.
It’s worth remembering, by the way, that to my knowledge there is no ban on seeing clients face to face although clearly government guidelines must be followed and in the case of elderly or vulnerable clients extra care taken. That’s harder to do in practice than in theory.
One positive step I’ve noticed recently is that more Financial Planners seem to be recruiting. Our own jobs service Financial Planning Jobs has seen 5 new jobs added in the last week. Our offer of a free listing until the end of July has helped boost interest in getting the profession back to work. You can find out more here: Financial Planning Jobs
Is this a first sign of recovery? Perhaps.
Despite all this clients will understandably be nervous however good their planner has been in reassuring them. According to a survey we covered this week by research firm Boobook two thirds of people in the UK and US plan to review their savings and investments in the next six months. I’m not surprised. Things have changed.
Some may want to revisit their retirement plans. Some may have to revisit their retirement plans if their job has disappeared. Financial Planners are ideally placed to give clients some realistic options - perhaps ones clients have not considered.
In this respect, I’ve always been impressed by the creativity Financial Planners show in devising financial plans, a skill often forgotten amid all the calculations and numbers, and planners will need to be creative in the months to come. It is this ‘creativity’ I suspect clients will value most when mapping out future pathways post-pandemic.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with 30 years experience. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks.