Even the most ardent Financial Planner must admit that discussing drawdown options may not be too high up on clients’ to do list this week.
Health-wise things will probably get worse before they get better but they will get better eventually and clients will then want to sit down with their planners to review what happens next. In the meantime it seems clients and planners are remaining remarkably calm.
We did a quick straw poll on Twitter this week. These are, of course, entirely unscientific but it did reveal that 80% of those who responded, mostly Financial Planners I hope, said that fewer than 1 in 10 clients had been in touch for reassurance. That’s reassuring.
I’m reminded of an excellent seminar given many years ago by an American Financial Planner at one of the IFP’s UK conferences. The gist of what she said was that planners had a duty to educate their clients on how markets work to avoid phone calls at 6 am from anxious clients unable to sleep due to market turbulence.
I fully endorse this. Markets have, of course, been moving wildly like a bucking bronco (and no that isn’t Cockney rhyming slang). This is actually a healthy sign.
Rapid movements are exactly what financial markets do at times. They are essentially a giant opinion poll, a barometer of investor sentiment. Demand and supply are driven almost entirely by investor sentiment and investors get rattled from time to time. They are now.
Financial Planning Today has always avoided knee-jerk stories on market movements and will continue to do that. I’ve lost count of market stories that are out of date within minutes of being published. Planners and Paraplanners know well how markets move and one day movements barely matter to long term investors.
Long term Financial Planning requires a calm, sanguine approach to markets and most planners will, I suspect, not have changed their long term views very much over the past two weeks. Their role as a calm voice in a storm has not changed either.
Having received several hundred press releases this week commenting on the Coronavirus one thing we’re not too interested in yet another opinion piece. Sorry. If you have some time on your hands you can enjoy the latest issue of Financial Planning Today magazine now available on subscription but here’s a free preview here: http://bit.ly/2U2R3Ih
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.