Client trends April 2020:
Clients are fire-fighting on many financial fronts

Predictably, this time of crisis is showing up poor client service, but the leading wealth managers on our panel are providing multi-faceted support spanning pensions, business, property and more.

Lack of communication a common complaint

Individuals who are unhappy with their current wealth manager naturally make up a large proportion of our users (as well as people completely new to this area or those looking to diversify their provision). Predictably, this has shot up in these turbulent times, but perhaps not so predictable is why.

It has not been investment performance which we have been hearing most about, as people understand that the coronavirus crisis is a genuine “black swan” event that has hit everyone, and everything, hard. What has some users thinking again about their provider is its handling of the matter from a communications standpoint.

While leading wealth managers are taking all steps to inform and reassure their clients, we are unfortunately hearing that some investors feel completely left in the dark. Shockingly, some have just received the letters firms are obliged to send when a portfolio drops by 10% in value and nothing else. Burning questions – and even direct telephone calls to advisers – are going totally unanswered in some quarters.

Firms should have deployed (or developed) solid communications plans by now though, and no client should be wondering what steps are being taken to protect their wealth

We are all having to adapt, and allowances should of course be made, particularly for those affected by ill-health. However, firms should have deployed (or developed) solid communications plans by now though, and no client should be wondering what steps are being taken to protect their wealth. If you are feeling neglected, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team to explore what your options are.

Pensions pain takes its toll

A good deal of our users are retirees or approaching retirement and so we are fielding lots of calls from those extremely worried about their pension assets. The wild volatility in stock markets (and the rollercoaster for most assets) is naturally causing great concern about the value of pension pots. However, as we have cautioned, “paper” losses should be distinguished from real ones and many foresee an equally strong rebound when the crisis passes.

Loss of income from pension (and other) investments might be of much greater concern in the short-term, since almost £4bn of planned dividend pay-outs have been shelved by FTSE350 companies alone this month. We can expect great variation in companies’ approach to dividends going forward, and this will mean many having to revise their strategies for building or drawing on their pension wealth.

Pensions are the bedrock of most people’s financial plans and we know it is horrible to suddenly be wondering if you will be able to retire when you wish or sustain a desirable standard of living – and even more so if you are going it alone as an investor

Pensions are the bedrock of most people’s financial plans and we know it is horrible to suddenly be wondering if you will be able to retire when you wish or sustain a desirable standard of living – and even more so if you are going it alone as an investor. If you are, please seek professional advice without delay.

Most of all, ensure you do not fall prey to the growing number of scammers promising greater returns that the regulator has warned about. Your pension savings are too important to expose them to risk or inappropriate investments. Only work with reputable, well-regulated firms with a good track record.

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Top Tip

There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic will have thrown many people’s financial plans into disarray, and possibly on a number of fronts simultaneously. At such times, a one-stop-shop becomes really appealing. You can access multi-disciplinary expertise spanning investments, tax, financial planning and even business and property via the wealth managers on our panel. Try our 3-minute matching tool to see which providers are best suited to you.

Lee Goggin - Co-Founder

Lee Goggin

Co-Founder

Lifebuoys for business-owners

Intended as we are for cash-rich, time-poor people, business-owners also make up a large proportion of our users. They are certainly facing very difficult times with many businesses entirely shuttered for “lockdown” and yet also massive calls being made on their cash reserves to keep things (and employees) afloat.

The UK’s already hugely complex tax regime has also become even more labyrinthine on a number of fronts due to the Chancellor’s admirable – but as yet untested – economic rescue package. Scarcely any business will remain unscathed, and the implications for entrepreneurs’ own financial wellbeing are likely to be massive.

This will be hugely worrying time if your personal finances are bound up in a business, but help is at hand – and moreover holistic help too

This will be hugely worrying time if your personal finances are bound up in a business, but help is at hand – and moreover holistic help too. Many of the wealth managers on our panel are able to offer advice spanning business finance, cashflow management, investments and tax; they can also offer many types of private client credit. In these troubled times, a one-stop-shop for advice is what many of our callers are crying out for and we’ve been really pleased to put them in touch with leading firms who can be this for them.

Trouble in the housing market

The pandemic has made the housing market grind to a halt and thrown the mortgage landscape into disarray, and while callers have often mentioned property woes in passing, we have often been able to help here too. It is underappreciated that private banks and wealth managers can often offer mortgages alongside other credit facilities like Lombard loans and bridging finance which could be invaluable now.

It is underappreciated that private banks and wealth managers can often offer mortgages alongside other credit facilities like Lombard loans and bridging finance which could be invaluable now

Institutions catering for High Net Worth Individuals are set up to understand complex financial set-ups in a way mainstream lenders simply aren’t, and they often step in where High Street banks fear to tread because they look at their clients in the round. This crisis will pass and you do not necessarily have to let your property plans fall by the wayside in the interim. You may be surprised by what can still be achieved.

Call us, whatever your concerns

These are just a small sample of the client concerns we’ve been addressing in recent weeks and although we are wishing this crisis were over as much as everyone else, we have relished the chance to help our users solve problems they have often thought were intractable. 

Wealth management is about far more than just managing investment portfolios and having a good wealth manager in your corner really is invaluable in times like these. Whatever your hopes and worries are, we are sure to be able to help, so do please get in touch to find the advice – and action plan – many of you so sorely need.

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