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A gulf is opening up between those wealth managers which are being really proactive about communicating with clients during the Coronavirus and the ones we are hearing about which are “hiding under their desks”. Here is the findaWEALTHMANAGER.com view on this most important issue.
The findaWEALTHMANAGER.com team prides itself on being a champion for clients. We have matched thousands of High Net Worth Individuals with wealth managers since our 2012 launch, but we’ve also become a trusted source of guidance for our users through the content and bias-free conversations we provide. It is therefore no surprise that we’ve seen enquiries rise in tandem with Coronavirus panic levels.
Many of these have been from individuals who now feel they’ve come to the limit of their abilities as DIY investors and so want the reassurance of having a professional and institutional-grade research working on their behalf. Meanwhile, some cash-heavy users are seeing now as perhaps a unique opportunity to snap up undervalued assets and others still are seeking the kind of holistic financial planning advice wealth managers excel at.
There have also inevitably been calls from existing clients who are unhappy with the client service they have received in recent weeks and months. Just as with the Global Financial Crisis, it seems that a small minority of advisers are “going to ground” and leaving clients to form their own conclusions from the abundant commentaries being distributed and the hourly-changing news.
Just as with the Global Financial Crisis, it seems that a small minority of advisers are “going to ground” and leaving clients to form their own conclusions from the abundant commentaries being distributed and the hourly-changing news
We are truly in unprecedented times, facing a “black swan” event that no money manager could have predicted. How things will play out is also highly uncertain, although there is optimism for a strong global recovery once the pandemic is under control. But not being able to make certain pronouncements is certainly no excuse not to communicate proactively with clients, and moreover in a personalised, highly relevant way.
We are hearing that generic commentaries are doing little to soothe the nerves of the underserviced. And, while many individuals are happy to be very hands-off in normal times, what many are now craving is a conversation with their wealth manager. If this has not been forthcoming (or even worse, the client has had to chase), we would urge them to consider alternative arrangements.
A good adviser acts as a “coach” through your wealth journey, ensuring that a solid strategy is enacted and offering comfort and confidence whenever it is needed. That time is certainly now.
A good adviser acts as a “coach” through your wealth journey, ensuring that a solid strategy is enacted and offering comfort and confidence whenever it is needed. That time is certainly now
The wealth managers on our panel have been selected because they are committed to superior client service (alongside better value fees) and they have really been leading the way on crisis communications. Yes, there have been abundant traditional phone calls made to those who prefer them, but the best wealth managers are also using new technologies to marvellous effect in keeping investors informed and reassured. Teleconferencing capabilities, instant messaging platforms, client portals with up-to-the-minute portfolio information and commentaries tailored to specific portfolios are key weapons in their arsenals.
The bottom line is that wealth managers must “own” bad news and be the ones reaching out to clients. There is no denying the gloom, but if it is put in context and a clear course of action is set, then the panic can be dialled down. Leaving investors in the dark is unacceptable, particularly when there are so many powerful ways to communicate with them today.
Leaving investors in the dark is unacceptable, particularly when there are so many powerful ways to communicate with them today
It might be difficult to know where to draw the line on any perceived lack of responsiveness during these difficult times. However, if this is emerging as a real problem now, it’s likely to have been brewing for some time. Crises do tend to bring all manner of things to a head, so why not talk to us about the service quality you are experiencing to see how it compares to best practice in the wider market?
We of course look forward to a time when face-to-face meetings are once again possible, and everyone is under less pressure, but during this suspension of normal activity it is vital that service standards aren’t allowed to slip. If anything, your provider should be redoubling their efforts to engage with you in a timely way and in a format that suits.
These are bleak times, but they are also a chance for firms – and individual advisers – to shine. The wealth management world is still very much open for business, so if you feel you haven’t got the information and reassurance you need, you certainly don’t need to wait to take action towards getting a better deal. You can make use of the extra free time many of us now have to quickly compare your best-matched wealth managers and even start the ball rolling on an improved relationship entirely remotely.
These are bleak times, but they are also a chance for firms – and individual advisers – to shine
Crises have a way of shining a light on complacency and poor processes. If you feel you’ve been left in the dark, don’t hesitate to demand more from a wealth manager. Finding your ideal partner and making a change for the better is a lot easier than you think.