Financial advisers offering remote advice as virus cuts face-to-face time

Pedro Gonçalves
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Financial advisers offering remote advice as virus cuts face-to-face time

Financial advisers are increasingly resorting to the telephone and Skype to provide consultations to their clients as the coronavirus pandemic has reduced face-to-face time to a minimum.

Advisers were facing one of their busiest periods as they seek to assist clients through a period of extreme market volatility linked to the coronavirus but were in many instances doing so remotely.

"Given the current situation with coronavirus, I'm reminding my clients that I offer remote meetings using Facetime, Skype or any other means that are convenient for them,"  Richard Lee, a Chartered Financial Planner and managing director of Windsor Financial Planning, told Unbiased.

In these trying times we must all play our part, by removing physical interactions from our services, you can have peace of mind that your health, and your wealth will remain secure"

He highlighted that waiting until later is not always an option, as some financial arrangements and transactions may be time-sensitive.

In Australia, former dealer group head and AdviceIQ director, Paul Harding-Davis, said that in many instances the decision not to initiate face-to-face contact was being made by the client, rather than the adviser.

"But the reality is that advisers are finding themselves very busy at the moment reassuring clients and helping them navigate the current period of volatility," he said. "In the circumstances, a lot of that work is being conducted at a distance," he told Money Management.

 DeVere is offering free financial advice to anyone in the world on a remote basis as social distancing is universally embraced.

The free Contactless Advice service will include a wealth scan in which the adviser will discuss financial objectives and answer any questions; a fact find in which the adviser will discuss the person's current financial situation; and a customised report which the adviser will analyse and discuss as well as outline recommended next steps, if any are needed.

Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere, said: "We are launching Contactless Advice now - which is an industry first - for four clear reasons.

"First, social distancing is currently the only tool available to fight the spread of the coronavirus. As such, more and more cities, regions and countries are going into lockdown and people into enforced or self-imposed isolation to help fight Covid-19. This means that they might not be able to see their financial adviser face-to-face as they do ordinarily.

"And second, the economic landscape is shifting. The global economy is facing a short and deep recession. As always, new industries will emerge and, of course, there will be winners and losers in terms of sectors, jobs and wages - and this will, naturally, directly impact people's finances. 

"Third, we're moving towards an era of negative interest rates, which will affect people's investment decisions, amongst other financial matters.

"And fourth because the ongoing volatility will present challenges that will need attention, but also major - perhaps once-in-a-generation - buying possibilities and ways to shore-up your retirement income.

"Against this backdrop, in order to create, build-up and safeguard their wealth as the world adapts to a new era, investors should be revising their portfolios to ensure they mitigate risk and take advantage of the opportunities."

He added: "Using a combination of existing technology, and our industry-leading applications, we're able to offer unparalleled financial advice from the comfort of your home. 

"In these trying times we must all play our part, by removing physical interactions from our services, you can have peace of mind that your health, and your wealth will remain secure."

To prevent the coronavirus from spreading amongst its staff, JP Morgan and Citigroup have told employees that those who can work from home to start implementing such arrangements this week.

Australia's Macquarie Group has taken the work-from-home arrangement further, telling the majority of its staff globally to work from home. Most of Sydney-based Macquarie's 15,760 staff worldwide will work from home, with only a small fraction of staff operating from offices, Bloomberg reported.

"This is only for employees who have roles that can be performed from home. We know many of you need to continue to work on-site because of your customer-facing roles or other jobs that cannot be done from home - particularly in our branches and call centers. We are actively reviewing how we can best support you at this time," the group said in an internal memo. 

 

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