It’s safe to say if you read Ralph’s feature in a Diary of an Adviser from August 2018, a week in the life of an Adviser looks very different during lockdown.
On Monday 23rd March 2020 everything had already been tried and tested in anticipation of Boris Johnson’s announcement, so we were all able to work remotely immediately.
Despite no longer being able to see our clients face to face, we are still great believers that ‘at its best, financial advice is always best Face to Face’ so to continue our usual face to face service we’ve fully embraced video calling with all new and existing clients.
Here’s a taste of what life looks like now…
Today I completed three annual reviews via Zoom with Ralph. At each review we would normally ask each and every client the same question: ‘have there been any major changes personally or financially?’ We now feel we have to add the caveat coronavirus aside, because undoubtedly this has impacted all of us in ways we would have possibly never imagined.
One of the clients talked about how they had noticed in the news how much the markets had fallen and were concerned about the value of their investment. They were pleasantly surprised to find they were down around 6% in comparison to the 26% they had seen on the news and even decided to increase their regular contributions to take advantage of market fall.
In between Zoom meetings I decided that time was needed in the kitchen to whip up a coffee cake in preparation for national coffee cake day tomorrow.
Before Julie arrives in the office I pop in to leave the coffee cake for everyone to enjoy. We take it in turns going in to collect paperwork to avoid contact with one another, I leave a note to remind them to take a slice home when they make their visit.
Following the launch of our 50% off Wills for our wonderful key workers, we had a number of enquiries. Today I carry out a meeting with a client’s relative who lives in London that is particularly concerned about the virus and wants to get a will in place immediately. It’s a pleasure to be able to help give someone little peace of mind by arranging a Will.
Lockdown has meant we have all had to adapt the way carry out interactions, this afternoon I attend a virtual networking meeting. It was such a lovely experience to speak with other small businesses and learn of how they have adapted to the current climate. I signed up for the next meeting immediately and left feeling very inspired.
I spend the morning calling a number of clients to make updates to the fact finds we hold on file, to ensure the recommendations we make are going to be fully suitable to their circumstances. It’s good to catch up and find out how life is for them at the moment, how the changes have affected them and most importantly that they have everything they need!
Just after lunch I have an online meeting with Bethany from Foresight, where we discuss the latest changes to their inheritance tax proposition, and some ongoing client cases.
Today mainly consists of compliance paperwork for new investments. It seems to have passed under the radar for many this year with everything else going on, but the start of a new tax year doesn’t go amiss for keen investors, particularly with the current falls in the market making it a good time to invest.
This afternoon we have a staff meeting on Zoom, a little different to usual with all pets and children welcome. The only thing missing was the plate of Hobnobs – chocolate ones of course!
This morning we carry out one annual review meeting and another meeting to go through the illustrations for a new investment. I tidy up my home office at around 1pm and make an early start on the weekend by going out in the garden.
Life as an Adviser usually consists of very early mornings and late finishes, food on the go, and a plentiful supply of delicious cakes, biscuits and tea along the way. In some aspects being in ‘lockdown’ has almost been a little bit of luxury, a slightly slower pace. No commuting required to the home office, and a little bit more time to be able to prepare fresh home-cooked meals and try out some new recipes
However, the lockdown has certainly reminded me just how much I enjoy doing what I usually do. Visiting clients, being able to physically pass them a document and look through it together and drawing pictures to help explain a scenario.
As I’m sure it has for most of you, the novelty has certainly worn off. Each day I watch the coronavirus update on the news in anticipation of when we may be able to return to some kind of normality – whatever that normal may be.