COVID-19’s Impact on Financial Advisors

How the Pandemic is Changing the Way Advisors Work

If there’s one thing that’s certain about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that it has changed the way we work and interact with one another. From virtual meetings and remote workforces, to a heavy reliance on technology, financial advisors have been forced to adapt and find new ways to serve their clients. I often talk (these days, Zoom) with advisors, and I’ve learned a lot about how the pandemic has impacted the way they work. Following are my biggest takeaways.

  • Technology, technology, technology – Many advisors have told me the biggest challenge they’ve faced since the beginning of the pandemic is the shift to a remote workforce. When the coronavirus first reared its nasty head, they needed to quickly figure out how to manage their workflow, run the daily operations of their practices and communicate with team members and clients.

    To do so, they turned to technology. From automated workflow platforms to virtual meeting software and instant messaging, advisors sought a wide range of solutions. Some have even implemented interactive performance reporting and financial planning tools that can be used with clients in a virtual format.

    Advisors have also been forced to reevaluate their digital security protocols to ensure confidentiality and record retention for a remote workforce. While many firms had already made great advancements in this area, others needed to quickly improve their data security and make the switch to remotely managing internal controls and protocols.

    Takeaway: If they weren’t already, innovative technological solutions have become indispensable since the pandemic began. No longer does technology enhance an advisor’s practice, it’s now a vital part of daily operations.

  • Virtual meetings – Most advisors I’ve spoken to have adapted to a remote workforce by holding virtual meetings with clients. Both clients and advisors have been forced to rely on video conferencing for meetings, performance evaluations, educational webinars, and more. This trend will likely continue even after the pandemic.

    The benefit of virtual meetings is that they cut down on travel time and scheduling challenges, making it easier than ever for advisors to interact with clients and prospects. Virtual meetings also make it possible for advisors to connect with clients across the country, providing a high level of personalized service regardless of where the client lives.

    Of course, meeting via computer screen is not the same as meeting in person. There’s no substitute for shaking your client’s hand and looking him or her straight in the face.

    Takeaway: While virtual meetings aren’t the same as in-person interactions, they offer flexibility and an opportunity to meet with clients regardless of their location.

  • More time for client interaction – Our office is located in New York City, so I’m no stranger to commuting. And, while I strongly believe that working together in an office is the best way to foster idea flow and collaboration, one big benefit to not commuting is the additional time available that would have otherwise been spent traveling to and from the office.

    Many advisors I’ve talked to are using this extra time to check in with clients. As a result, they’ve been able to proactively address their clients’ needs, allay their fears and build stronger relationships. If that’s not a win-win for both clients and advisors, I don’t know what is.

    Takeaway: Advisors are using the time saved by not having to commute to strengthen relationships with clients.

  • Opportunities to grow – Historically, clients switch advisors in uncertain times, especially when they feel they haven’t received an adequate level of attention and support. Clients are also more likely to seek a second opinion when market volatility negatively impacts their portfolio. The good news is that there may be significant opportunities to pick up new clients. On the flip side, however, it’s important to ensure you’re checking in regularly with your existing clients to make sure they’re feeling supported and content.

    Takeaway: Uncertain times can provide a great opportunity to pick up new clients, but don’t forget to check in regularly with your existing clients.

While it’s true that COVID-19 has significantly altered the way we work and interact, my key takeaway is that as long as advisors continue to find new, innovative ways to serve their clients, they will be successful. Whether it be new technology, enhanced services or more frequent meetings, motivated advisors have the potential to thrive in any environment.

I’m happy to discuss recent hiring trends, your current situation and your goals for the future. You can reach me by email at michael@michaelking.com, call the office at 212-687-5490 or text me at 917-747-4805.

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