Since March 2020 we have observed a full spectrum of good to bad in the financial sector.
Some people have tragically lost their jobs and their businesses. Others have been able to continue due to technology and government programs. And for some, expenses have been a lot lower due to stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions—allowing them to decrease their debt and increase their savings. (Interesting fact: the consumer savings rate around the world has drastically improved.)
As you can imagine, the forward-thinking support we have offered to the gamut of individuals who comprise our clientele has not been “cookie cutter” by any means—and the solutions are not “one size fits all”.
As soon as COVID-19 descended, we proactively reached out to all of our clients to see how they were coping with the atmosphere of uncertainty at the time.
Our objectives were as follows:
- We wanted to ensure that they were doing well mentally and physically, and listen to any concerns that they may have had.
- We wanted to educate our clients about what was going on in the economy and the investment world at that time—and we wanted to show them that we understood why they might be fearful.
- We wanted to remind them that their portfolios were carefully tailored to their individual risk tolerances—and were well positioned to withstand this storm.
- We wanted to explain that by specifying long term goals, we have helped ensure that this pandemic will be a short-term interruption—and it will not prevent us from accomplishing the long-term financial plans of our clients
Overall, these were the general messages our team delivered, but as I previously mentioned, no conversation or solution was “cookie cutter” by any means.
For example, in some cases we also discussed the investment options that were presenting themselves while the market was down, and we had a lot of clients adding money to take advantage of these buying opportunities.
While some decided to sit tight and “weather the storm”, others improved their investment rate of return by adding to their investment portfolio (and leveraging the market declines).
At this time, we also reached out to a lot of businesses and employees to review the government programs that could assist them through the shutdown (CEBA, CERB, wage subsidies, etc.).
We did our research to ensure that we knew what their support options were, as well as what qualifications would be required—and then we helped our clients with how to apply.
Case study — Dr. Jones, MD
In March 2020, I called one of our clients (Dr. Jones, MD) to discuss the programs for which he was eligible and proactively strategize a way for him to shift his daily operations over to a digital platform through calls and virtual visits.
Additionally, we adjusted his financial plan to adapt to the circumstances. We decreased/reduced his regular contribution to his investment portfolio, corporate account, and RRSP for a short time—and today (after a period of adaptation), he has resumed all investment contributions. In fact, his practice is running more efficiently than ever before. Dr. Jones has now cut his week down to four days (taking Fridays off), by incorporating more phone calls and virtual visits into his schedule.
Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to conduct virtual meetings (Zoom) or use Docusign. Even three years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to share sensitive information securely over the Internet, or accept digitally signed documents using password protected emails, etc.
For us, today’s technology has been integral in allowing us to be proactive and produce tailored advice and solutions for our clients as individuals.
It cannot be overstated that it’s never “just” about the finances—it’s about the individual client and the specific circumstances s/he may be experiencing at any given time.
Many (sadly, not all) are in a better position than they were a year ago. We are hearing of those who have built considerable savings and who can’t wait to spend it on travel, recreation, and entertainment.
Regardless of what the individual outcomes or solutions may be, one thing will remain consistent: we will be here (as always) to produce tailored advice and assistance for our valued clientele.
– Jamie Geisler, CFP®, Senior Financial Advisor / Spire Advisors of Assante Capital Management Ltd.
*The case study mentioned in this article is based on an actual scenario but names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. The case study is provided for illustrative purposes only to provide an example of our process and methodology. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The results portrayed in this case study are not representative of all of our clients’ experiences. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and actual results may vary materially than those portrayed herein. Therefore, it should not be assumed that the future results of any specific investment or investment strategy (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken in this article) will be profitable or equal the results portrayed herein. An individual’s experience may vary based on his or her individual circumstances and current/future market conditions, and there can be no assurance that any client will achieve similar results in comparable situations. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice. Please contact us for additional information with respect to the strategies and/or investments described herein.
Assante Capital Management Ltd. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please make sure to see a professional advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances.