Coronacrash Advisor Insights: Procyon Partners’ Phil Fiore & Tony Sirianni
AdvisorHub’s Publisher & CEO — Tony Sirianni — asked top advisors from leading firms their opinions on the dual management of the Coronavirus and market meltdown crises. Read how these advisors are managing one of the most unique challenges we have faced as a financial community.
Here is how Phil Fiore, CEO & Executive Managing Director of Procyon Partners, LLC responded.
- So we’re in a new and challenging dynamic, where not only do our clients need us more than ever, but we have to change the tried and true way that we have always interacted with them. How are you handling the challenge of working remotely and managing clients? Is video conferencing effective? How do you maintain a sense of normalcy personally and professionally?
Working remotely for an extended period of time is certainly a challenge from both a professional and personal point of view. First and foremost, it’s very difficult to “turn it off.” You can find yourself continually working which isn’t necessarily the healthiest thing to do. What I’ve done to assuage that issue is get myself into a disciplined schedule; I get up early every day and hit my home gym where I will bang out 45 minutes of cardio work. I then shower, grab something to eat and get to work. My wife Jill has made it a point to grab me and my two boys (both of which are doing school work all day — one is a sophomore in college the other an 8th grader) around 1:00 pm to get outside and take a walk around the block. That has proven to be a God send as I wouldn’t leave my desk if my wife didn’t insist. We all come back from our walk and get back to work where we stop at 6-6:30 pm to meet in the gym and get a family workout in. From there, we are all in our evening routine which includes family dinner, movies, etc.
On the professional side, video conferencing has been great! We connect with our team everyday by video conferencing to make sure we are establishing as best we can that connectivity which we all need and want. We also end the week with a Friday virtual ZOOM happy hour where we all grab our beverage of choice and discuss the week and anything else the team wants to talk about.
From a client perspective, let me first say that clients have been GREAT! They all understand that we are ALL dealing with this “shelter in place” protocol so some things may not be a smooth or as quick as they are accustomed to. However we are very aware that communication is paramount and it’s our belief that you CANNOT over communicate in this environment. We are paying special attention to not only deliver market or investment related information, but we are also providing insight as to the various rescue packages coming out of the government and also various things that can help make their lives easier as they deal with this isolation reality themselves. We will also make it a point to facetime a client every so often rather than just make another phone call. It provides that connectivity that everyone is seeking as we are looking at another 30 days at least of this shelter in place protocol so adding a Facetime call is giving our clients the connectivity to us which we think is very important.
- People who have never done this job don’t really understand how much psychiatry we do every day — how close we have to get to our clients to get them to tell us about their hopes and dreams and plans, nor do they realize how closely the physical fears of coronavirus and the all too real fear of financial ruin are so closely related. How are your clients reacting to the dual threat of Covid-19 and the market crash? What are you telling them?
I think when the market began its downward spiral and the information on the virus was then more unknown then known, clients were very concerned and rightfully so as were the markets. I think from a pure market perspective, our clients understand that “markets” tend to do this and if we collectively don’t react emotionally but rather stick to our game plan, and maybe even be opportunistic here with new money, etc…we will come out of this successfully. The virus reaction is a bit different as it’s one thing to think about it once we get through this phase which we all believe we will, hopefully sooner than later. What is interesting to think about and plan for is what will the “new normal” be in our society. Will we go back to “exactly” the way it was or will things be different? I think the stress around that uncertainty has been very different than other crises that we’ve been through such as the financial crisis or 9/11. I think speaking to our clients and coming up with various scenarios has been helpful. At Procyon, we’ve come up with three different scenarios that we are talking to our clients about; a base case, a best case and a worst case. Talking through these various scenarios with clients and having discussions, if not outright plans around each, has proven to help clients deal with that uncertainty in a very uncertain time.
- What about your business? Are you just “maintaining” or are you growing? Is there an opportunity to build your book because other brokers are afraid to pick up the phone right now? How do you prospect without traditional client interactions during a market climate like this?
This is an amazing time to grow our business and it will again separate those advisors and RIA’s that are truly adding value to client relationships from those that were just “riding a momentum wave” and today are acting like a deer in the headlights as it relates to taking action or even picking up the phone to speak to their clients. We tell our team DAILY – you CANNOT over communicate during this time, so we are actively speaking to our clients and COI’s, sharing our wisdom and our insight with them as often as they are all willing to listen. From another perspective and being in charge of M&A for our firm, I’m finding this as an opportune time to speak to those RIA’s that don’t quite have the infrastructure in place to seamlessly handle EVERYTHING that needs to be handled in times like this. What I’m finding, is that those RIA’s that just a few short months ago thought that were fine and didn’t necessarily need our scale and infrastructure are now reconsidering that position and engaging us in very robust conversations. I believe this will be a great opportunity for our firm to tuck in some great RIA’s and FA’s that realized their firms weren’t built to properly handle a crisis like this and would much rather eliminate that stress in their lives by being a part of a firm like ours that has the scale, resources and infrastructure to manage our clients and FA’s through this very trying time.