How RIAs Can Emerge Stronger From the Coronavirus Pandemic

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We’re dealing with a disease outbreak of epic proportions. As you feel the pinch of business disruptions, your clients are worried about their investment portfolios. In addition, high net worth individuals concerned about the impact of the crisis on their long-term financial well-being are now, more than ever, seeking out the services of a Registered Investment Advisor.

Here’s a look at how you can successfully navigate the pandemic while both retaining the confidence and loyalty of your investors and business partners, while also attracting potential customers in need of your service.

 

Advise clients to exercise caution in a volatile stock market

  1. The market will likely swing wildly until the pandemic is past us. The safe option is to do nothing and hold tight, at least until there’s some certainty. Clients flush with cash may be eager to buy but should be advised to wait and watch.
  2. The outbreak has triggered a widespread selling of bonds. There is some level of stock buying in sectors that appear resilient to the crisis. Retirees, clients close to retirement, and people in industries impacted by COVID-19, will all have many questions. Depending on how much they have set aside in savings, these groups of individuals will look to you for a plan.

 

Connect on a human level

Your clients will be anxious about the impact of the outbreak on their investment. Alleviate their fears with assuring messages that offer an optimistic view of the pandemic situation. Share positive thoughts on the possibility of a vaccine being ready in the next few years, or share a promise to communicate transparently any material impact of the crisis on clients’ investments or your business.

 

Have video conference calls with clients

Social distancing and remote work environments have made video conferencing a primary mode of communication. There are a number of video conferencing tools, and it is possible that your clients may already be familiar with popular ones like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Given the interactive nature of videoconferencing, you will engage and convince clients more effectively than if you were to communicate portfolio updates and COVID-19 related strategies solely via email.

 

Adjust your marketing activities to the current situation

Even as you come to grips with the impact of the novel coronavirus on global financial markets and the economy, you still have the opportunity to apply your professional expertise and insights too – especially if you faced a similarly rocky situation during the 2007/2008 financial crisis.

Confined to their homes, your clients might be spending more time in front of their devices. You can share relevant COVID-19 related content that encourages critical thinking at a time when it’s too easy to panic.

  • Publish blog posts on your website, addressing clients’ immediate concerns.
  • Discuss portfolio changes and market observations via webinars that you can schedule once every 2-3 months or so.
  • Consider creating a COVID-19 newsletter or pivot your existing newsletter to mostly outbreak-related investment strategies and important disclosures.

As mentioned before, the uncertain situation can lead investors to make hurried decisions. Help them make the best possible decisions by addressing challenges head-on. Rather than downplaying the near-term impact of the pandemic, offer useful guidance that demonstrates your grasp on the situation. This will reinforce your expertise in conducting sensible risk management.

 

Enhance your online brand and client service

Plan for the next and the beyond as the pandemic eases and some sense of normalcy is restored. It can come in the form of a website audit. Can your website content be better? How can you tweak your social media content calendar to suit the current scenario? What are the right coronavirus-related messages to add to your landing page? Implement changes that can potentially improve conversions and strengthen existing clients’ trust in your business.

Good client service is never reactive. You should know when to reach out to clients and they should be confident that you will engage them when needed. Take stock of your client service environment: has it gotten a bit chaotic or do you need to include more online methods to get across to clients when they can’t come into your office?

 

Review your teleworking arrangements

The COVID-19 crisis has increased the importance of adopting cloud-based workflows and collaboration tools. RIAs that have the right technology in place to seamlessly transition employees to remote working are better poised to deal with business disruptions. Take stock of your technology and communication set-up at the earliest.

Explore how you can find alignment with all stakeholders during these challenging times. While the tendency may be to move into ‘protection mode’, don’t be afraid to try new ways of working and marketing if you believe they can create sustainable value for staff and investors.

 

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Compass CFO Solutions LLC is the leading provider of outsourced CFO, accounting, and bookkeeping services to the wealth management industry. Compass CFO Solutions’ services allows RIA firms to spend more time growing their business. Learn more at www.compasscfosolutions.com.

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