I am mindful from a business perspective how lucky we are to have remained as unaffected as we have been, thus far. There are many businesses who are reliant on new clients and thousands who have had to close their doors to business altogether. Whilst our revenue is lower than it was a couple of months ago, we take a long-term approach and have reserves (unsurprisingly, as these are rudimentary elements of financial planning). We remain focused on the medium to long term, keeping to our plan, making adjustments where necessary. We have based our business on a disciplined, consistent approach and continue to work in this manner. Our methodical fund research conducted by our Investment Director, Ben Yearsley, continues as do our regular Investment Committees, attended by all of the advisers.
Markets appear more benign, and somewhat positive over the last month. Indeed, some of our portfolios have had double digit returns since March 20th (source: FE analytics). As I have mentioned previously though, the crisis is far from over and we could experience further market falls over the short term. This is impossible to predict, and although some parallels can possibly be drawn with previous financial crises, this is a new phenomenon in a digital age with unprecedented government intervention.
Our offices remain closed to clients, but all of our brilliant team are working from home, led by our department ‘heads’ , Ellie and Sophie. As I alluded to in the paragraph above, they have ensured that everything is running as normally as possible. We even manage to conduct our weekly fitness class as a group via Zoom. Whilst there is speculation that announcements may be imminent regarding the easing of ‘lockdown’ in the UK, I will continue to put the welfare of our clients and staff above everything else. As such, I expect client meetings to continue to be conducted remotely, and for social and professional distancing to be observed in the office. This will mean that not all of the team are likely to be in situ at the same time. Furthermore, any staff member who is uncomfortable being in the office will be able to remain at home, working remotely and securely.
Finally, a survey (source: Citywire) this week indicated that since the crisis commenced, 26% of IFA clients had not been contacted at all. I find this unprofessional at a time of uncertainty. I’m aware that our advisers are in contact when appropriate and are continuing to conduct scheduled meetings via phone or video. Similarly, I hope my regular messages are not too frequent or wearing. Your comments are always welcome of course.