In Focus: When Clients' Plans Change  

Covid has changed how clients spend their wealth

 

Clients have not been eating wealth for the sake of it but to help them live their lives, spend their time and create memories - and these things have changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the view of Michael Stimpson, partner at Saltus, who told FTAdviser the firm has been busy helping many clients who have significantly changed their lifestyles and financial plans as a result of the pandemic. 

He said: "One wanted to set up a charitable trust; another wanted to give living legacies to children and grandchildren, and yet others have wanted to retire early. 

"The pandemic has definitely changed attitudes but not in a consistent way across all clients."

Speaking to FTAdviser In Focus in the latest fireside chat, Stimpson said that advisers at Saltus have been required to hold the clients' hands a lot during the pandemic and to help them change their plans and their goals without throwing their finances off-track.

"But you have to find compromises", he said. Stimpson explained: "Some clients have said they now want retire a couple of years earlier than we had originally planned, which is fine, but the quid pro quo is that they might have to take a little less income in retirement and we have to adapt the financial plan for that.

"This is where a cashflow plan can be very helpful as you can see clearly what the effects of their decisions will be."

He gave the example of a new client who has just sold their business and the things they told him that they wanted to do with their new-found wealth. "It seems like a lot of money but it quickly gets whittled away, so we needed to build a robust financial plan, while putting some flexibility in place for them.

"As advisers, we have to make sure that clients' plans are realistic."

That said, Stimpson said advisers often have to encourage clients to spend on doing nice things, such as going on holiday or spending time with the family.

And, of course, he said "you cannot plan for every eventuality", but as long as the investments are liquid, there is proper protection in place and the plan has enough flexibility, this will set clients up well.

Furthermore, "communication is also key", he added. "When things are difficult, that is when advisers earn your keep."

To listen to the full interview, and to find out about Saltus' plans for 2022, click on the image above.

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com