Opinion  

Do not underrate the value of just being there for your client

Darren Cooke

Darren Cooke

I am old enough and long enough in the tooth in this job to have lived through a few market crashes and the odd recession before.

Yes, this time feels different, but then so did the last one. And the one before that. 

No matter how good you are at educating your clients, how good at coaching them about markets and investments, they will be worried, particularly those newer to investing and those who have not fully got the message yet and are experiencing this for the first time, possibly early in their investing journey.

No doubt somebody will write books about this in a few years’ time, full of wonderful economic analysis and theory, but right now it seems the cleverest brains have about as much idea what is going on, what will happen next and what to do about it, as Dave, my cat.

If the foremost minds do not know, what chance do I have?

And I will let you into a secret: your favourite fund managers do not have a clue either, no matter how clever their market commentary or investment update may sound.

Heck, horoscopes often sound very plausible too.  

Now we must be there for our clients.

If they are worried then I would rather they ring me than just sit and agonise; that is what they pay me for, this is where we earn our money.

I am the one clients turn to. I am the one who they expect to have some answers to their concerns when they see the news or they see the value of their pensions and investments falling. 

But I do no have any answers, no magic wand I can wave to make things better when they call. Plus, I would not be waiting for them to call me anyway, I would be up front and calling them. 

So I listen, I acknowledge their fears and worries, I reassure them that this is normal, markets do this sort of thing from time to time, but most importantly I can reassure them that we have allowed for this in their financial plans.

It does not derail us. We baked-in the expectation of a market fall, probably more than one, when we built their cash flows and updated them each year. 

And really that is the only answer they need.

Everything will be alright in the end, and, if you have done the job properly; focused on planning not products, financial wellbeing not funds, then you will be able to look your clients in the eye and tell them that.