Simoney Kyriakou  

Proactivity, not panic, is needed

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

In the windows of one house, passed by while on the state-approved daily constitutional, was a picture of Corporal Jones of Dad's Army fame, captioned: "Don't panic!"

But despite the cheerful commentary and jovial social media posts, people are panicking. They panicked before the March 23 lockdown, meaning supermarket shelves are still woefully empty in many areas of the UK, and hand sanitiser is now being sold on the black market, Private Joe Walker style. 

Gloom-mongers abound, pronouncing doom; others are easily led astray and others yet are being confused by all the commotion.

All the while, the Powers That Be are constantly referencing a 'war spirit' that maybe only 10 per cent of the population ever experienced first-hand. 

It's like a very bad version of a TV sitcom out there. 

Inside the financial services industry, it's much better. Advisers and paraplanners have worked hard to support each other and their clients.

Providers have been making strides to get their communications and service propositions working well in this lockdown environment, and trade and educational bodies are doing their bit to keep campaigning and educating. 

But among all this, we still have to fight on two fronts: fear and fraud. People losing their livelihoods and seeing the value of their pension savings fall are, quite understandably, afraid. And panic can make people make financial mistakes that leave them in a worse place than before. 

And then there is fraud. People who are panicking will look for the nearest, safest-seeming lifeboat. Sadly, this is often no more than a pirate ship masquerading as rescue. 

With a 35 per cent economic contraction predicted for quarter two this year with a prolonged lockdown, it is understandable people will be looking for somewhere 'safe' for their money.

The message needs to get out to everyone, not just clients but people in your communities. Tell it on your websites. Shout it from radio stations, local papers, facebook groups – maybe even put a photo in your window: "Don't panic".