If you are ever lost, ‘What3words’ is an amazing app which has divided the world into three metre squares and given each square its own three-word identity.
Wherever you are, the app can give you the three-word identity for your specific location, enabling you to quickly get back on track or, of course, be rescued.
2020 was a very difficult year, not just for financial services but for all of us.
Many individuals and businesses have lost their way, which has led me to think about ‘What3words’ I would use to describe the past twelve months.
You might have your own ideas, however after much thought I have concluded that, for me, the three words which define 2020 are; Trauma, Technology and Transformation.
Whilst they obviously apply to the wider world, I believe these terms are especially appropriate to financial services, and our own, and our clients’, futures.
The fact that the past year has been traumatic is self-evident. Whatever aspect of life, business or the wider economy one looks at, it is crystal clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact.
Whether it is the personal and family tragedies of over 120,000 deaths or the massive £400bn cost of trying to keep the economy going. Just look at the lost year of schooling for a generation of children or the thousands of businesses that have been forced to close, many with little likelihood of re-opening. It has clearly been a year of absolute trauma.
But what of technology and, of course, its bedfellow, science?
I think it is equally clear that 2020 has brought out the very best in the creative advancement and use of technology. Science has led the way in bringing hope to us all, and showing us a route back to some kind of normality as this year progresses.
That vaccines have been successfully developed in a tenth of the time it would normally take is a tribute to what can be achieved when a clear goal is set and all our energies are put into achieving it.
The past year has been one of technological and scientific advancement which has moved us forward in ways barely conceivable twelve months ago.
Turning to Transformation. It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and I have highlighted that society advances ten times faster during wartime than in normal circumstances.
If anyone had any doubts about these two realities, the past twelve months have fully demonstrated their undeniable truth. The impact of the advances and attitudes towards technology, which resulted from the trauma of the pandemic, have been nothing short of transformational and nowhere is this more true than for financial advisers.
When the lockdown started last March, the financial advice sector came to a virtual standstill. By April, however, it was already starting to regain some of its momentum.