Coronavirus  

Adviser diary: Crisis puts software under the microscope

Adviser diary: Crisis puts software under the microscope

Damian Fantato speaks to advisers about how their businesses are adapting to the coronavirus crisis. Today Robin Keyte, director at Keyte Chartered Financial Planners, discusses the challenges for his firm.

Obviously most of our staff are home working so this is where the choice of software that you use in your business is very important.

We are using Intelligent Office, which for all its faults is proving itself to be very useful. A lot will also depend on how good your platform providers are online.

There are some firms that I am sure are finding out there are shortcomings in the providers they are using, and that might feed the debate about the cost of the platform.

Firms that have a lot of money on platforms which have had trouble replatforming might be struggling, but fortunately that's not us.

Primarily we are contacting clients through email or secure messaging - we are being careful not to include any private information or policy numbers - but also we are using the odd video conference.

I would say it has gone better than I would have thought and clients understand these are difficult times so are very grateful.

We had planned for this sort of contingency before, but having gone through it there were a few niggles. After that it has been pretty good.

I think 10 years ago our experience would have been a lot more damaging and it would have been very hard to deal with it effectively.

At the moment we are like a swan - we look like we're doing OK, but we are paddling very hard underneath.

We all moan about the services we use but to think how they have developed in recent years is interesting. This entire global experience is going to lead to a cultural change in the way we see and do things.

In the early stages of the [market correction] we emailed all our clients, essentially reminding them that our previous experience of drops has been to sit tight and wait for the recovery and take the long-term view. They are investing for a long period of time and not just a few months.

We have contacted clients who are receiving withdrawals to review their options, and look at whether to reduce or suspend withdrawals to lessen the impact on a declining portfolio.

It has been keeping us exceptionally busy, but we have had enormously positive response from clients who are glad we are there. Times like these are the ultimate opportunity for advisers to prove their worth to their clients.

damian.fantato@ft.com