By Eric Braund, CFP®, CRPC®
COVID-19 has forced advisors everywhere to take stock of client relationships and the ways in which we provide sought-after advice. When the Dynamic team reached out and asked for my perspective on how our firm has navigated through the twists and turns of the pandemic and the uncertainty that remains, I can’t help but start from the beginning…
Thankfully for our practice, Black Walnut Wealth Management in Traverse City, Mich., the work-from-home directive was an easy transition. I attribute that to our current paperless environment and VOIP business phones. For our clients, it was seamless. For day-to-day communication, most of them preferred phone or email before COVID-19. For portfolio reviews, however, they usually prefer face-to-face, so we’ve implemented a video chat option.
Clients of our practice who were with me during the financial downturn of ’08 and ’09 have remained calm through the market volatility. We have built our practice on proactive and sound advice. The only thing that has changed is the higher than normal rate at which we’re providing advice and support to clients due to the recent circumstances.
There has been a tremendous opportunity to talk with clients (as well as prospects) about what the CARES Act or SECURE Act personally means to them. We’ve found ourselves in many conversations, discussing strategies and benefits with both individual and business clients. Also, the firm has been actively communicating with business owner clients to make sure they’re aware of the programs and/or government aid available to them.
We have experienced a large number of calls to our office. More than ever, many people need financial advice at this time, and we’ve made ourselves available to answer any and all questions.
As for preparing for the “new normal,” from an operations and technology standpoint, Black Walnut is well positioned and doesn’t anticipate many changes with the practice. We may see a few changes at custodians, however, since there were disruptions in services for them while they transitioned remotely.
Photo: (l to r) Kristi Laman, FPQP®, Eric Braund, CFP®, CRPC® and Jodi Braund