Communicating Through Coronavirus


 Communication is key in a successful advisor-client relationship. And when financial matters are in flux, frequent communication is often warranted.

The onslaught of the coronavirus has produced one such “state of flux”.

Much of Spectrem’s ongoing research with wealthy investors focuses on the communication aspect of the advisor-client relationship, and significant percentages of investors demand regular and, in some cases, frequent communication with their advisor in order to state satisfaction with their advisor. But nothing in life has been normal since approximately March 1 due to the coronavirus, and communication expectations among investors is included. 

Spectrem’s three-month study of the impact of the coronavirus on investing and other financial matters looked at the relationship between client-advisor communication through the coronavirus period, noting that investors have a more positive attitude toward their advisor as a result of their communication performance during this trying time. It also considered how that communication took place, and the other methods by which an advisor or financial provider can offer information to clients that can guide them through the summer months of coronavirus impact.

In the May edition of Corona Crash: What Advisors Should be Saying to Investors Now, three-quarters of affluent investors noted that they had had conversations or communication with their advisor since the first of February, specifically for the purpose of understanding the impact of the coronavirus on their portfolios and how to move forward with their investment options. Of those investors who heard from their advisor, almost 70 percent heard from their advisor via the telephone and 28 percent received an email. 

This is significant, because for many people, telephone calls these days are nothing more than an annoyance. However, most people are notified in some way as to whom they are receiving a call from (a name appears on a cell phone or on a TV monitor), and investors are likely to connect when they see their advisor is calling during a time of financial turmoil.

Almost none of the communication occurred via social media. It appears social media is a nice way for investors to educate themselves about products and services, but when immediate communication is required, social media is not the way to go.

What’s unusual about the research when investors are segmented by age is that 50 percent of Millennials received their communication via email, a far higher percentage than older investors. Anyone thinking email has gone the way of snail mail is mistaken, at least for the moment.

It is fair to consider that advisors are unusually busy these days, keeping clients up to date on current economic events and discussing portfolio options. But investors can receive information from their advisors and providers, at a faster rate, by accessing key information on the website of their financial professionals, or through their social media feeds. Those sites cannot discuss specific investment plans or products, but they can provide guidance on funds investors should access and those they should leave alone, for example.

In the Spectrem study, 57 percent of investors said they took advantage of educational information offered to them by their advisor or provider. The information comes in the form of a webinar (24 percent), educational videos (12 percent), podcasts (7 percent) or other educational offerings.

If you are an active or participatory investor, you want as much information as you can get on current events surrounding the economy and personal finances. While you can probably understand how busy your advisor is these days, there are other avenues for acquiring information your advisor can provide, and you should inquire with your advisor or provider how to best access that information and how frequently that information is updated.