Advisers need to collectively stand up and help guide, educate, and lead their clients through the coronavirus pandemic, says Richard Klipin, CEO of the Financial Services Council.
“Advisers have to communicate, communicate, communicate,” he says. “Your clients want to hear from you, your clients need to hear from you. These are really important times.”
A global pandemic is a huge risk event says Klipin and helping clients understand what they are covered for and what they are not covered for is essential.
“And obviously for those who are new clients, advisers need to help them get the right and appropriate cover.”
For the moment at least, face-to-face meetings are out of bounds, so advisers will need to rely on simple phone calls to more complex solutions such as virtual meetings using services from the likes of Zoom or Skype etc, says Klipin.
“Every business big and small is making decisions right now on how to handle client meetings,” he says.
“Advisers need to get in front of their clients virtually. They need a clear communication plan, to activate it promptly, and if they need help then contact their providers.”
Advisers have to communicate, communicate, communicate…
Klipin says all Financial Services Council meetings are now being done remotely.
“Technology is enabling a lot of this. We have a very clear game plan to make sure we are still delivering for our members,” he says.
“All businesses need to think about things like this. How will you deliver your proposition in new and different ways using technology so you do not have to be front and centre?”
Klipin also says that at a strategic level businesses should be considering their operating model “…while the pandemic level is at fever pitch”.
“A seriously important message for advisers is their business continuity plans,” he says.
“How are you going to operate, what’s the technology like, do you have the ability for staff to work from home, do you have to do anything more to keep client information secure while staff work from home?”
He also urges business owners to keep a close on eye on cashflow during turbulent times.
Social distancing is one of the things we’re observing to help keep our customers, advisers and staff safe…
Fidelity Life’s CEO Nadine Tereora is also recommending advisers use technology to minimise face to face contact.
“Social distancing is one of the things we’re observing to help keep our customers, advisers and staff safe,” she says.
“So we’re using tools like Microsoft Teams to connect with advisers for regular meetings and training sessions. We’re also encouraging advisers to use these tools to engage with customers because staying in contact in these uncertain times is more important than ever.”
The company has also reviewed its business continuity plans, says Tereora.
“Work’s ongoing to ensure our people are safe and there’s as little service disruption to our customers and advisers as possible – even if that means we’re unable to work from our offices as usual.
“It’s all about being prepared and resilient even as things are changing by the hour. While there’s lots of unknowns ahead, our customers, staff and adviser partners can take comfort from the fact Fidelity Life’s well capitalised…we’ve got sound plans in place to help us deal with these uncertain times.”
See Financial Advice NZ’s coronavirus resource page.