26 views on how to safeguard your wealth portfolio amid coronavirus, economic turmoil
The Business Journal asked financial advisers serving the San Francisco North Bay what investors should be doing to safeguard and growth their wealth amid the coronavirus pandemic and turbulent economy. Here are insights from 26 local professionals.
Adviser and principal
100 Smith Ranch Rd. Suite 300, San Rafael 94903
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your relationship with clients? And how it’s changed the demands clients are making of your services?
Our relationships are stronger. Uncertainty provides an opportunity to engage more deeply with clients and in this case we are all impacted and have a shared experience. The pandemic has created an opportunity to re-examine our daily lives, longer-term goals, and what is most important to us as individuals and for our families.
Clients aren’t requesting anything more than an opportunity to talk and ask questions. And I have been surprised by the number of clients calling just to check in on us – to see how we are doing during this hectic time.
Tell us the general trends you have seen in portfolios for your clients in the first and second quarter of 2020 and if most of your clients increased activity, decreased it or held steady on their path.
Our strategy has been to look for opportunities to rebalance and/or tax-loss harvest during the market volatility earlier in the year. We are now rebalancing again in some cases as equities have risen since the initial fall in March.
Overall clients are not generally requesting any changes in activity levels although they are sharing that they are doing less and spending less which is not surprising.
Are there permanent changes that you see in your business which are the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the economic disruption it has caused? Why are they likely to permanent, or if not, why not?
We continue to update our business planning around information provided from local organizations and state requirements. So far we are maintaining location flexibility between home and office that works for our staff and we do not anticipate permanent changes based on what we know today. We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions as necessary that support the best interests of our clients and staff.
What’s your advice on the future to your clients? If it’s stay the course- how’s that advice received by clients.
We advise clients to engage in a review of their individual situation in light of current events and longer-term trends. In periods of greater market volatility, it is important to review their financial plan to confirm they remain on a strong path, and to put current financial events in the context of long-term or historical trends.
As individuals, our conviction to “this time it’s different” is generally strongest just before it turns out not to be different and shorter-term trends revert to longer-term averages. Our clients are comfortable with this approach because they recognize that at the end of the day the health of their financial plan is what matters most.
We also remind clients to focus on what they can control (savings and spending) vs. things they can’t (market returns and inflation).
Are you already seeing an influx of new clients as the result of the economy uncertainty- or is it more likely that people are less likely to seek professional wealth management assistance in times like this? If so, why?
Yes, we are seeing increases in both inquiries from prospective clients and new clients joining the firm. We typically see more interest and engagement in periods of market and economic uncertainty. And working with a professional on comprehensive financial planning can bring clarity to a client’s overall situation and provide critical information for making well-informed decisions.
What mistakes do you see individual investors making in the current financial climate?
The risk for each of us as individual investors is in letting our emotions drive our decision-making based on recent events and near-term expectations. This can lead to an investing strategy based on a mixture of emotional fear or greed that is not aligned with an Investor’s long-term goals. This is why we continue to recommend diversification and investment allocations designed to support the financial objectives of our clients over their lifetimes.
Stephen Janachowski, CEO; Peg Pike, chief operating officer; and Christian Thwaites, chief analyst
Brouwer & Janachowski, LLC
100 Shoreline Highway, Suite B101, Mill Valley 94941