Financial advisers need to focus on explaining to their concerned clients the situation calmly and help them look beyond the short-term shocks given the unprecedented circumstances of market volatility, Link Advice’s chief executive Duncan McPherson says.
He stressed that Link Advice had seen a significant demand for financial advice recently from the members of its superannuation fund clients who are getting ‘highly anxious’ about the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent market volatility on their retirement balances and savings.
“These are unprecedented circumstances in Australia, and there are two phases to supporting our clients as financial advisers,” McPherson said.
“Firstly, during this period of uncertainty we are dealing with highly anxious members, and our role is to calmly explain the situation, provide sensible financial advice and help them look beyond the short-term shocks.”
This phase often included a large of people changing their investment options, which was not always in their best interests over the longer term, McPherson explained.
Following this, in the second phase, which was expected to happen when the economy and individual members would return to a degree of normalcy, advisers would need to be prepared to help people understand how the pandemic had impacted their progress towards their long-term financial goals.
“From an internal perspective, our top priority is supporting our advisers during these difficult times. Our people provide a critical service to Australians who are concerned about the health of their nest egg, and just as our advisers look after members, we need to make sure we look after our advisers,” McPherson said.
As far as technology was concerned, he said that members still overwhelmingly preferred to speak to financial advisers over the phone, however in the last week the firm also saw an increase in demand for its digital advice offering.
“With the use of technology, we have been able to maintain our advice services by enabling our financial advisers to work from home. As a result, we have extended our hours and capacity by 20%.”