It's probably a gross understatement to say that the past few months-since Monday, September 15, to be exact-have been among the most unpredictable in U.S. history. The credit crisis, a struggling economy and erratic equity markets conspired to create a unique and terrifying ride that left many victims in its wake. Any one of the story lines, taken on its own, would have made headlines-Congress at a stalemate over a multi-billion-dollar bailout for the financial sector, for instance, or the highly contentious and historical presidential election-but in concert they created a vortex that put everyone on their back foot. The failure, and subsequent takeover, of several well-known retail banks was enough to shake our faith in the U.S. financial system. Clients of all shapes and sizes began to panic.
First came the questions. Are my assets safe? When is it going to end? Who is responsible? Why did it happen? What can be done to make sure it doesn't happen again? How does this impact me? What is the net effect? But without a definitive end in sight, it's hard to find a meaningful answer. Clients know this, but that doesn't mean they don't want to hear from you. In fact, despite the anger and emotion at the forefront of most financial conversations, most wealthy clients say now is the time they most want to hear from their advisors. Sure, it may be just for facts and insights. But they mainly want reassurance-to know they haven't been forgotten. They want to know that when the time is right, you'll provide the information and updates they'll need and make a sound recommendation.
Affluent individuals want to take action that makes them feel protected against uncertain markets and better positioned for future volatility. But making a change simply to exert power and control can backfire and undo years of careful planning. Now is the time to reach out to your wealthy clients, not once or twice, but as often as they need to hear from you, to reinforce your role and give them the reprieve and peace of mind they crave.