(Dow Jones) When financial markets swoon like they did on Thursday, it can pose a test for advisors' relationships with clients.

Ideally, the client has been guided to think beyond short-term swings. Charles D.F. Cohn, financial professional at AXA Advisors in New York, was confident that, while panic may be in play for some investors, it was not his clients.

"They look to me for long-term money. I've not been getting lots of calls," says Cohn, who focuses his practice on insurance programs for high net-worth individuals and families.

Cohn said he wasn't entirely surprised by the dramatic selloff. The recent combination of surging stock prices and low trading volumes left the market at risk for the unfolding scenario, he believes. "When the smart money is pulling out, you don't have a lot of depth to prop it up," he says.

Laura Mattia, wealth management principal, Baron Financial Group, Fair Lawn, N.J., says she and her colleagues wasted no time in discussing Thursday's sudden drop and were preparing an e-mail to clients.

"This is when our clients really want to know we're awake and paying attention to what's going on," she said. "We do need to communicate something today."

Mattia says the message will likely state that clients' money is spread across more than a dozen asset classes, which should insulate them from declines in certain ones. She's also planning on reiterating the fact that she has set aside cash for her clients' long-term needs. "Our biggest job is to protect our clients' downside," Mattia says.

Bryan Hopkins, president of Hopkins Wealth Management, Anaheim Hills, Calif., says his clients are less nervous given that he recently started shifting some of their money away from equities and into commodities, currencies and "other hard assets, including real estate."

Still, he notes, "nobody is excited to see their investments going down."

Hopkins would love to say he predicted this exact downfall, which included a brief drop of nearly 1,000 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average before a partial rebound. Still, he confides, "I would rather be lucky than good."


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