The coronavirus outbreak is changing the way many Americans work and interact—but the changes are not quite as dramatic for technology-savvy advisors.

In fact, advisors have learned from the 2008 financial crisis, as well as more localized disruptions caused by natural disasters, to build more resilient businesses with tech-driven continuity plans—and the need to maintain communications with their clients.

“Our clients are focused on taking care of their end clients’ concerns and managing communications with those end clients,” says George Tamer, managing director for strategic relationships at TD Ameritrade Institutional. “They’re monitoring how their clients’ investment plans and financial plans are faring in the volatile markets, and they’re planning on staying in close touch with those clients and reminding them that this is the reason they hired an advisor.”

Most advisors can also take comfort that their businesses have been here before, says Tamer, and most have implemented technology that has increased their efficiency, helping to mitigate the market downturn’s impact on their margins. “In 2008, advisor AUM dropped by 18% while the market dropped 37%,” he says. “Advisor revenue dropped 9.5% and owner income dropped by 18%. I think advisors will be able to weather this storm because they have created diversified portfolios for their clients—but it will certainly take a toll on their revenues and their bottom line.”

One of the most important messages advisors can deliver to clients is simply that they remain attentive and able to respond to any client concerns, says Tamer. Clients also need to be reminded that they have a plan in place that is built to operate through disruptions to financial markets.

He says that, ideally, advisors have already consistently been reaching out to their clients with communications, regardless of market activity. “These efforts aren’t things you started doing in the last month as volatility increased—successful advisors hopefully have been communicating this way all along with clients,” Tamer says. “They just ramped up the communication to be proactive around what happens in a bear market. That should help stave off client attrition.”

Clients need to have a touch zone, says Robert Sofia, CEO of Ormond Beach, Fla.-based digital marketing platform Snappy Kraken. Today, more clients are proactively seeking information about what’s happening and what they should do in response—leading them to a lot of generalized advice in the financial media and in online communities.

The urgency to service clients during a downturn is creating a divergence between tech-savvy, high-touch advisors and the rest of the industry, explains Sofia. “On one hand, advisors who have systemized their businesses with layers of client support staff who offer regular education for their clients, whose clients are all very familiar with their plans and the reasons they never need to panic during a downturn, the proactive communicators, they’re not facing a tremendous amount of stress,” says Sofia. “Other advisors, normal proprietors running a practice who are the primary givers of all advice and the handlers of all serious issues for their clients, the takers of all phone calls, because they historically have not been able to be as proactive about communications, for them it’s a bit of a World War III scenario.”

Advisors who aren’t in frequent communication with their clients about such disruptions are vulnerable, says Tamer, which presents an opportunity for their competitors.

But experienced advisors also have the opportunity to tell clients that they’ve been through this before—most advisors were in business during the 2008 and 2009 market declines driven by the global financial crisis.

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