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Mel Kenny: Advisers ignore the importance of handholding at their peril

Mel Kenny

I know I am not alone in the frustration of receiving numerous event-driven emails from product providers, such as those following a Budget, a General Election and now part one of the UK’s change of stance on the European Union. In a way, such is it now the precedent, to not get emails from them after a major event might actually be quite unsettling.

For your client to not hear anything from you would be even more alarming. They will want to hear from you. They will want to have someone on their side who understands their needs, rather than rely on the daily media churn of mainstream-biased “group think” that can no longer be believed.

You know your client. You have their fact find. You know their tolerance, their capacity and their need for taking risk. You know their time horizons. You have been at the coalface day in and day out for many years most likely. You have seen change after change. You have access to brains that really matter if you really need it. You are the person they want to hear from, damn it. Yes, you.

And they want to hear from you regularly because this new political era will not just have a one-off effect on personal finance. Indeed, its impact will increase gradually as implications – both good and bad – can only become apparent over time. Just like we have been casually living through the unbelievable 0.5 per cent interest rate world, there will be a need for regular contact before the new political sphere becomes the new norm. And this takes time.

Expectations today see a general public clamouring to know what to do that will make all things wonderful and move on. Maybe there are one or two situations that do require change right now, but for most scenarios it would be crazy crystal ball gazing because the process we have entered into has to be played out over a longer period of time than that our clients would like.

And remember, even no change to a previous recommendation needs to be communicated. While you might face the rebuke of “I pay my adviser all this money and there are no changes” things need to be explained and, better still, without jargon.

If you are not holding your client’s hand, guiding them past alarmist headlines and dramatic editorials in the media, then their heads might be turned, right or wrong. For later, realising the error of their ways, it might be a step too far for the regretful client with the bruised pride to come back to you.

The numerous possible touch points are a marketeer’s dream. But make contact for the sake of your client. Your business will, as a consequence, be better for it too.

Mel Kenny is a chartered financial planner at Radcliffe & Newlands

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  1. We sent a 7 day post brexit summary to 50% of our clients showing them their portfolio value on D-day +7 and 30 days earlier with some comment on what I thought the world need to be watching (Military/Political actions on NATO and EU borders). I described this as “watching th magicians hands” as I had/have concerns about Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and Turkey was a worry too (I wasn’t expecting a suspected coup!!).
    Those we didn’t email didn’t contact us with their concerns anymore than those we did email as I think that on the whole clients want to hand things over to us and leave us to it (they can’t as whilst my locum and I both have discretionary qualifications, we don’t have the permissions). Clients want us to hold their hands… yes, but they want to feel we hold their hands more than actually hold them as it’s more about holding our nerve/sticking to our principles of diversification rather than knee jerk changes.

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