Client Feedback in a Crisis

Client Feedback in a Crisis

It’s all about the adviser
I am sure, like us, you are being inundated with things to read and watch but this blog is all about you – the advisers, financial planners and paraplanners. This is a snapshot of what clients are telling us from across the hundreds of advisers who have chosen to use IBOSS. Whilst the following contains direct client quotes, we are under no illusion that every client feels the same or that we cannot continue to improve our services and communication, with or without the backdrop of a pandemic.

Another satisfied client
“Thank you for your care and attention to my savings with your integrity and professionalism.” This was the feedback from an adviser’s client, received this week via our quarterly white labelled client communication service. I do not think there are any days an adviser would not be pleased to receive this confirmation of their importance to their clients, but in these exceptionally turbulent and concerning times it’s probably even more satisfying. Without giving the opportunity for clients to express their comfort, concerns and questions via this interaction it is unlikely the adviser would receive this very personal kind of feedback. It is not that the client would not still be satisfied, but they are reacting to having just received a communication in an understandable format which reminds them that their adviser is never far away. It is difficult to imagine a client deciding to pick up the phone to convey their satisfaction in such glowing terms and even less so on a face to face basis; some things for certain people are easier to do in writing.

Minimal jargon and sensationalism
In the current volatile and sometimes downright frightening world we are all living in, the last thing your client’s need is more hyperbole. After all, we have the TV and large swathes of main stream media giving us all we ‘need’ of that. Another client comment which came back this week was “a well written and well explained ‘market summary’”. Since the author of said summary is also the author of this blog, we were pleased to receive this feedback, but it is really the adviser that this gratitude reflects well on. We do strive very hard to describe sometimes complicated scenarios in a manner which we hope the majority of your clients will find informative, but without this kind of response we would be less sure we were hitting the mark.

Investment suggestions
Over the years we have received many client suggestions for improvements to their investments. The latest feedback has seen several requests to reduce or remove property funds. Things have come a long way from the period running up to the Global Financial Crisis when some clients were asking for 100% property funds/portfolios. There is understandable confusion at a client level regarding the different property funds available and the risks associated with the different constructions. In the case of property, it is advisers and clients alike who expressing concern about the asset class and it would be fair to say the majority of those expressing an opinion are bearish on the sector. We do share this concern and we are similarly more bearish on property than at any time since 2007/08. It is for this reason that we had already removed any bricks & mortar funds (the kind which are now indefinitely suspended) at the beginning of last year and have now reduced the holdings to zero for property funds within our discretionary MPS and OEIC Fund Range. The Portfolio Management Service models will see a similar removal at next quarter’s review. We can probably assume those who have expressed concern will be pleased to see this change, although obviously not as a direct result of their opinion but nevertheless satisfying their concerns. It is our expectation that there will be significant falls in the value of the UK bricks & mortar funds if and when they properly reopen. We also expect the opening of these funds could be a long way off given the difficulty valuers have expressed on valuing commercial real estate in these unprecedented circumstances.

It could have been worse
Some clients have thought about moving to cash and this is something we have recently covered in an article; ‘Focussing on the Investment Horizon’. This, however, is a conversation very much between the adviser and the client, and all we can do is directly pass on their concerns. Another recent comment was a client suggesting there may be a backlash against China and wondering how this might affect the emerging market funds they hold. Once again, we fully understand the concern and it is something the investment team has discussed at length. We expect all countries to become more nationalistic in deeds, even if not in the same tub-thumping manner of the Trump administration, but at the same time we do also expect the world’s second biggest economy to come through strongly as either the world comes to terms with living with a protracted pandemic or, more hopefully, in a post pandemic world. This same client further added “how very impressed I have been with the very limited drop in my investments to date, considering the worldwide market disruptions witnessed, keep up the good work.” As we said at the start of this piece, we know that not all clients may feel as positive as this one, but this remark does also reflect the words of many others. We keep saying this, but it is more important than ever for clients to seek proper financial advice through a real, professional and human adviser and these comments are testimony to that.


This communication is designed for Professional Financial Advisers only and is not approved for direct marketing with individual clients.

Past Performance is no guarantee of future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and investors may get back less than they invested.

Risk factors should be taken into account and understood including (but not limited to) currency movements, market risk, liquidity risk, concentration risk, lack of certainty risk, inflation risk, performance risk, local market risk and credit risk.