Coronacrash Advisor Insights: Intellectus Partners’ David La Placa & Tony Sirianni
AdvisorHub’s Publisher & CEO — Tony Sirianni — asked top advisors from leading firms their opinions on the dual management of the Coronavirus and market meltdown crises. Read how these advisors are managing one of the most unique challenges we have faced as a financial community.
Here is how David La Placa, Founder of Intellectus Partners responded.
So we’re in a new and challenging dynamic, where not only do our clients need us more than ever, but we have to change the tried and true way that we have always interacted with them. How are you handling the challenge of working remotely and managing clients? Is video conferencing effective? How do you maintain a sense of normalcy personally and professionally?
The number one rule of Wealth Advisory has not changed just because of Covid-19. That is the importance of being in front of, available and sharing your time and ideas with clients. This is everything now. Sometimes Advisors shy away from doing this as they think that the clients might not want to speak with them. But we learn much more from our clients during the challenging times than we do in the good times. More importantly, they learn more about us and who we are during the trying times. Yes, video conferencing is part of it, but it is nothing more than a tool. Calls work also. The work from home phenomenon has not made things materially harder for us, just different. They have improved some areas, and made it that much more important to check in with employees as well as clients more frequently.
People who have never done this job don’t really understand how much psychiatry we do every day, how close we have to get to our clients to get them to tell us about their hopes and dreams and plans, nor do they realize how closely the physical fears of coronavirus and the all too real fear of financial ruin are so closely related. How are your clients reacting to the dual threat of covid-19 and the market crash? What are you telling them?
The March 23 low personified this point. As the most violent market crash of all time (on a price/time basis) it was clear that a primary reason it was so severe was there were primal fears embedded in that action. So, attempting to separate the personal/family/health concerns from the economic/market was and is more important than ever. The more that can be achieved, the better the results will be.
What about your business? Are you just “maintaining” or are you growing? Is there an opportunity to build your book because other brokers are afraid to pick up the phone right now? How do you prospect without traditional client interactions during a market climate like this?
Our business is growing robustly through this. We have not seen any downtick, but an increase in our business YTD. We do not prospect. All of our new clients come via referral and our network. That is accelerating.
Things are down, but somebody must be making money. Where do you see opportunity in the market? Are you recommending any investments right now to clients, or suggesting they exit certain investments or sectors? Do you have any sense of where to invest post crisis? Or are you riding out the storm?
We see more opportunities now than we have seen in a very long time in credit, equities and commodities. We are seeing many managers outperforming and managing the volatility well. We are seeing innovative and well positioned companies taking advantage of the dislocations. We believe that in many industries and in many ways there is opportunity for those that approach this intelligently to gain share at a faster rate than has been possible in years. That should translate into far better outcomes for our stakeholders.
What’s been the most useful piece of technology or advice that you could suggest to other advisors who are trying to cope in these circumstances, particularly some technology or business practice that you have discovered or rediscovered during this crisis that you will use in your business going forward?
Technology is a never ending ambition. We aggressively research and deploy the latest to improve efficiencies, services and results. Any smart software that has embedded Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is a must for review in our industry.
I’ve got a feeling that we are getting to know each other a little better these days. Whether we hear kids and dogs in the background of a conference call, or see some interesting choices in clothing and grooming on Zoom, we are “getting real” with each other in an out of the corporate world type of way. I’m seeing the best advisors create truly holistic experiences for their nervous clients, and helping folks in ways above and beyond what a “traditional” financial advisor would normally do. What’s happening in your world during crazy time that you will take with you into the post corona world that will help you grow your business and deepen your client relationships?
This is an important recognition by you and I believe something that will improve our lives as advisors and business people. There is a tendency to work so hard that you put family second, instead of first, where it belongs. The simple fact is that we are all in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat, as they say. This storm is allowing us a chance to force ourselves to see beyond what appears at first glance as we usually do in our frenetic, fast paced lives. This has allowed us to take a moment, a step slower to actually see beyond what is seen at that first glance. To not just look, but actually see. This helps us as advisors to truly see if we are serving our customers appropriately, to see if we have behaved as good partners or spouses, and of course most importantly as parents. If we all approach the new world we live in with this type of introspection, our clients will benefit immensely.
Intellectus Partners is a member of the Dynasty Network.