Coronacrash Update: Stratos Wealth Partners’ Jeff Concepcion & Tony Sirianni
AdvisorHub’s Publisher & CEO — Tony Sirianni — asked executives from top firms their opinions on the dual management of the Coronavirus and market meltdown crises. Read how leadership is managing one of the most unique challenges we have faced as a financial community.
Here is how Jeff Concepcion, Founder & CEO of Stratos Wealth Partners responded.
The last few months have been unprecedented and unexpected, a perfect storm if you will, of management challenges both on the employee and client level. You have had to deal with employee safety issues that no executive has training for, and a directly correlated market crash. What have you implemented at your firm to address this dual threat?
There’s no doubt the last few months have created some unique challenges for both advisors and enterprises like Stratos. We were extremely fortunate to have a robust technology group internally that made it quite easy for our nearly 800 constituents to work remote with little disruption. As various states have begun to open up, we’ve treaded lightly in bringing back reduced workforce levels to ensure distancing and best safety protocols.
How about the continuing market volatility? What are you telling your advisors to do and what are you hearing from clients?
One of the most interesting aspects about recent occurrences is that our advisers welcomed us having direct contact and communication with their clients. In our business model, our advisory partners all own and operate their own firms and leverage us for a host of resources and services that we provide. As a result, they’ve historically retained full responsibility for direct client contact. However, with clients clamoring for more information, we decided to do daily market updates for close to six weeks with our chief investment officer, director of portfolio management and myself conducting those calls. With 1,000 phone lines available daily, our partners were appreciative of that added air cover so that their clients could receive information from us in addition to the advisor’s normal outreach.
What about the economy longer term? Where do you think we will be in 6 months, and how can advisors and their clients take advantage of that long term direction?
I don’t profess to be an investment expert nor do I have a crystal ball. That said, I do not believe the markets are adequately reflecting the amount of systemic damage that has occurred throughout the economy as a result of the virtual shut down we’ve experienced. That said, we’ve encouraged our advisors and their clients to take advantage of current market levels to ensure that they have adequate liquidity on the sidelines should we experience more pull backs in the near future.
What about our business? What do you think the long-term impact of this dual crisis will be on the advisor business model?
Frankly, I don’t see many long-term implications as a result of what we’ve experienced recently. I do think this type of turmoil reinforces the value of advice and guidance. In straight-up markets such as we’ve experienced for most of the last decade, advice can be devalued and clients oftentimes are more focused on cost in such a way that could drive them to inexpensive/robo-like solutions. When the markets become more turbulent, advisors who master a proactive, high touch communication strategy have the opportunity to truly deepen their relationships with the clients they serve. Another interesting take away is how well many advisors and their teams have adapted to working remote and the impact that might have in the future as a relates to work environment, real estate, etc.
So these things tend to bring out the good and the bad in people. What has most encouraged you and what have you seen that’s reaffirmed your faith in our community and how it’s handling these difficult times?
As a society, when fundamental needs and wants such as our health and well-being are under attack, Americans tend to rise up and focus on the things we have in common that bind us together versus the differences that at other times might divide us. I’m always encouraged whenever I have an opportunity to participate in small random acts of kindness and see others doing the same.