Thriving in a Virtual Environment | Lord Abbett
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Practice Management

COVID-19 has upended our work environment. But clients still need our attention.

Read time: 4 minutes

Virtual work has become an extended reality for many of us. We can still thrive in this new normal and keep clients on track.

Plan to make meaningful connections

Whether you are a wealth manager or retirement plan consultant, working remotely doesn’t have to mean that you’ll lose ground or productivity. It means working differently.

 

Working virtually doesn’t have to mean a lack of connections. While things may not feel normal, remember, market volatility is always the norm.

 

Mastering the virtual platform is more than flipping a switch however. It’s important to fully grasp this new environment to set up yourself for success. You won’t lose touch. You won’t lose credibility. Some people aresaying that they are more in touch with their staff, co-workers and clients now than ever before.

When it comes to managing client relationships, making human connections remains as important as always. Many things have changed due to COVID-19, but one thing has stayed the same: Client relationships are paramount.

Are you remote ready?

Think of conducting a virtual meeting as starring in your own TV show—with a set, props, script, and a performance. To ensure your audience enjoys the show, you’ll need to put in some work ahead of time to ensure things run smoothly and your audience SEES and HEARS what you had intended them to.

Just as when meeting in person, clients and prospects want to see that you are calm, confident and prepared — ready to share with them what they need to know and what to do going forward.

As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” You can prepare yourself, and your office, for more successful virtual meetings and events.

 

SET UP FOR SUCCESS


 

  1. Set the stage. It is important that you are aware of your surroundings and that you take the necessary steps to control your environment.

      Considerations:

    • Lighting: Is your desk positioned to have front-facing light? Devoid of background lighting?
    • Background: What’s visible on the wall behind your desk? Wall color, pictures? (Be intentional.)
    • Foreground: What’s visible in your working space? What will others see? (Avoid clutter.)
    • Noise: Eliminate distracting noises. If possible, work in room where you can close the door. If that’s not possible, use headphones to eliminate barking dogs, family noise, etc.
    • Professional appearance: Steer towards more professional versus casual clothing and appearance.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the technology. It’s essential that you understand how to navigate your virtual platform in advance of hosting or attending a meeting. Download any required software well in advance of scheduled meetings to avoid embarrassing delays.
    • Host Functions: Familiarize yourself with features available to you as the host or attendee (Mute Sound, Screen Share, etc.)
    • Video Sharing: Understand how to share your screen or specific materials (Full-screen vs. Document only)
    • Wi-Fi Connection: How fast is your connection? Should you upgrade?
    • Microphone: Ask for feedback on the sound quality of your computer. Should you use a microphone
  3. Now … plan your message. That means knowing your audience and their concerns. When it comes to the current market, people naturally worry when there is volatility.

Now that we’re remote ready, are we investment ready?

The truth is the global pandemic crisis has caused historic, unprecedented moves in the market. While all this has been unsettling, it’s helpful to put the market movements into context and understand the key events that have contributed to the market’s sell-off and the most recent rebound.

 

S&P 500 INDEX
FEB-APRIL 2020

 

The S&P 500 Index fell 34% in 33 days (or 23 trading days), which was the fastest 30% sell-off of all time. But what some may not have realized is that the market then rallied 31% in 37 days (26 trading days). What’s more, there were exactly 50 trading days beginning the day after the S&P 500 reached its all-time high on February 19th until April 30th. During this time period, the market moved up or down by 3% on 24 trading days, and there were 9 days where the market moved at least 5% in either direction. While this illustrates a historic moment of volatility, it also serves as a reminder of the importance of staying invested and remaining focused on the long-term.

Even in this uncertain world, investment fundamentals still apply.

While so much of this environment is new to us (global pandemic, social distancing, working virtually), market volatility is not new—it’s normal! Market volatility is a good reminder of why diversification and rebalancing shouldn’t be forgotten.

In fact, history has taught us that drawdowns are common, but don’t always translate into full-year declines. For long-term investors, the most powerful factor is time … and we believe staying the course is the most critical consideration when trying to build wealth and meet investment objectives.

 

Range of portfolios by risk and reward

 

Offer a three-part strategy

Investors have key questions: “How has this affected my portfolio?”  “Am I still on track to meet my goals?” and “Is there anything that I need to do?”  Here is a three-part strategy we suggest you offer individual clients or retirement plan participants:

  1. Stay disciplined: Urge clients to maintain the long view. Investing regularly over time – whether through automated investments or paycheck deductions – is one to take advantage of market volatility.
  2. Revisit goals periodically: Ask clients if their portfolio has performed in line with their expectations, appropriate for their timeframe until retirement and according to their risk tolerance.
  3. Rebalance accordingly: If not, suggest that they can rebalance their account and ensure their portfolio has adequate downside protection while doing so.

Talk to Lord Abbett

Ask your Lord Abbett representative about how we can assist you with any investment needs at this time. We can offer context, perspective, and, if you need it, valuable content for virtual meeting and planning purposes.

 

The information provided is not directed at any investor or category of investors and is provided solely as general information about Lord Abbett’s products and services and to otherwise provide general investment education. None of the information provided should be regarded as a suggestion to engage in or refrain from any investment-related course of action as neither Lord Abbett nor its affiliates are undertaking to provide impartial investment advice, act as an impartial adviser, or give advice in a fiduciary capacity. If you are an individual retirement investor, contact your financial advisor or other fiduciary about whether any given investment idea, strategy, product or service may be appropriate for your circumstances.

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