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How to keep clients happy in tumultuous markets

October 21, 2016


The unpredictability of the markets can sometimes make the advisor-client relationship a difficult one. Clients who pay close attention to their portfolios can be great to work with, but when they fall into the reactionary category – and are prone to listening to the most sensational financial headlines – keeping them focused and on track can be a challenge.

“Advisors need to try to get their clients to focus on the overall concept of planning,” says Grant White, Investment Advisor at National Bank Financial. “I try very much to get our clients to ignore shorter-term volatility and fluctuations and focus on the long-term.”

Grant finds that maintaining a clear and consistent line of communication throughout micro and macro events is an effective way of eradicating client uncertainty and settling nerves. “We’re quite active in staying in touch with our clients throughout these periods to let them know we’re aware of what’s going on and that we have our eye on the ball,” he says. “Clients find a lot of comfort in knowing that. Staying in touch is so important.”

For more transactional advisors, these sorts of situations can create opportunities. “Maybe it’s a good time to phone your clients and stay active in that way,” Grant says. “One way or another, consistent communication is key.”

One way that Grant keeps in touch is by sending out newsletters to his client base. He gets a lot of positive feedback from clients who are reassured that their advisor is on top of events that could impact the market. “If we send an email out to 400 client households, we may get one or two calling us with concerns about how the news may impact their portfolios,” Grant says. “With those clients, we go through a more extensive review over the phone or, if necessary, arrange a face to face meeting.”

Regardless of the noise from the mass media, or the possibility of client hysteria, Grant believes it’s imperative for advisors to stick to their strategies. “The advisors’ job is to put the strategy in place and stick to it; ride the wave,” he says. “We’re very Buffet-esque in the way that we manage money. If you look at the way that he’s done things and that pension plans do things, you don’t see them altering their strategies because there are a few bumps in the road. That’s our mentality, too.”

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