2020 has been an unprecedented year. Our generation is facing its first pandemic and we are learning and adapting to life that involves PPE, N-95 masks, social distancing, distance learning, working from home and so much more. And as though that were not enough, as I write this, there is news of an earthquake in the Pacific that has setoff tsunami warnings for Alaska. Yes, Alaska. Seems to be about right for this year.
While some days it is harder to imagine than others, this too shall pass. There is much to be learned and we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to adapt. There has been a lot to learn outside the office and of course, we have all had to adjust to working from home. Setting up technology, learning Zoom and establishing a new routine. As markets have improved, clients settled down and summer upon us, many of the advisors with whom we speak are beginning to think more about how to further adapt taking lessons from the last several months.
In recent conversations with advisors, we have repeatedly heard some of the same concerns. Many advisors have reached out to us regarding continuity planning. Pinnacle has existing continuity agreements in place with more than 50 firms across the country. When the shutdown first occurred, we heard from several of our PRISM advisors checking in to be sure everything related to the continuity agreement was in proper order. In addition, we have fielded inquiries from advisors who have been reminded by the threat of coronavirus of the importance of having a plan in place. Several advisors noted that they were questioned by their clients about “what happens if something happens to you?”.
We are also having a greater number of conversations about succession. The average advisor age is increasing and it has been 10 years since the last major market crisis. Each crisis demands more time working with clients and it is often emotionally draining. A growing number of advisors in their 60s and above are now giving serious thought to sell their practices and retire. This is especially the case with Covid-19 far from over and markets back to their highs.
Still others are considering outsourcing some of their responsibilities. Some advisors recognize that they love the time they spend on client relationships and financial planning, but enjoy the investment management less, especially during difficult times, and would prefer to have a partner. Working from home is not easy and some advisors have found it to be isolating and while they value their independence, they would prefer to be part of a community to share ideas and receive some help during crises like these. Indeed, many of our own Strategic Partners appreciated the opportunity to have discussions with other Strategic Partners over the past months to share ideas and hear about what other advisors were experiencing.
One more thing we have all learned this year is a ‘new normal’. 2020 presents us with opportunity to define and adapt to our own new normal. Your new normal may include simplifying your daily routine allowing you to focus on what is most important to you or finally putting a continuity plan in place to protect your clients and your legacy. Or maybe 2020 is the year you will put together your plan for retirement and succession of your firm. Whatever you define as your new normal for 2020 and beyond, remember that you are not alone, we are all in this together and this too shall pass. Be safe and be well.