Kirsty Scully CFP®,Chair-Elect of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa, and independent financial planner in Cape Town, looks back on 2020.
For many of us, 2020 has found us with our heads down working harder than ever. Our landscape changed. Contact with our clients changed. Entrepreneurs spotted gaps in the market which were unimaginable pre Covid-19. We have started a new language: ‘I’ll send you a Zoom invite’ is a sentence we have all heard and probably said. This pandemic has been multi-faceted, and our circumstances as well as that of our client’s circumstances have been changing not just annually, but weekly too.
The world has seen a pandemic where 40 million people have been infected, and 1.15 million have tragically lost their lives. The loss has been devastating. But possibly less than some of the predictions that were made at the beginning of the crisis.
World leaders have showed the good and the bad side of their leadership styles. In particular, we have seen brilliant accomplishments from woman leaders such as Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern. In our own country, we have benefited from the strong leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa. Can you imagine the decisions that could have been made had Jacob Zuma still been at the helm?
But needless to say, we still see people who are frightened about the future. It is our role as financial planners to give them peace of mind and to assure them that we have their finances ‘all under control’.
However, in order to do this, we need a dynamic and productive economy. We need entrepreneurs who do what they do: innovate, create and succeed. We need strong international investment in our country. We need to have the ability to think and act with flexibility. And, as one of the FPI members, Rudolph Geldenhuys CFP® stated, ‘We need to create flexibility in our client’s financial planning’. This gives them peace of mind.
Along with this flexibility, we need to create flexibility in our own practices. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Skype, are service providers that many of us never even knew about pre-Covid-19. Fortunately for many, we have adapted easily to using them. When asked, Kobus Klein CFP® articulated, ‘It is all about early adoption, own disruption, adaption and change. Embrace it, and you will future proof your practice.’
I have personally found that Covid-19 has been a time where my clients have been able to critically assess their need for risk cover (income protection / severe illness benefit / retrenchment cover / medical scheme cover etc) and an emergency fund. This has has given me the opportunity to deepen the level of trust I have with them. For example, Kim Matthews CFP® has learnt that clients have valued the way she has stood by them, through ‘thick and thin’, whether they had money to invest or not – this is the true essence of a financial planner.
With the market correction in 2020, we have also seen an opportunity for clients to consult, build and renew their investment objectives, as well as invest into new business ventures. It’s been a year of changing conversations with our clients. We have had to shift paradigms and support our clients through difficult times. There are still many people with money to invest, and it certainly has not all been doom and gloom.
Some people have bemoaned the current year, and some are even thinking that they will wait until things ‘return to normal’. If you are one of those, you may see others pass by you as they grasp the opportunities that 2020 has presented.
2020 has re-sensitised people to how fragile the future can be yet, for many, 2020 has given us reason to smile. Go out and make the most of what is left of it.
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Momentum Investments is part of Momentum Metropolitan Life Limited, an authorised financial services (FSP6406) and registered credit (NCRCP173) provider.