Navigating Financial Wellness Amid Covid-19

Guest Correspondence

Lessons from local Sarasota Wealth Advisor:
Preparation, Communication, and Prudence

None of us could have predicted how Covid-19 and the global response would change our lives so dramatically, affect the way we do business, and impact our economies and financial markets in such a short time. But what we do know is that historically financial markets exhibit varying levels of volatility. Given the uncertainty during this unprecedented pandemic, the volatility has spiked to historically high levels and may persist for some time as the myriad of impacts, both economic and health-related, are resolved.  

As wealth advisors for high-net-worth investors and business owners, UBS Wealth Management focuses on long-term financial strategies, plans, and analyses to help clients navigate financial turmoil and market volatility. Charting a sound financial future requires informed analysis, long-term planning that anticipates market downturns, and prudent decision-making within the context of the plan when unprecedented circumstances arise.

With Sarasota being home to affluent individuals and families with funds to protect, our UBS Sarasota team of wealth advisors imparts these lessons:  

Lesson #1: Experience mattersbe prepared for unexpected financial crises within your long-term plan

With decades of experience, the UBS Zelniker Dorfman Group has helped clients navigate through financial crises since the 1990s, including the tech bubble burst (2000), the post-9/11 economic downturn, and the 2008 global financial crisis. During these times, collectively our clients outperformed the market average, losing less and recovering quicker. 

While working within the established parameters of our clients’ long-term financial plans, our proactive approach includes making necessary, prudent changes to help minimize portfolio risks. This includes rotating to different types of investments within market sectors focusing on companies with solid balance sheets and a high probability of weathering the market turbulence. Characteristics of these companies include financial strength, projected business solvency throughout a period of prolonged economic weakness and a business model that is poised for growth as the economy improves. 

When markets are relatively stable, we address possible plan changes and rotations during scheduled calls with our clients in anticipation of downturns. We help our clients understand and take precautions for increased market volatility. Some clients ask why we are having these discussions in advance of a market decline; however, we believe it is prudent to be prepared for market swings and set realistic expectations.

Ultimately, our goal is to help clients maintain the value of their long-term investment plan while maneuvering within the portfolio for risk mitigation and long-term recovery. 

Lesson #2: Address multigenerational needsnurture in-depth communications with clients and their families 

As the pandemic created turmoil in the financial market, some of our clients became understandably concerned. In the first two weeks of the stay-at-home order, our UBS team organized quickly for clients to have enhanced communications by phone, email, video conferencing, and socially distanced meetings, in addition to regularly scheduled consultations. We listen thoughtfully to address concerns and questions with the care and diligence our clients have come to expect. 

Because people are staying at home, we are seeing the benefit of having deeper, more detailed conversations that include several generations and multiple members of a family asking pertinent questions about their investments. These in-depth, productive conversations are designed to help clients minimize the impact emotions can have on decision-making and provide comprehensive, unbiased information so we can make informed decisions together with their families. We want to protect clients from making reactive decisions. 

At the outset of Covid-19, we went beyond investing to become a trusted resource for information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and other economic benefits available. We worked closely with our clients and their attorneys and accountants to help facilitate informed, faster service on their behalf. We believe it is important to take an integrated, holistic approach in serving the financial needs and well-being of our clients. 

Lesson #3: Maneuver within the portfolio to limit downside and be positioned for quicker recovery. 

During this time, it is important to adhere to long-term plans and protect portfolios by taking precautions, limiting downsides, and anticipating possible outcomes. We want to help clients lessen potential losses and recover more quickly when the market stabilizes. We assess what the economy could look like on the other side, post-Covid-19, and adapt. Thoughtful discussions and prudent decision-making now can help clients understand what to expect and be positioned for quicker recovery.  

Scott D. Zelniker, CRPC, CRPS is the Senior Vice President of Wealth Management at The Zelniker Dorfman Group, Florida UBS Wealth Management, Sarasota, Fla. 

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