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Last year was dominated by COVID-19, with the effects of the global pandemic reaching across every industry to change the way they fundamentally operate. While there have been many articles highlighting the economic woes in the U.S., there is no downplaying the serious impact this health crisis has had on personal finances. In a recent survey by Prudential and Flexjobs, one-third of respondents had lost their income as a result of the pandemic, while nearly half do not have enough emergency savings to last another six months.

This economic climate will have a long-lasting impact on investment behaviors. Based on study findings that were released at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual conference in September, this pandemic could very well create pessimism among investors that is, “likely to dampen risk-taking and economic output for decades.”

During these challenging times, growing a financial advisory firm is a study in the fundamentals: understanding your clients and building relationships. These are skills that all financial advisors work to master, but against the background of a global pandemic that puts people at risk simply if they are within six feet of each other, there is an accelerated shift in digital opportunities to engage with clients more effectively to drive business.

Financial advice goes online

Digital tools like video conferencing that support online communications with clients are not new to financial advisors, but their increased adoption in everyday workflows is a shift in “business as usual” post-COVID. This goes hand-in-hand with the need to connect with clients on a more frequent basis. When faced with economic uncertainties, people require more reassurance that their investments are in good hands. Combine this with the added isolation of working from home and the pressures of juggling homeschooling or care for children and the elderly, financial advisors are providing more emotional support to their clients – in addition to their usual conversations about portfolio performance.