With many Canadians concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and personal finances, some financial advisors have introduced audio and video content to address investors’ concerns and help them stay focused on the most relevant information.
Grant White, portfolio manager and investment advisor with Endeavour Wealth Management at Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. in Winnipeg, had run webinars in the past, but he admits that producing video content was put on the back burner over the past year as other matters took precedence. Now, with the inability to meet clients face to face, he returned to webcasting at the end of March with a live “COVID-19 market update” on his website and YouTube channel.
This format provides an ideal opportunity for advisors to maintain personal contact during the current crisis and ensure clients are getting information that’s relevant to their situations while they’re being bombarded with information and opinions from many sources, he says.
“We’re trying to make sure our clients have fact-based information and direct them to experts as well as reiterate good processes, good investment strategy and [the importance of] sticking to their plans,” Mr. White says.
“It’s a good way for them to cut through the noise and figure out what they need to know. I had probably 10 or so e-mails come in right after saying, ‘Thank you. We were wondering about how this [situation] impacted us and you’ve set our minds at ease,’” he adds.
Similarly, Darryl Brown, an independent advisor at You&Yours Financial in Toronto and director of portfolio strategies at Spring Financial Planning, began offering webinars via Zoom for both clients and the public at large in early March.
Through the webinars, Mr. Brown outlines his thoughts on news about the stock market and how it relates to investors, followed by a live question and answer session in which he addresses their concerns.
These webinars, he says, fill a gap in what investors are looking for – moving them away from “information overload” and toward relatable and accessible content and insights on the issues that are causing anxiety for many.
“[I’m] talking about [these topics] in a way that’s meaningful for people, that’s insightful, that’s concise. I’m telling them what they need to know and then let them get back to focusing on more important things,” Mr. Brown says.
Before the pandemic, Laurent Munier, financial security advisor at Safe Pacific Financial Inc. in Vancouver, and his team had been carrying out a 52-week plan to record and post short videos on their firm’s Instagram account. However, the current situation has served as a catalyst to create even more content.
Now, Mr. Munier plans to collaborate with other professionals such as accountants, lawyers and other advisors to record videos weekly on Zoom on timely subjects to send out to clients and the public.
Depending on the topic and whether videos are for clients or the public, content will be released on different platforms – such as Wistia, Vimeo, YouTube or social media channels – to ensure the message gets to the intended audience.
“Everybody has had to pivot and try and figure out how to stay in business, so we just want to be there to support people,” Mr. Munier says.
Mike Reilly, a financial security advisor and investment representative with Freedom 55 Financial and Quadrus Investment Services Ltd. in Victoria, has also been providing insights to clients via his YouTube channel for more than a year.
When clients and business owners started asking questions about the impact of the pandemic, he began recording timely videos from home, discussing federal programs as well as British Columbia’s economic assistance for COVID-19.
“It’s been so fluid. The rules and the opportunities change every week. I thought I’d better at least have some degree of [information] around that so that I could direct people to it,” says Mr. Reilly, who also serves on the boards of Advocis’ Vancouver Island chapter and his local chamber of commerce.
For some advisors, the uptick in webinars at the start of the pandemic is likely only the starting point for producing more video content on a regular basis.
Mr. Brown says he will likely produce more time-sensitive webinars – and the format may transition eventually to a podcast series. Similarly, Mr. Munier also says a podcast is the natural progression for his weekly Zoom videos.
Indeed, Mr. White says the current crisis has provided an opportunity to start creating video content again. He plans on hosting a regular, live webinar discussing the markets, but also featuring guest speakers on topics ranging from mental health to home workouts to positive local business stories.
“I never want clients to lose sleep at night over what’s going on in the markets,” he says. “And so, I think being in their face a little bit right now – and let them choose how much they want to consume – is a good idea.”