So much has changed in just a few weeks. No one could ever have imagined the large-scale impact of COVID-19 on our way of life and the ability to conduct business across all industries, including ours. In times like these, we cannot underestimate the need to work together and support each other, to be kind and understanding as we are all in this together.
Our firm is first and foremost concerned for the well-being of our clients, employees and their families and for the communities we operate in across the country. COVID-19 has thrown us all into stressful, unfamiliar times – both personally and financially. Around the globe, people are experiencing a range of emotions, with fear over their own health and that of their loved ones at the top of the list. These are concerning times and these emotions are normal. We want to extend our support to you and your family and hope that you are doing well as this crisis continues to unfold.
We continue to work hard to provide you with uninterrupted service as we make changes to our working arrangements to keep clients, advisor teams, colleagues and our respective communities safe.
Here’s what we want you to know:
We’re here for you
It’s still business as usual for us but with a few adjustments to keep everyone safe. Our workforce is very familiar with working remotely. It is something we’ve been practicing and teaching others to do for years. Some of us are working from home and others from their office.
We’re practicing social distancing while remaining fully connected
We recommend our advisors and team members avoid face-to-face meetings with clients as part of the widescale social distancing measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. Although we may not see you in person for a little while, we are still here, on-screen and on the phone, ready to help.
We are fully utilizing technology to support our employees working from home and to communicate and interact with you digitally. We have hosted hundreds of live virtual meetings and large webinars online and can assist you with adapting to this style of communicating with us and others.
We’ll work to keep you up to date
Things are evolving very rapidly, and we will do our best to bring you relevant and timely updates. We have the tools and processes in place to avoid disruption to regular business transactions. We encourage you to reach out to your specific advisory team with any queries.
What we’re doing
Right now, it is understandable that people are experiencing fear about their savings. At Intent, it is our job to focus on long-term strategy. Our investment teams not only have the expertise, they personally care about managing the current situation for you.
Each market downturn has its own set of circumstances. Today, countries are doing things in the interest of public health that, by their nature, limit certain kinds of economic activity – travel, tourism, commuting to and from offices. In addition, there has been an unexpected shock to the oil markets.
We’ve seen a lot of action from governments in a short period. Significantly lower interest rates and stimulus spending show there’s a willingness to use policy to try and limit the impact on our economy. As COVID-19 runs its course in various countries, these types of backstops can lessen the likelihood of recession or reduce the severity if there is one.
The importance of investor behaviour
Investor behaviour is so important at this time. During downturns, there will be regret. There will be an instinct to cut losses. Fear is a powerful emotion that feeds on itself. However, what we have to rely on in these times is history. Long-term studies show that, when investors attempt these timing decisions, their returns generally suffer. They have to be right twice: on the sell and on the buy. It’s hard to get both right.
Based on history, we also know that following a market decline, we see a period of recovery. It could happen suddenly, or it could take a few years. But we know that investors who remain calm and invested, benefit from the eventual recovery.
The importance of advice
This may sound clichéd during a tough market, but it’s still true. Advice is really important. It’s hard to be an investor and watch your portfolio when there are market downturns. Our advisors are trained to work in both positive and negative markets. They offer valuable advice in helping clients stay diversified, and focused on goals, timelines and risk tolerance. It’s important for clients to stay in touch. In partnership, we are committed to helping you get through this. We’re here for you.
Avoid market timing
It’s tempting to imagine how missing the worst days and capturing the best days would improve your investment performance. However, the best days generally happen during the worst times, just when investors are considering selling. According to a JPMorgan study, “Over the past 20 years, six of the ten best days occurred within two weeks of the ten worst days.” (January 2, 2020). Repeated studies have shown that efforts to time the markets have reduced returns.
Feel free to email with questions or contact your advisor directly.