Five Conversation Starters Amid a Crisis

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Now is the time to cement your value, highlight your expertise, and help your clients plan for the future.

As the novel coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, upending the way we live and do business, we’ve observed ineffable human tragedy and heartwarming acts of kindness in equal measure. A decade-long bull market run screeched to a halt, portending tough times ahead. Quarterly earnings for many companies are likely to be delayed and will paint a dismal picture. We’ve also seen U.S. oil prices plunge into negative territory for the first time ever.

During this period of turmoil, clients turn to you for answers. And, while it can be tempting to advise them to sit tight and do nothing while we ride out eye-watering volatility, that doesn’t mean that you should actually do nothing.

With that in mind, here are five conversation starters to engage your clients during these challenging times:

  • ESG investing: There’s a reason that environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is viewed by many as “full-information” investing. ESG data provides a plethora of relevant information pertaining to companies’ leadership, treatment of stakeholders, exposure to climate risk and more. Often, this information provides vital clues as to the likelihood that companies will be disproportionately affected in times of crisis – supply chain management, for example, is just one factor considered financially material by many ESG investors. As widespread shutdowns wreak havoc on how companies source their inputs, the importance of supply chain visibility and transparency has only become more apparent. ESG is becoming synonymous with risk management, as a growing number of stakeholders realize that companies with strong ESG profiles may be better positioned to weather future storms.
  • Tax-loss harvesting: Markets have been on a tear in recent years, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reaching record highs in February. However, after an extended period of gains, many clients are now seeing disconcerting losses that may have them tempted to liquefy their assets – but that nonetheless present a unique opportunity. Talk to them about tax-loss harvesting, which allows you to sell equity positions and use those losses to offset taxable gains elsewhere in your clients’ portfolios. This strategy represents uncharted territory for many clients, so your guidance will likely be invaluable and much appreciated.
  • Family mission statements: With broad swaths of the population ordered to remain home, your clients and prospects are likely connecting with their families more than they have in years – whether they want to or not! Why not speak with them about drafting a family mission statement?