Cassandra Labbees, Member of the Firm in the Employee Benefits practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Plan Adviser, in “Adviser Industry Impact of COVID-19,” by John Manganaro.
Following is an excerpt:
As fiduciaries to their clients, financial advisers are used to putting others’ interests first.
Indeed, advisers currently are spending a lot of time and energy helping their clients and prospects deal with the implications of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to coaching individual investors through the unprecedented daily market swings, retirement specialist advisers are helping plan sponsors make tough choices about plan designs, especially the expansion of loan and hardship withdrawal provisions now permitted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Such work is certainly building loyalty and goodwill among the client base, sources agree, but it is also important for firm leaders to step back from these efforts to take stock of how this situation is affecting their own businesses. Not only is this prudent from a client service perspective—as it helps to ensure no unexpected disruptions in service will occur—it also can help staff gain an important piece of mind during an incredibly stressful time.
Remote Work Is Now the Norm …
Firms say they are holding staff and client meetings via Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other platforms.
As the adviser community transitions to remote-based work, cybersecurity and protecting sensitive information should be top of mind, says Cassandra Labbees, a member of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice at law firm Epstein Becker Green. “Employees’ Wi-Fi systems to connect to the internet should be private and password protected,” she says. “Should their system go down, they should not access public Wi-Fi. Instead, they should contact their IT department for help.”