The end of March saw the start of “Lockdown” and some tough months for everyone, in many aspects. We’re certainly not through the other side, but life feels like it’s starting to get back to some sort of normality. Whilst we could head back to the office, we have decided to continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, continuing to deliver our client meetings online. With everything working so smoothly, it doesn’t seem sensible to change our plans at these early stages.
When Lockdown started, purely from a business perspective, our main concerns were the safety of the team and our clients. We were working hard to ensure we could continue to provide the same service you enjoy, but, in addition to concerns regarding health and safety, we knew the market volatility was going to worry many of you.
With that in mind, we sent weekly short updates to provide reassurance in what were very uncertain times. Now that Lockdown has eased and most importantly, the extreme market volatility is stabilising, we felt it was right to halt the weekly updates. However, following feedback we received, we’d like to adopt the ‘little and often’ approach, continuing with short updates, more frequently replacing the quarterly newsletters.
We hope you’ll enjoy our new communications approach and if ever there is a subject you would like us to cover, please do let us know.
Apart from the new working from home/living at work model, the biggest change over the last few months is the launch of the Jane Smith Financial Planning HUB! Some months ago, we had started planning and researching the options for a client portal, but we had a big wish list and lots of options to review. Then came our favourite word – “Lockdown”. We made some big decisions and brought the use of the Jane Smith Financial Planning HUB into our daily routine. Using ourselves and several kind clients as guinea pigs we have hopefully got over the initial stumbling blocks before launching it more widely. One of our top priorities was to find a portal that was simple and straightforward to use. Despite all appearances to the contrary, we are not technology whizzkids and so this simplicity was just as much for us as for you! We now have the Jane Smith Financial Planning HUB up and running, and whilst not everyone will have received their invite just yet, we’ll be working on this over the next couple of weeks. We have been trying to reduce the amount of paperwork we produce and have now finally been able to conquer this. All Jane Smith agreements are able to be uploaded to the HUB and you can even sign them digitally! Security was also a big consideration for us and the HUB offers a very secure, safe online digital storage solution for your data and documents. Whilst this does drastically reduce the amount of paperwork that will need to be sent to you, there will still be some forms that other companies require that cannot be digitally signed. We hope you find the HUB straightforward and easy to use and we would welcome any feedback as you use it.
We held our six monthly offsite strategy day in June and whilst we had initially planned to complete it via Zoom, with the easing of lockdown and good weather on the day, the team were able to meet up for the first time in three months in Nicola’s garden. We achieved a lot on our “to do” list and it was great to be able to spend time together again. When you spend each and every day with the same people, you form a strong bond and we are a very close-knit team. It’s been tough being apart, but we’ve had daily morning video meetings which have been great and we’re still only a phone call away from each other. In some ways, lockdown has probably strengthened our team as we’ve had to rely on each other so much more. Silver linings!
Our last piece of exciting news is that Nicola has been shortlisted for the Women in Financial Advice Awards. She’s a finalist in the Financial Services Financial Adviser of the Year – Midlands and East Anglia category. We have taken a step back this year from awards submissions as we wanted to focus on our business projects and whilst it is lovely to be shortlisted and even win awards, we want to make sure we are applying for the ones that mean something to us. To then be shortlisted is a big deal! Due to Covid19, the awards ceremony is actually being held online so we will be getting dressed up at home on 8th October and crossing our fingers – wish us luck!