Use technology to maintain contact with clients. Video platforms should be utilized as much as possible to offer a face-to-face personal interaction. While working remotely may mean that things are a bit more casual, it is important to keep things professional.
The need to maintain decorum and professionalism notwithstanding, it is also important to be genuine with clients. They want to know that their money is in good hands, but they also want to have a sincere conversation about life. Start and end every conversation with a client by discussing their wellbeing. Ask how they are managing and feeling. Give them the assurance they need. Show them that you care about their physical, mental, and financial health.
When things are uncertain it is tempting to switch to preservation mode. We have a fiduciary responsibility to do our best for those who are already clients; we may not have the bandwidth to grow our business. But as we focus on the clients we have, we should also maintain business contacts and relationships that can help our business in the future. Look for opportunities in various sectors and actively pursue leads.
Clients are worried about a lot of things right now. It is the job of financial planners and economic advisors to ensure that money is not an additional concern. The current health concerns coupled with economic uncertainties present people with two extremely basic fears: being alone and broke. Now is not the time to overwhelm clients with statistics and trends. Listen closely to what the clients are saying and what they feel most comfortable with at this time. This is unchartered territory for everyone. Every individual, business owner, team leader, and industry specialist is figuring out how to navigate these uncertain times. In the money management field, being attentive, genuine, forthcoming, and caring is the best business practice right now.
Two banks in Massachusetts—North
Easton Savings Bank and Mutual Bank—have recently announced that they will be
merging in early 2019.
The two banks both maintain 9
locations in different Massachusetts communities. This merger will allow the
banks to combine their resources and expand their services. The banks have
announced their commitment towards maintaining a culture of growth and success
and have dedicated a website, www.meetyourbetterbank.com, to support clients.
Bank mergers can be complicated and
often affect thousands of clients as well as employees.
This was the case when another two
Massachusetts banks—Westborough Bank and Hudson Savings Bank—merged in 2007. When
their merger was announced in November 2006, the deal seemed straightforward. Hudson
parent company Assabet Valley Bancorp would pay $35 per share for Westborough
Financial Services Inc. (the mutual holding company for The Westborough Bank),
for a total of $20.6 million. The deal eventually went through, and the two
banks merged to become Avidia Bank.
But, surprisingly, this deal involved
intense negotiations, and did not go to the highest bidder. An offer of $38.50
per share from an unidentified individual was rejected by the bank’s
shareholders. Another offer, of $40 per share by Marc Bistricer’s Murchinson, was also turned down.
As these Massachusetts banks
demonstrate, bank mergers are complex deals that carry implications for bank
personnel, investors, and customers.
gleams. But the stronger the dollar, the lower the price of gold tends to fall.
According to Bart Melek, the global head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, investors and observers can expect to see the price of gold to climb as the dollar continues to weaken.
Since April 11, 2018 gold bullion lost about 5% in value, due to a surging dollar. Despite confusion in Italy and other uncertainties around the world, gold was selling for under $1300. Melek is predicting a surge in the price during the final quarter of 2018 to an average of $1375 an ounce, and could possibly hit a high price of $1400.
“As time moves on, there’ll be less and less reasons to get into the U.S. dollar, which will likely reverse some of the flows,” said Melek, a speaker at a precious metals conference in Singapore. “We do ultimately think that as we move into 2019, the U.S. dollar will weaken, which is a very powerful fuel for the gold complex.”
The outlook for the very near future is less optimistic for gold, whcich Melek does not believe will rise given the dollars continued strengthening. In addtion, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates two more times this year. Prices for gold will most likely average at about $1290 in the third quarter, and $1300 in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The struggle over the legalization of marijuana in the United States has created a bit of uncertainty in the Toronto Stock Exchange’s relationship to US companies that produce the mind-stimulating drug.
Aphria Inc, an Ontario-based producer of marijuana says it met with representatives of the TSX a week ago to talk about the company’s exposure to US markets and the risk that exposure subjects the company to.
Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria, said that the company re-committed to working with the TSX as it carefully studies the developments in the United States as they happen. Earlier in October the TSX warned companies that the US federal laws take precedence over the state laws, and, at least right now, federal US law holds marijuana to be an illegal substance. The potential for economic trouble exists for companies like Aphria which have investments in Florida and Arizona, where marijuana is legal for medicinal only and recreational use, respectively.
The TSX said that companies on their exchange that do not comply with US federal law are not in compliance with their requirements to be listed on their exchange.
Neufeld said that he would like to see his company remain on the TSX, and right now has no plans to move Aphria to the more pot-friendly Canadian Securities Exchange. However, if an agreement with the TSX can’t be reached Neufeld said there are other options, such as creating a spin-off for its US business which can be listed separately on the CSX.
In the wake of President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, General Electric announced it will sign $15 million worth of business deals to help diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from oil.
GE announced last week at a conference of senior US business executives with their Saudi counterparts its intention to deal with the desert Kingdom to help it diversify.
The agreements are worth about $7 billion in goods and services from GE itself. The range from utilities to healthcare; the oil industry, mining, and natural gas. Some of the deals are still in the form of memos and will need further negotiations to come to fruition.
One of the GE projects will guide power manufacture in Saudi Arabia to become more efficient and also offer digital technology to the operations at Saudi Aramco. The hope is that this project will ultimately create $4 billion in annual productivity increases at Aramco. It also hopes to cooperate in training and medical research.