[Brendan Johnson] "Financial advisers are playing a key role during COVID-19. Not only providing clients with much needed and valued financial advice, but also providing information around the options available to them with the recently announced government support packages for individuals and businesses. In March, MLC conducted a national pulse survey, and that found that Australians were more concerned with impacts relating to the economy and financial markets than they were in relation to health, and wellbeing, and access to goods and services. We also found that advised Australians saw their financial advisor as the number one trusted source of information for the economic and financial implications of COVID-19. This suggests that clients see their advisor as a life coach in these moments.
Financial advisers, during this time, want to meet with their clients face to face and connect with them. Clearly, this is not an option at the moment, and it's been incredible to see the use of technology for clients and advisers to come together during this period. Advisers deal with clients in a crisis situation all the time, whether that be a health event, a loss of a loved one, or losing their job. What's unique in this particular crisis is a lot of those things are affecting lots of clients at the same time. Another difference in this crisis situation is the market volatility. What this means is decisions clients make now are magnified. A further change is the recently announced changes to support payments and superannuation. So advisers are needing to understand what these changes mean for their individual clients, and then give them individual professional tailored advice to help the clients make good decisions.
Financial advice is a process to understand an individual client's goals and to develop strategies and plans to help them achieve those goals. Goals have a money requirement, although advice is about much more than money as it delivers emotional benefits, such as peace of mind, confidence, and a sense of control. A sense of control is additionally important now in an environment where a lot of things that are happening are out of our control.
I talk to financial advisers very often, and clients are asking them a lot of different questions, but the themes are the same; is everything okay with my plan, is there any changes we need to make, and is there any opportunities with the announcements made in relation to support payments and superannuation?
A financial adviser's role is to understand the individual client's circumstances, external environment, and to give clients individual professional advice to help them achieve their goals and objectives. To give advice to Australians during this period is a real privilege to help Australians with their financial future."