Financial advice during the Covid-19 crisis

As part of our ongoing commitment to providing our clients with a full range of legal and financial services during these difficult times one of our Directors, Peter Mason, met with Darran Murphy, a Financial Adviser at Macleod & MacCallum Wealth Management, to discuss supporting clients in a challenging market environment.

Peter started the discussion with the main topic on everyone’s minds – “In the current circumstances there is only really one place to begin. What support can you offer new and existing clients during the current Covid-19 Crisis?”

“First of all, it is important to say that, whilst we have had to adapt to new ways of working, we are able to offer our full range of Financial Services through telephone and video calls without the need to meet face to face.” Darran explained. “Markets and economies in general have been negatively affected by the crisis and those effects are likely to persist for some time. I have been in regular contact with all of our existing client base and I am pleased to say that our clients are committed to the long term view we have advised.”

“As markets are currently demonstrating, short term speculation is a high-risk strategy and not one which we would advocate. Previous crises have highlighted that holding your nerve and investing for the long term is the ideal strategy for producing the best returns. In fact, many of our clients are viewing this as an opportunity to enter the market at significantly discounted levels.”

“As a local Highlands & Islands firm we are committed to serving our community in the best ways we can. At the moment that means being available to provide Professional Financial Advice for those in need. Recently I have found myself doing everything from providing advice on how to adapt pensions to ensure retirement plans remain on track, to advising those who see the current market environment as an opportunity to invest. It is vital to be available for those in need. The current lock down means many of us now have the time to devote to financial planning that we had always meant to get around to. We never charge for our time so I would encourage anyone who is interested in discussing financial matters to just pick up the phone.”

“It is great to hear that you are able and happy to discuss matters with clients and that there is no charge for your time – that will be a real comfort to a lot of people at this difficult time” Peter commented. “So, what are the real benefits of taking Professional Financial Advice?”

“Well, for me there are two main areas in which we can make a real difference to client’s overall wealth.” Darran replied. “The first relates to the technical aspects of managing your money in the most profitable manner. That can be as simple as getting you the lowest rate mortgage available for your circumstances or as complex as analysing fund managers in order to choose those who consistently outperform their peers.”

“For me the most important aspect of the technical side of financial planning relates to tax efficiency. I often find that those who have not taken Professional Financial Advice end up paying more tax than they need to or don’t take full advantage of the tax reliefs available from products like pensions. We can help plan for income tax, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax in the most tax efficient ways applicable to individual circumstances.”

“The second area I have found that we make a real difference to client’s overall wealth is in the ongoing advice and support that we provide. Again, that is being amply demonstrated by the current market volatility. Human beings are emotional animals and markets are often driven by those emotions, in particular, fear and greed. Allowing emotion to take control leads people to invest when markets are high, believing that huge returns are the norm, and then sell when markets are low, due to the feeling that things can only get worse. Predicting short term market movements is extremely high risk whereas long term investment returns are surprisingly consistent. We are here to provide the support and historical perspective that ensures decisions are taken as part of a long-term financial plan based on factual information rather than emotion or short term market sentiment.”

Darran continued “Ongoing support also means being there for our clients when things change in their lives. After all, retirement plans change, family dynamics change and changes in your health can have a big impact on your finances. Having someone on the end of the phone who knows you, your family, your financial circumstances, and can provide that professional advice to make sure the right moves are made at the right time, makes a huge difference to people in times of change.”

“It’s good to hear that a local business such as Macleod & MacCallum Wealth Management are there to support clients” Peter stated. “How do clients who are interested in the service you offer go about getting in touch?”

“It’s simple really – they can call our general enquiry line on 01463 258058, call me directly on 01463 258060, visit our website here, and hopefully in the not too distant future they will be able to come and visit us at our new office at 25 Queensgate, Inverness.”

April 9, 2020