We like to say it’s business as usual here at Netwealth during the lockdown and I think that is what we deliver, but certain routines are clearly different when the whole company is working from home.
The start of my working day
I usually try to begin my day in lockdown with a little exercise – a 30-minute online barre class or a short yoga video before getting ready for the day and making sure my son has everything he needs for his virtual school day.
At 8.30am we start the day with the morning market call – this provides the advisers and the client facing team with an update on markets or portfolio performance in case of questions from clients. I then check the overnight processing to ensure this has completed correctly and all client information is up to date along with emails, messages and account openings received overnight to understand the workload for the day.
Going the extra mile for clients
No day is the same and this keeps life busy and interesting. During the day we are answering client phone calls and queries, opening accounts, processing ISA and pension transfers, setting up direct debits or regular withdrawals when people are drawing an income. I also spend time answering questions from my team on more complex issues; and providing information to the client advisers and the portfolio management team.
I really enjoy being able to solve a problem and have a can-do attitude to most things; this means we will always go the extra mile to find information for a client or sort out a more complex transfer such as after divorce or death. Being a dependable place for clients to go in time of need is important in establishing trust and confidence.
Certain times of the year are much more pressurised, and tax year end is clearly a time when many of our clients are rushing to make use of ISA and JISA allowances before that April 5th deadline. We also offer additional services around this time from tax harvesting to automated subscription of client’s ISAs from their general investment accounts, which keep us very busy.
I was concerned about this year-end rush coinciding with the start of lockdown. But our flexible technology and the hard work and dedication of the team meant that these concerns were unfounded and we were able to continue to deliver an exceptional level of service.
“Being a dependable place for clients to go in time of need is important in establishing trust and confidence.”
The importance of relationships
We work closely with our partners at Intelligent Money (our pension provider) and at SEI (our custodian) as it is important that all processes work smoothly to provide our clients with the best experience. I speak regularly with my counterparts there to ensue any issues are smoothed out and information is shared.
As Head of Client Service and Operations I am also involved in a lot of meetings around improvements to the website or changes to internal processes. I chair the monthly Control Committee which reviews all controls across the business – such as timely completion of transfers, execution prices, system bugs – and ensures any changes or improvements are documented and followed up. I also work closely with the development teams to test new features and suggest ideas for the website or our internal technology infrastructure.
Towards the end of the day, I have a video call with my team – although we chat regularly online during the day this gives me an opportunity to speak to them all. It allows me to update them on what I have been working on during the day, any meetings I have attended or provide any relevant business updates. It is an opportunity to ask any questions or discuss any follow ups to ensure that by the end of the day our inboxes are all clear and all clients have been responded to.
How good communication helps
At 5.30pm we have the senior management Zoom catch-up. This allows the senior team to keep in touch and understand any pressures or successes within the different parts of the business. Having been here since the company started – in fact all our management team have been here since before our launch – Netwealth feels like a family. So now, more than ever it’s key to keep that communication open and regularly talk when we are all missing the office and the opportunity for a social event or drink after work!
In an ideal world the client service at Netwealth should be similar – open, friendly, caring and responsive. We are always available at the end of the phone, but we have the technology available for clients to check their investments via the website or mobile app at a time convenient to them.
We have a well-defined investment offering but a flexible approach to helping clients meet their investment goals with a full suite of account types, flexible portfolio structure and people on hand to chat about their individual needs.
At the end of the day
I keep abreast of developments in the industry and regulations through attending webinars or workshops arranged by our custodian SEI, PIMFA (Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association) or CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment). I also enjoy the FT Money show podcast to get an insight into personal finance topics that are of interest to me personally or to our clients.
After finishing work I might go for a walk or a run – I recently participated in the Citywire 10km virtual charity run with the Netwealth team – before cooking dinner, checking homework and reading my son a chapter of a classic book. Currently it’s Swallows and Amazons which has us dreaming of lakes, hills and outdoor freedom.
Please remember that when investing your capital is at risk.