Engineered to Adapt: How We Manage Money in a Lockdown

In the month since the lockdown due to the coronavirus, businesses across the country have faced often severe disruption. It is only natural for investors to wonder therefore how we face the challenges of managing money during these unique circumstances.

We established Netwealth to help clients prepare effectively for their financial future. In the same spirit, we also embedded resilience into our own capabilities – so we can invest without interruption, give guidance to our clients and adapt to changes regardless of the circumstances.

We designed our service with the latest technology This enables us to operate remotely without skipping a beat – to run our business seamlessly without the disruptive contingency measures that many firms must overcome.

This adaptive DNA is at the heart of our model, and also informs how our team deals with the lockdown challenges every day.

Charlotte Ransom

Netwealth was launched four years ago by bringing together a team of seasoned wealth management professionals and combining this expertise with powerful modern technology. Our clients have always been able to access the service in whichever way suits them best – whether that is speaking or meeting with a qualified adviser or client service professional, or whether their preference is to work with us fully online.

As a result, despite the extraordinary limitations imposed on everyone during this crisis, little has changed about our model and our clients’ access to Netwealth’s services. This is where modern technology becomes all-important. Not only can clients see exactly how their portfolios are performing versus their financial goals, they are also engaging with us via video calls and webinars, seamlessly adding new portfolios, adjusting risk levels where appropriate and taking professional advice when and if needed.

Never before have we seen such a clear-cut demonstration of why wealth management has to modernise.

Charlotte Ransom – Founder and CEO

Iain Barnes

It has been a challenging time for markets over the past couple of months, as traders and investors around the world have tried to understand the implications of the virus and the various efforts to mitigate its impact on health and economies.

Physically, the investment team have been working separately since the start of March to avoid the risk of cross-contamination, but we have remained focused on the core principles of the Netwealth investment philosophy throughout: building diversified investment portfolios as efficiently as possible and adapting them as the cyclical environment changes. As equities and corporate bonds sold off sharply, market volatility increased and liquidity dropped, but trading portfolios predominantly using ETFs has continued as before.

We have also made some adjustments to client portfolios’ positioning. Communication is an ongoing effort in this environment, and team members are working closely with client-facing colleagues to ensure that our clients understand our market views and how the different components of portfolios are behaving in such unusual circumstances.

Iain Barnes – Head of portfolio management

Matt Conradi

As the pandemic and subsequent market reactions have unfolded. our team of advisers have been providing updates on markets and portfolios through webinars and e-mails. This helps clients to keep abreast of the latest developments and how our team is helping them to stay on track to achieve their goals. We have always offered meetings by video call and phone and this capability has allowed us to provide a seamless level of support to clients as they assess whether or not the current environment should result in any adjustments to their financial plans.

We have also been busy onboarding new clients and, while nothing beats a face-to-face conversation, the whole process can be completed remotely either directly by clients online or with the help of an adviser and the client service team. We have had particular interest from those who have been holding cash for some time, as well as self-managed investors who would like help in navigating current events and checking the health of their financial plans.

Matt Conradi – Head of client advisory

Rachel Willox

Our clients naturally have many questions but are reassured that it is business as usual at Netwealth. While the team are all working from home, our client service phone line has been operational throughout and clients can communicate with us via email, message centre or phone in the same way they always have.

The lockdown has forced some of our counterparts to join the modern age in accepting scanned documents and electronic payments – this has made ISA transfers still possible. For our own documents, we have been able to rapidly deploy solutions with digital signatures for clients without printers at home. Having successfully navigated one of our busiest times of the year (tax year end), we are confident that we can continue to look after our clients from home for as long as is necessary.

Rachel Willox – Head of operations and client service

Chris Arnold

Netwealth is a cloud-first company. When the lockdown was announced, our office-based employees simply picked up their laptops and VoiP phones and went home. Our active decision to build on a decentralised technical infrastructure from day one has been a key enabler in our continued ability to create and deploy software that supports both our clients and our employees.

Our engineering team has worked predominantly remotely around the UK since inception. So, for them, very little has changed. As an organisation, we have benefited from years of in-house experience about *how* to work remotely. It's a powerful combination of tools, processes, and mindset.

Chris Arnold – Chief technical officer

Please remember that when investing your capital is at risk.

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