The coronavirus pandemic has changed so many of our outines. For instance, each summer I take a short rip to the Chicago area to meet up with the Broker-Dealers of the Year winners.
Last summer, I arrived in the Windy City only to discoverthat I didn’t have the right pair of shoes. I went over to a nearby mall to shop. There were busloads of young visiting teensfrom China, probably several hundred.
I was so overwhelmed by theirpresence that I thanked a few ofthem for visiting the U.S. and forshopping (aka supporting oureconomy). I also took a picture ortwo of the crowd, while some ofthe kids giggled.
One year later, most of us areworking from home due to COVID-
19, few of us go to malls for leisurely shopping or browsing, and therelationship between the U.S. andChina is in tatters.
Still, the crisis has a silver liningor two, as some of the BD leaderspointed out. For instance, our two-hour virtual conversation (held onAug. 4) was extremely focused, as everyone concentrated onpacking in as much information and as many insights as possible into the shorter time frame. We usually have a four- orfive-hour meeting when we get together in person.
Several times during the terrific dialogue, I asked the BDexecutives if we needed a break. The answer was always a firm“no,” and so the discussion just kept rolling along.
And this seems to be the exact approach that advisors andfirms have had to the pandemic, treating it as a time to test andimprove virtual “business as usual” routines and also developing plenty of new processes and procedures as needed.
Outside of the office, advisors, BD staff and leaders have
reached out to their communities. They’re making masks and
care packages, as well as helping the elderly in a variety of
ways. Some are supporting those in need through local food
banks and fundraising.
Like those in the news business, the broker-dealers havefound themselves becoming clearinghouses of information asthey never really expected. This shift has been tied to all thechanging IRS rules and deadlines, not to mention the manydetails about government-supported loan programs for smallbusinesses and federal stimulus plans.
We’ve all been working longerhours, as the line separating ourwork and personal lives has blurred.This has involved more productivity and the associated pressure, butit’s also allowed many of us to get apeek into each other’s lives — likewhen we get to see their childrenand pets on screen during Zoomcalls, for instance, for a few seconds.
As Forrest Gump’s mother oncetold him, “Life was like a box ofchocolates. You never know whatyou’re gonna get.”
It is indeed a special and oftenchallenging time. But as broker-dealers and advisors are showing,It’s the couple’s 63rd anniversary. Since they were married in 1957, I might even put some paper Elvis cutouts on myHonda and learn the lyrics of their favorite song, “Gotta Lot O’Livin’ to Do.”
Like those in the news business,
broker-dealers have found
themselves becoming clearing
houses of information as never
expected. This shift has been
tied to all the changing IRS
rules and deadlines, not to
mention the many details about
programs for small businesses
and federal stimulus plans.