Al Ward, Head of Platform Proposition, discusses how we’ve very quickly adjusted to new ways of working and how Standard Life Elevate has rapidly adapted to meet advisers’ needs too.
Over the past 12 weeks or so, the daily working patterns we were so used to have entirely disappeared.
Most of my own team, myself included, are doing the best they can to juggle work and young children or, in some cases, their veg patch!
Others have different challenges – potentially shielded, or caring for vulnerable relatives and friends. And while my commute has gone, a nice change, so too have those valuable ad hoc conversations with colleagues that can help refine ideas and get things done.
Across the board, we’ve had to be increasingly flexible and innovative.
We’ve all been on similar journeys. Both our home and family lives and our working lives have been entirely redesigned.
I know both adviser firms and platform providers have put in an incredible amount of work not only to ensure our clients continue to be the priority, but to ensure staff can safely work from home. We've had to adopt new ways of working and get our heads around plenty of new technology, especially for client and team video calls.
The profound changes to our lives that we've all been through since the end of March, mean our commitment to making Elevate as easy to use as possible is more important than ever.
We've been working hard to ensure we can continue to offer exceptional support to advisers and it's thanks to our dedicated servicing teams that we’ve remained open, and continue to turn around new items quickly.
We've improved automation on Elevate to help reduce paperwork and we're allowing scans or photographs of client signatures. We're also contacting as many adviser firms as we can to maximise awareness of the existing capabilities and online services Elevate offers to help you manage your clients' assets more easily.
Meanwhile, I've been hugely impressed by the way adviser firms have seamlessly shifted their processes and procedures to continue to ensure good client outcomes.
The speed and adaptability of the industry as a whole has been incredible to witness, as has the way the entire community has come together to share ideas and offer support.
If there's one thing this crisis has really re-emphasised it’s that the adviser-client relationship lies at the heart of our industry.
We know advice can mean better outcomes for clients, but turbulent times like these drive home the importance of that relationship.
And I think this is where our platforms can come into their own, supporting advisers in the day-to-day management of clients' investments and products to free up their time for the vital management of client relationships.
By now, many people across various industries feel that at least some of the processes so urgently adopted at the end of March should continue to be used over the longer term.
We can probably all agree that aspects of our 'new normal' are perhaps better, more efficient ways of working than in the past.
On our side, I've been amazed by the speed at which my team has accepted, adapted and continued to deliver against our priorities.
Whatever the next few weeks and months bring, our goal remains to provide you with the support and service you need to keep providing great advice to your clients.
I’m also hoping that, whatever comes next, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will allow some travel so I can get out for a bit of hillwalking and maybe businesses will be more prepared to try out new ways of working for the benefit of all.
Who knows, perhaps those commutes will become a thing of the past?
We have further information about our response to the Covid-19 crisis on our web pages, including more details of our business continuity measures, updates to our servicing and frequently asked questions.
The value of investments can go down as well as up and your clients could get back less than they paid in.
The views expressed in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.