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Zooming into 2021

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Benjamin Franklin quote: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” But what about change? If this year has taught us anything it’s that change just as certain.

A year ago, all my client meetings were delivered in person over coffee – sometimes with biscuits. A year later, alongside a pandemic, two lockdowns and a fragile economy, we’ve got used to online Zoom meetings and no refreshments… and this has been a good alternative, but not perfect.

So in the spirit of developing a ‘world class’ service for my clients I’ve managed to innovate within these constraints. Namely by experimenting with technology until I find a way to fit things back into place.

Many financial planners have shunned digital transformation preferring to stay in their lane until this year passes. I can only sit and scratch my head at this. Technology helps us as Barnaby Cecil because it untangles almost every inefficiency from the bottom up.

And now our journey through the digital age is getting even more exciting. As each day passes there’s another discovery to be made that will help us provide you with even more value.

Last year you would have had to contact me to get a quick overview of your finances. Now, with the Barnaby Cecil app, you can access one within seconds on your mobile.

And this month I discovered a new way of using Zoom

There was one problem that was niggling away at the back of my mind with all these Zoom calls: There’s an awful lot of information for my clients to grasp in one sitting.

And that’s without the general ‘Zoom fatigue’ that seemed to have set in quickly for people using video calls for work, rest and play.

As my clients will know, we review everything about their strategy from top to bottom, left to right and everywhere in between.

I wanted them to leave their review in full confidence, knowing what their current financial situation is and where it’s heading, particularly given the market volatility we’ve seen this year. My biggest fear was that the medium wasn’t quite right for this particular message and that information overload might come from having to look at a chart and listen to me speak then expect questions from them straight away.

And so I tried something new: I provided a few ‘pilot’ clients with a recorded analysis of their financial situation and send it to them to watch in their own time. Now everyone had the chance to analyse things at their leisure. They can digest the data from graphs, charts and tables and, most importantly, get a clear overview of progress through their financial strategy, without the usual pressure to comment, reply - look impressed (!) – or feel as if they were asking the right questions.

I liked the idea of it but what did my clients think?

They loved it. They were able to watch the recording whenever they wanted – for example at 4am after a shift. Or 8pm once the kids were in bed. They were able to chat to their partners or loved ones and discuss the implications, in a way that they might feel uncomfortable to in an hours’ meeting.

And once they’re ready to chat and ask questions, we arrange a follow up where we can go through the recording afterwards. With this approach, we leave no stone unturned – the client is fully informed and I can be sure they understand and are comfortable with their review.

This gives me as much peace of mind as them!

With these incremental changes I feel Barnaby Cecil is set up to thrive over the next year, whatever 2021 may throw at us. So as we close our doors at the end of this month, we do so knowing we have nothing to fear from 2021 but everything to look forward to, including – let’s hope – meetings with biscuits again!

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