So many of us are working from home at the moment, but I wanted to highlight the intermediary sector, and especially advisers who are working alone.
Working from a home office can be a lonely business at the best of times. In a lockdown, when house calls to customers are off the menu along with visits from product providers, compliance specialists and network staff, visits from the postman and the Tesco delivery person have suddenly take on special significance. The lack of face to face human interaction gives their visits a high level of importance during these times as our need to interact, makes these lockdown heroes a welcome way to break up the day.
Of course, altering one’s mindset by dismissing 2020 as if it never happened and keeping in mind that the vaccine rollout will reach us soon will help us to persevere.
Online meetings mean that we can maintain our businesses, but we are all missing the face to face interplay with our fellows when we can all be in the same room. Apart from actually seeing customers, attending live events, seminars and Expos and enjoying the banter and the opportunity to stock up with pens, pads and stress balls (so useful at the moment!), the feeling of being cooped up with only the dog and, if lucky, significant others to talk to, can be challenging.
While it won’t suit everyone, there is no substitute for physical exercise to provide a much needed shot of adrenalin and mood boosting endorphins. Apart from indoors exercise routines, the web is full of no equipment regimes and we can still go outside to walk and run if we want to be ambitious. Not only that, we can meet up, socially distanced of course, with another person not from our bubble. If you venture outdoors, just beware the cycle pelotons and runners, usually imperfectly distanced and breathing hard, as they go past. Just get out there, even in this weather – it really helps.
Whichever way COVID-19 is affecting you and your family, colleagues and friends, the vaccine rollout does offer the potential for normality. So, let us look forward to, if not an end, a way in which we can adapt that allows a gradual return to the ‘good old days’ or something equivalent!
Being the best we can
It is only a few years ago that the argument for independent whole of market advice from a living, breathing human being had been won convincingly. However, nothing lasts and the onward march of technology married to the willingness of the regulator to reconsider loosening the rules around execution only in response to lobbying from new web based B2C providers, means we have to make every effort to ensure we reinforce the quality of service we offer to each and every customer. This is no time for us to be complacent.
Buildings insurance blind spot could be very expensive
In the rush to complete property transactions before the end of the Stamp Duty holiday, it would be too easy to overlook the little things without which a completion could be held up and lose its place in the queue just as the deadline on the 31st arrives.
Have you arranged the buildings insurance to be in place and has it been noted by the conveyancer liaising with your lender?
As the end of the Stamp Duty holiday looms, a simple oversight in arranging buildings insurance could end up costing customers thousands of pounds if transactions are held up because the paperwork is not complete.
Every adviser has a checklist in their head of what is required for completion to take place, which in normal circumstances would ensure that nothing is missed. The Stamp Duty holiday cut off date at the end of March makes this a far from normal time and something so simple as having buildings insurance in place could get lost in the rush to get cases completed in time.
Although it is very simple to put in place, leaving it until the last minute means that with conveyancers and lender completions departments at full stretch, sending confirmation of a policy being on risk could be missed with disastrous consequences. Tens of thousands of pounds of extra cost to customers is avoided just by ensuring that buildings insurance in place in time.