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Keep calm and carry on advising – Wilson

  • 27/03/2020
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Keep calm and carry on advising – Wilson
How are you? Normally that question is asked out of politeness.


However, given the circumstances it is now far more genuinely meant, and requires a genuine answer rather than a simple ‘Fine’.

I think all mortgage and housing market stakeholders are aware of the gravity of what we are currently going through, and in that respect the comparisons with the Credit Crunch period are certainly valid.

But if we can follow the government’s advice and do everything in our power to halt the spread of the virus, then we should be able to beat this and therefore the current situation ‘should’ only be a short-term one.

And if this is a question of a few months then we have the chance to return to a form of normality far quicker than any of us experienced back in 2008/9.

That period set in motion what became a decade-long adjustment and while clearly the coronavirus has the potential to bring about some serious issues within our sector, I remain hopeful that we can make a much more rapid adjustment here than back then.

Adopting a glass half-full attitude may be difficult at this moment, especially when large swathes of the advisory community are self-employed or limited company directors where they are the only employee.

But the government has announced a support package for this demographic alongside that which has already been announced for PAYE employees.

That should provide a degree of certainty and confidence which is currently missing and should allow those impacted to plan ahead and perhaps to concentrate on the continued provision of advice to clients.


Worrying situation

I know advisers have been doing sterling work with their client base over the last week or so – certainly since the government announced the availability of a three-month payment holiday, and in general terms, for all clients who have been impacted.

This is perhaps increasingly important for a later life lending client base, who may be incredibly worried about their health situation.

They may have been told to stay indoors for 12 weeks to protect themselves and may feel they do not have the support structure necessary to take care of them during such a period.

There may be wider concerns, but their financial situation will still be high on the list for older customers, and advisers can play a vital role here in communicating with these individuals and helping them where they can.

Servicing any kind of debt at this stage, especially when the normality of life has changed, can be worrying and hopefully a conversation with an adviser can help ease troubled minds.

Plus, at the same time, the ability to review their current situation may also illicit a solution that had not even been considered.


Keep on advising

Indeed, every single borrower would – I have no doubt – welcome a communication from their adviser at this time.

This would be especially if they are considering payment holidays, having difficulty getting through to their lender, and worrying about how they might meet their mortgage commitments in the months ahead.

So, while we might all be concerned at how this situation will play out, for how long and what might be the upshot of this, it’s important for advisers to keep on doing what they’re good at.

In that regard, we’ll continue to do everything we can to support your endeavours and work with you and clients to get the solutions they need.

Keep well and, where you can, keep doing what you’re doing.


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