Advisors with offices in the novel coronavirus epicenters of New Rochelle, New York, and Seattle, Washington, have been helping to ease the minds of concerned clients while managing to deal with the current crisis in much the same way that many other American businesses are dealing with the situation: by shifting to more remote work, according to advisors ThinkAdvisor polled in both cities.
“We’re taking the recommended precautions, but we are not closed for business,” said Joseph L. Soricelli, an advisor who is CEO of Aging Issues Management in New Rochelle and senior pension consultant at affiliated Flynn Financial (F2) Partners at the same address.
As part of a “contingency plan” that was set up, more work is being done remotely by the people he works with at both firms, he pointed out. He was working remotely from home Friday, when ThinkAdvisor spoke to him, “but historically on Friday I do work remotely” anyway, he noted.
Soricelli noted that he is located “outside the containment zone” that was set up in the residential neighborhood that surrounds the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue, where several people contracted the disease from a congregant.
Although more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Rochelle, Soricelli said he didn’t know anybody who tested positive for it. However, he does know people who have attended the synagogue, he said.
At least some clients have been concerned about his office being in New Rochelle, but he has explained to them that his office is not in or by the containment zone, he said. Most business can be conducted by phone anyway. Soricelli pointed out that he “executed some business” on Friday and had “probably spoken to a half a dozen clients” that day also.
A large percentage of his clients are over 60 — “baby boomers and beyond,” he noted. When asked if they were more concerned about the virus or what has been happening with the stock market, he replied: “There’s a strong concern about the coronavirus … Based upon the demographics, the portfolios were not overweight equities in any way so, therefore, their portfolios, while they may have lost a small amount of money in the short term, they’re OK. But they are very concerned about what’s going on and the panic and the lines for toilet paper.”
Managing in much the same way are the advisors at Sterling Advisory Services in New Rochelle, according to Sterling Jasper, its owner, who said his office is located “just outside” the containment zone. Like Soricelli, Jasper said he did not know anybody who tested positive for the virus.
“I don’t know that we’ve been impacted,” he told ThinkAdvisor on Monday, adding: “It’s more emotional management than anything else.”