Cover image of Investment Advisor IA25 leaders“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen,” said Vladimir Lenin. Needless to say, we are experiencing the latter, as DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach — one of this year’s IA25 honorees — pointed out on a recent webcast with investors.

Others agree, like Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor to Allianz who also is on the 2020 IA25 list: “For many investors, me included, the last few weeks have been like drinking not from one firehose but from three of them — the coronavirus news, the policy responses and the market technicals.”

For El-Erian, job No. 1 of many financial professionals is to “distinguish signals from noise” and turn analysis into action while recognizing that “major uncertainties remain.”

Fellow IA25 winner Brian Hamburger, head of MarketCounsel and chief counsel of the Hamburger Law Firm, expressed today’s challenge more emotionally: “What we’re facing is daunting; … the pandemic is real; it claimed the life of one of our colleagues in early April.

“He was far too young to die …,” Hamburger said.”I have to constantly remind myself that my job is to turn tragedy into triumph, to ensure that he remains with us and, in fact, becomes a part of who we are.”

“Clients will remember how you responded during this critical time,” advised IA25 winner Ed Slott, a popular expert on IRAs and other retirement issues. “You need to let them know you are there for them.”

IA25 honoree Ric Edelman, founder and executive chairman of Edelman Financial Engines, and his wife decided to step up and help their community by paying for a private jet to deliver 7,440 N95 surgical masks to New York hospitals. “Sending our deepest thanks to all our first responders who are battling this crisis for all of us!” he said on Twitter.

“The crisis calls us to consider what we can do to make the circumstances better now, and what we can change to improve how we respond to such threats in the future,” explained Mark Tibergien, head of Pershing Advisor Solutions, a longtime columnist for this publication and a member of the 2020 IA25 list. “Many among us will be scarred by fear or inspired by opportunity.”

As we imagine the next few months, much fear and opportunity lies ahead. I wish Mark could join us on this journey, but he’s decided to retire. (We’ll share more about his career in next month’s issue.)

We thank him for writing each and every month since February 2003. His insights, both professional and personal, will be sorely missed. We also thank all of you for supporting our IA25 voting process, and we hope you and your clients stay healthy in these uncertain times.