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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many financial advisors have found innovative ways to serve their clients in the midst of highly challenging circumstances.

They’ve supported first responders, for instance, as well as airline pilots and flight attendants, and they’ve helped winemakers, entrepreneurs, marketers, pre-retirees and others clients.

Earlier this year, advisor Brian McGinnis’ phone was “blowing up,” as clients who hadn’t gone through the financial crisis of ’08-’09 told him: “My account went down $150,000!”

“Add that anxiety to that of going to work every day as a first responder and the regular stressors that go with it … ,” McGinnis explained. “They’ve never dealt with it before, and they don’t know how to stop or fix it.”

His answer? Let clients know “that someone is watching their account and understands what’s happening … ,” he said. “They want someone else to worry, because they’ve got enough on their plates.”

At the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, advisor Melissa Joy got phone calls “about layoffs from clients in the hospitality industry and with small businesses.” Her team quickly went to work “triaging” them.

“It was a lot easier to be action oriented as financial planners, with the CARES Act at that time, for instance,” Joy explained.

In addition to ensuring their clients’ financial stability, this type of approach is crucial to advisors’ careers, too, says consultant Craig Iskowitz.

As robo-advisors and huge industry players like Charles Schwab “keep moving” into areas previously dominated by advisors, financial professionals “have to offer the best service to survive,”  explained the head of Ezra Group.

This means providing more advice, specialized financial planning, alternative investments and/or distinctive services for a particular client niche, like retired pilots or bass fishermen, Iskowitz says. “It’s about finding your niche and then excelling at it,” he added.

Here are the stories of nine advisors, including details about how they each worked to solve clients’ problems under pressure: