I’m very excited to write about this topic this month because I actually have a couple of recent events that I can share with you which I believe are well worth celebrating!
To give you some background, our company has acquired a whole lot of investment clients that for all intents and purposes should have been in regular contact with their adviser. However, we have discovered that many clients haven’t been in contact with their adviser in quite some time, in fact in most cases, many years. My job has been to work through the list and make contact with these clients. On many occasions however, I have identified clients who have long since moved and their contact details are out of date. Often they haven’t advised the investment manager either of their new contact details. In these instances I have tried to locate them via the white pages. This is not always successful but on these particular occasions I was successful.
First client – I had written to this client but the letter was returned – the phone number and address noted on file was out of date. I tried to locate this person in the white pages and found a number worth trying. It turns out the number was this client’s brother. He told me that his brother had died two years prior. I asked him who was responsible for his estate and he told me his brother’s wife who had moved. I contacted this client’s wife who knew nothing of her husband’s investment. The investment wasn’t large but she was pleasantly surprised and wanted to split the investment between their children for their KiwiSaver funds. In her words, she said “my husband’s been dead for two years and he’s still surprising me”. I sent her the necessary forms to withdraw the funds for her family. I felt so happy that I had taken the time to try and track her down and give her this gift, otherwise who knows how long those funds would have sat there.
Second client – this story is somewhat similar but the portfolio amount was much larger. I had sent the client a letter which was returned. When I tried contacting the client, luckily the phone number was correct even though the contact address was not. I managed to get through to the client who told me that her husband had died three years prior. When I explained that she had an investment with us, she said that she didn’t know anything about it and that her husband must have set it up for her. This lady was in her seventies and had had to cash in other assets to pay for bills when her husband had died. When I confirmed her identity and told her the value of her investment she was both astounded and delighted. I have since learned that she is now intending to use the funds to renovate her home. Again, I felt like the gift fairy when I had made that call.
It is for this reason why it’s so very important to have a financial adviser working with you as you plan your financial life. Choose someone you can trust and someone who you can stay in regular contact with so that you avoid these situations where people and funds get lost in the system. It happens all the time – people move, people forget what investments they have etc. By having an adviser who is in regular contact with you, you have a much better chance of achieving your financial goals. If you already have an adviser you trust, that’s great! Celebrate that relationship.