Written by: Cole Buffehr
The announcement came to employees of Finity Group on Thursday, March 13th, 2020; everyone was to use the next day and a half to pack up and prepare to work remotely for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For our client service coordinators and business processors, this took a couple of days to set up -- ultimately, not much had changed, especially for the advisors. We often travel for business and have to be prepared to handle all of our duties from the road securely and efficiently.
Working With Clients Remotely
Finity Group's headquarters are in the pacific northwest, but our advisors have clients all over the country. As a result, the vast majority of our meetings are remote. Even many of our local clients find they prefer these virtual meetings that have become customary during this time of social distancing. Our firm has been at the forefront of the virtual meeting revolution for over a decade, not just the last few months.
When all we need to meet with clients is a phone and a virtual meeting room, location doesn't matter. I've had meetings with clients while they were eating lunch at the hospital or staying at home watching their kids; as long as you have phone service or an internet connection, we can have a productive conversation. Meeting remotely doesn't just open up the locations where we can connect; it also gives us a broader range of times to meet. We're primarily based in the Pacific Northwest and therefore operate in the Pacific time zone; this works to our advantage when scheduling meetings with our clients in the Central and Eastern time zones. We commonly hold meetings late in the evening for our clients after they get home from work or put their kids to bed. Many of our advisors also set aside times weekly for later meetings outside regular business hours for our time zone – as late as 7:00 or 8:00 PM. Whenever or wherever you'd like to connect with us, there's a high probability that we can accommodate.
The flexibility is especially helpful for our physician clients who haven't yet finished their residency or fellowship as it's rare that one will stay in the same city for med school, residency, fellowship, or career. While you may have to change dentists, personal care providers, or mechanics when you move to a new city, you shouldn't have to change financial advisors.
How We Handle Cybersecurity
While the digital space gives us great flexibility, it comes with its own set of concerns. One valid concern when making any switch from analog to digital services is the security of your personal information. Never in history have individual citizens willingly or unwillingly shared more of their personal information than we all do today. You shouldn't have to worry about your financial advisor being another pipeline for your personal information to leak through. How do we ensure this? First, we require that all sensitive information be exchanged only via phone call, a secure DocuSign envelope, or encrypted email chain. For the latter, we utilize a robust email encryption program to ensure malicious outsiders cannot access sensitive information you send us via encrypted email. Any time you see an email from us with "encrypt," "sensitive," or "secure" in the subject line, that email chain has been sent securely through our SEC compliant email encryption service.
Adaptability Is the Norm
As modern professionals, our adaptability as a team sets us apart – not just to COVID-19 but also with changing regulations and technologies in the financial and information security sectors. We all have a firm grasp of the tools available to us, remain open-minded, and each advisor doesn't just rely on their strengths, but also the feedback and experience of their peers. Giving us the advantage of having advisors who aren't victims of the Dunning-Krueger effect -- we don't live in echo chambers here. New methods and concepts are encouraged! All our advisors, those just starting their finance careers and those who have been here from the beginning, are partnered with a strong moral compass and commitment to development-- hiring requirements to work at Finity Group.
Generating ideas isn't just a responsibility reserved for the leadership team and senior advisors either; anyone who wants to have a voice and provide feedback or new ideas is genuinely heeded and encouraged to do so. Youth or relatively little experience in the field are not invalidating traits for advisors so long as they are partnered with a strong moral compass and commitment to development. Occasionally, a fresh or outside perspective is exactly what's needed to spark innovation!
Finity Group is like the Netflix of financial planning firms – born into the age of internet and technology, full of both industry experience and fresh new developments; we are revolutionizing the way we provide our respective services. We aren't just the next generation of advisors; we're the advisors for today and the future. No matter your age, you deserve a financial professional who is as flexible, up-to-date, and savvy with modern technology.