Usually, we don’t like to talk about anything too heavy in the newsletter, certainly not anything about financial services. However, we seem to be living in some fairly unusual times.
Our business is essentially an exercise in trust. When people come to you to invest their most important asset, they do so for many reasons. This can include ability, convenience and pricing but, mostly, it’s because they trust you. Understanding the nature of this trust is important for a firm like ours as it isn’t simply the expectation that we will be competent and honest, it’s also about being prepared, resourceful and empathetic.
Leabold has always had a culture and approach that is different from much of the financial services industry. Over the near sixteen years we’ve been in business, we’ve built up significant reserves and organised our operations around a team approach that reduces reliance on any single person. Unlike so many other businesses, we have resisted placing staff on furlough with the exception of our two new apprentices. Everyone else is still hard at work and, indeed, there’s been very little let-up in the amount of work needed to be done.
That said, we are having to adapt to having our people work at home and the logistical challenges of how we deal with paper post (both in and out). Wherever possible, we are trying to revert to electronic, video and phone communications. With this in mind, we’ve tried to contact each of you, our customers, by phone regularly once a week or as agreed with you. The point is not just to reassure you on any financial matters but to make sure you are ok. Many, if not most of you, we have known over many years and your wellbeing is of critical importance to us.
At Leabold, we are learning through our experience of the current crisis. Much of this is reinforcing our views on how a financial services business should be run, as well as well as the prudence of our particular approach to portfolio design and oversight. As many of you have noted, the effect of recent stock market dips has been markedly less on Leabold portfolios than for other firms. A particular factor in this has been our policy of not exposing customers to any more risk than is needed to achieve their financial objectives. This contrasts with the more prevalent approach within the industry where risk exposure tends to be based on the maximum a customer will tolerate.
Our expectation and intention is that Leabold will come through this crisis well-placed and even more resolute to continue serving our customers. It goes without saying that you are at the heart of what we do.