May 27th, 2020
Dandelions are resilient and so are we.
I hope this message finds you, your family, friends and colleagues physically and mentally well.
Ten weeks into lockdown and the business has settled into a “new normal” operating rhythm.
This is a testament, not only to the excellent I.T. company that we have been loyal customers of for over 30 years, but also the extraordinary effort that has been put in across all departments with the central aim of ensuring that our clients’ needs are being met during these unprecedented times.
I always thought that we had a good team here at Prosser Knowles, now I know we have a superb team.
From my work colleagues in accounts, through to administration support, compliance, advisers and senior management everyone has been absolutely remarkable in their ability to change to the new and potentially prolonged ways that we are now working.
I am extremely proud of all of them.
Almost overnight we expanded from four office locations to over twenty-eight with the majority of our staff working remotely from home.
From day one of lockdown, we made the decision to retain a central office, to operate as a hub, with two team members looking after the administrative tasks still required to ensure our clients are serviced properly.
Jack and I who were, with hindsight, rather inappropriately titled “skeleton staff” have staffed the office for the last ten weeks and you may have noticed that a different voice from normal answers the telephone.
It will almost certainly be one of us at the end of the line or Elly who has rejoined us in the office during the last couple of weeks.
We are more than happy to receive your calls and after some additional training, I am now able to redirect you to the correct person.
Week one wasn’t quite so organised, and I apologise if you were either cut off or didn’t get through to the correct recipient of your call.
We are now however a very slick team.
In many ways, this has been both the most challenging period in the company’s history but also the most productive.
We have quickly transformed into a more modern technological way of working and have had to learn new terms and skills that I was certainly not aware of earlier this year.
Furlough Scheme, Social Distancing, Shielding and Key Workers are all words and phrases that are now commonplace but would previously have been little utilised.
Who knew that Zoom, which as a child I recall was an ice lolly shaped like a rocket, was going to be the preferred method of communicating internal messages and arranging virtual meetings? Amazing!!!!
We have moved quickly to be able to accept paperless signatures and have invested in online identification verification tools, which should, in most cases, remove the onerous requirement of us having to ask you to provide those difficult to find documents when we arrange a transaction on your behalf.
We are also looking at ways to engage with the currently underserved younger generation with a big project being worked on to utilise online communication tools and more easily accessible financial products.
If the rest of the rather prehistoric financial services industry can move with us in regard to the new ways we as a firm have quickly adapted to, and are working on, it should be positive for the future.
From a client’s perspective, we hope that you have not noticed too many changes.
We are arranging client meetings by telephone and a number of different video meeting channels and, although we also miss the physical visits to clients, this appears to be working well.
We are working harder and smarter to ensure we maintain our high levels of service and appreciate your support with the new and innovative ways we are working with you.
Whilst the last few weeks have been challenging, to say the least, we are confident that the changes we have had to make have, and will continue to have, positive outcomes for our clients.
On a personal note, I have set myself a few tasks to complete at home.
Less time to socialise with friends and family has provided the opportunity to get some of those previously put off household chores done.
Dandelions in the lawn became an initial task that I thought could be easily completed.
For those of you who are also troubled by this perennial garden weed, I have noted that they have the ability to grow, flower and set seed in what appears to be less than 24 hours and a remarkable strength is needed when attempting to pull them from the lawn.
It’s pretty much impossible to remove the entire plant in one attempt.
I have also noticed that the clever little devils retract their flowers overnight thus protecting the valuable reproductive plant parts from overnight frosts.
As a child a dandelion clock was fun, as an adult, they have now become both a huge irritation but also a source of great admiration.
If only their abilities could be utilised to serve a more useful purpose.
Like the dandelion, our team are resilient and will continue to flourish through and beyond this difficult period.
Please stay well, careful and safe.
Written by Andrew Prosser, Chairman & Financial Planning Consultant, Prosser Knowles Associates Limited