WP Canada: Industry news – Easing clients’ stress levels vital right now, says advisor

Thomas S. Caldwell, Chairman of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd., was interviewed for WP Canada article Easing clients' stress levels vital right now, says advisor.

By James Burton

May 1, 2020

Industry veteran says news coverage and government briefings are not helping people's emotions.

We are living in interesting times, in which a trip to the grocery store feels like a scene from Contagion and a vacation all at the same time.

But for advisors, a large portion of their time is being spent on the same thing it always is – dealing with clients’ emotions.

Tom Caldwell, chairman of Caldwell Investment Management, and CEO and director of Urbana Corporation, says helping people deal with the highs and lows of market volatility is vital at this time.

He told WP: “There's two parts to my job. One is discerning what's important against a whole bunch of background static and then putting my own interpretation on it. The other part, which is more than half of my effort, is helping people quell their emotions. More money is lost on emotions than anything else.”

Many investment advisors will secretly have one or two clients that are their reverse indicators,” he added. Whenever they want to get out, that’s typically the time to buy and vice versa. Controlling these emotions is made tougher at the moment, with 24-hour news coverage magnifying the hysteria around COVID-19.

Caldwell said: “I keep joking that the media's job is to create bargains for me because you watch the media or watch the government briefings and I find that adds to my anxiety. We are social beings so there's an increasing push to try to get through this thing. Everybody's waiting for numbers to curve down, so we can get back to whatever the new normal was going to look like. And I suspect it'll be different.”

The industry veteran believes it’s a fascinating time for all us if we are paying attention enough to put our emotions to one side. The likes of Google and Netflix are prevalent – although Caldwell prefers to look for bargains – but investors are busy analysing what will be, not what is.

And he thinks the presence of U.S. President will have at least one benefit – that he may push people harder to get a solution.

“I’m not a big fan of Trump as a person, but I kind of like that he's the guy there now because as an entrepreneur, he drives these people hard to get a solution - and I think that's a good thing.”

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