Advice in the time of Coronavirus
Our entire continent is only now coming to grips with the first impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in terms of lives and health but also human interaction and economics. In a way, we are shell-shocked, and it is difficult to start thinking beyond the immediate future. However, this is just the type of situation where our clients expect us, as trusted advisors, to look beyond the present and help them make long-term decisions.
We turned to our fellow FECIF colleagues across the continent to understand how the Coronavirus was impacting our industry – we surveyed Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Czech Republic. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of the experts we polled observed a major short-term impact of the epidemic on our activity. As with most other economic sectors, our industry is badly hit by the lockdown imposed on Europeans by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the development of new technologies, our work relies on personal contact and face-to-face advice, both very hard to maintain in the current context.
Perhaps more surprisingly, our colleagues were much more positive about the medium-term; expecting, by a large majority, activity to pick up quickly after the lock-down release. Is this due to wishful thinking or is it a clear-headed assessment of the situation?
In fact, we have observed across Europe a complex set of factors pulling at our industry from opposite directions. In the short term...