"Hand-holding in the pandemic: Wealth managers grapple with new reality" by Echo Wang, Sumeet Chatterjee, Simon Jessop, Reuters.
In Los Angeles, Todd Morgan, chairman of Bel Air Investment Advisors, said he’s at times felt more like a therapist than a financial advisor. “People are calling me up and saying they’re hearing bad things and what does it mean for them,” said Morgan, who instead of a sprawling, artwork-filled office with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles skyline now has the constant presence of his labradoodle, who is trained to ring a bell when it’s time to go outside. “It’s clear that some people just want to talk and want to make sure we’re thinking about them.”
On the evening of March 31, Morgan got a call. A client of his firm, which handles nearly $9 billion in assets, had watched U.S. President Donald Trump say on national TV that some 200,000 Americans might die from the virus. The client, whose holdings Morgan described as “substantial,” instructed: sell off the entire equity portfolio. All of it. “They just couldn’t take it anymore and wanted out,” said Morgan.
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