Adapting to Change and Volatile Times: A Message from Our Partners
Domani Wealth has evolved to meet client needs for 25 years, and we continue to navigate the one constant in our industry: change. The markets change, laws change, deadlines change, and goals change. Despite all the change, we never compromise our firm values and remain committed to working with our clients in their best interests. We pride ourselves on the quality of our team and the expertise we can provide to clients.
We have heard from many of you inquiring how our team members are holding up during the pandemic and some questions about retaining our staff to service client accounts. We are so appreciative of the many emails and calls to check in on us and thought it would be helpful to share an update.
As an organization, we have an obligation to not only plan for our clients’ tomorrow, but for the future of Domani Wealth and our team members. One piece of advice that we provide to clients is to make sure they have an emergency fund available for volatile times and unexpected expenses that may arise. We follow this advice ourselves. We maintain a strong balance sheet with available liquidity for periods of time such as this when the economy and markets are negatively impacted.
Our firm is a fee-only organization. This means that when clients’ investments fall in value, our revenue also declines. For example, if portfolios fall 10%, our revenue experiences the same decrease. In our opinion, this is the most transparent and fair manner of charging our clients, as it allows us to be aligned with their best interests and is part of our independent and conflict-free approach.
In March, based on the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Included in CARES, was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program provided loans to small businesses that had less than 500 employees. If granted, the loans had strict provisions mandating how the funds needed to be spent, predominately to maintain employees and pay certain overhead expenses. If used for the correct purposes, the loan would be forgiven. Domani Wealth certainly qualified for this program and could have accepted funds to use in paying our team members.
After reviewing the loan, we voted, and it was unanimous that we should not take the PPP funds available to us. The primary reasons for the decision included:
- We want to be a good corporate citizen. We represent many clients and know others who own small businesses. They were shut down completely with no revenue for months. These PPP funds were needed to allow them to retain employees and pay some overhead to remain in survival mode.
- Just like we assist clients to plan for emergencies and volatile periods of time, we need to rely on our plan as well. We had the liquidity available that allowed us to keep all team members without reducing their compensation.
While we don’t know what the future will hold, we stand behind our decision. Our revenue has been impacted this year, but the PPP loan is not necessary to support our ongoing operations. Despite these unprecedented times, we continue to recruit for a few new team members to join our staff and support clients. In addition, we look for opportunities to add advisors who match our values and culture like our recent acquisition of EHD Advisory Services, Inc. in December 2019. Going forward, the only thing we know for certain is that we will continue to experience change. Our response will be to adapt and find opportunities in the process.
We continue to work remotely and remain available to speak with you or have video conferences. We are working toward plans to safely re-open the offices. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your advisor with any questions.
Domani Wealth Partner Group