Businesses are in various stages of reopening to employees and customers, and several plan to operate normally in September even as information about the Delta variant arrives.
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Source: FA-IQ, July 21, 2021
JOCELYN YANG, FA-IQ: As the world emerges from the pandemic, financial advisory firms grapple with decisions about returning to office. Wells fargo plans to return to a “normal operating model” in September.
Morgan stanley CEO James gorman expects more employees to return in early fall. The company announced in June that it would require employees to get vaccinated before returning to its New York offices.
JAMES GORMAN, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: I come one day a week just to get into the flow and do some temperature tests, go through the app that we ask all of our employees to do, see how the elevators work … I want to live and experiment a bit and I want senior management to do it. I don’t want to be here all the time; it’s not because i can’t be, but i don’t want everyone to feel obligated to be in the office all the time … My long term goal globally is to have about 50 percent of our employees in offices, not every day of the week, but about 50 percent of the hours worked by employees would be in offices.
JOCELYN YANG: Goldman Sachs also demanded that most employees return to the office this summer and asked them to disclose if they had been vaccinated before they returned.
DAVID SOLOMON, CEO, GOLDMAN SACHS: We officially welcomed our colleagues from New York, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Hong Kong and other locations to our offices this summer, with approximately 50% of our employees in these offices on a regular basis.
In the future, we plan to reopen more locations that comply with the health and safety guidelines of each city in which we operate.
JOCELYN YANG: Vaccine requirements can turn out to be a conundrum as companies take different approaches.
According to the FA-IQ reader survey in July, about 44% think counselors should be required to get the shot before returning, while 56% disagree.
When asked about clients’ vaccine requirements, 36% said clients should be immunized before meeting with counselors in person, while 64% said no.
And as face-to-face work and meetings return, some companies have also looked to retain hybrid models based on mobility and flexible working arrangements.
Raymond James in July announced a plan for a “full return” on September 13. Paul reilly said in May that the company had started preparing for the post-COVID standard by expanding its virtual settings.
PAUL REILLY, CEO, RAYMOND JAMES: Certainly face-to-face is important, but for a lot of clients they don’t want a face-to-face every time they don’t want to drive, or they don’t want an advisor stealing across the country for an hour a meeting. And so we have to have offices that are suitable for that. So, for example, we transform offices into Zoom rooms now.
JOCELYN YANG: An Ignites Research survey this spring found that about 53% of counselors plan to work in a hybrid arrangement after the pandemic ends, while only 43% plan to work almost exclusively in the office and 3% almost exclusively from home .
Since advisers plan to spend a lot of time working remotely, they expect virtual meetings to persist as well, according to Ignites Research. About 45% of advisors plan to hold virtually two or more out of five meetings with clients, asset managers and suppliers.
Raymond James set the goal in January to have 25% teleworkers and reached this goal by March, as the pandemic accelerated a trend that was already underway.
PAUL REILLY: I think what the pandemic did was just, you know, maybe speed up the interactions that were going on right now by a decade plus because we have to.
JOCELYN YANG: This is Jocelyn Yang from IQ Financial Advisor.