The last few months have delivered a global event which we could never have foreseen, and despite our 122 year history we’ve faced a unique set of circumstances which have prompted the need to adapt accordingly. Jeremy Woodley, our CEO, explores how our past is helping guide our future.
Many clients, when they first consider working with us, are keen to know about The Fry Group and our background. Indeed a number tell us that the fact we’ve been around since 1898 offers definite peace of mind. It’s safe to say that as a business we have weathered some significant events – not least two World Wars, the Great Depression and the fallout of the 2008 crisis. Yet even after 122 years, it’s clear that the coming months are likely to be some of the most challenging that we’ve ever seen.
Given the global nature of our business (and our commitment to be around for the next 122 years and beyond!) we’re aware of the importance of adapting and evolving – especially in the light of the circumstances in which we all now find ourselves. Our core purpose is to provide our clients with financial freedom, and in this quest we are only too aware of the need to show clients how secure we are as a business.
In addressing this it’s important to remember that we are a self-controlled organisation, owned by our Directors and staff. As a result we aren’t under pressure from external shareholders, bankers, private equity or other interference. This means that we drive our own destiny, and as long as we can meet our obligations we will remain on course.
The Fry Group is a people business – our staff and our clients work closely together, usually over many years or even generations, to create long-term, effective financial strategies. Over the years our staff have shown their commitment to clients, and in the past few months they have once again demonstrated flexibility, pragmatism and professionalism as we moved to home working in line with the guidelines and began conducting client meetings and updates online. In the UK, we took the entire business totally digital in just a few days – a tremendous achievement.
As the pandemic swept across the globe, we saw each of our offices at different stages of lockdown, facing different local regulations. All responded magnificently and maintained client contact and service. With a huge number of enquiries and calls for relevant information, we stepped up client communication with regular investment updates and accelerated our programmes of webinars which have now seen more than 1,000 clients attending.
From a strategic perspective there was, of course, time spent on forecasting a range of scenarios and considering efficiencies. Thankfully, with markets rallying, and clients well placed for the medium to long term, we are finding the road ahead looks better than we expected.
The key – as ever – is for us to remain open and honest, keep in close contact with clients and remain flexible about how we adapt our working practices for the world we find ourselves in.
And there are of course positives to be found, aside from the desperate health implications of the pandemic. The crisis has accelerated some of our internal discussions about our own global responsibilities, and the communities in which we work. To that end we are embarking on some new initiatives which we hope will start to make a positive impact around the globe, and which we’ll share the details of soon.
Jeremy Woodley – Chief Executive Officer