Future thinking should be shared. With that in mind our team publishes insights weekly to help keep you in the (k)now.


Hewison Private Wealth - Insights
Hewison Insights
independent financial advice
Client Service

Blog | Turning lemons into lemonade

John Hewison
Founder and Director
18 Nov 2020

This blog is a little self-indulgent I know. But I could not think of a better subject to share than my pride in our team at Hewison Private Wealth (HPW) and how they have individually and collectively “turned the lemon into lemonade” during COVID.

I should first explain that we are in the business of managing relationships with our clients and managing their financial affairs. By virtue of our ongoing management model, our business has been able to continue with little disruption throughout this crisis – but some fast-paced action and progressive learning helped us achieve successes beyond expectation. I thought it might be helpful to share some of that experience.

First response

As the Covid pandemic emerged in February / March, our Managing Director Andrew Hewison was quick to respond and call an on-line strategy meeting with the equity partners/directors. Apart from discussing various key operational and business issues, at Andrew’s recommendation, we quickly resolved to shut down the office and get all our people working from home as soon as possible, even before the government directive came to shut down businesses.

Fortunately, due to our management’s foresight, most of our team of 40 people were already equipped to work from home with internet access, laptops or tablets and the others were quickly set-up. As we are an Essential Business, we were able to maintain a small staff of four at our office with safe distancing.

As we use a skype phone system in the office, telephone calls to our office could be seamlessly transferred to any of our team members at their home. With our use of remotely connectable operating systems, Microsoft Teams, electronic filing systems, and various other interfaces, to the outside world, it appeared as if we were at the office together.

All of this was facilitated by our commitment to innovation and management’s foresight in establishing a network of systems that not only delivers efficiency in normal times but also form part of our risk management policy and “disaster relief” plan.

Client security and rapid response

Being in a relationship business, communication with clients is vital. We immediately notified our clients of our “business as usual” status, and then our team worked feverishly at contacting clients individually. Obviously, face-to-face meetings would not be possible so by using Zoom for on-line client meetings, we were able to maintain our close client relationships and interface between team members on a continuing basis.

As we always say, in times of crisis, we do our best work, and this was no exception.

As the share-market dipped sharply in late March, we were able to spring into action to rebalance client portfolios and take advantage of pricing opportunities.

As markets rebounded quickly, the results were very positive and placed our clients in a better long-term position.

Following Andrew’s lead, several of our advice team started to produce regular short on-line video presentations on investments and strategies, which culminated in a 7-week Webinar series that featured presentations by various members of our planning team and interviews with key executives of external investment managers.

Two of our senior advisers and business owners, Glenn Fairbairn, and Nathan Lear had already established their weekly “Money Mentors” podcast and this was also a valuable source of contact and information.

Collectively, our entire team worked overtime to ensure our clients were provided with confidence and pro-active support during unprecedented times.

Support systems and culture

Whilst having the ability to operate from home, our team members were isolated. Some live alone and some have children requiring homeschooling. Again, Andrew was quick to recognise the issues of isolation and proceeded to produce regular on-line communications with our team members. He then arranged speakers to present motivational sessions to get the team together and help them cope.

This initiative then “grew legs” of its own and team members started to arrange various team activities including cooking, origami. pottery, and dress-ups to name a few. Our normal Friday office team meeting became an important feature on-line and various games were played followed by “virtual “drinks.

Our culture is perhaps our most important asset encompassing not just our team, but also our clients.  As a result of the initiatives and efforts of all concerned in a time of adversity, I saw our culture not just sustained, but grow.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity” – Benjamin Franklin

Over the past 7 months, I have witnessed the absolute strength, commitment, and effectiveness of a team of people with a common purpose, driven by a desire to achieve positive outcomes from a time of unprecedented adversity. Our entire team, under Andrew’s leadership and that of his fellow business partners, have demonstrated their dedication to a common goal in the face of adversity.

I have no doubt that following Covid, we will be stronger and even better equipped to support our clients and achieve optimum efficiencies. More importantly, the culture of our team and our clients collectively will be strengthened even more.  I couldn’t be prouder!

Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.