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Adviser Workshop: How to make a disaster plan for clients

Adviser Workshop: How to make a disaster plan for clients

Raj Shah (pictured above) and Julie Lord explain how they prepare themselves and clients for the worst.

Raj Shah

Director, Blue Wealth Capital

We have two types of disaster plan in place: one for myself and one for clients.

I have a locum – a person who can stand in for me – if something happens to me, such as being hit by a bus, and I am unable to give advice. Clients can then contact that person.

Make a plan

For clients, we have what we call a fire drill or disaster recovery. It is an agreement we draw up for them outlining how we will act in certain circumstances.

For example, what happens when an elderly client dies? Emotions will be high and there may be several things for the family to consider, so it acts as a guideline or template as to how we will act.

The main events we draw these up for are a death in the family, market crashes or the loss of a job. We also do them for business clients if there is a death of a shareholder, or maybe a new addition to the family, such as a baby. This has not happened yet though!

Prevent panic

For many clients the plan is a breath of fresh air or a relief in times of stress, although they do not always want to go through it in their first meeting or first review.

Think of it like the safety procedures on a plane: it takes you through what will happen if an emergency strikes. When a plane is crashing, your seat may not be in the upright position but you will know to follow that procedure.


Take clients through a plan as soon as possible.

Julie Lord

Chief executive, Magenta Financial Planning

I was at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment conference last week and listened to (former Institute of Financial Planning chief executive) Nick Cann’s inspiring speech about how he has survived a stroke.

When things go wrong with our health, we need to have a contingency plan.

Make a list

Most businesses have a disaster recovery plan, but few people have a personal one. It does not only have to deal with illness or premature death, but is also useful in the event of a fire, a flood or other critical emergency.

Having a simple list of useful contacts and suppliers can be really useful.

Another list of possessions/investments and income sources is helpful too and really important is the location of wills and powers of attorney.

Understand clients’ wishes

We have created the Magenta Manual to help clients create their own disaster plan. We also encourage clients to think about and document their final wishes. This helps families when a loved one dies, especially if there are disputes about what the deceased might have wanted.

The Magenta Manual ensures we are one of the first points of contact if a disaster, death or illness occurs. We discuss it with the whole family so there are no misunderstandings.


Be clients’ first point of contact and encourage them to plan ahead.

What Twitter thinks

Stuart Poonawala

Managing director, Kubera Wealth

Disaster plans are always part of our life planning work in the ‘obstacles to vision’ phase!

Brett Davidson

Director, FP Advance

KMD Private Wealth Management are good in this area. [KMD founder] Kevin Deamer is your man.

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