Richard Buoncore, managing partner at MAI Capital Management, shares with FA-IQ how he is coping with work-from-home arrangements resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Cleveland-based Buoncore has 40 years of industry experience and his firm has $7 billion in client assets.
“The reality is changing rapidly and it’s a confusing time for everyone, our clients and our colleagues included. The MAI team is working remotely and continuing to successfully serve our clients, while supporting social distancing measures and promoting health and safety within our community.
As we planned MAI’s response to the pandemic, our management team looked to the components of our mission as the guide. All of our actions are rooted in three core beliefs: take care of the client, each other and the community. Our response touches on all three.
We enacted our business continuity plan in mid-March, responding swiftly to our national leaders' and local officials’ calls for social distancing. We informed our staff immediately and provided each of them with a kit of necessities, like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and more, to ensure they had what they needed to stay safe. Our plan involved a transition to remote work for the team. In the past several years, we have invested heavily in technology to equip our team with the tools and resources they need to be successful from anywhere. The technology facilitates an in-office feel, with the team’s desktops replicated on home computers and their desk and cell phones are seamlessly integrated. It really feels like we are sitting at our desks ready to take care of our clients. This investment is paying off and our team’s workflow has not been interrupted.
Simultaneously, we moved to inform our clients of the go-forward plans. We are steadfast in our dedication to clients, and ensuring they are well cared for is paramount. We sought to be transparent and timely in our delivery of information and providing multiple levels of communication. We are continually sharing market updates and insight on how headline changes are impacting clients’ financial plans. We are also sharing details on our continuity plan, how we are caring for our team, our plans for maintaining normal practices and clear direction on how to contact their advisor team. We keep in close contact via email and phone to relay the message that MAI is open for business and well prepared to support their needs without interruption.
It would have been easy for us to stop there and continue business as usual. But we recognized our people — our clients, our team, our friends and families — are being overwhelmed with news and information. We knew we could help. Earlier this week, we hosted a virtual roundtable conversation with Dr. Robert Salata, the Department of Medicine chairman at University Hospitals in Cleveland. Dr. Salata served as the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine for two decades and was willing to offer his insight, expertise and perspective on the coronavirus outbreak. We opened the invitation to MAI clients, team members and partners from across the country and invited them to share the session with their friends and family, too. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the resulting conversation was informative and beneficial.
As we navigate these unprecedented times, it’s vital that we maintain an eye toward the future. We are committed to growth over the long term, and the current climate does not deter from this plan. In fact, we believe our response to this situation will facilitate stronger conversations with the like-minded and like-hearted advisors with whom we seek to align.
In the last several weeks, I have received many notes recognizing MAI’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. These came from clients, friends and MAI team members, including our newest MAI partners from recent acquisitions. These notes are often quick, but always heartfelt and have the same sentiment. Our people and clients feel taken care of, and to me, that’s the most important thing.”