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A Year Since Lockdown - Sanjay Badhan
Today we're talking to Sanjay Badhan who is the managing director, of Future Planning which offers independent financial planning and mortgage advice helping people achieve their goals quicker.
March 23 marks a year since lockdown began and the reality of the pandemic hit the UK. What are your memories of that day?
Huge stock market movements had been happening, so we were very busy adjusting portfolios for clients. All of our clients’ money performed very well in 2020, however, at the time it was very uncertain. With lockdown, no property valuations could happen for anyone moving home, too. It seemed surreal at the time. Investment providers closed offices and were uncontactable for days, too.
Thinking back, how did you anticipate the way forward for your business over those first few days?
Making sure clients were okay was a priority. As a business, we fortunately were able to function but we were fully aware lots of others were not. We spent time helping where possible and speaking on the phone or over Zoom. Setting up all staff to work from home was key so we could continue to operate and help clients.
What actions did you take to save/change/pivot/support your business?
Fortunately, we were already technology-enabled so it was easier for us. We commenced daily check-ins as a team, spending time working hard but also trying to maintain a fun working environment even while not in the same office as each other.
One member of the mortgage team was furloughed, as there was nothing that could be done for mortgages. However, everyone else was just as busy continuing to work.
Name any positive outcomes of the last year for your business?
- I was able to spend time on the business rather than just in the business looking at operational changes including staffing.
- We helped all of our clients remain in a good place and helped those few that were uncertain. All of our client portfolios performed well and most of our clients received very strong growth on their portfolios.
- We recruited two new members of staff who are proving to be great additions and integrated well with the team and clients.
Name any positive outcomes for you personally over the last year?
- My fiancée and I decided to have a COVID wedding as soon as restrictions lifted with the cap of 30 guests. The weekend in September when we wedded was perfect and we even had the ceremony outdoors given the fine weather at the venue.
- We commenced with our large renovation works on the new home and this is nearly complete one year later ready for us to move in hopefully for April.
- Analysing my own financial plan, as we do for our clients allowed me to update my priorities in life and amend my aspirations and goals.
What do you most look forward to doing IN BUSINESS as we slowly move out of lockdown?
- Meeting with clients face-to-face in our lovely new offices in Old Town.
- Spending more time with my staff in the office together
- Booking team-building recreational activities.
What do you most look forward to doing in your personal life as we slowly move out of lockdown?
- Moving into our renovated home
- Spending time with family and friends to socialise and catch up.
- Arranging a party to celebrate our wedding when the limit to numbers is lifted
What are your predictions for business generally in late 2021 into 2022?
High streets, restaurants, bars and pubs will be very busy, including our office with footfall and new enquiries.
There will be a variation of an increased digital tax for companies generating business online to support the local businesses
We will experience an initial fall with property prices and demand as furloughing ends, the stamp duty holiday ends but this will then reverse as hopefully we realise the concerns have been overdone. This will lead to strong mortgage growth.
Name one person who has been a lockdown hero for you over the last year?
My wife Ana! She has been a rock doing lots so I may continue to work, which has been very busy. She has also coped admirably being there for me whilst unable to see her own friends and family.
Name one business which has been heroic for you or your community over the last year?
The Bank on Wood Street in Old Town – they were doing free lunches and delivering to NHS workers for weeks on end while unable to open and generate revenue, which was a very kind gesture honouring those on the front line putting their lives at risk.
If you have more time on your hands then take advantage of this by starting to plan what you want to achieve then go about getting this to happen. You are welcome to speak to us around this as well. We remain open working from home and are happy to help clients no matter what their financial requirements are.
Also, lockdown has been difficult for lots of us, especially with the mental strain of staying in and unable to see loved ones. Hopefully though, we all will continue to respect the rules and not start breaking them prematurely so as to allow everyone to enjoy the restrictions easing. The last thing any of us want is for this to return!
For more information visit https://futureplanningwm.co.uk
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