(aka “SARS-CoV-2”, “COVID-19”)
How is First Wilshire Prepared as an Organization?
The Coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) is a major global challenge that has resulted in significant stock market losses and, more importantly, concerns about the health of our families, friends and neighbors. There are many things out of our control. However, there are many steps we can take at First Wilshire to make sure we are running at full strength for the benefit of our clients, such as:
- First Wilshire maintains a business continuity plan. Over the last few days, we have reviewed our plan and believe we are well prepared to continue normal business operations via this plan at any time in the near or distant future. Key jobs can be performed remotely should we choose to do so, and we have multiple people trained in each key work function.
- Should the First Wilshire office or staff be affected personally by the COVID-19 (or other sickness), we are set up to manage your accounts while under quarantine or at home.
- Our office is not within a large complex and has its own entrance. We share no other space with non-First Wilshire individuals. Our offices have ample space to allow distance between our employees.
- First Wilshire is following CDC guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html). Like most offices, we are stocked full of hand sanitizers, hepa filters, Clorox wipes and bottles of various disinfectants. There is no downside to overkill in taking precautions.
- First Wilshire only accepts for management client accounts held at a small group of large investment brokers. We invite you to review the websites of your respective brokerage account for more information or call us to direct you to the area you are interested in.
As a 40-year-old company, First Wilshire has been through many major historical events, including more than a dozen stock market crashes. We have a long history of keeping our heads in turbulent times and optimizing both our defense and offense. We understand that it is very difficult for most people to have stock investments in such times. It often feels like the best solution is to sell everything and if you don’t, you will question yourself daily, if not by the minute. Maybe this time is different you will think. That is a very typical feeling during a stock market crash.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss your personal situation and any concerns you may have. This is a unique global event and things can get worse and specifically stocks can drop further. In fact, that is always the case with the stock market. Our clients may feel a different course of action may work better for them or have unique personal circumstances. We want to hear from our clients so we can offer information to help them make and execute these tough decisions. Meanwhile, we are doing everything we believe will optimize client portfolios. Note this likely means we will be holding onto much of our stock investments and even buying more.
News and Fear
We encourage everyone to be particularly careful in curating their news sources. Fear sends people to dubious sources. Credibility is often endowed to the person who screams the loudest or who appears the most decisive. Unfortunately, major decisions at such times are often made on misinformation. Charlatans come out to take advantage of the crisis while cool heads are ignored. Knowing what you don’t know is critical during a crisis. With this in mind we want to remind everyone to be vigilant of potential scams in this environment (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing).
Look to raw data, scientists and direct research. Cut out the noise. To stay informed, we favor facts over opinions and prefer major news sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and The Economist over the virtual downpour of internet opinion. We also recommend the CDC website and direct data from relevant federal and state sources. A timely global map of the virus spread can be found at the New York Times that is updated regularly and shows daily infection rates by country https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html, though note this may feed potential stress levels. With that in mind, stress must be managed as well and most people are consuming news far beyond its usefulness.