As a result of the current national emergency situation, Allegiant’s office is closed for now and all employees are working from home. We will keep 100% functionality throughout this crisis, as will our partners Commonwealth Financial Network and National Financial Services (Fidelity). Phone lines will be open and calls will be answered, and all our systems are accessible from wherever we are. While we anticipate some bumps in the road, I want every client to feel confident that we will remain 100% at work for you.
For now, we ask that all paperwork, checks, forms, or anything that has to be signed be completed by Docusign, scanned documents, or email. However, we are also able to receive hardcopy documents during this time by regular U.S. mail, or by using the convenient drop box at our other office located at Kerkering Barberio, 1990 Main St. in downtown Sarasota. The parking garage entrance is on Ringling Blvd., and there is a white drop box right next to the garage entrance on street level. In addition, Kerkering Barberio will be retrieving all forms on the 2nd floor of the parking garage, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. daily, Monday – Saturday (through April 15th), should you choose to drive in and up. For now, all Allegiant office in-person visits have been suspended until more information is available. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and I ask for your patience and understanding. Each of us will do our utmost to work with you to make sure any inconveniences will be minimized.
Furthermore, you can expect even more communication from your Wealth Advisor team during this period, as well as more frequent updates from our Investment Research Team.
As Chairman of a wealth management company, I rarely communicate about subjects outside of financial related topics. These times are different, and so please allow me a moment to venture into the more unusual areas of community health and personal decision making.
First, I feel a moral obligation to try and keep everyone safe and avoid becoming a vector for viral transmission. Since the evidence demonstrates that even asymptomatic people can be carriers and transmit the disease to others, it’s not enough to think that the recommendations posted by the CDC and local health authorities do not apply to you simply because you feel healthy. They do apply to each of us, and they do so right now. Herein lies the most dangerous part of this contagion - people can be unknowing and unwitting carriers, even when healthy. By contrast with past epidemics like SARS, MERS and the Avian Flu, those were so vicious that people showed signs of infection relatively quickly, and many died rapidly. However deadly those past infections were, the fact that symptoms showed up quickly actually worked to limit their spread because the infected were easy to identify. COVID-19 has no such advantage, if it can even be called that. You can feel and look perfectly healthy, and yet you may be a carrier. Please take care of yourself and each other in our community by following the guidelines.
Second, regarding those guidelines, it’s relatively easy to access good, solid information. I suggest you only use PRIMARY sources for your information, such as the websites of the U.S. Center for Disease Control
, the World Health Organization
, Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center
, and the Center for Infectious Diseases
and other trusted news outlets. Relying solely on the mass media for your information, or worse, social media, will not give you optimal access to factual sources of data. Furthermore, some misleading and outright incorrect social media posts can be nothing short of dangerous. Please do not re-post any of those without checking their validity - again, with a primary source of research. A simple rule is that if you don’t know it for a fact, do not pass it around.
My personal reaction to this crisis was never in doubt - I felt an immediate and urgent responsibility to protect our clients, our employees, my family, and our community. We had caught on to this disease early through my own research, and so we already prepared for this. Allegiant has now taken these protective measures in the best interests of our clients and employees. Together, with your help, we can all be diligent in our commitment to the best interests of our community.
Over many cultures and many nationalities, there is a common expression that says something like each of us is not defined by how many crises we face, or how many times we get knocked down. It’s how we choose to react to these times and how many times we get back up, that defines us and makes us who we are. It’s easy to appear strong and do the right thing when times are easy, but it’s days like this that define leaders. Right now we all need each other to be leaders in our own ways. That’s how I will choose to confront this crisis.
I would love to hear from each of you with any suggestions that can help our community. I would be happy to serve as a sounding board and central communication point for ideas that could benefit us all. Meanwhile stay safe, and as my wife and I have always told our daughters, make good decisions!
Martin J. Kossoff, CFP®, AIF®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™