Flu taking advisers — and clients — down 'like soldiers'

Reps out sick, meetings rescheduled; 'couldn't even lift my head up'

Jan 16, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

By Liz Skinner

Financial advisers are arming their offices with hand sanitizer and turning sick employees and customers away in hopes of preventing this year's virulent strain of the flu from sidelining them.

But like other U.S. employers that are expected to incur billions in influenza-related losses this winter, some advisers or their staff have fallen ill and have had to crawl into bed for up to a week to recover.

Jeffrey Cutter, a former officer in the Merchant Marine, doesn't recall ever having been out of work due to an illness in the 12 years since founding Cutter Financial Group LLC. That is, until last week, when the flu epidemic that's sweeping the nation kept him home for two days.

“It came on like a ton of bricks,” Mr. Cutter said from his Falmouth, Mass., office. “I am a Type A personality with a triple plus, I'm always on, and I couldn't even lift my head up.”

The Center for Disease Control said that this year's flu season, which ramped up earlier than usual and could go on through March, is the worst outbreak in a decade.

Health officials believe that the disease — which has killed at least 20 children nationwide this flu season — has peaked in some regions of the country but remains on the upswing in other areas. Massachusetts, where Mr. Cutter lives with his wife and three daughters, has been one of the hardest-hit states.

In addition to delays from Mr. Cutter's time out of commission, about 65% of Cutter Financial Group's meetings in the past couple weeks have had to be rescheduled because of sick clients.

Near Denver, adviser James Osborne of Bason Asset Management said he knows a number of colleagues and other professionals who have been out of work for a week with this year's flu virus.

Mr. Osborne has had to reschedule many meetings in recent weeks because his clients have been ill, causing business delays and lost productivity, he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Osborne has been using extra hand sanitizer and trying to steer clear of people whenever possible. That's easier for him than for many because he is the only employee of Bason Asset Management.

“That's one advantage of being a sole practitioner this year,” Mr. Osborne said. “It beats being in a big office where it almost seems guaranteed that the flu is going to go around.”

One office that's been hit especially hard is the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors' headquarters near Chicago. Each of its 10-member staff has been out with the flu or a cold over the past three or four weeks.

“We went down like soldiers, one right after the other,” said Ellen Turf, chief executive of NAPFA.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

RIA Data Center

Use InvestmentNews' RIA Data Center to filter and find key information on over 1,400 fee-only registered investment advisory firms.

Rank RIAs by

Featured video

Events

5 tech innovations you can't afford to ignore

Technology innovation is always top of my at Pershing. What does Pershing have on tap for 2018 and beyond.

Latest news & opinion

Advisers with billions in AUM leaving Wall Street

Merrill Lynch has seen two teams exit recently, each with more than $4 billion in client assets.

Wells Fargo weighs changes to wealth unit

The move would reflect the bank's effort to cut $4 billion in costs.

Small broker-dealers seek legislative relief from annual audits

Bills introduced in House, Senate would remove PCAOB requirement.

Meet our new 40 Under 40s

For a fifth year, InvestmentNews is proud to shine a spotlight on the amazing accomplishments and potential of top young financial professionals.

Merrill re-evaluates commission ban in retirement accounts

The wirehouse's wealth management group announces a fresh look at the ban now that the DOL rule is on the brink of death.

X

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print