COVID-19 and virtual meetings with your MD Advisor: Helpful information, updates and the latest MD market news.
  
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COVID-19 and virtual meetings with your MD Advisor: Resources for Canadian physicians

The latest information, news and resources to help you navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your finances, make your virtual meeting experience the best it can be and more.

COVID-19: Financial resources for Canadian physicians

We can’t thank doctors enough for taking care of Canada during these challenging times. While you’re focused on the health of your patients, we’re committed to protecting everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

We’re here to help you and your family whenever we can, including navigating federal and provincial support measures. If you or your employees have been affected by a reduction in income, we can also help you determine what financial assistance might be available, including programs available through Scotiabank if applicable.

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Frequently asked questions

The pandemic and MD Financial Management’s products and services

To protect our clients during this pandemic, we’ve replaced all face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings for the foreseeable future and have created virtual alternatives for all client events. MD already has robust infrastructure that enables many of our staff to work from home as efficiently as if they were in the office. This has left us well prepared to continue to operate and serve you effectively, while looking after our employees and their families.

We have instructed all MD employees to work from home, except for those who perform essential services that require them to be in the office. In all, 99% of MD staff members are working from home. Employees who must be in the office are coordinating their schedules so that no more than 15 people will be in any one office at any one time and that physical distancing and appropriate cleaning and sanitary measures are maintained at all times. We’ve also replaced face-to-face client meetings with virtual meetings for the foreseeable future and have created virtual alternatives for all client events.

MD already has robust infrastructure that enables many of our staff to work from home as efficiently as if they were in the office. This has left us well prepared to continue to operate and serve you effectively, while looking after our employees and their families.

MD already has robust infrastructure that enables many of our staff to work from home as efficiently as if they were in the office. This has left us well prepared to continue to operate and serve you effectively, while looking after our employees and their families. Your MD Advisor* is able to meet with you virtually by video conference, which allows for free and full discussions. This way, they can continue to take care of all your financial needs and answer any questions you have.

* MD Advisor refers to an MD Management Limited Financial Consultant or Investment Advisor (in Quebec), or an MD Private Investment Counsel Portfolio Manager.

As of April 13, 2020, physicians, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare personnel are being prioritized by Scotiabank’s contact centre teams, who will help them with their banking needs. Seniors (age 75 years and older) will also receive priority service when they call the Scotiabank contact centre.

Physicians and other healthcare workers should call 1 888 777-4650, which is a priority line reserved for them.

Seniors (75 and older) should call Scotiabank’s regular customer service line — 1 800 472-6842 — and they will be prioritized on that line, based on their profile (age) information.

Banking and credit products and services are offered by The Bank of Nova Scotia “Scotiabank”. Credit and lending products are subject to credit approval by Scotiabank.

The pandemic and your finances

Yes, your MD Advisor* can help you figure out what economic measures you, your family and/or your business might qualify for. You can also visit Invested MD, where we have provided a roundup of the new measures, organized by their relevance to medical students and residents, practising physicians, retired physicians, and family members. We have also created an interactive tool for physicians to help determine which support measures you could be eligible for.

Support for your virtual meetings

To schedule a meeting, simply sign in to your My MD account and send your MD Advisor* a secure message. Together, you can arrange a convenient time. If you don’t have a My MD account, you can call or email your MD Advisor or your regional MD office. You can find a list of MD offices on the "Find an office" page.

We want to work with you to make our meetings the best they can be. That’s why we’ve also put together some useful information that can help make your virtual meeting experience the best it can be, including tips for using Webex, a tool to test your home internet and a link to a test meeting so you can try it out beforehand.

We’ve made the decision to continue to serve clients virtually for the foreseeable future, most likely into the new year. We made this decision because physicians, due to the nature of their work, and their family members will remain vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus for longer than many other members of the general public. Most of our employees will also continue to work from home.

MD embraced virtual working a number of years ago, which is why we already had the required secure technology infrastructure and employee culture in place — and have been able to continue providing our clients with the same high-quality service we provided before the pandemic.

Currently, MD uses Cisco Webex for virtual meetings. Webex is video conferencing and online meeting software that allows you to securely connect with your MD team with features such as audio, video and screen sharing.

We’ve put together some tips for using Webex and other information and links that can help make your virtual meeting experience the best it can be. Before your scheduled meeting, we encourage you to:

  • Join a test meeting to check your system compatibility and address any connectivity issues.
  • JTest your internet speed.
  • Reduce background applications and simultaneous streaming activities by closing other applications and browser windows before the meeting to improve audio and video quality.

More tips and information about virtual meetings can be found here.

Virtual meetings offer the convenience and flexibility of securely connecting with your MD team from the comfort of your home or workplace in a way that saves you time and safeguards your privacy.

MD uses Cisco Webex for virtual meetings because it delivers a secure platform and takes proactive measures to ensure the highest level of security. Webex has built a strong security solution that keeps your content safe from everyone. It’s based on a “secure by design” product development methodology and use of various security frameworks.

More information about Webex security measures can be found here.

MD embraced virtual working a number of years ago, which is why we already had the required secure technology infrastructure and employee culture in place — and have been able to continue providing our clients with the same high-quality service we provided before the pandemic.

An email invitation with meeting information will be sent to you once a meeting is scheduled. You can join the meeting through your browser or mobile device, or by calling in.

  • To join through your browser:
    • Open your email invitation, click “Join” and select “Join from your browser.”
    • On the next screen, you will have the choice to turn on your audio and/or video prior to the meeting.
    • You will also be prompted to choose your audio settings (use computer for audio, call in, call me or don’t connect audio).
      • We recommend using the default, use computer for audio, if you’re using your computer with speakers or a headset.
    • Click “Join meeting.”
  • To join from your mobile device:
    • Using your mobile device, open your email invitation and click “Join.”
    • On the next screen, you will have the choice to turn on your audio and/or video prior to the meeting.
    • You will also be prompted to choose how you want to hear the meeting (use internet for audio, call in, call me or don’t connect audio).
    • Click “Join.”
    • Note: Android users connecting for the first time will be prompted to download the Cisco Webex Meetings app. Apple devices have the option of connecting through a browser, or Apple users can download the app.
    • An alternative way to join a meeting from your mobile device is to open the app, select “Join meeting,” and enter your name and email address.
  • To join by calling in:
    • Webex offers two ways to connect by calling in, and the email invitation will list two numbers.
    • To join from your mobile device, simply tap the first number provided. This will automatically call the number and enter the meeting information for you.
    • To join by phone, call the second number and enter the access code to join the meeting.
    • This option allows for audio only (you will be unable to use video with this option).

The pandemic’s impact on the market and MD Financial Management’s portfolios

The situation is changing on a regular basis. To help, we’ve created a one-stop resource where you’ll find information about the effects of the pandemic on your finances, as well as other news. We’re adding new information and updating existing posts as new details emerge.

As a part of your financial plan, your MD portfolio was designed to achieve your long-term financial goals while respecting your comfort level with risk and volatility. We’ve already adjusted our tactical asset allocation in response to changing market conditions to ensure you’re protected, and you can be sure that we’ll take further action whenever necessary.

Since the end of February, MD has been taking concrete steps to help shelter your portfolio and position it to weather a global recession. Early on, we materially reduced stock-market exposure by increasing investment in cash and bonds. In addition, we increased the amount of cash that we held in some of our stock-market funds; in others, we moved into stocks (e.g., consumer-staples stocks like Costco) that are more likely to maintain value even in a market downturn. We are now gradually re-entering risk into our portfolios and increasing stock-market exposure as we’ve observed more sustained recovery signals. However, we are continually reassessing all our investment strategies and making adjustments as necessary.

While we’re making tactical changes to help protect your investments in the short term, it’s important to stay invested to make sure you benefit when the markets recover — which they will do eventually. To ensure the best investment performance in these challenging times, it’s crucial to maintain your longer-term perspective and avoid making emotional decisions.

If you have any questions about your portfolio, please contact your MD Advisor*.

No one, including MD, knows for certain what will happen to markets in the short term, or whether we have seen the bottom of the market in this recession. That is why we always build the best portfolios we can for each client’s time horizon and objectives, and manage portfolios knowing that volatile periods are virtually inevitable.

The scale of the lockdowns worldwide in response to the COVID-19 crisis has never been seen before. While we don’t anticipate any further widespread national lockdowns, it’s impossible to accurately predict the impact on the global economy, employment levels and consumer demand in the future. Faced with this uncertainty, and the potential for future regional lockdowns, it is reasonable to expect continued wild swings in the financial markets until we settle into a “new normal.” Investors should prepare for that continuing volatility and try not to fixate on day-to-day market fluctuations.

In time, the markets will be OK again; we just don’t know if that will be in a few weeks, months or years.

Overall, MD funds and portfolios have performed as expected for a period of extreme volatility caused by an unpredictable external shock. Equity funds have lost value since their peak in February, and bond funds have protected portfolios from the severity of the loss. Certain funds, such as quality growth funds and dividend mandates, have performed very well, while value-based funds, for example, have performed worse because of higher allocations to financial stocks.

At MD, we haven’t changed our philosophy or process during this period of volatility; however, we’re conducting formal investment reviews more frequently and are acting faster than usual to adjust MD funds and portfolios in response to rapidly changing information. For example, normally we would conduct an investment review and consider our tactical position once a week, and this would usually lead to a material decision once every month or so. We are now doing investment reviews and considering our tactical position every day, seven days a week, and making a number of changes each month.

Right now, we’re focused on navigating the next three to six months. We have seen signals of economic recovery as most countries have ended their lockdowns and fiscal policy continues to be supportive. However, the threat of a second wave and vaccine trial setbacks continue to be key drivers of uncertainty. We therefore remain vigilant, and even defensive, in our positions.

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