October 26, 2017
October 26, 2017 | Investments Insightz
Why what it takes to be a winning adviser may not be what you think
To say that we’ve faced a challenging few months globally is probably the understatement of the century. From seemingly endless bout of natural disasters in North and Central America, to the tragic events in Las Vegas, and political brinkmanship between the US and North Korea, you’d be forgiven for counting down the days left in 2017 – there’s 66 by the way!
And it’s easy to get weighed down by the negative noise at times like these, however I was fortunate to be reminded recently, that no matter how many challenges we face, there is always much more to be thankful for.
This year’s AFA conference was the perfect example. It was so heartening to meet so many of you and get to hear first-hand about the inspiring work that we do as an industry, on the ground every day helping Australians retire, recover, or reconnect with loved ones to live their very best life.
As a strong supporter of financial advice – and the advisers who provide it – Zurich was proud to sponsor the AFA Adviser and Practice of the Year Awards, which marked its fifteenth year of celebrating the leading lights in the advice profession.
Now, I know I say this every year but I was truly blown away by the level of talent we uncovered in this year’s winners – and finalists for that matter. Another question I get asked every year as a judge is, “What is it that makes an Adviser or Practice of the year stand apart?”
Of course we see many different kinds of adviser come forward every year, with different strengths, philosophies and ways of doing business, but this year I have to say that the key differentiator was focus.
Which all comes back to being able to filter out the negative noise that continues to swirl around the periphery of the profession, and focus on what’s really important. For our Adviser of the Year Charlie Fraser and Managing Director of Practice of the Year winner, MEDIQ, Ravi Agarwal, this approach meant that they were able to perform at the highest level and maintain their focus on their customers and achieving the objectives that drew them to the profession all those years ago.
These two industry leaders are delivering genuinely life-changing advice to so many ordinary Australians, people who, given the current landscape, really need it.
Charlie Fraser has an inspiring mantra: “You need to be something to someone”.
In his case, the ‘someone’ is a very niche group, the families of those caring for loved ones who have lost their capacity for normal life, through catastrophic illness or injury, and have received large financial payouts. The ‘something’ is providing comprehensive financial and human services – which Charlie likes to call ‘wellbeing advocacy’ – to help them manage what can be very complex affairs.
For Ravi, his focus was shaped by an upbringing with medical professional parents – and their peers – who were too busy helping others to focus on their own financial wellbeing. This experience, coupled with a near fatal accident in his younger years, gave Ravi the focus to achieve his own higher purpose. His way of repaying a profession that does so much to help people, is to provide them with specialised financial advice, and in the process ‘liberate’ them to be able to spend more time with their own families.
Speaking with these advisers throughout and learning from their philosophies was a real breath of fresh air, and I’m so excited is now able to be shared with the wider profession.
In addition to the award-winning focus and commitment to a higher purpose that Charlie and Ravi both shared, I’ve also been interested to notice the shift in ways of thinking that the advice profession is starting to share more broadly. At Zurich we’ve coined this the “It’s not about the money” approach.
This approach recognises that clients want to be excited about their financial future. The investment strategy or product that they ultimately use to facilitate this is irrelevant to them. It about having an adviser who is as invested in them as multi-faceted individuals, with families, aspirations and lifestyle dreams, as they are adept at building a portfolio to get them there. Ultimately they want to feel as though they are being supported on their journey – money comes second to this.
The broadening of the role of a financial adviser in this respect is an exciting prospect – not just for clients but for the wider industry – and is something Zurich has been following closely in our research with financial advice thought-leaders in our recent whitepaper BusinessFIT: Navigating towards the advice practice of tomorrow.
If you’d like to find out more about these trends that are currently underfoot in the advice profession, as well as practical tips to help future-proof your business, you can download the whitepaper here.
Elsewhere in Investments Insightz this month we speak to Steven Aspland from Now Financial Group to find out why he thinks technology will be so important to keeping BusinessFIT in the coming years, the changing type of ‘typical’ client, and the best piece of advice he’s ever given.
We also check in with Senior Investment Specialist, Patrick Noble for the latest look at the global markets, and find out how to overcome the challenges to delivering consistent income for clients.