“May you live in interesting times” was a curse used in ancient Chinese times. I think we live in the most interesting and dynamic time seen on earth, however I’m sure that some people will still consider it a curse. We’ve got the United States increasing interest rates as they’re optimistic, we’ve got the United States threatening economic war on the rest of the world. Locally, we’ve got Sydney property prices at unsustainable highs but other capital cities such as Perth at it’s most affordable in a generation. Hobart is going crazy, but wages going nowhere. And now, the royal commission into Financial Services wreaking all sorts of havoc on the financial planning and related industries. Nothing is cheap to buy (shares or property) globally, so we’re really playing the long game at the moment as there isn’t much easy money out there.
I packed my backpack to go pick up the kids from school on Friday to read the news that Dover Financial Planning has handed back it’s license to ASIC in an unprecedented move to has left more than 400 financial planners facing an uncertain future. To smack these guys down even further, ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission) have released a notice saying that clients should consider finding a different adviser and for firms looking to hire ex-Dover advisers to think twice about it. Ouch! Of the 400+ advisers in Dover, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that about 350 of them are decent, and of the remaining, some are slack and a few are downright incompetent or dodgy. ASIC I doubt would have met many of them yet are happy to condemn them all. I would dare say this isn’t any different to any other large financial advisory firm. I’ve seen advice from AMP, CBA and the other big banks that just defies logic and reason.
As a Financial Planner, you’re categorised in many ways. Firstly, just by being an adviser, you’re dodgy. My wife was at our kids school and mentioned to someone that I was a financial planner. The response just floored her “Oh, so your husband steals clients money to pay for the school fees, nice.” In jest or not, it’s just a shit comment really. I’m often the first to bag out my industry as I’m always a believer that you can do better, and we really can. As a firm, we do everything possible to improve our clients situation – but we’re super lucky because we’re not tied down to a product and we’ve got a great network of clients who are happy to pay for that. Not everyone is as lucky. I had a prospect tell me once that they’d never pay more than $300 for a financial plan. Imagine telling your dentist that you’d not pay more than $20 for them to clean and repair your teeth – you’d be shown the door.
I guess this is my welcome back to blogging post – I’ve taken an extended amount of time off. We’ve changed the structure of our firm and we’ve now incorporated accounting into our service mix, moved office, hired new people, sold off a couple of the firms divisions – all quite a bit of a distraction to the important job of blogging!
More tips and tricks to come soon!