Adviser Profile

PP 042: ADVISER PROFILE – Remembering Lawrence Shamrakov

 Lawrence Shamrakov

Lawrence Shamrakov

On 20 January 2016, Lawrence Shamrakov, a young financial adviser, lost his life in an accident while cycling to work on a busy road just outside of Melbourne. He was just 25 and left behind his wife, his future first daughter, family, friends, and his business partner at Adapt Wealth ManagementReuben Zelwer.

Reuben contacted me, and asked if he could share some thoughts about Lawrence in a podcast episode.

In this episode, Reuben reflects on what it was like working with Lawrence, shares how they came to work together, and what we can learn from a young adviser with an attitude to work and life that earned him a great deal of respect from his peers.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Lawrence’s path in financial planning – how he got to where he was, what he was like and what he contributed
  • How Lawrence and Reuben met, and how they came to start working together
  • How Lawrence become a partner at such a young age (24) 
  • What areas Lawrence really excelled in
  • What Reuben learned from Lawrence
  • How Reuben is managing the change in their business, and who is providing help and support
  • What the path forward looks like for Adapt Wealth

People on this episode

 Reuben Zelwer

Reuben Zelwer

PP 037: ADVISER PROFILE – Neil Salkow – Partnering, attracting clients and getting your own licence in an independent financial planning business

Neil Salkow is from Roskow Independent Advisory, which is a self-licensed, independent advice practice with offices in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Neil trained as an accountant but quickly moved into financial planning. And after not long working for someone else, decided to go out on his own. 

He bought a book of clients and after about a year, handed it back. He then joined up with Matt Ross to build Roskow Independent Advisory - one of the few independent advice practices in Australia.

Neil will be part of a panel talking about starting up as an independent financial adviser, at the IFAAA Symposium on 30 October in Melbourne. It’s a super opportunity to get face to face with advisers that have already trodden the path, so you can learn what worked and what didn’t. 
If you’re interested in learning more about the event, head on over to IFAAA.com.au and check it out. You don’t have to be a member to attend.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Why Neil started an independent financial planning business after initially buying a small book of clients and subsequently handing it back
  • Why he decided to partner up with another adviser, and the benefits of working with someone that shares the same values and goals for the business
  • How Neil attracted those all important first clients
  • What challenges and mistakes he made along the way
  • The process for getting your own financial services license (and it's probably not as hard as you think)

PP 035: ADVISER PROFILE – Ben Smythe – Starting up and attracting clients to an independent financial planning business

Today we’re joined by Ben Smythe from Smythe Financial Management, which is a two year old, independent financial planning practice with offices on the northern beaches and in the Sydney CBD.

Ben works mainly with two types of clients: (i) accumulators – people that are 35–55 and building wealth, and (ii) SMSF trustees that want a sounding board and a bit of guidance.

Ben will be part of a panel talking about starting up as an independent adviser, at the IFAAA Symposium on 30 October 2015 in Melbourne. It will be a small group of advisers which means you are not going to get lost in a sea of people or wooed by over-enthusiastic BDMs with company credit cards.
If you’re interested in learning more about the event, head on over to IFAAA.com.au and check it out. You don’t have to be a member to attend.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Why Ben decided to become a true independent adviser, rather than being aligned with an institution, or charging in any way other than pure fee for advice
  • What strategies Ben used to attract 60 clients in just two years, from scratch
  • How he dealt with taking on non-ideal clients, while he was in start-up phase
  • The hardest things about starting up and what his challenges are now
Ben Smythe quote

PP 034: ADVISER PROFILE – Michael Rees-Evans – Starting an independent financial planning practice

Michael Rees-Evans.jpg

In this episode, we’re joined by Michael Rees-Evans from Libertas Wealth, which is a small financial planning practice in Sydney, that’s independent in the true legal sense of the word.

That means no commissions, no asset-based fees, and no ownership links with product manufacturers. There are very few – less than 100 – of those advisers in Australia.

Michael has a pretty interesting background. He trained as an accountant, and had a career in management consulting before moving into financial services and financial planning.

Michael will be part of a panel at the IFAAA Symposium on 30 October 2015 in Melbourne. It will be a small group of advisers which makes it a pretty awesome opportunity to talk to people that are doing things differently – whether you are independent or not. 
If you’re interested in learning more about it, head on over to IFAAA.com.au and check it out. You don’t have to be a member to attend.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How Michael has used a strong connection with an accounting business to help attract clients right from the get-go
  • Why being independent is important to him and his clients (and yes, independence is also a big selling point)
  • What successes Michael's achieved for both his clients and his business
  • What challenges Michael's had around capital, hiring and managing outsourcing providers

PP 030: ADVISER PROFILE – Phil Thompson – How to get started with video marketing

Phil Thompson

Today we’re joined by Phil Thompson from Thompson Financial Services, which is a small financial planning business in Melbourne, which Phil took over about 3 years ago.

Phil has been doing some really cool things with video marketing, and currently produces a weekly "Phil's Finance Fix" video which he emails to his clients and prospective clients. The videos are high quality, authentic and a great knowledge sharing tool.

Here's an example of one of Phil's videos.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How Phil got started in financial planning (and what his previous, seriously awesome former career was)
  • Why he chose to create videos, over other forms of content, for his financial planning business
  • How his videos help him with the sales process (which he considers himself really bad at)
  • The process and tools Phil uses to script, record and produce videos his compliance team give the thumbs up to
  • How he is experimenting with the video streaming app - Periscope - and why he loves it
Quote - Phil Thompson

People on this episode

 Phil's the one doing the handstand!

Phil's the one doing the handstand!

PP 029: ADVISER PROFILE – Lea Schodel – Niches, yoga and communication

Lea Schodel

Today we’re joined by Lea Schodel from MHP Private Wealth and LeaSchodel.com. Lea is a qualified financial planner who is using her skills to run a wealth coaching business for women in a highly targeted niche.

Niching is something that we don’t see a whole lot of in the financial planning industry in Australia. But Lea has taken her involvement with yoga, and is using that as a foundation and a language for talking about money with younger females that are interested in health and wellness.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How Lea got to where she is today (including running a para-planning business while travelling around Australia in a caravan)
  • How Lea communicates with and attracts clients using practical workshops combining yoga with money
  • Why Lea got involved with the US based XY Planning Network and what she is learning from them
I love getting new ideas - Lea Schodel

PP 018: Marshall Brentnall [Part 2] – Success, mistakes, video, courage

Marshall Brentnall

Marshall Brentnall is a partner and financial adviser at Evalesco Financial Services in Sydney, who has built a successful practice with his business partner Jeff Thurecht.

This is part two of a two part series with Marshall.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Marshall’s successes and mistakes, and what he's learned
  • How he uses video to help his clients and the charities they are passionate about
  • Why courage is important to being a successful financial adviser
QUOTE: Marshall Brentnall - We are not in competition with each other

People on this episode

Mentioned on this episode

PP 017: Marshall Brentnall [Part 1] – Values-based client conversations and the power of blogging

Marshall Brentnall

Marshall Brentnall is a partner and financial adviser at Evalesco Financial Services in Sydney, who has built a successful practice with his business partner Jeff Thurecht.

Evalesco provide guidance and financial leadership to mum and dad wealth accumulators, who have some financial complexity in their lives. 

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The importance of having great people on your team
  • The impact (for both clients and the business) of having values-based discussions with clients
  • The evolution of Marshall and Evalesco’s blogging journey – how it has become more fun recently, the results he's seen, and how he's managed to get the whole team involved
You have to cut through the noise - Marshall Brentnall

PP 016: Sarah Riegelhuth and Finn Kelly – Goals and values based financial planning

Sarah Riegelhuth and Finn Kelly

Sarah Riegelhuth and Finn Kelly are Gen Y planners who have built two successful financial planning businesses - WE Private and Wealth Enhancers - in just five years.

They started their business in 2009, just six weeks after having met. They now have teams in Melbourne, Sydney and the Philippines, and have also tied the knot.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How Sarah and Finn got to where they are today
  • The goals and values based approach to financial planning they use in their practice
  • The challenges of recruiting people who have similar values and who also follow the "get rich slow" way
  • The events Sarah and Finn run, including the Make Over Your Finances program, and the infamous WE Frat Party they hold in the lane way behind their Melbourne office
  • How Sarah came to write her book, Get Rich Slow, and how being recognised in the media led to a publisher approaching her
  • The Wealth Enhancers pricing structure – what it is, how it works, and why it’s designed the way it is
  • Sarah and Finn tell us about building a community of clients (which they call members), and how they've created an environment where clients actually want to meet and help each other
Start thinking about having deeper conversations with your clients

PP 015: David Rae – Building a personal brand

Dave Rae

Today we're joined by Dave Rae who is a financial planner and director at Beames and Associates in Canberra.

He is a keen cyclist and was recently crowned the Count Adviser of the Year. He also writes a blog at davidjrae.com.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Why Dave started his blog and how it’s evolved over the last couple of years
  • What Dave is doing with video to help improve the advice process, and build relationships with his clients
  • The tools he uses to record videos
  • Dave's approach to each social media channel (hint: it’s different for each platform)
  • The overall resulting change in mindset he’s had throughout the last couple of years, and his new focus on continuous improvement
It's about getting to the crux of what's important in their life

PP 013: Anne Graham – Education, social media, challenges and growth

Anne Graham

Today we're joined by Anne Graham who is a financial planner and partner at McPhail Financial Planning in Victoria. Anne was the winner of the 2013 AFA Excellence in Education Award.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How Anne got started in financial planning
  • The importance of education
  • Being positive on social media
  • Anne's biggest challenges and mistakes
  • Plans to grow the business (including a big office refit)
I like lifting the weight off their shoulders

PP 012: Gavin Latz – The Parents’ Adviser

Gavin Latz

Today we’re joined by Gavin Latz, who is a financial adviser at CountPlusOne in Sydney.

Gavin is also known as The Parents’ Adviser, and he helps families with kids that have serious illnesses.

He started working with these families after his son, Liam, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and it turned his world upside down. He watched other families go through a similar experience - not knowing what their options were - and decided to do something about it.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • How Gavin provides practical support to families with sick kids
  • How Gavin found his "why"
Listen more. Talk less.

PP 011: Dominique Bergel-Grant – Women, niches, events and the media

Dominique Bergel-Grant

Today we're joined by Dominique Bergel-Grant who is the founder and principal financial adviser at Leapfrog Financial in Sydney.

Dominique has successfully built her practice from scratch to 4 (almost 5) staff in just 3 years. She’s also been featured in publications such as Women’s Health and Fitness, Australian Property Investor and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • The work Dominique is doing around educating women about money – not just the technical, but trying to change the perception women (and others) have about financial planners.
  • How Dominique is building many different funnels to attract new clients. She’s using events, LinkedIn, she’s constantly in the press, and she’s also building sub-brands to attract clients from a couple of niches.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • The work Dominique is doing around educating women about money – not just the technical, but trying to change the perception women (and others) have about financial planners.
  • How Dominique is building many different funnels to attract new clients. She’s using events, LinkedIn, she’s constantly in the press, and she’s also building sub-brands to attract clients from a couple of niches.
Financial advice should be accessible and approachable.

PP 010: Nick Sinclair – Outsourcing, blogging and running events

Nick Sinclair

Today we're joined by Nick Sinclair who is the principal adviser and owner of Wealthfarm on the Gold Coast. Wealthfarm are a financial planning, accounting, mortgage broking and property services firm.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • How Nick has used outsourcing to scale his business to over 50 employees, which has produced awesome results for both his business and his clients
  • How consistent blogging has built Nick’s profile, got him media attention, and attracted clients (and how he does all this in less than an hour a week)
  • Nick's philosophy about using education to market his business
  • The type of events Wealthfarm runs, the topics they cover, and how they target different segments of the market to great effect
If no one knows you, no one's going to ring you for advice

PP 008: Amie Wild [Part 2] – Tactics to achieve short and long term growth goals

Amie WIld

Today is the second part of a chat with Amie Wild who’s an insurance specialist at Armour Insurance Solutions in Botany.

This is part two of a two part series.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • Amie's short and long term goals for the business
  • the tactics Amie is implementing to market and grow her business

And stick around until the end of the episode, where I offer a few suggestions for how Amie can enhance and better control her online presence, with the ultimate goal of helping attract and retain more of her ideal clients.

These are  people’s dreams we deal with; people’s goals; people’s  livelihoods.

PP 007: Amie Wild [Part 1] – Building a new insurance business with next to no capital

Amie Wild

Today we're joined by Amie Wild who is an insurance specialist at Armour Insurance Solutions. Amie has a business that’s less than a year old, and she has big plans for growth.

This is part one of a two part series.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • How Amie came to start her business
  • The slightly unusual structure of the business, and how that helped Amie start up with very little capital and still maintain support
  • The challenges of attracting new clients and referral partners, and how Amie is using social media and particularly community involvement to her advantage
  • The challenges of pricing when you are an insurance only adviser
Women are often the decision makers in the household

PP 006: Jenny Brown – Awards, systems, huge profitability gains, team culture and social media

Jenny Brown

Today we're joined by Jenny Brown who is a business owner, financial planner and the 2013 AFA Adviser of the Year. Jenny operates JBS Financial Strategists in Melbourne, Victoria.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • How Jenny used the practice benchmarking and client engagement results from her 2012 tilt at the AFA Adviser of the Year award, to focus on and improve specific areas of the business, and which led to her winning in 2013 (and she also got a healthier business and even better engagement with clients)
  • What Jenny and the team did to simplify and systemise their business and client processes, and how that contributed to a two and half times boost to their profitability
  • How Jenny builds a fun and very team oriented culture, with a strong focus on continual improvement
  • How JBS use social media to build stronger relationships with existing clients, and attract the right kind of new clients
Change is exciting. Change gives you opportunities.

PP 004: Joe Stephan [Part 2] – A business overhaul and building a great client experience

We chat with Joe Stephan who runs Stephan Strategic - a financial planning practice in Kew, Victoria. Joe operates the business with his brother James.

This is part two of a two part series.

Joe Stephan

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • How Joe plans to make use of video and social channels this year, to improve efficiency and engagement with his clients
  • How a complete overhaul of fees, service delivery, and client touch points a couple of years ago, led the business to being awarded the runner-up prize in the FPA Best Practice Awards in 2012
  • Why Joe has such a strong focus on continuing to build a great client experience and how he hopes that will contribute to business growth
PP004 - Your advice is valuable

PP 003: Joe Stephan [Part 1] - Working with family, using technology to leverage time, educating advisers

We chat with Joe Stephan who runs Stephan Strategic - a financial planning practice in Kew, Victoria. Joe operates the business with his brother James.

This is part one of a two part series.

Joe Stephan

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • What it’s like to work with family
  • How Joe uses technology and systems to leverage time, so he can spend more of it on building relationships with clients
  • How Joe got involved with lecturing in financial planning
  • Joe's thoughts on the gaps in the education of advisers
PP003 Quote - The non-relationship building functions should be outsourced or technology should take care of it.

PP 002: Matthew Ross [Part 2] - Three marketing strategies, PR, magic dust, growth, staffing challenges

Matthew Ross

We chat with Matthew Ross who is a fiercely independent financial adviser and the owner of Roskow Independent Advisory, which has offices in Melbourne and Brisbane.

This is part two of a two part series.

Listen and learn

In this episode you'll discover:

  • How Matt got involved with Scott Pape
  • The three marketing strategies he's focusing on in 2014
  • Asking for and obtaining referrals
  • Empowering and educating trusted advisers
  • Building media relations
  • How an interview on the 7.30 Report a couple of years ago, still generates enquiries
  • The challenges of finding the right staff to support growth
  • Matt's must-read books
  • The importance of story and communication
  • Why getting your own licence is so important
Advisers think people won't pay fees and they will

People on this episode

Mentioned on this episode