In our new web series, Practice Matters, we spoke to three wealth professionals: Jessica Brady (Fox & Hare), Dan Blatch (IMFG) and Kris Mason (MBS Insurance).
All three run very different businesses, and yet they were all affected by the Royal Commission – but in some cases, not in the way you’d expect. In this piece, we explore their thoughts on what the Commission meant for financial advice, and how they’ve been navigating it.
You could say that launching a financial planning business from scratch, working with 25-to-45-year-olds in the midst of a Royal Commission was potentially a questionable thing to do.
Actually, though, it has worked out quite the opposite for us. Because we're a non-aligned licensee –and because we charge flat fees – we've actually found that the Royal Commission has worked very much in our favour. Our clients have had fantastic conversations with us; they’ve actually become more engaged.
Obviously, most people have heard about the Royal Commission and some of the really sad stories that have come out of it, but in some ways it’s been a big breath of fresh air. Because if you’re able to articulate what it is that you do, and give really good client examples, we’ve found that people who come to see us are eager to engage in that conversation.
Bizarrely, we welcomed the Royal Commission, and that’s simply because nothing’s really changed in our conversations. The client’s best interest has always been at the start of everything we do – and at the end of it, as well. So whether it’s regulation or the Royal Commission, if there's any overlay that allows clients to have a more transparent conversation and better outcomes across the industry, we welcome it.
The principals are very much invested in the business. So the only way we win is if our clients win, and because of that, the Commission has helped – there are a number of our peers who, perhaps, are looking to exit the industry as a result of more regulatory oversight, whereas we see that as a huge opportunity to help more Australians.
Look, the bulk of the Royal Commission was obviously focused on the insurers themselves. If anything, it's been a positive, because it's probably put insurance up in lights a bit. This is only a good thing for us, because if someone’s become more aware of insurance, it tends to lead them to wanting an adviser to have a look at it.
It’s definitely led to more enquiries at the client level in regards to whether a claim is going to get paid or what-have-you, but that’s easy enough for an adviser to set straight.
Overall, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of not jumping at shadows. I know a lot of people have put their businesses into neutral, but we’ve always been big on “controlling the controllables,” so we haven’t wasted a huge amount of time looking at what might happen.
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