News out of the Hayne Royal Commission into financial services has raised concerns among many people about how they can expect to receive trustworthy, thoughtful and appropriate financial and investment advice in such a climate.
There is no doubt that the appalling conduct of some Australian institutions and their nominal ‘advisers’ has had a significant financial impact on some clients who had put their trust and faith in the advice they were receiving.
With all this in mind I wanted to take this opportunity to share some personal thoughts from my 28 years of financial services experience, including the last 15 years advising and coordinating the financial affairs of successful private clients and their families.
Firstly, regarding the Royal Commission findings, unfortunately there has always been a plethora of financial products, services and investment solutions on offer to the public by self-interested parties – parties who have put their own interests above those of the client.
Secondly, with all the choice, noise and misinformation present in the financial marketplace, financial decisions can at times be complex and difficult to make. As a result, we often tend to put off such decisions to a future date that never quite seems to eventuate.
Thirdly, it is completely understandable that for people seeking professional advice to help them with their personal wealth management needs, the process of choosing the right financial adviser is quite challenging.
As a result, despite having a number of financial institutions in their lives, in our experience many successful individuals and family groups are still not as confident as they could be about their financial future.
These were exactly the reasons that prompted me to leave my investment banking career back in 2003 – so l could establish a business that would fill a major gap in what successful people were experiencing in the financial services industry: a fee based, client centric advisory practice that helps co-ordinate the financial affairs for a relatively small community of professionals, business owners and their families.
My corporate experience in financial services was a gift that helped me understand financial markets first hand. It showed me how clients can have a successful investment experience and the true value of tailored advice. I am fortunate to now be able to apply my real-world knowledge and experience to help our clients achieve what is most important to them.
Calibre Private Wealth Advisers have a simple set of principles when it comes to managing our professional and ethical obligations in relation to our valued clients. Personally, these unwavering principles have allowed us to create a business that l am very proud of and our team passionately believes in:
1. To act in the best interests of the client at all times
We provide advice and recommendations that are in our client’s best interests. Period. Not because we are legally obligated to do so (although we are). Not because it works well as a business model (although it does). Simply because it is right. Our other principles follow the path of this guiding principle.
2. Private ownership
Calibre has no institutional ownership – we are not owned by a bank, fund manager or insurance company. This ensures that we have no conflicts of interest and our advice is not compromised in any way.
3. We focus on professional advice, not products
We are client centric (not product or sales centric), which means we focus on goal oriented, strategic advice and targeted solutions for our clients. Our clients understand that their wealth carries with it some degree of complexity, so they need and want much more than just investment advice. In our view, true wealth management must go beyond traditional investment ideas and solutions to encompass all types of financial needs throughout all phases of our clients’ financial lives.
4. We only take on clients we can significantly help
We wish to limit our practice to successful professionals and family groups for whom we can make a significant impact well above what fees we charge as we know this is the basis for building long term client relationships. If we do not feel we are a good fit or the right firm to help then we will say so and promise to point you in the right direction to resolve your needs.
Most of our new client work comes to us by referral from our existing clients and other professional advisers who recognise the benefits and associated value of a long-term relationship with us.
5. Professional collaboration
Unlike many financial advisers who may limit their focus to investments only, we provide leadership and expertise in the broad range of financial disciplines through a combination of in house capability and access to a handpicked, professional network of subject matter experts. We also work pro-actively with any of our clients’ existing professional advisers.
6. Transparency and Fee for Service
We are a fee for service practice. Our Clients pay our advice fees and we do not receive any other forms of compensation – so there are no conflicts of interest. Prior to any engagement, we will clearly set out the fees you can expect to pay; the benefits you can expect to receive in return and therefore be able to clearly assess the relative value of our engagement.
We believe that access to trustworthy, thoughtful and appropriate financial advice is available – its just a matter of finding the right, fee-based firm that takes the time to understand what truly matters to their clients and always acts in their best interests. We look forward to continuing to serve our valued clients and to offering our services (by referral) to those people that our clients care most about.