Roundtable part 1: Financial literacy featuring the AFA Practice of the Year and Adviser of the Year finalists

From
RoundTable_full-group-main-580

Chris Browne, Catherine Robson, Paul Forbes, Michael Nowak, Eleanor Dartnall, Brad Fox, PJ Byrne, Tapel Cafer, Andy Marshall

On the eve of the Finalist showcase, AdviserVoice gathered together all of the finalists for the AFA Adviser of the Year and Practice of the Year Awards along with awards partner Zurich for a round table discussion to share ideas and canvass industry issues.

Here in the first of a three part series, we look at their view of the state of financial literacy and what financial advisers are doing to help raise standards of financial literacy within the community. (Read the second roundtable here, read the third roundtable here).

Who’s who

  • Catherine Robson, Affinity Private – Finalist, AFA Adviser of the Year
  • PJ Byrne, Mr Insurance – Finalist, AFA Adviser of the Year
  • Eleanor Dartnall, Dartnall Advisers – Finalist, AFA Adviser of the Year
  • Paul Forbes, Robina Financial Solutions – Finalist, AFA Practice of the Year
  • Chris Browne, Rising Tide – Finalist, AFA Practice of the Year
  • Tapel Cafer, Complete Financial Balance – Finalist, AFA Practice of the Year
  • Michael Nowak, Joe Nowak Financial Services Group and National President of the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)
  • Brad Fox, CEO, Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)
  • Andy Marshall, Head of Sales Strategies and Research for Zurich’s retail risk business

——————–

AdviserVoice: First of all, I’d like to hear from you all how you’d rate your own clients’ financial literacy, specifically in relation to insurance issues.

 

Catherine Robson

Catherine Robson

Catherine Robson: We deal with professional people who are often very highly educated and take notice of financial issues. While they know their facts and figures, they find it difficult to apply that to themselves and their own behaviour, and so that’s why they need an adviser. And I think one of the blind spots for them is insurance because while, theoretically, they know that it’s a good idea, somehow, they think they are exempt from the laws of the universe and it’s not going to happen to them.

PJ Byrne: We have a client base that spreads across the Australian demographic so we do mums and dads through to business owners. In terms of clients’ literacy, it’s just about encouraging them to invest the time to

PJ Byrne

PJ Byrne

understand what they need to understand and get it right the first time, and that’s where advisers can make a difference – to tell them that you do get what you pay for.

Paul Forbes: I think people actually understand the broader context but I don’t think they understand how it applies to them. So, if I look at the people who come to us, some of them will understand it. They will have done quite well in their lives. But one of the questions they really don’t get is “How much is enough?” They actually don’t know when they can retire.

Chris BrowneWe spend a lot of time in the early days just bringing them up to speed. We don’t talk about

Paul Forbes

Paul Forbes

insurance; we talk about “What’s your Plan B?” and I think that’s talking in their language as opposed to our language, and I think that’s really, really important. And, also, it’s important to know that there is no silver bullet and we need to consider things like internet clips on YouTube. We need to think about going out and educating people in their work places, and we need to think about the wider media.

Eleanor Dartnall: We had a huge financial literacy issue with self-funded

Chris Browne

Chris Browne

retirees. Most of those clients were professional. You had to insist that they brought their spouse with them because the assets were also in their name, and I had quite a journey to get them to realize that I needed to teach their wives. You know, I had to use very mundane language. I would say “if you’re a 70-year-old engineer, it’s a monty that you’re going to go first and your wife’s going to be vulnerable to the first bit of rubbish advice she gets”. And then, they’ll say, “Well, will you teach her?”

AdviserVoice: What are the barriers to better financial literacy?

 

Tapel Cafer: When we’re talking about the younger generation, this is a serious topic that they actually haven’t listened to because it’s not really going to apply to them. So, you’ve got to find different ways to relate to them. You could be using comic sketch via social media to get to get to that audience.

Eleanor Dartnall

Eleanor Dartnall

Chris Browne: The important piece is just meeting clients where they want to be met. I think, too often, we dictate how they interact with our business. You know, it’s the big board room or it’s the stiff meeting room and all that sort of stuff. Some people don’t care about stuff like that.

Brad Fox: I think technology is an enabler. We have to change how we reach out and social media can be part of that, but also reaching different audiences, choosing different language for different audiences, different communication means. We need to change the whole perception about insurance – from a discretionary purchase item in an Australian household to an essential purchase item.

Tapel Cafer

Tapel Cafer

Tapel Cafer: One of the best forms of marketing we have found is actually peer to peer. We’re very big in the medical space and we do a lot of sponsorships at conferences and it’s an educational process. We have a large number of orthopaedic surgeons as clients and registrars as clients, they come in and speak on our behalf. Not only endorsing our company but endorsing the insurance industry because they now truly value the insurance industry because they have lived it. They have lived the trauma of someone being diagnosed or having the accident. They’ve also learned the insurance industry does actually pay – not watching a video, this is actually hearing it from their mouths.

AdviserVoice: How do you get to the people before they come in your door? How do get them to come in your door?

 

Brad Fox

Brad Fox

Brad Fox: Whenever you’re trying to create mass influence, you’ve got to find where the gatekeepers are and how do we influence the influencers which are those gatekeepers. You know school teachers are the classic ones to meet kids.

Chris Browne: Over the course of the last twelve months, we’ve done 18 wealth workshops in small businesses and, sometimes, the person of influence – the CEO of that business – does an introduction and says,  “Bring in the team, they look after my financial affairs. I’m really, really pleased so I’ve invited them in to do a lunchtime session with you”. We’ve found that the amount of traction that we get with that audience is far superior to the opportunities where we’re invited in, we’re doing the presentation but we don’t get the endorsement from the CEO. We might get 50 percent that come along and meet with us, but it’s not the 90 percent that we would with the endorsement from the CEO.

Andy Marshall

Andy Marshall

Andy Marshall: I did a presentation this week and asked the audience if they knew the Risk Store stats on how many claims were paid out last year? The audience were financial advisers, it was a room of 125 people and no one knew. No-one, that’s appalling because you should know that but it’s also what you then do with that stat because with that stat you can actually make it real and say, “What that actually means, Mr. and Mrs. Client, is that 170-plus families got X million dollars paid out a day.” That would join the dots. They know bad stuff happens but it’s about the reassurance piece and I think what we need to factor is how do you reassure people that there’s something really positive from interacting with an adviser?

———————-

The Association of Financial Advisers Awards will give separate recognition to the best individual adviser and to best advice practice for the first time this year. The winners will be announced at the AFA National Adviser Conference, to be held in Cairns, October 12-14. Zurich has proudly partnered with the Adviser of the Year Award since its inception in 2003 and now also for the inaugural Practice of the Year Award.

zurich-logo-168px-x-102px  

 

You must be logged in to post or view comments.