When Mark Chan of Avondale Wealth was seeking a new Australian Financial Services Licence, he wasn’t just looking for a licensee. He wanted to experience a licensing recruitment process with rigour that would convince him that only financial planners of the highest calibre would be admitted.
What he didn’t count on was a surprising ‘bonus’ that has helped him grow his business, enable it to become more efficient, more profitable and generally more successful.
Mark is the Principal and Senior Financial Planner of Avondale Wealth, a quality financial planning firm located in Paramatta, Sydney.
His financial planning practice of 21 years has been built on the back of highly qualified advice that is carefully tailored to individual needs, Mark’s own integrity and close and trusted relationships with his clients and community.
He joined Fortnum Private Wealth in July 2019 in the wake of the Banking Royal Commission.
At the time, there were (and continue to be) plenty of licensees recruiting. Mark was keen to enter a recruitment process that would meet his licensing requirements but more importantly, would define guaranteed quality standards. He met with a dozen licensees.
Licence recruitment is a two-way street. While Fortnum were looking into Mark’s qualifications, experience, reputation and service delivery standards, he was looking carefully at Fortnum’s professional pedigree, credentials and overall offer.
Interestingly, high on his checklist was a requirement for Fortnum to scrutinise his business.
Not because he wanted to make it difficult for himself, but because he felt if greater effort was required to attain Fortnum’s standards and meet their application criteria, this provided evidence of the quality and professional calibre of other financial planning practices who had already made the grade.
He was also interested in Fortnum’s approach to growth and its plans for evolving its service offering over time, along with a robust approach to governance and genuine respect for compliance.
However, Fortnum had also talked about its collegiate culture.
For Mark, access to others within the licensee group was nothing new. However, the Fortnum attitude was different. His prior licensee’s professional development interactions had been something of a top-down approach.
Mark explained, “access to information was limited to what the licensee felt was important or what they wanted their planners to know.”
Conversely, Fortnum asks planners about their challenges and remains abreast of the industry, tailoring information to support planners in their financial planning businesses.
When it came to information exchanges between individual planners, Mark’s prior experience had been at best, guarded. But as he points out, “when you are part of a licensee with a planner on every corner, that was to be expected, as everyone is in competition with one another!”
Mark said it couldn’t be more different at Fortnum.
“Extremely qualified financial planners with lifetimes of experience openly shared what they have learned, and without a hint of arrogance.”
Here, Mark describes his personal experience of peer-to-peer learning that changed his financial planning practice forever…
“I attended a Fortnum Business POD which put me together with four other Fortnum financial planning practices. While we discussed a range of business matters, it was our discussion about the client review process that significantly changed my business.
“I had until then, followed the traditional review process that involved scheduling appointments with clients and over an hour or two, extracting information relating to changes in their current and future circumstances. This of course forced a follow up meeting to present recommendations and signing off on proposed solutions. It was costing several hundred hours in review time each year.
“In that Fortnum meeting, financial client review experiences were shared that completely changed how I now manage client reviews. The changes have personally saved me hundreds of hours of time-consuming work and created back-office efficiencies which have flow-on effects that include reduced costs and improved profitability, all while delivering a significantly better client experience,” he said.
Mark quotes a well-known saying in Fortnum circles ‘iron sharpens iron’ to describe how everyone has opportunity, no matter how experienced, to learn from one another.
To move your financial planning practice forward with a licensee that provides so much more than just a licence, please take a moment to explore our website and follow us on social media. We invite you to get to know us and learn how we can provide the licensing and business services you seek, and deserve.
At Fortnum, we are known for our caring, energetic approach, adviser-aligned licensee ownership and a highly collaborative community of financial planning practices. We provide freedom within a proven framework which has a robust approach to risk and governance that creates opportunity for financial planners to build their ideal financial planning business.
Mark Chan, Avondale Wealth
Mark is the Principal and Senior Financial Planner of Avondale Wealth, located in Paramatta, Sydney. Avondale Wealth is one of Fortnum’s leading, client-centric practices.