Friday's final word goes to...

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Tony Bates, Bluepoint Consulting

Why did you get into financial planning?

I was running Macquarie Private Banking in the 1990’s and we were referring $10m plus clients to external financial planners.  Back then, BT and Macquarie were the last two product houses too frightened to compete with their adviser clients.  I decided to write my own  financial plan in 1997 for a banking client who sold his business for $50m.  I took it to the powers that be at Macquarie and they agreed to let us become members of the FPA.  I still have that first ever Macquarie Financial Plan signed off by the Managing Director and I still have that client (and his kids and his grandkids)  I have charged this client a  fixed monthly retainer from 1997 and have done the same with every client since.

How would you sum up financial planners in three words?

Worth paying properly

Best bit of advice you’ve ever given?

Stop looking at your portfolio every morning.  A recently widowed client was suddenly burdened with the responsibility of a $10m portfolio.  I could track how often she was looking at her portfolio and for how long.  In our meeting we talked about responsibility, about the difference between delegation and abdication and what checks and balances she had on her advisers.  8 years on, she receives a monthly payment into her bank account and she never looks at her portfolio except if I draw something to her attention 

How would you change the industry?

Our whole industry focus is on “product advice”.  Remove the final product choice from the advice piece.  Advice is about strategy, direction, outcomes  and potential impacts.   

Imagine the upheaval if product names were banned from Statements of Advice and the final product was selected by some other random process.  FOFA would then be a no brainer

Coffee or tea?...Or something harder?

Before lunchtime? Definitely coffee,

After dinner? tea

After work? shiraz time

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Right now …a seven bedroom home on northern beaches in my price range.  On Valentines Day I became engaged to a “yummy mummy” of three, I am a dad of three.  Three boys three girls.  Just call me Mike Brady.

What're your plans for the weekend

There’s an open for inspection of a five bedroom place plus a home office and a rumpus room.  Hope Peter and Bobby don’t mind sharing!

What would you like to have the final word on..

Statements of Advice should be 3-8 pages.  ASIC has been telling the industry this for fifteen years but dealer groups are not listening.  The only Statement of Advice I ever wrote that was longer than 10 pages was my resubmitted financial plan to pass the old DFP6 in the early 1990’s.  If the guts of my advice is not obvious by the time my client turns the first page, then there is no chance my advice has of being “clear concise and effective”.  My 1997 plan on $50m signed off by the Managing Director of Macquarie Bank was 9 pages plus a list of products and appendices.  On the cover was a picture of my client fly fishing -  the core reason why he should accept my advice.  I’m glad to say he is fly fishing in Tasmania as I write this 16 years on.

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