Chris Black, director of Toowoomba advice business Fortress Financial Planning, is only 28 years old. He is part of a new breed of young advisers with fresh hope and big plans.
Black, who became a Suncorp Bank financial planner aged 23 before starting his own business last September, says younger advisers have an advantage over their more weathered counterparts as they adapt to change more quickly.
“Coming into the industry now, there is constant change. It seems a positive thing. Younger generations are used to [change] but older generations potentially don’t adapt as well.
“The educational requirements are a lot stronger now, so we get a good grounding and it’s more comprehensive.”
Being young means Black, a keen rally driver and new parent, can attract a younger clientele that he can relate to through similar interests.
“It’s great because it’s promoting the value of advice to a different generation…which is valuable because an adviser can be one contact point for life – an adviser for life,” he says.
But this does not mean he is at a loss when dealing with older generations. Younger advisers can hold their own in the industry “as long as you’ve got a good standard of technical knowledge” and feel comfortable and confident talking about finance to people who have been on the planet a lot longer, says Black.
Has he ever had a client sneer that his youth is an indicator he is a bit ‘green’?
“I’ve never had anyone say anything to me, but whether they think it is another thing. But when you spend time with your client, you can easily overcome that objection.
“Getting experience is part of becoming successful. Everyone’s got to have their first day in the industry.”
And after five years in the industry, Black has learnt it is critical to build a loyal and engaged client base.
He says he focuses on spending time educating his clients through a holistic advice process, as education, transparency and understanding finances empowers people to make better decisions.
“Financial stability and wealth should be accessed by everyone. I like helping clients reach a certain goal, love seeing the work we do come to fruition. It feels good to help people in their darkest hour,” Black says.
“The typical person doesn’t have a financial plan and therefore doesn’t know how to reach their financial and lifestyle goals without one. This is prevalent particularly amongst the Gen X age group where people are busy and burdened by family and mortgage commitments, and are [just] keeping their head above water.”
Fortress Financial Planning has an IFA licence through Suncorp, and Black hopes to expand by employing more advisers this year.