Adviser: Why I turned down institution buy-outs

by |

Dennis Maddern took the third spot in Wealth Professional’s Top 50 Advisers rundown this year. Here are his thoughts on financial planning, and why the drive for acquisitions by the major institutions is a “unique and pernicious trend in our industry”

What makes a good financial planner?

A blend of empathy, commercial savvy, an ability to communicate clearly and precisely – and someone who places the client as the cornerstone of their business. In these times, it is additionally important that an adviser firm be totally non-aligned: i.e. not linked with or owned by a bank or insurance company. An adviser must not be conflicted as they provide advice. 

What do you like most about being a financial planner?

The challenge to work on a wide variety of different mandates, and to assist clients gain their financial goals. To receive a referral from one of your clients is deemed an honour by Maddern Financial Advisers Pty Ltd.

What has been the biggest challenge for financial planners in the last 12 months?

Managing client expectation with respect to market movements, and the sometimes negative publicity around the financial advice Industry   

What has been the best thing about the last 12 months?

Staying close with clients, and communicating with them on the ups and downs of the market. And maintaining our non-aligned status despite numerous offers from institutions.

What targets do you have for the coming year?

At Maddern Financial Advisers Pty Ltd, we have enjoyed 30% organic growth year on year over the last five years. We hope to continue this growth within our client growth target area. As far as a strategic direction is concerned, we run the business through a balanced scorecard approach which provides us with the ‘beacon on the hill.’

What is your top tip for other financial planners?

Act always in the best interests of your client. This approach always pays off in many ways: e.g. credibility, referrals, etc.

How do you plan to adapt to the many regulatory changes that are set to affect the financial planning industry?

Many of the FoFA initiatives we are already doing, so we are virtually 100% FoFA compliant.

What are the biggest issues facing the financial advice industry today?

Standards and qualifications without a doubt. The institutions drive for acquisition growth by purchasing most advice businesses that come to market is simply creating additional downstream channels for bank or insurance product.

These advisers are effectively salaried despite owning their own business under the bank or insurance companies AFSL. We see this as a unique and pernicious trend in our industry. At the end of the day the adviser is conflicted and has competing demands on his/her ability to provide advice.

What are your top tips for gaining, and retaining, clients?

Service, service, service!! Communicate, communicate, communicate!!

What do you like doing outside of the office?

I used to play professional tennis for Victoria and Australia. I now play some of the ITF Seniors International Tennis tournaments, sadly Men’s 55 plus.

To read the full Top 50 rundown and access numerous essential articles on how to succeed, click on our e-magazine here.