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#241 Dr. Adam Fraser

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Dr. Adam Fraser

XY ADVISER

Podcast

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

advisors, people, industry, support, regulators, group, feeling, stress, study, mental health, biggest, report, profession, important, great, talk, survey, terms, deakin university, question

SPEAKERS

Dr. Adam Fraser, Fraser Jack

Fraser Jack 

Welcome to the x y advisor podcast, a global community of financial advisors sharing and learning with one another to drive the positive evolution of financial advice. To get involved, go to X Y advisor.com or simply download the x y advisor. Welcome back to the export advisor podcast. My name is Fraser Jack and today I am joined by Dr. Adam Fraser. Welcome,

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Fraser. It’s great to be here.

Fraser Jack 

fantastic to have you on the show again, and as always a great conversation love having a chat to you. But today we’re talking around the recent study that you’ve been doing. And I’ll probably need to give a bit of a warning here that some of the information that we’re going to talk about today could be quite confronting for a lot of advisors.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, it’s a mixed bag. And there is there is some bad news in there. But also, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Most importantly, fantastic. Now,

Fraser Jack 

let’s let’s talk about this. I call it the financial advisor mental health study is what we call it still.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, I mean, what primarily we we wanted to answer three things, what is the current state of mental health and well being of advisors in Australia? And secondly, of those that have good mental health and well being? What are their habits? What are their strategies? And the third one is also, if you think about all the changes that they’ve gone through, who were the advisors that are evolving and transforming their business to be more effective? So, so it was about health and well being but also about business performance as well. Yeah. So those are the three things that we we studied. Yeah, fantastic. Now, let’s

Fraser Jack 

go back, let’s go back a step. You have been working with financial planners in financial advice industry for many, many years. But you’re also working in other industries and professions? What what inspired this study in the first place?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Here? Well, it was quite an emotional thing, because I was presenting at a dealer group conference, and I did a keynote. And within that, I talked about some of the big projects we’d done with school principals, around burnout, partners in professional services firms. And afterwards, I literally at the drinks got bailed out by about five or six advisors, who were all kind of 50 plus miles, who said, you got to do that stuff. You got to do that for us, because we’re not coping. And I said, What do you mean? And they said, Well, you know, all the changes had a real big impact. They talked about the impact on them, as well as which I didn’t know talked about the rise in suicide in the profession. And they said, like, we’re not joking around here. We really need help with this. One of them even followed me to the car that was taking me to the airport, and he said, like, I’m serious about this, we need your help. So I went back and started to think about it and planned it out and talk to some of those guys, and brought Deakin University on board. And then we really just needed someone to fund the research. And I had multiple conversations with people in the industry, and a lot of them kind of gave it lip service and said, Yeah, yeah, but when it came to writing a check, they were hesitant, but um, I met with AIA and spoke to Damien, the CEO, and I literally didn’t even get to finish the sentence he just went, I will find that for sure. So, yeah, I come on board to fund the research myself in Deakin University did the research and yeah, we’ve now got the results.

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Now let’s go back to the research conversation. What what sort of, how do you put a research project like this in place? what justifies a decent amount of data? And how do you go about, you know, working out that before the the, you know, the study takes place? How do you sit out what’s going to be a relevant amount of research?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, it’s it’s quite a complicated process. And the short answer is you talk to people a lot smarter than I am. So, you know, we had to balance what was practical. So what could advisors do? Because you don’t want to be too onerous. You also want it to answer the right questions, as well as be powerful enough that we can make assumptions. So we spoke to statisticians and we came up with two studies, really. So one was a survey that measured all sorts of psychological constructs. And we had 1108 advisors, you know, fill out parts of that survey, I mean, because because it went for about 20 minutes, people sort of petered off towards the end, but yeah, but around 800 completed it. And then the second part of the study is we wanted to do a deeper dive than just a survey. So we had 43 advisors fill out a seven day diaries. Where they documented what they did, how they felt where they were spending their time. And then we did an interview with a researcher from Deakin University to kind of pull that part and make sense of it. So there were the two sides of the study.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, well, so we’re really interested in this seven day, diary study that you’re talking about how they’re feeling throughout different parts of the day,

Dr. Adam Fraser 

it asks them at three points in the day, they are asked questions that, so the questions are around, well, where have you spent your time? What sort of tasks have you done? How did you feel when you were doing that task? What’s your energy levels? Like? how productive were you? So there’s various questions, but I mean, the thing about this study is it’s it’s much more detailed than just they filled out a survey monkey survey. Yeah, it goes quite deep. And the analysis is, is very strong.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I really resonated with the term you just use, then, in the previous in this round, you know, powerful enough to make a difference. This is the this is the big picture, right? Because at the end of the day, the results from the sort of survey can be taken to legislators and government and regulators and say, and licensees in the in the profession as a whole to say, this is something that is happened, there is ways of making it better. And please keep this in mind when making future changes

Dr. Adam Fraser 

very much. And also, what’s what’s great about our study, and we couldn’t control this is we got a really diverse group of people filling it out. So it wasn’t just one segment of the profession, you know, that we’re varying in terms of length in the industry, age, location, you know, we got people from all over Australia, rural, Metro, different genders. So it’s a really good snapshot and a big enough sample that we can make really strong statements about the data.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Now, one of the things that, that when you have that diversity across generations, as you know, sectors, you know, male and female, you know, age or length, industry qualifications, those sorts of things. Often we feel like we can group, the group the outcomes, right, we feel like are those most young advisors will be feeling this way most senior advisors will be feeling that way. Tell us about that.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, that’s a great question. And, and the natural and not to offend anyone. But the natural thing is we go, young people are more innovative, the older ones are stuck in their ways and don’t embrace technology. One of the biggest findings is that age has no impact on anything that we measured. So stress, work life balance, acceptance of change, innovation, adaptability, just, it has no bearing on it whatsoever. So all those sort of preconceptions, we can throw them out, because they do not matter. I feel

Fraser Jack 

like this is one of those Mythbusters moments during the show

Dr. Adam Fraser 

should explode, blow something up by the end of it?

Fraser Jack 

Yes, we should. Definitely. So you know, that’s, that’s the mythbuster. Right? It’s about saying that that didn’t matter.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah. And even level of education didn’t matter. In terms of like, whether you left school at year 10, whether you 12, whether you had a degree post grad, that had very little impact on on the results as well. So I mean, one thing that was important, were you engaging in professional development? And were you continuing to challenge and evolve yourself, that was very important. But you know, that whole thing of, well, you know, if I’m more educated, I’m better at all these different things.

Fraser Jack 

I think the takeaway for that, for me is that mental health, mental well being mental illness can can strike or anybody in any particular part of their industry or any particular part of their career,

Dr. Adam Fraser 

you’re very much and what we’re talking about demographics, even the the gender piece, what was really fascinating about that is that women are equal to men in terms of gender didn’t really have an impact. What we did find is that women are superior to men in a couple of areas, which is their ability to engage in industry support, which is critical. They’re more accepting of change, and they’re more proactive around self development and education. So if you look at this in a traditionally male dominated industry, we want more women coming in because they’re making the industry better. Yes,

Fraser Jack 

I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely. That and it wasn’t so such a surprise for me out of the result, I think, I think people that are willing to, you know, be vulnerable or prepared to reach out to members of the community and look for support and help each other as well in that in that way. Definitely a positive part. Yeah.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

While we’re on the Mythbusters, piece length of experience didn’t have a very strong impact. So whether you were new, or whether you’ve been in the industry for 25 plus years, didn’t seem to have a very strong relationship. Fantastic.

Fraser Jack 

Now I want to get into some of that, let’s get into the nitty gritty, we sort of touched the high level, but let’s go, let’s go deep into the stats, because and then after that, we might start to start to talk about what the outcomes are going to be in, in the findings from the report. So let’s, let’s go deep into the stats. Now, I’ve got this one here in front of me around the concept of feeling stressed. And this was a huge number nine, nine out of 10. feeling stressed.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, I mean, if we’ve been doing this for a long time, in terms of we’ve we’ve done studies like this in multiple industries, and advisors scored the worst in terms of well being mental and physical health that we’ve seen in any group, but they also scored Unfortunately, the highest in in terms of stress, burnout, overload, than any industry that we’ve looked at before. So that stress figure is is real, it’s very high

Fraser Jack 

enough, the chance and the fact that you can compare it to other professions is really important.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah. And then the professions were comparing you to here. They’re not easy professions. We’re talking partners in professional services firms, like big firms, nursing, young, PwC, school principals, which is an incredibly stressful job, banking industry, even paramedics. So it’s groups that are highly stressed. And unfortunately, you’re higher than all of those.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I think that’s a real shot across the bow warning sign for.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Its colossal, yeah.

Fraser Jack 

Now after stress, to me, stress is the external factors. But then when it becomes internal becomes depression, or some type of mental illness or could be anxiety, talk to us about how that, you know, numbers of depression.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, it’s what we found is 67%, of advisors that participated in the study experienced some level of depression. And that ranges from, I feel depressed a little of the time to I feel depressed all of the time. And 17% of advisors show that they were depressed most of the time or all of the time, which is just a frightening statistic. And what’s even more interesting is we compared advisors to the average Australian. So when you compare them to the average person walking around, they’re 64% more likely to be in a moderate, like, mental health risk, there 51% more likely to be in a high mental health risk group. So if you think about mental health, it’s a spectrum. So it goes from, I’m doing really well to I’m really suffering. So when you break it into different groups, advisors are far more likely to be at a higher risk of mental health. And, and compared to the average Australian, they’re 11% more likely to be in a very high mental health risk group. So does that make sense about that spectrum?

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I sort of feel that people can be moving around on that spectrum, depending on the time the time.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah. But if you compare advisors to the average person, they’re much more likely they’re at a much higher risk of mental health

Fraser Jack 

problems. Now, it’s probably a good time during the session or the podcast to sort of say that if somebody is feeling this way, they should be reaching up for professional help

Dr. Adam Fraser 

very much. Yeah. The, the, the number one thing about if you are suffering or feeling like you’re suffering from mental health, it’s reaching out getting help getting support is is the most important step.

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Yep. Fantastic. And there’s plenty of industry bodies that can help you in that way as a first step, or, or speak to your doctor.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Well, actually on that Fraser, one of the things from interviews with industry bodies, or even your licensees, they said, Well, we put on these mental health strategies or support and people aren’t accessing them. So one of the things we showed is that people are feeling this way but they’re not reaching out to get help for it, which is also concerning. Yep.

Fraser Jack 

Now, no, stress and burnout were sort of we mentioned but this is pushing people to leave the industry. And, you know, we’ve there’s been talk about numbers dropping off and leaving in the the profession as it becomes a profession, as the qualifications kick in as the The the exam, deadlines start to draw closer. What did you find in the way that they will live in the industry?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, we found a very clear picture of 42% of advisors in the study said that they were considering leaving the profession due to the stress of the change in the compliance in the exam. A further 17% said, I’m on the fence, like, I’m not sure whether I’m going to stay or I’m going to go. So you add those two numbers together. And that’s almost 60% of the profession, or are in that consideration, and we were looking at other people’s data particularly collected within the industry, and it’s quite similar. So yeah, I mean, that’s for a group that are very important to society. That’s concerning. Have you ever heard

Fraser Jack 

of another industry or Group with such a large number, potentially up to 60%? Of the people working in their professional leaving?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

That’s a great question. I mean, in the groups that we’ve looked at, it’s it’s much lower than that. And some groups, we don’t even ask that question, because it’s not really something that they consider. So this is head and shoulders above anything we’ve seen.

Fraser Jack 

Now want to talk about coping mechanisms. And the, I guess the go to for a lot of planners is the concept of, you know, having a drink. That could be a concept of having having some alcohol or a drink and talking about their problems with other people. But it could also be the concept of having a drink to cope. That was part of the survey. Yeah. So we looked at frequency of alcohol use, and tell us what you came up with?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, I mean, well, alcohol is a tool that is used by a lot of people. And most, almost the majority of people use it at the end of the day to unwind. So what we found with advisors is that close to 50%, were using alcohol as some sort of way to unwind at the end of the day, or to deal with the stress of what they’re going through. But one of the things that came out is, from our data is that in no ways alcohol helping, so a lot of people are using it as a crutch or a coping mechanism. But in no way does it actually help. So they’re far better using different strategies. But yeah, it’s it’s something that is a reality.

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Now let’s talk about the the where people are going to get support. Now, he just sort of mentioned that that, you know, with the some of the conversations with the association, people weren’t necessarily diving into the support that is available to them. So where are they going for support?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yes, so by far the biggest source of support is their industry peers. So 43%, of advisors said that they their peers were moderately to highly supportive for them. The second one was their licensees. So that came second third was product manufacturers, which was interesting. And then we start to get into social media podcasts, digital community platforms. That’s that’s that fourth tee of support. So yeah, but by far, it’s the peers supporting peers was the most supportive.

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Yeah. Fantastic. And it’s good to see the product manufacturers are in there as well. And providing that support level.

 

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, I mean, it’s great. It’s good news for them. And something that, you know, I didn’t really expect, but it’s, it’s great.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. Now, one of the other things that the big outcomes for me that you mentioned, sort of there’s it split the group did into when it came to attitude towards towards this and some group, a lot of the group I guess we can say we’re in that space of feeling stressed, feeling depressed, feeling burnt out. But then you had the other side of the coin, we have a whole lot of thrivers.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up, because I’m feeling right now that we all need alcohol to cope with that. So yeah, the hope is that there was a group we identified, which we call the thrivers. And these people who are crushing it professionally, they are evolving their business, they’re really enjoying the work. And also, personally, they’re doing really well, great work life balance, not doing excessive hours, feeling connected in a personal life. So yeah, it was great news that we found these people and what is brilliant is that these people can’t be identified by some sort of Democrats. So it’s not, it’s not a certain type of person that you can go, Oh, well, that’s fine for them because they have this type of business or they’re at this stage of their career. There was no variance, what it really came down to was their individual response to the stress and pressure that they’re going through.

Fraser Jack 

Were there any secrets in the individual response? Or it’s like, it’s just 100% attitude? Or is it? Is there anything that you can pinpoint? Actually, I

Dr. Adam Fraser 

can. So what we, what? Okay, how do I explain this in a succinct way? So number one, there’s the stuff that you would expect, which is, you know, they look after their well being more, they do high levels of recovery. So, yeah, they experienced the stress, but then they start to look after themselves and take time out to decompress from the day. And, you know, whether it’s physical activity, or mindfulness or even a hobby, or they do those sorts of things, the other thing they do really well is industry support, they reach out, they talk to people, when they go through stress, they get support for it. One things, we found that people who weren’t coping, didn’t get support, they just kind of bottled it up and kept it to themselves. So that well being stuff was very evident, the reaching out for help, and being very proactive within the industry to talk to people and get ideas and innovation was very high. So if you think about the the service that you guys provide, like that is one of the key things that the thrive is really engaging. The third one is a little bit more complicated. And what whenever we have some sort of challenge in front of us, we, you know, we have a story about that challenge, we have an emotional response to that challenge. So we, you know, we have this dialogue inside our head. And what we thought is that the thrivers would have a different dialogue about all the changes that they’ve gone through. So maybe their narrative is, well, this is great for the industry. And this is really necessary and really important. But what we discovered is everyone has the same narrative, which is this sucks. Which is, this hasn’t been handled very well. So I mean, as researchers, we had to considerable other thrivers just delusional and Pollyanna optimists, but they weren’t. They just went Yeah, now this is I, I don’t enjoy this process, I think the the compliance could have been handled differently, or how we’ve been treated isn’t very good. Everyone had the same story. But what the thrivers were able to do is almost compartmentalize or put that story to the side and go, yeah, I’m frustrated, I’m angry about this. But I have these very clear goals that I want to achieve, or I want to do this with my business. And that stuff gets in a way. So I’ve got to just put it to the side and focus on the things I can control and the proactive behaviors, the people that are struggling, almost climb inside that story. And they get so lost in it, that it keeps hijacking their behavior and dragging them into dysfunction. So what it is, is that cognitive ability, and there’s actually a term for it’s called psychological flexibility that I can experience and think things, but they don’t run my behavior, my values and my goals run my behavior. Well,

Fraser Jack 

that’s really it. But I guess that probably backs up some of the stuff you did with the work you did on when you wrote the book strive.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, very much is that ability to have a more functional relationship with struggle and discomfort? So it’s almost that the thrive is when young angry, young pissed off? Yeah, I just, I I feel the injustice of some of the things that we’ve been through. But this is what I can control. And this is what’s important to me. And here’s the action I will take.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, so the psychological flexibility to me then seems like the key if you like, to what we can all do about what we can do next.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah. And it really parallels the research. Other research has been done in psychology right now around how do I handle depression? Or how do I handle anxiety? Or how do I handle difficult situations is that ability to almost park my stories and emotions off to the side and focus on the proactive behavior I need to do? So. Yeah, it’s the reason I’m struggling is it’s very hard to articulate that quite complex skill in in a short period of time, but that the thrivers had it in buckets. Yeah, okay, great. So

Fraser Jack 

the product of behavior towards a goal or an outcome or a vision that you might have in the future.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, or a meaning and purpose? Yeah.

Fraser Jack 

Brilliant. Yeah. Okay, fantastic. Now, obviously, that, you know, we’ve sort of been through some of the stats of the study itself and the findings that come in with that. But off the back of that, of course, you then need to write a report. And that report needs to come up with some ideas and recommendations, if you like, for the profession for the regulators, for the people, you know, for advisors, as well. Tell us about the report. And then some of the maybe some of the recommendations that have coming out of it.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, actually, a great way to lead into this is what we had to do as researchers is go, alright, okay, this, the majority of these people are in a terrible state, what is creating that? So what’s driving it? And what we started what as researchers, we had to be very open minded to go well, is it just that the reason people are coping is that financial advisors are very good at their job or managing stress, like, we have to consider everything but what we showed, or it could just be that financial advisors have terrible personal lives, that’s why they serve a circle. Yeah, well, we had to consider all these things. And the biggest, what we discovered is that they advisors are very well set up to have good well being in terms of their personal lives are very strong, they had great relationships, they had good support, one of the biggest things is they are incredibly connected to meaning and purpose, which is very important to wellbeing. So across the board, what we found is that advisors when my job is very important, and I find incredible levels of purpose in it. So and that’s unusual, because most people don’t. And the other one was that they also found their job very stimulating. And that, and also challenging, which is important as well. So when we look at the group, it’s almost that there couldn’t be more better setup to have great well being. So we then went Alright, so what is it? And obviously, it’s no surprise, but it is the the change, the compliance, the the incredible pressure that’s been put on them through all this change, as well as you know, the exam, and you have to have it done by this date. So it I mean, this is something that we all kind of know, intuitively, but we’ve just put hard numbers to it is that it is all everything that they’ve gone through is is the thing that’s creating that stress.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I think it’s really great that you mentioned that concept of, you know, is it is it is it the the job itself, that’s, you know, creating, creating that but, you know, obviously if the back of that the the meaning and purpose, the, you know, stimulating and challenging and those sorts of things in the fact that most planners turn up because they’ve got a desire to help people in some way and help others. Which is, which was great to be able to, I guess remove that from one of the

Dr. Adam Fraser 

possibilities. And even the researchers at Deakin went oh my gosh, are so cynical about this group before I started interviewing them. And I kind of fell in love with them, because they just really care and their clients are very important to them. So yeah, that was it. But if you look at, you know, if we want to throw some stats around government and regulation clients, 82% of advisors said that that was highly or very highly stressful. So that’s standout. The next most stressful thing is coping with the workload of the job, which was 50 57% of advisors. But I mean, the workload comes from number one anyway. And number three was, how am I going to meet my future education requirements, which was 51%. And then number four was cash flow. So mean, the average advisor, or the majority advisors run their own business? So normally, cash flows? Number one, that for you guys, it’s number four.

Fraser Jack 

It’s interesting, isn’t it that the fact that as you mentioned that, you know, the first one, government regulation compliant 82%, you know, workload and, you know, future education, both or almost both, or part of it once said, Yeah, exactly. And what was the percentage for cash flow?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Cash Flow was 47%, I think off the top of my head when and let me look that up 48% percent. And what we also did is simple Why is all this regulation and change so stressful? And they said, Well, that’s the practical part of I got to spend so much time on I have to constantly think about it. I don’t get to do give us good services. I would like to because so much of my time is caught up in that. But we started going a little bit deeper and we push them and one of the biggest things is the emotional it’s almost a grieving or, or like how do I describe it? It’s kind of the way we’ve been treated, the phrases that are said about us what’s been said about us in the media, and almost this, what a groups come in and impose this stuff on us with very little consultation. So it’s not that I don’t know if I’m speaking out of turn here, because I’m yeah, I don’t know that much about the industry and the regulators. But the kind of narrative we got was that, rather than these people came in and said, Hey, you guys are really important. And it’s very vital for Australia to have great advice, let’s work together and come up with the best possible outcomes for you, but also for the client, what they said, it’s much more like, Okay, you guys are all bad, and we don’t trust you in any way. So we had to come in, and we sought you out. And that is very wounding to people that, you know, we don’t trust you, or you’ve been painted with this one brush, or, you know, some of the statements that are said about them, that emotional toll cannot be underestimated. And I think we don’t put enough. Like, I don’t think we consider the emotional impact of all this change on advisors nearly enough. I don’t know, what’s your thoughts on that phrase,

Fraser Jack 

I 100% agree with that, I would imagine that the results of your survey would be very different. If the regulator had to come in, and the legislation had to come in saying, you guys are doing, you know, you’re so important, we really need this, this is to work, this is about the long term profession, and we really want to, you know, set you set everybody up so that the profession, and consumers all really want to come towards you and trust, you know, all these sorts of things in a positive way. I think that the, the uptake of the reasons why everything was changed would be very different. And your survey would look very, very different.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

I completely agree. And even just, you know, getting advisors to be part of the conversation around the practicality of, you know, even the systems and the process. Yeah, would alleviate so much stress.

Fraser Jack 

Well, that’s really, really interesting. So with all these, with all this knowledge moving forward, and if we go back to the concept of, you know, the outcomes of this, you know, survey and report that goes with it, I’d imagine you’ve got recommendations for you know, the industry itself for planners for for Association groups for for the regulator’s, you know, in different different sectors, not just like one recommendation?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, I mean, we’ve got a number of them, and they range from, obviously, they’re detailed in the report, but range from, you know, different areas of support. I mean, one of the things that was very stressful for people was the actual exam. I haven’t done an exam in so long, or, you know, how do I take this on? And, yeah, particularly if they’ve failed that ability to come back and, and take it again. So it ranges from support around that. What we found is coaching and mentoring was a vital thing that that advisors need to tap into. So providing those sorts of services, as well as providing some and this is something we’re currently designing now out of. So we’re designing an intervention that addresses the things we see. So that ability to teach advisors about psychological flexibility. Yeah, one of the things the biggest predictor of the thrivers was adaptability. So their ability to adapt their behavior very quickly. Psychological capital, which is resilience, confidence, hope, optimism, so teaching them the psychological skills, because actually, like, what it is, is you have a group that have a colossal challenge that’s been put to them. And some of them are thriving, just because they happen to have the psychological skills. And what it is, is what we know is those skills are teachable. So it’s about how do we teach them that for advisors themselves, you know, it’s the things I talked about before industry support, reaching out when you’ve had a stressful day, being a really active member in the associations and accessing some of the great things that they have, getting a mentor or a coach, engaging in those recovery activities. As well as, you know, collaborating with others to get ideas. So there’s some of the things we say for the advisors themselves. I have to

Fraser Jack 

say they’ve certainly been helpful for me in the past as well with regards to you know, active actively, you know, being a member of a committee. I’m actively being a member of an association actively like as a not just paying my money and expecting that that is what I, I pay my money, therefore I should be getting and receiving but mentally going in going to that relationship as a two way street saying, I pay my money, but I’m actually going to try and give as much as I can. And the more that I give, actually, the more that I received back as part of those associations and groups,

Dr. Adam Fraser 

yeah, and a lot of them thrivers. They took that to a whole nother level as well, where they would actively catch up with other advisors. And they formed almost a mastermind group where they would go, here’s what I’m struggling with both professionally and personally, they get support, but they’d also brainstorm and go, Well, what about this? Or what about that? Or have you have you considered this? So that’s really beneficial? Yeah. In terms of the regulator’s These are our recommendations, but obviously, you know, we didn’t talk to that group, or we didn’t engage with that group. So this is just kind of our perception of what came out of the study, I think, you know, supporting advisors around simpler systems around compliance and what is actually needed? And how, how could they work together to make that process just much more practical and simple. I think one of the biggest things is their attitude towards advisors in terms of respect, trust, how they talk about them how they refer to them. Because when they’re third too poorly, like that, that hurts and damages the relationship there. Yeah, having a mentality of generally consulting and collaborating is that, you know, as a, as a regulator, I don’t have all the answers. And I don’t know what it’s like to do the job and sit in the seat. So the only way I can understand that is if I collaborate and sit down with this group to really understand them. And really, that’s just good leadership to tell you the truth. But also, I think one of the biggest things is that, when they make decisions, they’ve got to think about the fact that my decisions impact a person. And that person has staff, and they’re trying to run a business, and they might be a mom or a dad, and that I can impose all these things, but at what cost? So I could put like, ridiculous expectations on these people. And they’ll probably made it because they just want to keep running their business. But what’s the cost to them to the family to the industry to the fact that, you know, we’re chronically under insured in Australia? or, or, or, you know, a lot of people have no financial plan, you know, if we keep crushing the industry, that numbers going to grow up more and more. So there are our thoughts on, you know, how the regulators could approach this differently to alleviate some of this stress and mental health pressure.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s really interesting. And obviously, as you mentioned, you didn’t meet with the regulators or or interview them. So they were we’re really just getting the results of the, you know, the one side of the story, for example, so that I think that’s certainly good, does then start the conversation around what things could be done better? Or, or? Or how to start a conversation, how to be able to, you know, have those conversations with with planners and advisors, that aren’t necessarily, you know, long written submissions to her to a question or whatever might be, so being able to have that, that, you know, opened up their conversations on interest.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah. And if we, if we did this study on regulators, we’d probably find similar things where they’ve got pressure, and they’ve got stress and, and that they have expectations placed on them. So yeah, we also have to be compassionate for that group. But it’s about getting them to have a more functional relationship with advisors, I think is the key. And and what underpins that is the attitude and the mindset that they bring to this group.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. And as you mentioned, the the language that’s used, but that’s, that’s also a two way street as well, right?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, very much. And I mean, well, even one of the little things that a lot of thrivers said is that even when I’m on a, an online forum, or I’m commenting on an article, you know that I try to stay away from that real toxic, attacking aggressive language in that. Yeah, I might. I might feel frustrated, but we can get lost in that kind of downward spiral.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, yeah. I couldn’t agree more. So is this toxic? Do I really need to be involved in? Yeah, no. Well, I just want to go back to financial advisors here and some of the outcomes. You mentioned the concept of, you know, investing in yourself investing in that psychological flexibility. And that some in you know, going to, as you mentioned, that teachable skill, so seeking out and finding somebody Or something that can help you learn those skills? Yeah, where? And how, what? Without getting into too specifics, what would you suggest? If I was saying to you right now, where do I start?

Dr. Adam Fraser 

It’s a difficult question. The area of psychological flexibility is a quite a new area in psychology. And yeah, the research has probably been gaining momentum over the last 12 years. But it’s still quite a new area of science. And you know, a lot of areas have 20 to 30 years of research before we really start to implement it. So I mean, if you are listening to this, and you go, actually, I want to start to research that I mean, Google psychological flexibility or YouTube it like there’s people that talk about it, it’s sometimes referred to as act therapy a CT. But, I mean, this is one of the things we’re doing is that a lot of people said, Well, okay, you’ve done this research and done this report. Now what, so what we’re at the stage of doing is designing an intervention. So we’ve done this with various in industries. The thing about advisors is their, their world is so nuanced and different and complex, that you really need an intervention. So rather than just saying to people, we’ll practice mindfulness, or get your step count up, or just look on the bright side, they need something a bit more, like much more tailored and specific and really driven around behavior change. So we’re in the process of doing that. And we’ve designed that, so we’ll start to launch that. So that’s a resource that people can tap into as well down the track. Or as we go earlier, you know, those suggestions around, just make sure I’m getting support, make sure I’m looking after my well being make sure I’m focusing on what I can control and the constructive behaviors, have real clear goals and work towards those are some of the things that advisors can do.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. And as you mentioned, also, you know, reach out to your peers and support networks, and let them know what you’re doing and get him involved in the conversation as well. And

Dr. Adam Fraser 

reinforce that nearly enough like that. What you just said then is so vital. Yep.

Fraser Jack 

Is there anything that the the industry or the profession could be doing, you know, a little bit more of as well.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Actually, I would put this, my my gut reaction to that is that was spoken to a lot of the associations and they’re being proactive, the licensees are being proactive. I think it’s much more about the advisor, like putting their hand up or being proactive about tapping into some of these things, though, that not to kind of beat them up or give them another thing to do. But it’s just, my initial reaction to that question is there’s support out there, you just got to tap into it. And a massive difference between the thrivers. And the people that aren’t coping was that they, when they went through something stressful, they spoke to people, I think it was I have to check the stat. But I think there’s about 84% of advisors, did not after a stressful event did not talk to all take time to kind of get over it. They just went on just moving on to the next thing. And all this stuff builds up and up and up, and starts to become toxic and really has a negative impact on

Fraser Jack 

this, this feels that away as it’s a human response to something that is being you know, pushed in a negative way upon somebody, rather than presented as an opportunity. Surely we could predict these results in their case are totally

Dr. Adam Fraser 

like, it’s almost every time I do research. I think research just backs up what we already know. Like, of course, that they’re in their reaction to this situation, I think is incredibly normal. That’s what I would say is that they have gone through colossal amounts of change continually with very low autonomy, or any sort of way to influence it for a very long time. And you can’t, you can’t be in that state and not have an impact. Yep.

Fraser Jack 

Now let’s let’s try and finish the sort of on the more positive note that the the reports coming out. Obviously at the time of recording this podcast, the report was not released, but it probably it may be released at the time of you listening to this podcast, told us about what the next steps from here are libraries in the report then using this information to shape the future to say we or maybe we didn’t get it right in the past, but surely we can use this information to get it right next time.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

Yeah, obviously, our view of this report is to just try and make each group more constructive whether it You know, a regulator reading it, whether it’s a licensee, whether it’s an advisor themselves is we encourage everyone to just to read the report and digest it. Obviously, we’re going to do PR around it and spread the word and the messages. Because I recently presented it, AAAS conference. And yeah, I talked about some of these things. And the biggest piece of feedback was, well, this tells me that I’m not alone. You know, I often felt that I was the only advisor that couldn’t cope. Or maybe I was just crap, and I couldn’t hack it. Or maybe I was weak, and I shouldn’t be stronger. And so this is very validating for a lot of people. But then obviously, we want to move into action and improvement. And each of those groups, I encourage them to start to think about the stuff in the report and take some action. And as I said, before, you know, we’re going to look at putting resources together that fill some of these gaps that are there for advisors that are struggling.

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I think I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that the reaction to this, the change process that we’ve been through is completely normal. Yeah. Well, fantastic. We look forward to finding those resources that you’re creating, we look forward to everybody taking action, working on their psychological flexibility, which is an ongoing, I’m actually in the middle of a book by Simon Sinek, which is called the infinite game, which sort of talks very much around the concept of, you know, how, what parameters we put around things to start with, and whether that they should be there or not there, obviously, they’re in business or they’re in sport, but when we’re talking about life, it’s not really a parameters game. Yeah. But thank you so much for coming and sharing the results. Really appreciate it. And we look forward to catching up with you again, soon. If somebody wants to find the survey or the results, Polly, what’s the best way for them to

Dr. Adam Fraser 

the best way is go to my websites and contact us. We’re going to release the report, obviously, AIA who sponsored it are going to be sending it out far and wide. You could talk to your AIA Rep. You know, they’ll they’ll have access to the report. Or Yeah, as I said before, just contact us and go, you know, I can’t find it. I like a copy of it.

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. And as we mentioned previously, this is a been heavy, fairly heavy conversation. So if you have a feeling like you need to talk to somebody, please reach out to one of your peers or your associations or anybody that can support you in any way. Thank you, Dr. Adam Fraser.

Dr. Adam Fraser 

My pleasure. Thanks for

Fraser Jack 

that you haven’t another episode of The X Y advisor podcast I’m Fraser Jack and I’m joined by Emily Blanche. Hey him. Hey, Fraser. My favorite time of the week. It’s our favorite time of the week we get to do some shout outs and and celebrate some amazing x y numbers.

Yes. All right. I think this is quite fitting for today’s episode as well. I would love to give a shout out to Adele Martin. So off the back of the well being report into the health or mental health of mental state i should say a financial advisors. This inspired Adele to jump into the platform and share some of the strategies or the things that she uses in her own life. To keep the good mindset if you know like to not fall into the traps of your mental health. It revolved around daily exercise even just getting out for 15 minutes. mindset was a huge one, setting clear boundaries and keeping a good daybook to remind her of all the good things that do happen throughout the day. So a few other people jumped in with the tips and strategies that they use as well and I thought it was just a really great post to help anyone out there who just might need a little spring in their step.

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