December 7, 2021

#274 Shane Light – Transcript

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Fraser Jack
Welcome back to the xy advisor Podcast. I’m Fraser Jack and today I’m joined by Shane Light. G’Day Shane!

Shane Light
How are you today Fraser?

Fraser Jack
Tremendous. Thank you for asking. Welcome to the show. Now, let’s start with a little bit about you. You’re you’re one of the partners, I guess we could say at the Hopkins Group. Tell us about tell us about the Hopkins group.

Shane Light
Yeah, the Hopkins group is a wealth management company, diversified, I guess, model whereby, you know, the the core relationships with a financial advisor. However, we have relationships in house, and we’re subject matter experts where we can I guess, add value through, you know, an accounting relationship, mortgage relationship, property in sort of other different sort of relationships where we can help provide holistic type of advice.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, amazing. It’s got so many different to your do your business, how many staff you got

Shane Light
staff at the moment? So this includes, I guess, our offshore sort of support as well. So which we’ve sort of increased slightly, so probably about 60, I would dare say, across the business,

Fraser Jack
pretty decent size. And in Victoria, mostly, yeah, Victoria,

Shane Light
mostly, we’ve got a couple of spotted around different states. Past staff that have left us will left Australia, and we’re actually working outside of Australia for us as well. So because, again, we can retain good talent with all the technology available to us these days.

Fraser Jack
Gotta love high speed broadband, that’s for sure. Now, let’s go back in time, we’ve known each other for quite a while, tell us tell us about how you got into the, into this profession in the first place?

Shane Light
Yeah, well, file socket cre pack after school, I guess 2002, I started working in accounting business, as my dad would always say, you know, kind of rely on your professional football career. So after doing a bit of a stint down overseas, come back and was offered a reception role, believe it or not, so Front of House, within the county was actually account business. So it was again, one of those one stop shops, as Mr. Lambert would like to say. From that perspective, I guess the career was just born from engagement. And I want really to be an accountant. So did my accounting sort of qualifications, move to mortgages, so learn to worry about the Credit Act back then, did my MF double a sort of training and education and a role came up with financial planning? So having I guess, those different areas of sort of background? Yeah, I fell into financial planning early on. And then it wasn’t too soon before I actually headed out of Wollongong or wanted to head to the big smoke and then spent nine years in compliance and legal.

Fraser Jack
Yeah. And nine years in compliance illegal. You say that, like it rolls off the tongue, but it’s not. It’s not really such a small thing. Tell us about taking place liquid obviously, that’s, you know, accounting mortgages, background bit of financial advice. Tell us about, you know, I think that’s probably where I first met you in compliance illegal, but tell us about that part of your life.

Shane Light
Yeah, compliance. And legal was a different one always wanted to be a lawyer when I was sort of at school. So reading legislation, for myself, obviously, was, you know, what I enjoyed doing? So yeah, when I was offered that role, again, with counter, I spent sort of five years you know, traveling around Australia. I was obviously based in Sydney back then, you know, through Victoria, Western Australia, obviously, Queensland later on, when I met you with different business. But yeah, it was very challenging to be on the other side of the fence, providing feedback and looking through advisors files, at that time, which were probably twice or three times my age senior, who had been in the industry again, probably four or five times longer than what I ever would have. So it was, it was challenging. But again, a lot of relationships just being, you know, commercially sensible, and just having a different approach, obviously, I believe, anyway, to the compliance side of things, which has obviously benefited me in my career and maintained such relationships with advisors. Having slipped back, I guess, into the advice side of things.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, it’s, it’s certainly, it’s a difficult piece of work to be involved in this the compliance side, isn’t it? Because it’s sort of it’s, I guess, you’re holding, you’re holding the the measuring stick up, but you’re also trying to, you know, trying to educate and encourage, but sometimes the whole thing around compliance, it sort of feels like it’s getting gets tougher, and tougher and tougher and tighter and tighter.

Shane Light
Yeah, does. So I mean, I joined just after FSR. So we’re going back to 2001. So, you know, we’ll talk about a lot of legislative changes even over the last 12 months, but since 2001, to now have lost count, you know, how many times or a year specifically, legislation has changed? You know, if we would have talked to our partners in their respective occupations? I don’t think such change has been experienced across any other industry, or has had I guess, the involvement I guess, of the government, you know, and and the impacts on overall family life as well and well being that you know, this industry has

Fraser Jack
seen. Yep. So you work for a number of licensees in that sort of compliance, governance role, sort of head of advice type roles. In it sort of looking around and seeing what all these different practices do, and then understanding how they, how they work and how they can probably, you know, improve, because there’s obviously it’s not just about compliance, it’s about sort of saying here is a, maybe there’s a better way you can do it based on what you’ve seen.

Shane Light
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s what was really good about the roles is I could go into a small business, who was a solo operator, who may not be working as efficient as they could be having stepped out of another business, which could have been quite large, you know, with multiple advisors with a large support staff who had invested in technologies to deliver those services, offering their services to the client at a lower cost, and just being able to sort of take what that business is sort of doing without breaching any confidentiality to say, Hey, have you considered doing something a different way, and hopefully add value, not just, you know, coming in and sort of, as you said, waving that big stick. But yeah, and hopefully walking away and being able to change the way that they’re doing business moving forward. And there was definitely a lot of that through that period of time, because there was so much technology advancement through mid you know, we used to be x plan and midwinter. And as it all evolved, obviously, we see where the industry is today. It’s just forever evolving.

Fraser Jack
You spent some time obviously, with, you know, working with licensees, understanding what the drivers were understanding what the pressures were from a licensee, being a responsible manager. And going down that path. Tell us about the sort of the responsible manager, you know, that the job is as a responsible manager?

Shane Light
Well, I mean, people sort of, we always talk about what if Seattle was a risk based approach, and I guess, when we’re sitting in compliance and legal side of things, and I probably did more of a risk based approach with Aon. So where I’m at you is that sitting in a different sort of level, which is you sort of your corporate legal kind of thing. So you’re not sitting within the legal structure of the license, you are literally looking at the risk basis. So when you are reviewing or talking to advisors, it’s it’s not always black and white, it’s, this is the corpse act. This is you know, the responsibilities that you have, if you do something wrong, you’re impacting the X amount of other advisors that are on the license. So it’s a different conversation, no different to, I guess, the conversation I have today in the Hopkins group is that, you know, we’re just one business in a larger AFSL. But at the same time, if me out of eight other advisors, or another one of those eight advisors does the wrong thing, then they need to understand the repercussions it has not only on the other people in the business, but the business reputation, obviously, the the significant damage, you can do the brand reputation, obviously the clients loss of trust, which is so important this environment, but obviously the overarching FSL. And you know, the support he provides to the other advisors as well, which could really, really damage

Fraser Jack
Yeah, it all stacks up, doesn’t it? So everyone’s part of the team. And if one person is the team, down the techs very much a team sport, tell us about had to get into, into the Hopkins Group. Tell us about your entry into that business.

Shane Light
Yeah, the Hopkins group, my daresay was probably my wife at the time, I was traveling around quite a bit actually, I was working with well, Shore, which sort of no longer exists. Now one enforceable undertaking, one of one of only that was probably sort of, you know, it was seen through and they got off or, you know, got off or released. But as a result of that enforcement undertaking, I was traveling, you know, one week out of sort of tool three, like every, every second or third week for for block at a time I was away. And at that point in time, we’re due for, you know, first child, so my wife wasn’t too impressed that I was traveling so much, so much, so that I could be in, you know, Sydney, one day, Canberra, the next and then back in Western Australia, then back to Victoria, all in one week. That’s, that’s how crazy it was. Because basically, when you’re in an enforceable undertaking, you know, with so many sort of resources, and then advisors, like you are just doing what the regulator, you know, wants you to do. And I was lucky enough to obviously have one of the largest businesses, which was the Hopkins group at that point in time. And, you know, being able to so I guess, nurture them and provide feedback to them, because being larger, and provision of more, you know, types of style advice, I guess, the risk, the risk metric goes up. So, from their point of view, and being able to work with them and read, you know, read or organize their business and reshape them, they like, what I did a bit of a, you know, tongue in cheek conversation about sort of, you know, like, become an advisor and sort of moved back in in that sort of role. And, you know, that that just happened happened so quick, actually, that I was working part time from the license and part time for the Hopkins group that both businesses were happy for me to do that to slowly remove me out of, I guess, the AFSL into full time advising.

Fraser Jack
So it’s, you know, amazing opportunity, obviously, but you get you have to take it right you have to dimension it, heavy idea and then see it through and sounds like a really nice training position. Tell us about that. So you just went in there, though as a as a salaried advisor?

Shane Light
Yeah, you’re right. So well, actually, I started off as the head of advice. So the initial role was the head of advice. So the primary, I had sort of three components to my role, but the primary component was basically the management and the overarching sort of re directional reshaping of the business. So this was back in 2015, where Richard literally ripped apart everything, and even back then, we removed, you know, all, or majority of asset based fee charging, and reshaped, you know, contracts, and, you know, the fee disclosure back then, you know, how how we advise clients, we even looked at, you know, reshaping technology, the x plan, so how we can provide efficient advice using the software and tools available in the marketplace? Because obviously, the business was still a little bit archaic back then. That, yeah, there was sort of that aspect of things. Second was the compliance. And then third was you’re right, it was advising, but I sort of only started off with sort of 50 to 70 clients, even back then. Because the role, obviously running the business, mentoring other advisors, also, having other staff in paraplanning support roles, report through to me that that took up a lot of other time as well.

Fraser Jack
Yep. When you started there, did you have conversations with them about you know, becoming a part owner in the business or a partner in the business? Or was that was that something you had later?

Shane Light
That didn’t even Yeah, it wasn’t even on the cards initially. So going in, sort of, as I said, as a staff member, to think that I’d end up back in an advising role back then was again, probably would never think about it. I mean, my natural direction back then probably would have been maybe with after, or someone like that with compliance and legal background and working in compliance, because I did a lot of that when I was in a on with the corporate counsel. But yeah, so So sort of going into this into this role. Really, it was just, he’s the role. It’s quite larger than what I’ve previously obviously a bit done. Not too dissimilar to managing a group of advisers. But technically, this is a staff and clients. But know that that discussion came a couple of years later. And that was sort of off the back of Rachel and Michael, also wanting to not specifically unlock equity to look at other business opportunities I what we’re doing today with other advisors and businesses and merging them in, but I guess, yeah, rewarding. My heart, my hard work and sort of Yeah, being one of the first shareholders outside of it, whatever, Michael and Rachel or Michael and John Hopkins, say, it was pretty special for them to come to me and offer that and, you know, still there today, six years onwards?

Fraser Jack
Yeah. So so it’s a large business been around a long time? What does it look like sort of now with different advisors buying in? And then what’s the model now for that transition period of equity and, and growing the business and having advisors be an owner or partner in the business?

Shane Light
Yeah, the model is these days. So we, we enjoy people, of it all works of all walks of life, sorry, the advisors having sort of an existing client book, then there’s a responsibility in the keenness to not only you know, continue to grow and support their revenue, but then obviously have more of a link to the overall business success, if there’s it tied to it. But normally, it’s sort of a two year trial before you buy a type of period. So, you know, we sort of arrange, you know, value valuations at the outset. But it’s sort of over that first 24 months, that we sort of, then go yep, with regular reviews, you know, do we suit one another enough, let’s say for the Hopkins group to then go, we will now swap your existing clients and the value at, you know, whatever the the agreed value is, for a piece of equity, which will then, you know, obviously, be x value at certain point in time. So, it’s more, you know, we don’t want to give it from the outset. But we all want to hopefully be able to send to work together to grow something that is larger. And then also, at that point in time, there is the offer of, you know, yes. Here’s the value of your, your clients, you know, would you like to buy more? And I guess, you know, depending on how that all works, you know, because we’ve probably got now four or five different advisors with equity that have been with us for now, two, three years, which is excellent. And I’ve come from they’re running their own businesses, too. Now, obviously, a partner and a shareholder of the Hopkins group that allows us to build up additional funds as well to go out and look at purchasing. Maybe advisors that just want to exit exit the industry say that that’s also a piece of the puzzle as well.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, there’s also obviously lots of ways to grow the business That’s a really interesting part, though, for advisors that you know, 100% of a smaller pie then come in and own a smaller percentage of a much larger pie, though, and the equity value is bigger, and obviously, you know, a more stable business that can, you know, share resources and do all the things that it does and have opportunities. In other that we mentioned before. When it comes to valuations is a really interesting part, though, because it’s sort of there’s ups and downs and valuations, do you guys have a particular valuation methodology, and obviously, it’s probably easier when you’ve got, you know, your, your buying and selling, to just continue with a methodology and it’s easier to then value the business?

Shane Light
Yeah, look, we try and keep the equal value methodology, the same on both both ends. So if it’s two and a half times, or three times, or whatever it is, then that’s it, right. And we do that on both both databases, but I guess our methodology is sort of been proven over time, where, you know, depending on the age of the clients, depending on the type of policies they have, where their money sits, you know, is it in older sort of legacy products, you know, as to what value or multiple, they get same as us. So, you know, engage no fee for service, year in year out, you know, they’re your high value clients, but you know, some of the stuff we’re seeing with, you know, your group policies, we’re sort of taking on, to have to reengage and build that relationship there, there are lists and multiple and for that reason, because we don’t know how sticky they are, or how service or we’ll serve as they have been in the past. So I guess from that perspective, there, it’s the same pro rata all the way down, sort of, you know, above 65, sort of onwards type of thing. And again, methodology is sort of, it’s leaning towards the 1.7 1.8. And sort of so on, so on. But, you know, as long as we have that same methodology across the board, then yeah, we’re all understanding that it the no one applies to them. It was the last. But I think the important thing to sort of know about how we work as well, it’s not, you’re not just swapping equity in the financial planning business. So the Hopkins group obviously is sort of enticing their business generally, which doesn’t have too many other businesses to work with. So accountancy mortgages, is that, you know, you’re rolling in your financial planning business, but now you also have, and that’s for equity in the greater Hopkins group, which owns shares in the mortgage, the accounting and other businesses, say that potentially, you know, nurture those clients and have them use the other services, which will ultimately, you know, increase the overall value of the business as well. Yep.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, exactly. Right. Now, tell us about those other tell us, you just want to mention mortgage in accounting, they’re the main ones, but tell us about how that the relationship between all these businesses work and what they all are? Well, we,

Shane Light
we provide a lot of self managed Superfund advice as well. We’ve got more corporate, you know, Trust Company type of tax sort of business expertise, as well. So with the head of accounting, they’re being Rachel Williams, who come from a larger sort of, you know, top four, accounting practice. So the experience and the knowledge to be able to help clients over and above what your sort of your standard sort of accountant would be with your individual tax returns, not to say they couldn’t. But usually, in this day and age, you know, it’s like advice, you sort of want to stick to your bread and butter and not sort of go outside of that. So we’ve built a business where we have those other business services now, which helps support our clients, and their tests now, including, you know, business sales or business valuations. And, you know, if we can’t do it, then we will engage, you know, with third party business as well. You know, and refer them that way. So, from their point of view, it’s really good. Same with mortgages, I guess, is, you know, subject matter expert, it’s just to want to help check, most of the times not even, it’s not even the business, it’s just, if you’re paying X rate, when was the last time you reviewed it? Do you need a health check? You know, it’s just asking that question, having that ready, response, giving it to the client, and then putting it back in the client sort of, you know, yeah, responsibility, it’s sort of action or not action.

Fraser Jack
So because of the size of the business, you’ve been able to go out and, you know, source, you know, as you mentioned, you know, Property Services and the valuation expert, you know, the business tax expert, the mortgage expert, that the property expert, tell us about how those relationships in, you know, come in and, you know, they obviously, some of the been standing for a long time, but what how are you bringing new ones in

Shane Light
relationships in the way of advisors or? Yep, yeah,

Fraser Jack
just put for those external areas or those areas where you’re not necessarily the key subject matter expert.

Shane Light
Yeah. I mean, for example, I had a client that, you know, had moved from the US, so had had some US tax exposure. Now, we hand on her to not provide international sort of tax advice, but, you know, when you’ve got other large businesses out there that you know, That’s a bread and butter, then we go out and we hunt for them. But we have them in the way. Because, you know, we may not actually have experience in dealing with them either, because it’s very rare that some of these little circumstances pop up. So really, it’s industry sort of experience. So we ask other people in the industry, you know, have you had this pop up before you so who do you use? So I think there’s more camaraderie in sort of leaning on other people in the industry to these days. And then you sort of know, you know, if, if they’ve used them, then Yep, great, we’re comfortable, you know, handing our client to them as well. You know, we’re referral free. We don’t believe all referral Commission’s either way fees paid either way. So really, for us, it’s, you know, if we’re working with someone, we just know that it’s that right expert for our client yet comes

Fraser Jack
back down to what every advisor is doing, they’re looking at helping and it’s about helping in those other areas. Identifying and helping property is a part of your, your remit as well within the within the Hopkins group property, and you’ve got a lot of investment property owners, and also all sorts of things off the back of that too from from rental, you know, contracts, and obviously renters need somebody to rent and contracts in place. Tell us a little bit held that part of the business.

Shane Light
Yeah, property. Again, it’s part of the DNA of Hopkins group. And we’re on 41 years this year, so have been around for a very long time. And if John was listening to this, it’d be very proud as well, because believe it or not, he’s still working in the business very strongly. But yeah, look, we’ve got all types of property, I guess, for us, we’ve got advocacy, we’ve also got the real estate side of things. Now, we’ve got the valuation side, which becomes pretty important too, if we’re needing to revalue stuff for self managed super funds, but we normally don’t do our own. So we go out to other businesses and vice versa. Because obviously, we want arm’s length. But the property management business, which is an interesting one, and was hit quite heavily through COVID, obviously, so there was a lot of a lot of challenges there. And, and my compliance and legal background also got me involved in a lot of dealings with the REI and some of those complaint tribunal sort of discussions with their property managers who had zero experience, you know, in negotiations there and I think are stretching my knowledge and trying to, to upskill there, but there is a lot of people that I guess are out there renting, wanting to buy their first home, engage in a lot of our sort of online webinars, or our first home sort of toolkits, you know, that we sort of put out there. And it is challenging. So, look, whether they, you know, funnel through to our side of the business, it’s hard, because sometimes they’ve only got, you know, 1015 $20,000 worth of savings, and it’s, what’s the best thing for them, you know, it’s it may not be buying that first home irrespective, it’s, it’s other conversations with them. But yeah, it does open up a lot of big opportunities. Because at any point in time, you know, we’ve got 1000 tenancy, so you can only imagine, you know, if they turn over every six to 12 months, our database is quite large. But again, the database is very engaging. So yeah, it does add value. Yeah. brings

Fraser Jack
a lot of people into contact with the with the business name is bit I mean, no, I was saying to someone the other day, that rentals has been an interesting thing, because obviously, it was very difficult to, to negotiate and keep people out at a certain time when when people were losing their jobs. But now, the pendulum for me is one feels like it’s swung back the other way. And it’s now it’s now very hard for renters to try and find and hold on to or bid for new properties, because it’s, it always sort of swings that pendulum doesn’t it?

Shane Light
Yeah, it’s hard to be hit and miss in Melbourne. If you’re paper wanting to take off our opportunity of selling units, you know, or small sort of property, which has had excellent rental yield, but the problem is when you get 345 in the one unit, it’s detrimental to the price and then detrimental to the rental yield. So, you know, there’s a lot of things that you don’t hear about, or it’s not spoken about in the media, but it’s definitely real down here. So, you know, you may think that, you know, things are sort of upwards or you know, is pushing strongly but renting creasing and, you know, market market rents prior to COVID. Definitely not going to be seen for a while yet.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, because of the large amount of services that the Group offers. Obviously, there’s a lot of different moving pieces to the puzzle, but there’s obviously a lot of different clients around which obviously provides a whole lot of new opportunities for financial planners and other financial planners within your group to talk to new people that sort of already know the brand.

Shane Light
Yeah, so I guess Yeah, often referrals won’t come through to the financial planning business, they will come through from other relationships from accounting mortgage broking, or just purely, you know, from, let’s say, home home opens or inspections to for the property side. So from their perspective, you know, it does create a different dynamic or a different avenue for clients to come into the business where we may not have had those relationships previously. So, from that side of thing, it’s a big positive.

Fraser Jack
Now one of the things I wanted to talk to you about today was was a lot of that There’s been so many changes going on over the last few years, you’ve lived in probably one of the hardest places in the world to live. Throughout the last sort of couple of years, obviously, all Victorians have will be feeling this in some way. But I wanted to talk to you about the mental health of you know, the community, the people around you, your own mental health, that’s sort of one of those things that we’ve spoken about before. And if anybody’s listening to this, and they are struggling with some of the things, then please reach out to some support, because, you know, there’s a lot of even the associations can help out with the FBI, the FA, but the people around you, you’ve had a bit of a crazy journey. Tell us tell us a little bit about that.

Shane Light
Yeah, well, COVID, I didn’t even know a COVID existed last year, because I was coming back from South Australia. And obviously, South Australia, you know, I’ve got family over there at property over there. But from that perspective, as soon as I ride back out sort of last March, or was in lockdown immediately, so come to the office one day, lockdown. The challenges, then just obviously ensured, you know, how to remotely sort of deploy not only staff here in Australia, which was quite easy, but offshore, offshore team had never sort of, obviously, worked from home, let alone the security around it all. You know, and then, obviously, throw in, you know, the education and the exams. And I was lucky enough to have done my physio exam in South Australia last year, which is quite unusual being from Melbourne. But yeah, the toll and I guess the challenge of being locked up for nearly two years and even for me not being able to see my family when I say family, my parents and you know, loved ones, because basically 90 95% of the room in South Wales was was the next challenge, obviously, and then the homeschooling so running an entity, and also having, you know, close to 30 Staff also sort of reporting to me, that emotional toll, not only on myself, but you know, other other people in the business was, yeah, just unusual, never experienced before. So not the extent of it anyway. And obviously, I think Melburnians probably a little bit more prone to be talking about it currently, at the moment, as we’re starting to sort of open back up. So I guess, you know, this is why I’m here today is a lot more people sort of, you know, willing to talk about their struggles, but I certainly feel that it’s probably more than Melburnians and then it is everyone because obviously they feel like all we have been through one of the harshest lockdowns and, and probably less of people around Australia probably comprehend. I guess that that toll or what would it be like being locked out for that long?

Fraser Jack
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. I think for you know, there’s a there’s a lot of industries and we’re not discounting in either, you know, the health professions or life sorts of things. But advisors have been through the wringer, haven’t they when it comes to, you know, the the changes that have been needed to be taken place. Some people have embraced them. But it’s also very difficult to embrace when you are in a COVID, lockdown for, like you said, are locked up for a year and a half. Tell us about tell us about that concept of other people around. You mentioned sort of other people in the country. But I think people in Melbourne will be able to empathize with that situation. But they’re all everyone sort of dealing with different occupations and then understanding tell us a little bit about how I guess that mental health pressures just sort of build up and just build up and it can become a spiral out of control sometimes, because of the the amount of it build up. And what are your What are your thoughts? Your

Shane Light
Yeah, it’s an interesting one, I think, a lot of the build up and on FMA. And when I talk about, you know, two other colleagues, and there can be other people too, that I know that do not work in the profession. I think homeschooling is the biggest one. But they always assume which no offense, it’s the mom or you know, that motherly type of aspect. Unusual, my wife works in that blue collar sort of industry and so to some other mates wife’s actually. So, you know, having sort of the added pressure of homeschooling, I think homeschooling has been the biggest burden on all mums and dads in Victoria. You know, it was only recently we sort of, you know, have a conversation with the school and they go through all the staffing stuff and my daughter who’s now six, you know, he’s about three and four months behind in reading, you know, and hearing that now I even after sort of having, you know, the mental anguish through through lockdowns and sort of, you know, more or struggling is that the struggle is real, you know, I couldn’t spend or put in time with my daughter, the same that the school would have or the expectations to do that whilst we’re in lockdown whilst we’re also attending to whether it’s our you know, our everyday sort of work needs, which is my staff, my clients, you know, the, the need to again, adhere to all the the change and the regulations which so significant in themselves, you know, breach reporting, etc, etc. So, you know, the significance of everything. And and again, it’s not to say that our industry is too dissimilar, like I think every industry out there that could not or had to work from home and had the support, specifically young kids through homeschooling. Yeah, it’s just a challenge that I think everyone just had to sort of work through themselves.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, exactly. And it’s a little bit hard to comprehend for a lot of other people around the country, maybe if they don’t have kids, or if they’re, if they’re not from that region. What can we do? I guess, in that respect to the conversations, I mean, part of the conversation today is that we’re talking about it, which is, which I think is an amazing thing, which we, I think we really need to do a bit more of what else can we do.

Shane Light
But I think, the mental health for a lot of advisors, a lot of people just in general, a lot of people, I think it’s gonna be a little worse, before it gets better, I think a lot of people are starting to get back out, you know, and, and work, you know, catch up with family or catch up with friends catch up with any peers. And they’re starting to talk a little bit about things. But I think what we need to do better as people is, and where sort of, I’ve failed, and what I’ve noticed a lot of other people that I’m having and comfortable in talking to about my own challenges is that we didn’t confide in our one our other halves probably as much as we should have. And that may be through fear of them not understanding the significance or, you know, the depth or the breadth of what we’re going through. And I’m trying to make this as general as possible, because as I said, other industries are, you know, facing the exact same challenges, whether it’s, you know, shipping supply, and not being able to sort of get stuff from overseas in a timely manner, just absolutely everything. But I took it for granted that I definitely didn’t think, you know, my wife would definitely want to hear it after getting home from work as well. Or long days, having the kids bombana to, you know, hear about my challenges and issues, you know, let alone, you know, dealing with clients who had lost their jobs, you know, so the other challenge, I guess we’re being a Victorian advisor is, you know, multiple clients lost their jobs, you know, working with them, you know, what to do suspending insurance policies, super, you know, it just everything mortgage repayments, cash flow, like it was just one after another, and you, you have to be seen, I guess, generally to be that strong, supportive person, because you’re in that role of, you know, trusted adviser to your clients say you don’t want to be seen weak, if that makes sense. So I guess that there’s a lot of that as well. I feel through the community. And then, you know, unfortunately, for me, and again, being a young advisor is quite unusual, you know, insurance claims just just through the roof. And they weren’t mental health, you know, there were cancers and everything was popping up that had never been popped up before.

Fraser Jack
Yeah. You mentioned the, you know, confiding in your partner, that’s probably something that a lot of people will sit down and guy that sounds like it’s a normal, but I think there is no normal in the space. I think a lot of people then just sort of don’t have that opportunity, that time in that space to have those conversations. And they’re not always easy conversations to bring up. Have you got any tips or thoughts on what’s a good way to start a conversation like that with a partner?

Shane Light
Yeah, it’s hard. Probably no alcohol, or anything, you want to make sure you clear minded, you know, obviously, has struggled a fair bit. So for me, the conversations were forced, you know, and it wasn’t, you know, just just with my wife, you know, people could say that I was obviously sort of struggling mentally, you know, I was just done. You know, I’d probably drained myself. So I just think, if you’re getting, you know, to be in that bad, it’s probably also the other part now sort of being cognizant of this is not you, you know, your energy levels are a lot higher, or, you know, stuff like that. So, but for me, I guess I just, I got to a point where, and I did, I just started talking, and just thought, you know, what, it’s just too much anymore, you know, without breaching any privacy because that that’s what it’s about, right? It’s just about the struggles. But I guess the challenges too, and what I see from our industry and for other advisors, and I guess we’re talking from the advisor perspective, because there has been a lot of media on I guess, everything impacting advisors, it’s all sort of culminating to this year, next year with PhaZZer exam and then, you know, unfortunately, that the number of deaths that have occurred from from a number of things, is you just yeah, just need to be open and talkative, communicative and just make sure that you don’t take them for granted. And you just having those conversations and, you know, it’s not all knowing, you know, here’s another lot of you know, legislative changes because every year we say 345 or six, and they do that every year, but you just got to make sure you You’re talking about your mental health, we’re talking about your challenges and struggles, because what I did realize is different perspectives or the ability for someone else to say, hey, like, have you tried this? Or? Or have you thought about doing this, and I guess I’m thinking about it in a way too, because I was managing, you know, Team offshore, a lot younger, that was struggling with their mental health and obviously onshore and their mental health. So, you know, I probably more blindsided by my own issues without also thinking about other stuff. So and by able to removing, you know, some of the, it’s about me or may issues and, and sort of bringing in sort of all the other sort of bigger picture type of conversations, it’s sort of, I removed, I guess, the more I guess the issues sort of centered on myself. And that sort of started to help me a little bit by having those conversations that are more openly and, and I guess what we noticed too, is as a team, so it’s not just about my wife is, once our team, and our business also started to have a chat about I guess that and have sort of a bit of a well being, you know, pep talk, because I think it’s evident, like, everyone was struggling. And people felt a little bit more comfortable about having that, that chat with one another. And it’s amazing how supportive people can be especially. And it’s a shame that we have to all be going through stuff, I guess, at the same time all together to seek that support. You know, would we have received that support from let’s say, someone else, if we had reached out let interstate? I’m just saying and, you know, I have a media and everything was done again, you know, virtually? Would we have received that same support? Probably not? Because the the experience and the empathy probably is not there, because they haven’t gone

Fraser Jack
through it. Yeah, I think experience and empathy and understanding is, is a huge part of this. You mentioned the states, I’ve also noticed there’s a big divide, you know, a great way to divide states is by you know, you know, divide humans is to put a state line and talk about our state’s better than yours or doing better. It’s such such or like, crap that went on. And you’re right about teams and well being, you know, like, understanding and, you know, like, you, as you mentioned earlier, you know, you felt like you had a leadership position, you had people relying on you and you felt like so they you couldn’t then show any weakness. It’s not, though showing weaknesses. It’s more, it’s more around saying, Well, you know, if you’re burdening more of the sponsor, these two are human at the end of the day, you still want to feel stuff.

Shane Light
Yeah. But it’s, it goes even further to like, you’re right, it is a sense of responsibility. But then they also feel that, and there’s a stigma. So the issue is, is a little stigma, I guess, against mental health. Right. So, you know, and I’ve always thought, you know, don’t share, don’t talk. But obviously, you know, this whole event, and then there’s so many people I’ve spoken to, and, you know, it’s prompting me and I speak up about it, because, you know, we are a large business we have suffered, a lot of people have suffered, I you know, I have definitely gone through my fair share. But it’s the clients, I guess it’s the perception, you know, is what happens if my clients find out, you know, what happens? You know, there is a reputational damage, I mean, in our industry, you know, we don’t want our clients to see or feel that we’re weak as well. So, you know, by talking about it, or more broadly, you know, Will that get out? And, you know, will people share that information. So, I guess it’s just, there’s a raft of issues that probably need to be dealt with or spoken about. But again, it’s going to have to be that person, that sort of now, recognizing that their mental health has gotten that bad that they do need to talk about it, because if they don’t, then it’s only gonna eat them alive. And it’s gonna cause more issues, unfortunately.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, the stigma is a really interesting thing. And I also think about it from the you know, the what’s professionalism on a given what as a professional is expected to do. And, and, you know, you sort of have this idea of the professional in a suit, you know, standing there being bulletproof, and not, you know, everything just being deflating off and being able to, you know, act calmly and rationally in that situation. But I think the the authenticity to me these days that my, my opinions change on what that professional, that ideal professional looks like, and to me these days is all around, you know, acting in the business, obviously, but being real and being authentic and being true to yourself, and then standing tall saying, This is me, you know, this is how I am as a human, but I can also behave in a professional manner. I don’t have to, like the behavior of professionals different from the human of the human that is the professional.

Shane Light
Yeah, yeah, you’re right. I mean, look at the way I’ve got around with my clients, without you know, sort of divulging too much is we were working so I mean, technology can be good and bad, right? So, you know, your work from nine to five technology, it doesn’t work like that. Like, if we’re seeing clients with technology. Were then on technology, again, with the emails and everything else and it is it’s all taken off. But what would be a five or 10 minutes sort of meeting with someone sitting in the office from a desk across from you is now another 20 or 30 minutes virtual meeting online just to sort of move things around. And it created a lot more time spent online, but we were working longer hours. So the the merging of your your professional and business life was then merging into your, you know, your personal life like, so work home, personal professional life, and not being able to leave home because we had the curfew and just absolutely, you know, all those other sort of compounding factors is I think clients were really receptive. At the end of the day, and I was I was saying, I’m not taking any calls, my phone’s going off at six, like it was literally going off. And I’m pretty strong these days, actually, still now that I’ve sort of built that into my, you know, and my clients are really respected now, because I think they started to realize not, not from their side of things, but even their work. Like, I’ve got a lot of clients and I would also say and meet with, and you can see that they were tired. So they were also having the same probably impacts that the technology was having on us. Is that, you know, they’re experiencing it as well. It’s just technology overload.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, you’re right. It’s a great thing, but having a separation in our life, whether it’s, you know, the separation between going away and coming home, or the separation of something, you know, been our identify, and I guess we have over the last few years, everything’s happening in the one place working from home homeschooling, you know, all that all that technology. Tell us about one of you, I know that you do a lot of I want to I want to talk about the bee, the beekeeping side of it, how do they you know, you use that concept to be able to get out of the house and do something that’s completely different and just be able to, you know, bring some fresh air in and tell us about, tell us about your beekeeping responsibilities.

Shane Light
Yeah, well, as a beekeeper, we were permitted because they they agriculture and livestock, we didn’t actually use the permits too much through through the height of COVID Because our basal capital literally five kilometers one way and sort of 100 metres another way. But yeah, we’ve got about 60 beehives, three different farms, so 2020 20 kind of thing, it’s just worked out that way, a couple of swarms in our home at the moment that we nurture and then sort of move outside the five ks and bring back but bees are been proven to be really good, I guess, mentally just sitting there and watching a beehive is phenomenal, just and listening to them when there’s no wind and today’s a perfect days, you know, beautiful sunny here and no no wind, if I was sitting out there just with the bees and I had so for example, if I took you there, you would be able to hear with nothing, no sound, just the buzzing, and that she sort of buzzing and just listening is phenomenal. I look I’m one of the lucky ones to where I when I get stung, multiple times, it doesn’t affect me and that happens often. Because I do my beekeeping generally without gloves and without a suit on. Or when we got some angry hives, I’ll put the top on and then we’ll go in with 1000 socks and everything else and my wife just shakes her head at me but that’s the way I’ll do things. Just that that trust and that connection so and I think that’s been a big factor obviously as well as men we haven’t sort of touched on that too is through COVID Not being able to leave as well you know no drinking so everything’s just about healthy eating being clean you know working with it and you know spending more time with the kids building stuff so being arty or getting out in the backyard and and just being creative as well as definitely the beekeeping

Fraser Jack
Yeah, it’s really good for the mindfulness now, we probably will talk on how to talk about health and alcohol consumption you know if she had a baby before. Now, tell us about what what you know you’ve done in that space with with health and alcohol.

Shane Light
Yeah, well, I mean, I knew mentally and not just myself, you know, earlier this year, it was getting the better of me and I needed to do something I’ve always been at the top of my or peak fitness you know, whether it’s just you know, running sort of once a marathons or half marathons, but definitely some fun runs my sport my soccer always, you know, played at an elite level. But yeah, just being at home not being able to go anywhere, not even you know, outside for walks in the backyard, you know, I put on a few kgs and drinking obviously, is a bit of an issue. So yeah, in May made a Cognizant effort to stop having had a drop of alcohol since then and don’t intend to for for a very long time. They say it takes six, seven years to repair your body after alcohol and as you know, we’ve probably done some damage true through our time at some events. So you know, I’m on this journey now of hopefully, you know, really trying to not only get better mentally, which which I believe I’m you know, working through and then working with my team on and anyone else that sort of comes to me in the industry now. Is there Yeah, once you start a habit so a habit sort of late 60s. type of sort of thing. I don’t ever miss drinking, you know, I’ve been to events where people are drinking and just, you know, my wife still has a drink here or there or wakes up, you know, with, why don’t I have a drink, it’s like, Don’t Don’t miss it. So I think physically to and mentally that has definitely helped. And I can feel that I’m sharper, a lot sharper, so much sharper that you’ll see hopefully a little bit of a sneak preview a book be published soon enough. All about Bayes, obviously. So you know, there’s a few things like that, that have been just haven’t ever worked out smash out. And I think everyone can also say that the energies come back. And yeah, as long as you recognize, I guess, the issues that pitfalls, you talk about it, and you make sure you Well, I guess you can find him people that you trust, and you trust that can give you the right sort of feedback and direction. That’s the importance. That’s what you definitely need to seek out.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, it sounds like it’s always a it’s always a journey, isn’t it? And obviously, it sounds like you’re you don’t very well, on the on the upside of this journey. But, you know, and you’re right, you know, there’s we do, you know, culturally, you know, throw a beer in there every now and again, and, and, you know, it certainly can get out of control if it’s every day and you just in the same Ground Hog have inside the inside the house and you’re drinking, drinking with each other by yourself. So I think a lot of people might be feeling that right now with the with the alcohol consumption,

Shane Light
but hey, it’s a reason for a baby and to take you out for a better lunch, just drop the alcohol and just come up the price go up the menu of prices,

Fraser Jack
get yourself a nice steak. Fantastic. Tell us about the waiter from here, you know, sort of, we’ve got big plans this year, you know, you know, all I can say, as I’m hoping everything’s opening up at the moment, and what are your thoughts, sort of, in the short and medium term from from here with a with a working?

Shane Light
Look, we’ll go back to the office, one or two days a week where we’re trying already, the challenge is, again, with with people working, we’re coming back in the school holidays, you know, is you know, are people going to be back at home because of the children are back at home, we got school holidays upon us. You know, their child cares, a lot harder to come by, you know, we’ve been lucky enough to have an au pair who really, you know, previously is gone home to, you know, to the UK. So finding that paid help, and trusting them or, you know, the right checks for us, you know, that that’s where we’re at, I think a lot of Victorians are at the same sort of circumstance that I’ve spoken to is that everyone wants to get back to normal, but normal, like, there’s a lot of part of the industry that would normally support our normal life that has now disappeared. So there’s a lot of challenges, I guess, in now sort of Yeah, reaching out and, and sort of getting that help. So, you know, we’re lucky to have found some help, you know, leading to the year, but that’s not going to fix up sort of next year and beyond. So from that point of view, yeah, I’d love to get back. But again, everyone, I’ve spoken to him from BDM world, you know, support well, they’re not even going back into the office. So they’re sort of just doing a few lunches and that here and there. But even their, their motivation to head to the city to do stuff. It’s it’s also dwindling, and it’s sort of gone. So yeah, there’s a lot of motivation just been ripped out of people in Melbourne, and maybe we have just gotten too used to so just being at home and around, I guess, you know, whether it’s friends family, and I’ve got my wife side here, obviously, but we’re just wanting to spend more time with the kids, but outside because technically, the kids are also the ones that have lost out hugely. And I can see that, you know, in my kids, you know that they want to go to the zoo, the aquariums like there’s been 12 months of nothing. So, you know, there’s a lot of that aspect of things now. And even my daughter, and I two years lost of swimming, you know, she wants to do swimming lessons. It’s like, you’re right, we’ve got to try and get her into swimming lessons. But even struggling to do that, because there’s just hardly anything around. So there’s a lot of a lot of strain, I guess, in respect to you know, all those different areas at the moment, which I think you’re still gonna say a lot of people sort of struggle with Yeah, it’s

Fraser Jack
it’s a it’s a rebuilding, you know, conversation, isn’t it and bouncing, you know, for I think Sam Korth Cawthorne used to say, you know, don’t you don’t want to bounce back to where you were before you want to bounce forward to, you know, the new normal. And I think we’re all on that journey of rebuilding that and to what that might look like. So I don’t think it’s going to add anything, it’ll look like what it used to be a new thing. And hopefully we can build it in the way we want it to be.

Shane Light
I think I’ll have a lot more people come and visit me and generally the basic site, there’s been a lot of a lot of talk about that say, when that starts to happen, or Fraser and you’re down here, mate, we’ll get the x y team down in some bass suits.

Fraser Jack
Excellent. And if you want to check out Shane, in the BC, you’re probably better to find them on Tik Tok than any other medium. Is

Shane Light
that right? That’s it. We’ve got a lot of TiC TOCs these days. It’s all about babies. So yeah, and even my daughter she’s six She’s got her own basic say she’s always in there helping us as well.

Fraser Jack
Fantastic, Shane, thanks so much for coming on and chatting to us today about about about work, but also the mental health journey that a lot of advisors and planners are on, and just sort of bringing that up and I think we should talk about it. And thank you for coming on and telling us about your story. If somebody wants to continue the conversation with you, what’s the best way for them to reach out

Shane Light
and think right, yeah, professionally through my email, my eyeballs on there, or at all on LinkedIn as well. So all my contact details are all out there.

Fraser Jack
Fantastic. Shane, thank you so much. Thank you

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