February 3, 2022

#281 Jonathan Christie – Transcript

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Andrew Rocks
Hi and welcome to the XY podcast. Today I’ve got a gentleman, Jonathan Christie joining me and Jonathan has a very, very sort of colorful past. He’s a man of Scottish heritage. He spent some time working on at university in Birmingham, probably learning very much the Peaky Blinders way of doing business. He’s got He’s landed in Australia. He’s got businesses in Asia. He sounds like a frustrated travel agent, but I’ll let him tell you a story. So today, Jonathan Christie, who’s the GM of Arianna AFSL in Australia. welcome Jonathan. How are you?

Jonathan Christie
Mate? Thanks. Thanks for having me. Roxy of Peaky Blinders. I didn’t realize I was like of that ilk. But there we go.

Andrew Rocks
Well, I’ll let the listeners figure out which part of the picky boy maybe it might be tell me how you’ve come to I’m residing in the fear city of Sydney after a run, sort of working your way around the planet.

Jonathan Christie
Oh, well, before I start apologies to your listeners to my Scottish accent, I hope they can understand me. So look at arrived here in 2002 and met my nice, lovely wife, who’s Australian and did the usual UK backpacker trend get run the world then ended up in Bondi Beach and never left. So a pretty common story for a lot of Scottish and English people out there. And how

Andrew Rocks
did that we all were you in financial services overseas or actually pick picking picking fruit and bumped into a lady and said, Hang on. I like to things I like you in this country? Well, I was funny. I was in

Jonathan Christie
the US. And so the word management consultants bandied around a bit but was one of my first jobs out of uni. And it was in the financial services sector. Got made retrenched after 911 Like everyone else in London at the time, and then just went travelling. So in financial services, but but landed in MLC. So my first rule was an MLC, which I’ll see now, but it was there from 2002 to two and 16. So they’re very loyal to the NAB brand at the time. And they didn’t he tried in terms of helping me through my career, but I ended that relationship and 2016 yet.

Andrew Rocks
And was was were you a practicing financial advisor? Or were you in the wealth side? Or what was

Jonathan Christie
it? Uh, well, yeah. Yeah, well, I always say that the specialists, right. So I’ve never been a financial advisor. And I sort of hang my hat on that a little, because I think it’s good not to have lots of financial advisors and a licensee, we’ve got a number of great employees who have been, and I think for me, my strength has been running businesses, running teams. My last role at NAB was running, not private, before it was merged into JV, we’re, and just bring in more of a strategic operational lens and not take anything away from financial advisors at all. It’s just never been my skill set, but definitely leverage know that the knowledge base of my team who have been, I think that’s a really important balance, right. And so when I talk to advisors, I’m always very clear. You know, I think it’s the hardest job in the world. To be honest, one of the hardest gigs I’ve seen as being an advisor, and I think it’s underestimated. Particularly you see some of the new, the new young blood coming through, they got to understand the hard work that’s involved. So I’m quite lucky that I’ve never done the hard graft. And

Andrew Rocks
having having sort of almost a decade at NAB, which, which, I’d be interested to know, what were kind of the best aspects of that experience. And also, maybe what were the the worst aspects of all learning experiences, because there, but yeah, very interesting.

Jonathan Christie
You know, everyone’s got their story about an institution, right, good, bad and indifferent. And I was at MLC at the time, which became NAB, and and I had some great stories, you know, the early days of culture, innovation, just, you know, giving autonomy. And I think that was a really important part of my sort of background is how do you let people run a little freer, and obviously, and how they operate businesses, bigger institutions do things differently, and their risk appetites different? I think the knob acquisition and how now view advice did change things. And there was a lot of good things as well. But compliance came constraint, but the biggest challenge was that it just didn’t make money. Okay, so advice was a challenge to an institution like a bank, because it just didn’t make them money or the return on investment they wanted. And so I think it never really hit that profile, compared to, you know, typical traditional banking, but the people and how the, the culture of NAB up until I think about 2013 was awesome, and then it started to change. And I sort of saw advice is so the writing was on the wall, really, and it was sad to see and we were working The first people to exit. So now prior to moving to jVb, which the right thing to do at the time, and I think that business has flourished inside JVZoo, which is awesome. But it gave me the opportunity to look elsewhere and to take the learnings and some of the great learnings from the not LLC days, as well as some of the challenges that we faced into a new environment. And I think that’s a really important thing. Well, how do you take the learnings of your experience and apply it differently? Because if you don’t apply things differently than you can’t change and innovate, that’s my sort of view. And you probably know that as well, Roxy, right? You can’t just keep doing the same things over and over again.

Andrew Rocks
Yeah, and just to reflect on there, you mentioned them, you know, quite briefly that, that even a business like no private was not able to make money in the in the changing environment. And from my experience, a lot of financial planners get into this and almost have a social contract with with the Australian public to try and do better and to do well. And I know that you’re now at Ariana, and have been there for some time. What what changes did you make and what did you what culture did you bring with you? And what changes did you make? From from what I’m reading with Ariana, you will give it pretty blank slate to kick off with it.

Jonathan Christie
Yeah, so look, let’s be clear. How did Orianna come about is well, actually, when I when I was at NAB private, we actually saw the financial planning business to Oriana. So look more who’s now CEO when I was working with me at NAB at the time, and that was actually an ex parte business in Hong Kong. So we have an office in Hong Kong with an ex parte financial planning client base, as well as a local client base. And we saw that to Ariana, and then I was brought back into the business as a director, responsible manager 2018. And what we decided during the the crazy time of the Royal Commission is let’s start a licensee in a sort of had this crease up look from people as Why would you do that during that time, when it was one of the hardest businesses to get into. And it still is today. But we saw an opportunity. We had some really great relationships and great advisors from our days at NAB coffee Pembroke, particularly. And and we had an opportunity to we want to work with some of those practices to start again, right to really go. What do we need to do? And what do we not need to do? Because I think my experience at NAB was they did a lot of things that weren’t required for their own reasons. And so what Orianna allowed us to do was blank sheet of paper, just zero oxy. And to go well, how do you want to build this? And what are the learnings that we can take from our experiences, not only me, but financial advisors. And so the sort of the new that the advisors who joined us first sort of lead the strategy lead the design, like how do we do this, and we’re still changing today. And I think culture, culture is the most critical thing. So how do we work with the right types of advisors and challenging the right things. But the conversation and how you do that it’s got to be professional. And it’s got to be respectful. I think if we have a licensee or me as a service provider licensee, if we can have advisor led conversations where we listen and consult, we get the right outcomes for clients. And that’s how I approach everything. And yeah, so that’s how I think about things as we bring in bringing new businesses to our network.

Andrew Rocks
And just to give you a quick context, our biggest REO today, what’s what’s that? Well, it’s

Jonathan Christie
2018, we had no one. So one client, strategic wealth was our first practice in Melbourne. And today, we just on boarded our 34th Practice last October. And I talked about practices, because everyone talks about advisor numbers I used to, but we have 34 clients. And we want to grow our network to around 45. That’s always been my proposition, I feel that we community and engagement is a part of what we do. And if I can, or my team can engage with a practice, then, then we’re just going to be a larger licensee, which we don’t want to be there’s nothing wrong with larger license, there’s nothing wrong with it. But we just don’t want to be that we want to still be able to engage and consult and talk. And I think that’s how we want to grow our business about 45 practices. Yeah, so about 10 to go.

Andrew Rocks
Just rewarding there. You mentioned culture. And you know, it’s without a shadow of a doubt after COVID It’s probably the next big buzzword with maybe work from home the other one, but definitely what you mean, when you mentioned you came to work one day in London after 911 was and was probably given your marching orders, which would have felt Yeah, be terrible I mentioned. And you’re probably people on here who had similar style experiences. So you know, what, what it feels like when you’ve got a cold, hard culture. What do you what’s your definition of culture? And how are you applying that in your day to day to day,

Jonathan Christie
like Google culture is there’s obviously the non negotiables are just values and ethics right? You know, what your beliefs and and when we want to partner and I talked about partnering with businesses, he’ll call that recruiting businesses to your license. Yes, you know, whether or partnering with people cuz I’m here for the long term, and my team is here for long term. And so the partnership is long is gonna be enduring. And so obviously engineering, then you’ve got to get on. And so when I meet with a business there, they’re assessing me as much as I’m assessing them. And so you’ve got to get on and have a great conversation and respectful conversation. And at the heart of it not be scared to challenge and solve problems. If you’re not solving problems, then you don’t have the right culture. Because if you solve problems are always going to be problems in this industry, you know, the cogs and wheels, that term financial planning, there’s always going to be challenges and opportunities and problems. And so as a licensee, and as a partner, we just got to solve them together. And sometimes we’ve got a wrong and sometimes we go, right, but if the culture can enable that to happen in a really constructive way, I’m big on that. That’s just me, I want to I want to solve problems. I’m an engineer by trade engineering degree. So I try and I try and think like just solving problems every day. That’s how I think about it.

Andrew Rocks
So your net, you’ve got the background engineering, you’re part of the Peaky Blinders, alumni congratulations. And you’ve decided to

Jonathan Christie
That’s not how I treat my clients, by the way.

Andrew Rocks
Agreed, hopefully, um, and the you’ve sat down there as the Royal commissions come out, but they must have been something that you were thinking about, there must have been something in the Royal Commission at the time where you thought that this is not going to be a headwind. This could be a tailwind. And we just have to change this thing. I’m really interested in what things that you thought were going to be X Factor back then? And how you’re going with them today?

Jonathan Christie
Yep. So we start off with just you strip it right back, right. And this is not, I’m not gonna say anything. That’s rocket science here. Because the whole industry in XY is fluid. There’s lots of conversation, right? Starting with client, right? Start with the client and think about the process and then get expert opinion on what do we need to do and what do we not need to do? Let’s break it down like that. So we strip it back. Look for common sense approach to how to deal with clients. I’m not saying we solve this, by the way, but we are tackling it. And then try and find the solutions and the things to plug in to make advisors become more efficient, and provide a great experience to clients. So our vision is work with experienced professionals to deliver a common sense compliance through operational efficiency, right? It’s no more than that. I’m not here to give you leads, I’m not here to grow your business. I’ll give you a platform to grow your business through common sense, compliance and better efficiency. But that’s how I stripped us out. We did we stripped it back and looked at that. And then then you start building upon technology comes into play, different ideas come into play, maybe just trying something new comes into play, right? For instance, why do we need this SOA? And what can it really look like? You know, that’s our project for this year. So we we stripped it back, stripped back that traditional advice process, thought about the client, and then started again, and that started with compliance rules and guidelines and all the stuff that institutions security. The second thing is only make change if it’s good change. Advisors are tired of bad change. Right? So, you know, even last year’s reg change Monday, it was some of it was just tough. And I think as a licensee, sometimes doing nothing is great for advisors, because they want to grow their businesses and they want to talk to clients. So we did a survey just before Christmas, I think the number one priority for advisors was don’t change anything. So and that’s okay, right? That’s okay. There’s a bit of tongue in cheek in that. But you’ve also got to understand that the run businesses and you’ve been there, obviously, you don’t want to be changing the golf course.

Where you can’t set up a three to five year plan in financial planning when you’ve got a two to three month legislation arising, I think. And I think that’s beginning to become clear to the people that are overseeing our industry. And it’s patently clear to the the decreasing number of advisers and corresponding people and voters out there helping.

Absolutely it’s scary for Australian people that the kind of is great for advisors today. It’s there’s no one shot of a leader. But it’s terrible that Australians can access advice. It’s an appalling thing. And I think, you know, it’s up to us as a community to try and solve it and you can do it on your own. You’re good together. But right now, there’s still a problem in that space. But you’re talking about headwinds and tailwind. Right. I go, the opportunities there. And we’ve got to continually challenge how we do things. Because at the end of the day, Orion has view in my view as a director in the business’s financial planning businesses are going to be valuable assets. We know that and so That’s probably second part of our strategy is starting to take acquisition, equity opportunities in practices and solve that problem. And we’ve done a few of those. And it’s a long process. It’s a tough one. But that’s sort of our, we believe in the future of advice. And we believe in profitable advice businesses. And that’s what we think our role as a licensee store partner will become.

Andrew Rocks
I’m glad you mentioned that, because my very large research team of me and Mr. Google, how did you go there? Yeah. Pretty well, about two minutes after you started the licensee, you went on professional planner and put out a bit of a statement from the mountain, it was in 21st, of June 2019, where you just say that, that you wanted to take equity positions in profitable businesses, because there’s no better vantage point to view the viability and profitability of an advisor, and then being a licensee, and also being inside their business. And so as we speak today, that is beginning to play out your way.

Jonathan Christie
Yeah, look, you know, the deal with this one, doing your first solo was the hardest, like, the first thing anything, right, like starting any business, finding your first or second or third business is the hard one, I think, you know, I’ll take my hat off to Paul bar and his business and some of the other players out there, they’ve done a great job. We’re just trying to build a really profitable financial advice business. And we’ve taken not like two or three equity stakes now in practices, which is good for us. It’s a slow burn, it’s a slow process. But what we’re now seeing is an appetite from our network, to have that conversation. Because at the end of the day, we’re not acquiring 100% of businesses. So we can’t control the decision. But I’m now seeing the trend is absolutely in our network. And in the marketplace. People are absolutely more open to investment in their businesses, because they see a long term opportunity in planning.

Andrew Rocks
And look when I when I we met a few years ago, when I when I saw your business, I was intrigued that you genuinely had a functioning business in Hong Kong. I think you’ve got one in Singapore. We do have quite a few advisors in the XY network, many whom have great contributors who deal with as expats. Can I ask you? Is your business designed for Australian clients residing over there? Or do you have a whole other client base? And are you licensed? They’re here or both?

Jonathan Christie
Yeah, look, I’m an I’m a pilot. I’m obviously across that business in detail and look more our CEO. He’s up there running that business, but I can I can give you my view. Look, in the day, you know, x y advisors are moving around the world, right? Guess what, everyone’s moving around the world, expats are everywhere. And Australians are moving around the world. So we’ve got clients even in Australia, all over the world, America, Canada. And so if you’re not trying to address that, that topic in that type of advice, then, you know, you’ve got I think there’s an opportunity miss. So in Hong Kong at the minute, we’ve got an Australian Expat book, and that your dual license, we can provide advice not only in the Hong Kong dollar Chinese market, but also in the Australian market. And we also, we also advise local Hong Kong clients because now but the time when we own that business, a large NAB footprint, so we’ve we’ve got the ability, luckily to be both sides of the balance sheet of it. And and that’s that’s really done as well, particularly with Australian market exiting, you know, you start the AIPAC, so the world up there, CBA, were up there, but they’ve all exited. And so we’ve sort of definitely benefited from that. But taking not away. You know, even in Australia, if you’re a financial planner in Australia, you’re going to have clients particularly COVID ending starting to move around the world again? And what are the needs of clients? And how do you address them?

Andrew Rocks
And what are the impediments? Or I suppose a big part of the Iranians got changed fatigue, but also everyone’s got risk fatigue as well. And, and I was just very curious as to do you. Do you allow your Australian based people to give advice to expat clients? Or do you? Is it an internal referral? Or does your vi insurance second opinion on this?

Jonathan Christie
Now, we were covered on that, and because we’ve been doing it a long time, all of our businesses can obviously the certain countries, you can do that in, but for the majority of you know, you know, most of our businesses in Australia how clients know, domicile overseas, and as long as that I’m in the countries that we are comfortable with, then that’s fine. And you know, geographical boundary should prevent an Australian getting advice. That’s just for me ridiculous. And, and if I was moving overseas, I would want to know that my advisor could continue to help. Because that’s a part again, polio is hope, helping clients. So how do we help the client at the end of the day, and then let’s work out the process before that. So and that’s how we approach everything in life. licensee. So I hate the word the licensee because it’s sort of the old school dealer group licensee model again, I don’t know, I love to change our name, just to suddenly like a partner. But, you know, that’s what we do every day.

Andrew Rocks
You can you can be, this can be your platform.

Jonathan Christie
No man. Oh man, I’m not that creative man. I think he’d be on those sorts of ID generations. And but um, you know, that’s what we try and do. Like, you know, when we started out the licensee couple years ago, the first joining businesses sort of said, you know, even simple things, like, do you know that x font doesn’t work? If you do it this way? Why can’t we configure it this way? Do you know that we just don’t have a file note structure. So let’s build a file structure online. It’s simple things like that, that you got to start doing. And my views and engineering head kicks in as if we’re not continually changing things for the better. And think about new ways of doing things not to disrupt the business. But just so we’re not getting stagnant and standing still, then why we’re doing why we’re doing like, we always try to be moving forward. And that’s what’s happened with our network, they’ve come with ideas, and we’ve listened and no ideas a bad one. And I think, because of the nature of the types of advisors we work with, they’re all fairly like minded, and a lot people say that, but they are. And they genuinely are trying to solve problems that each each other have. And I think, you know, when we first started the business, and we built a follow to write wasn’t been buying off the shelf, we build it through a tool called Formstack. He built all our follow up structures in there, so the advisors can follow a logical process, which is online, and guess what we Formstack everything, every form and our licensees, Formstack. And so that was an advisor idea. And now we plug in Dragon software to things. So all of a sudden you’ve taken we’ve got to solve a problem or own a file, no. And that tool in our business knows us for everything simple are always not approve product requests, even our internal stuff. And that’s just a great example of an advisor idea is not integral to our business.

Andrew Rocks
Perfect, perfect and I suppose the question of the impact of COVID with with most most people in Australia is has one dimension but with yourself. You grew up in, in, in Scotland. So you grew up in Dundee, you’re you’ve got a business partners in Asia, and you’re working and living in Sydney. How has COVID panned out the last couple years? And have you found it a veteran? Or have you? Is it been tough for you?

Jonathan Christie
Well, on a personal level, right, you know, it’s a it’s emotional, I’m not going to get to the core thing, you know, just being away from you? Well, I’ll tell you this, this is this is how I sold it to my mum, when I first arrived in Sydney 2002 I’m only 24 hours away. Right? That’s, that’s a big call. So on a personal front, you sort of made a commitment to your family only 24 hours away. And that is emotional. It’s been one year was fine. This year has been really taxing on me personally, and my kids. And that seemed grandparents and I know a lot of advisors and people I know face that. So I find that trying to operate and build a business and building a business is not a hard thing. Pretty difficult thing with that sort of environment. You know, it’s difficult. And I struggled last year, like two years ago, I really struggled the first lockdown. You know, there was yeah, it was it was a really difficult process to try and function and build a business as well whilst managing that, that that balance of not seeing family?

Andrew Rocks
Yeah, I suppose one of the sort of aspects of that was that so many people had out within your business, your advice network, and what else is going through it as well? So I’m about to innovate from out of it from how that works.

Jonathan Christie
Yeah. And I think innovation, you know, it’s funny, like everyone talks about innovation, innovation can be small and big. Okay, I’m sure you think about your career oxy, right, some of the smaller things that you’ve done have probably been really more innovative than some of the bigger things, right. And I think what I’ve been really amazed to see is just for the ability of advisors, and this is again, this is why this industry is brilliant. Advisors have a tough game, but they’re resilient, and they push through, and they come up with ways of doing things better. And what I find our role in that is to listen, to listen to people to listen to why they’re having these challenges. And again, innovation could be technology based, but it also could be something as simple as Stop being like, you don’t need to do it anymore. And and I’m a big fan of stop doing things. You don’t need to keep starting.

Andrew Rocks
One of the classic stop doing things that’s happened the last couple of years is people coming into your office for every single meeting and all I’ll go, I’ll go through a bit of a personal story of mine on on, you know how relationship management’s evolved. And you you mentioned earlier that people have problem with clients. And I agree. But sort of 20 years ago, one of the innovations that I did one of the small ones was that I set up a childcare facility. So when clients came in, they could put their kids into my facility, and I basically stole the idea from IKEA. If you’ve ever been to IKEA, there’s nothing to do anymore with COVID, there’s big ballroom and you’re trying to get in there, and then you go out to a restaurant for three hours and come back. Or alternatively, you can shop there, but and so that worked really well. And people brought their kids in, and we did work. And then I found that I didn’t have to do an activity center anymore, because I just hand the child an iPad, that was about 2010. And that worked really well. And then basically, overnight, we we shut shop, because now I could come anywhere. And we realized that the kids can be at home watching TV in the other room, and the parents can be zooming you here. So it’s one of the things that there’s change, there’s been changing the advisor landscape, and we do focus inwardly, but there’s been massive change in the rise of the consumer, in how they obtain information. You know, a lot of information is readily available, and maybe in a second go into Arianna adds a lot of value around that research and investment. But but how they obtain information and how they engage you. And a question I have is what kind of with Arianna itself to one of your advisors? Are they going to stick with online or Zoom meetings? Where do you feel back or a hybrid?

Jonathan Christie
I look, this is the thing, right? So again, one of our principles, as a licensee partner is your swim lanes, but you’re your own business, right? And how you operate that engage your clients is your way. So every advisor is different, you know that may everyone’s got a different view, or a different version of the same sort of story sometimes. And I think it’s interesting to see some advisors are dictating how that change is occurring, and others are just letting that change happen to them based on what clients want. So some businesses will default move everyone to a virtual environment, and others will just see how clients want to engage. And I think it will vary depending on client type edge, and what comes from that even regional sort of areas as well. So I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer. But what is clear is everyone’s adaptable to move from face to face to virtual to a blend of both quite quickly. And I think that’s a huge shift. But certainly from a cost perspective and thinking about resourcing and how you think about the office location, what do you need? That’s really changed the game in terms of thinking about the business model, and the implications of that. So if your principle is that you can deliver a client experience in whichever format you can, then your business is going to allow for that. And I think I think businesses are doing really well, it really worked out I was

Andrew Rocks
I was, you know, the way in which you run a team and from talking to some people who work in your organization is a very, it’s an open door, kind of

Jonathan Christie
I had I had you been picking the brains of some of my team members, which is always a scary thing.

Andrew Rocks
It’s called stalking, it’s your stalking. You’d be surprised how many questions that they’ve given me and how few of them I’m legally allowed to ask you in a public forum, but of the ones that I’ve been able to edit down, and you run a link team, you’ve got 34 practices on now and you’re only for 45. What just explained the team, where are they located? And how you run that lean team? Because so you know, it’s getting old financial planners and old licenses where where a particular business model, that we’re able to support a different structure because they receive different sorts of income streams, so very curious as to yours. Yeah, sure.

Jonathan Christie
So you know, when you build a licensee, right, you’re obviously building from the principle of that we just get fees from advisors. But that’s what we do. We don’t get fees or anywhere else. So we charge advisors a fee for the services that we provide. It’s, it’s clear. And so you know, what does that mean? It means well, that’s your revenue pool to drive and build a business. And so we made a decision I made a conscious decision early on is bring in specialists to do specialist work. And you build a team that can deliver value from from their own skill set. So we made a decision never hire compliance people. We outsource everything. And the reason for that is I’m not a compliance person. I can manage compliance. I understand that my responsible manager, but I want specialists doing the job. The role of the licensee is to challenge the role of compliance. And that’s how I think about things like that. So in an audit debrief for us, we’ve kept it very lean on our end because we’re the referee between the auditor and the advisor. So everything that we do we bring in specialists, which enables us the softball team team, a head office in the I call it is a lot smaller. So all our compliance is outsourced assured support, and we engage they’re like, they’re like, embedded in our business from compliance committees to training to audit, we spent a lot of money with them, but you’re getting delivered service on time, there’s high value, rather than us trying to create it all ourselves. That x plan we bring in we have an x spine specialist internally, but we also leverage an excellent specialist extenders. So again, maximizing the value of specialism So internally, Rob operations, we’ve got a recession investment team got ahead of advice. And we’ve got an expert and specialist and myself and the keeper like that, and that’s pretty tight. But leveraging specialist.

Andrew Rocks
And, you know, given the the people that are listening today, potentially could be in a position where they’re they’re either thinking of joining the licensee or starting their own, would you mind sharing some of the the, you know, the compliance outsourcing? Or, or maybe you give us some details? I can, I can check them in the links at the end just on who works?

Jonathan Christie
Again, every license seller, I’m not going to say that we are doing things completely different to every other licensee, other licensees values propositions will depend on what you need as a practice, from large institution to self licensing user practitioner, then you need to work out what do you need? And what do you value? I think the survey that we did with our practices before Christmas is what are the value and the value, the ability to talk with a team that understands truly talk, not just send an email, and hopefully, it probably gets a reply in a couple of weeks. But actually, for us to sit on a call. And it’s not just me, it’s my team as the compliance team as the and it’s a team based approach around problems. And so if I think about it like that, that’s how I approach every practice. So if you’re a business that needs team based approaches, we’re specialists to solve problems to help you, then we might fit, if you don’t need that, then look somewhere else. At the center of that, as well as just community engagement. So all of our businesses know each other to get on, we bring them together even virtually. And because we’re small enough, it’s very engaging. So the conversations and relationships are a form of getting the other people actually getting to know each other really well. And I think that’s really important. And really answer your question, but that’s sort of what we’re thinking about. But yeah, so assured, support our compliance specialist, and OpEx are excellent, special.

Andrew Rocks
Thanks very much. And even, you know, when you’re talking a bit about bringing people together, and and ultimately that requires leadership, two questions. If you worked any, under any influential leaders that that have molded the way you lead, and I suppose broadly explain what is your leadership style?

Jonathan Christie
Well, look, I’m sure I’ve got many faults, and I’m not, I can tell you that, that you’re always learning as a leader, right. But from what I think what people get from me, and maybe why my clients enjoy working with Arianna is, you first and foremost, you know exactly where you stand. We are very much black and white culture of yeses and noes, like, we’ll go, Yep, we can help you do that. Or maybe that’s just not going to happen. So my leadership style is all about being transparent and clear. And you can actually lose yourselves also by being accessible, right? My commitment is trying to fund advisors back same day, 24 hours right now. RGM. I love talking to advisors. And that’s what I love to do. So, you know, also giving the team autonomy, right? And not being scared to let people run, and try and solve problems themselves and solve problems with advisors. So I think they’re really important and are some lead not from my MLC days, you know, I was under the likes of Tom Radcliffe, Tophet Pembroke who actually hired me from the product team and James Mead, and a lot of experienced campaigners out there that gave me the autonomy to build businesses on him accretion and Angela mantasy runs, you know, very high of a knob. Let me build the knob, private business in the way I wanted. So you’ve got to have some freedoms and barriers, right? And I think as long as the swimming lanes are clear, with advisors on my team, then you can have a great space to plan. I think if you can create an environment which to challenge and discuss things and everyone’s it’s not winning. I hate people who wind and know people who come with a problem, but no solution drives me insane. And so when I get that type of culture, I just walked away, I can’t deal with I need people to come with solutions. And I think that’s the sort of culture we’ve built.

Andrew Rocks
And look, you’ve just said how accessible you are and earlier you said you’d like to let people run freer and, and all of that But if I’m playing devil’s advocate, you’re married, you’re a parent, you’re pretty busy. How do you keep the balance? And what is it that you do personally to unwind and distance yourself and recharge I mean, in an era of recharging and mental health and whatnot, and what do you do to do that?

Jonathan Christie
Yeah, I think it’s good question, right? You sometimes forget about your mental health. I’ve been worried about, you know, clients and advisors and how they’ve been going. I’ll answer that in a second. But the first thing that’s really important is the role I have set suits my skill set. That’s why I can’t be a financial advisor, because that rule is a completely different one. And the resilience and the ability for advisors to manage what they do, has been one of my things top of mind. So you sometimes forget about your own mental health, but it does get quite stressful. And for me, I genuinely love to work, right? So I’m not I’m not kidding you. I’m not a TV guy. I’m not like a sit down I exercise I do swore by genuinely, I’m always on my computer, cuz I’m trying to think of a way to solve a problem. So that in a way does help me escape. But in my personal time, you know, trying to pretend to play the hockey still better for many a year, I made a comeback the years ago, and haven’t finished the season yet, because a COVID. So hopefully, this season will actually get the finished one. And just spending time with family and socializing. Like I genuinely love a face to face conversation, right? I’ve missed getting on a plane, I know you are obviously you, we all love a chart, Ryan has been read over doing things on Zoom. And so getting on a boat and seeing advisors and seeing clients and being able to friends and families because really part analytical sort of person I am. And you know, we had a, you know, we got all the advisors together in New South Wales just before Christmas there. And that was great time, because it was great to see people again, unfortunately, we just had to cancel our conference for the third time. And it’s just not going to happen. And the thing is, you know, the bit of feedback is, advisors don’t want a virtual conference, they want to get in front of people and socialize. And that’s, that’s, that’s the sort of person I am. And that’s sort of where I get my response.

Andrew Rocks
I’m going to ask you a question now. And it’s, it’s, um, I suppose, coming at the lens of what kind of practices, not just the ones you’ve got, what kind of practices do you see? The good practices or growth orientated practices? And how are they composed, versus ones that you think might be sort of a model, it’s more yesteryear, you’d have to use this as your filter. So what do you see? Let’s focus on the positives, not the negatives. What do you say is that the type of practice you want to be involved with?

Jonathan Christie
So everyone talks about all the death of the one er, business, and you need to be corporatized business model and growing? And I think that’s all true. But within that, I’ve, I see some great businesses who are highly profitable with great client relationships, who are one advisor practices generating a million dollars of revenue. Right, let’s be clear, we’ve got one in wallarah in Sydney. And and, you know, you look at that eagle, what a fantastic business model. Excellent customer service, 90 clients price, well, complex advice, the right type of client. Why is that any better than a 10? Advisor practice generating $7 million? You don’t think of it like that I think about is, is the business sustainable in its current form? And is the principal thinking about ways in which the sustainability can be continued and and be enduring? Or are they comfortable with that change manager approach and changing things in the need to as long as the principal and the advisors got the ability to adapt and change quickly? Under businesses are highly profitable today? Then who is it for me to say that’s the wrong business model the right one, because they might be hitting their personal goals and objectives. And they are delivering great outcomes to clients. And so that’s great. There is some businesses that are going to be challenged, not high numbers of clients not pricing, all the things you talk about X, Y, too many clients not a pretty efficient process. We’re not pricing the right advice that still exists. We don’t see a lot of our and our network is going to be partnered with have got the experience of vigils. Like we don’t deal with startups really, we don’t deal with no mortgage brokers necessarily wanting to be advisors. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. That’s just not required. I think because of that, the business models we see the small, medium and large, are effectively working because they’re all very profitable. And but they are open to changing their businesses to ensure that this is there’s an injury In business to have in the future. And I think that’s really cool. So does that make sense? Yeah,

Andrew Rocks
absolutely. Absolutely. And this year in x, y, we’re going to be speaking more to licensees and partners that we’re actually recording and partners from now on. Yeah. Because I think that we’re at that stage now. Everyone’s acceptance. We’re moving forward. So I’d like to maybe pose a question. Where do you see the regulation going? As far as from your perspective, you’ve got a vested interest. There’s talk about sort of a loosening of education standards came out there’s, there’s talk about a potential deregulation, what would be what’s your thoughts? And what would be your wish list? Because I imagine, I imagine most of cameras listening to this right now it’s

Jonathan Christie
If not, I’ll be disappointed.

Andrew Rocks
What’s my wish list?

Jonathan Christie
Like, okay, like, there’s numbers of factors, right? So let’s talk about professionalism and education, right? No one I know, advisor on me wants to be unprofessional, no advisor, he doesn’t want to be educated. So we’ve set the standard. Why loosening? Right? That’s my view. You know, why would we do that when we set the standard, we’re changing the standard changes the view of what this industry is becoming.

Andrew Rocks
So when Valerie’s a furious agreement with that one would then be your wishlist.

Jonathan Christie
of regulation change?

Andrew Rocks
Yeah, yep. You know, when I was talking about it, it’s not going to start happening.

Jonathan Christie
My wish list would be the removal of a thing called a statement of advice. And not saying it couldn’t be replaced by something else.

Andrew Rocks
Firstly, take away the name of financial plans, by the way.

Jonathan Christie
Yeah. I don’t know what CIT, let’s get this get creative, and actually call it what it is, which is a plan for your future, and take away the regulatory burden that goes with it. Because I think the technology is there to deliver it in different ways. So just changing the technology piece will deliver it, he’s got to tell technology people to build. And so I think if we could my wish list is it would be great. And we this is a project we’ve started is engaging with our legal and compliance team says, Hey, let’s, let’s just get this down to bare bones. And I’m being beat serious bare bones like we, if it delivers the financial plan for the client? How do we do that with less paper and less words and change that name? And can we deliver that, and I know that some businesses out there already doing that I’ve heard of a business in Queensland, that just do by video and digital, and that’s amazing. But it’ll be easier for the industry to move that way, if you change that document. And I’m not talking about word count pages, and talking about changing the document, it shouldn’t be a review paper, you know, that’s what it should, that’s my but um, and that’s got to stop. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is and by I wish, somehow, the young generate, there’s the young generation of Australians can see that financial advice as a great industry to be in. Because the concern I have is in, I think, seven years time, there’s going to hold, there’s gonna be a huge hole. And we’re gonna be in trouble. Because businesses that are profitable, they won’t be able to sell. Because it’d be to be able to sell to, and, and so on my wish list would be is, I don’t know. And so I, I’d love to get involved in it. But who is the who is the group, the body, the community that’s going to champion bringing young advisors into this industry? Because there’s a gap. And I see it today, I’m seeing businesses locking in junior advisors with equity, just to keep them there for the long term now, because they know there’s an issue. So that’s that’s the other thing. And third thing I think, it starts with, the third thing is really simple. We’ve done a lot of change in the last 10 years in this industry don’t change anymore. Only the only make the change to change. I mean, okay, service agreements, and TMDS. And all the stuff that went on last year, that wasn’t good change was some good aspects of it. But it was heavy regulation, again, which didn’t help anyone, first and foremost, the consumer. So this year, and for the subsequent years, can the change be good change, and let’s define it, things that will help get advice to clients in a more cost effective, more engaging way. And if we can do that, that starts with regulation starts with like licensee communities, and advisors coming together to talk about the problems, which I think is happening and I think x y is a great example.

Andrew Rocks
And I’m just just finally, Oreana, maybe we’re about you. Okay, which is your head office with Sony in Sydney and Melbourne.

Jonathan Christie
So we’ve obviously got office in Sydney and our office in Melbourne. And, you know, we acquired equity in the transform private wealth business. So they’re located on this little bit Russia funding you but premises at the minute. So we’re going to find in the office space, obviously, the Hong Kong and Singapore office. And so yeah, we’re located here. But again, it’s funny, I remember one of our first businesses joining us, and it’s like, Oh, can we have a look around your head office? And I’m like, Well, that’s pretty much a small office in Sydney. Because we are pretty much virtually no rocks. If you share the same office for a bit of time, then I think that’s where we’re going, you know, finding the right space that we need to deliver the services we do doesn’t need to be, you know, level 54, chiefly tar. We’re working virtually. I prefer to be moving around. But yeah, we’ve got offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

Andrew Rocks
Yeah, awesome. Awesome. Well, for those out there, and X, Y is little licenses, there’s big licenses in there’s in the middle licenses. And I’m not sure whether that’s a Goldilocks kind of a one. But the bit, you need to figure out what works for you. And the next couple of years, there’s going to be a significant number of practices, good quality practices, coming out of larger licenses, that potentially for the first time, are free of historical shackles and can make value judgments. If you’d like to learn more about Jonathan Orianna. There’ll be there’ll be some links associated with this. But But personally, I’d like to thank you for your time today. And I look forward to catching up with you in person.

Jonathan Christie
Now. Man, I just I just finally I think back to my advisor, things are a great example of advisors coming together. Right? I think it’s an amazing, amazing experience that you’ve created there for for not only advisors, but for lots of people in industry. And I think it’s great. And for advisors out there. The big decision everyone’s got to make is should you want to work with right the type of people it’s all this is a people game and always has been. And I think if you find the right people that you want to work with the you know, self license or bigger, someone bigger, that’s great. Just find the people you can get on and have a really great relationship with. That’s the most important thing. So people appreciate the time, man, as always.

Andrew Rocks
Thanks, Jonathan. Have a great day. Cheers.

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