October 11, 2022

#350 Nathan Fradley – Transcript

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Ben Nash
Hey guys, Ben Nash from the XY advisor team. And today I’m here with Nathan fradley, good friend of the show, keen to pick his brain on what he’s working on, get a bit of an update on what is happening in the land of ESG. And I know he’s got some exciting things in the pipeline that he’s keen to share with us, Nathan, thanks for joining us, me.

Nathan Fradley
Thanks for having me again.

Ben Nash
Mate. I thought maybe just start because I know that we only chatted a couple of months back. But what are you working on at the moment?

Nathan Fradley
I think you’re transitioning out of being the business owner and to being an employee, the purpose of it was to free myself up for what I really love doing. And it turns out, I really love coaching, mentoring stuff. So working with my diamond team in Tribeca, and, you know, learning a lot about, I suppose different cultural aspects, like within the business, different personality types, and really connecting with people there. And then also, mentoring, I’ve actually started mentoring someone outside of the business, which I’ve done a little bit self, but never on a formal basis, but we actually catch up every two weeks, regularly going through and helping her develop her skill set in financial planning, that’s diverse from what she’s exposed to her employer.

Ben Nash
Made, I’m keen to dive into that in a little bit of detail. But before we do that, the shift that you mentioned around like, part of the team, you know, business owner, but then working with the team and sort of coaching the team. I think that’s something that’s certainly I found it to be a huge challenge. I think that naturally, as advisors, you know, you sort of go into advice and do more advice, because you, you know, you enjoy and get a kick out of working with clients. So it sort of makes sense that coaching team members is something that, you know, sort of lends itself to, but also it is a challenge, what what have been the biggest learnings from you in the work that you’ve done on that so far?

Nathan Fradley
I think first and foremost, and this is a very big personal learning, I’ve spent the good part of 10 years working by myself, even when I worked in teams, and I had team members, I always did most of the things myself. So that has been a huge learning gap for me, in stopping and actually doing what I do best and letting it’s not a control thing. I think it’s just a habit thing, letting things go to others. And that’s been a big part of it. But I also think dynamics and team dynamics is really important, you know, certain people vibe in different ways with with different people, certain people need different communication. And I think that the comparison that you gave there about we work with clients, we go into a client meeting, and for the most part, give or take niching we will perform and do what the client needs we would deliver. We’ve identified what kind of client they are, we’ve identified if they’re high detail person, if they’re more of a, you know, chatty person, we we’ve identified the their challenges and their issues, we really want to understand them. And sometimes I think we don’t take that much effort to understand the person we sit next to every day. And so to really spend some time on what kind of person is this? This person at work with? And what, how do they like to be communicated to? And and do I bring the same amount of care to my colleagues as I do to my clients? Because that, you know, that’s a great multiplier. And something we do a fair bit of I’m very fortunate within Tribeca we do we have like fortnightly leadership sessions where we’re all about identifying gaps in our own skills and trying to help each other grow. And we’ve got the Brad Fox who’s got a lot of experience in helping them through that. But I think looking back at it and saying, Well, what, what are the things that I do? I’m reading a book called multipliers at the moment. And she talks about the accidental diminishers what are the little things that I do that actually diminish someone’s capability to debate their best? If we’ve all got the geniuses if the word things were grayed out and things were not grayed out, how do I maximize my colleagues greatness? And what am I doing that suppressing that? An example of that might be you know, so, something I’ve been working on? It’s not answering, you know, associate and adviser questions when they come to me so they come to me they say, Nathan, I’m working on this case, can I run this by my instinct straightaway used to be like, I told me about it called yet do that. When actually what I should be doing the same? Well, tell me about it. Now, how did you get to the NASA Now is there anything in this bit that you’ve missed, and there may be a bit of silence and then a bit and leading into it? They’re referred to in the book as putting the putting the whiteboard marker down, in the sense of if you’re, if you’ve got a team of people working for a problem, you could get up and walk them through the problem yourself with a white on the whiteboard, or you could give them the marker kickstart the conversation and let them solve it. And I think that’s been a massive thing for me in that in that taking the the care I give to my clients back to my team members and admitting what I don’t. And being honest and open and transparent and in creative mind intimacy, as well as mistakes and things, and growing together. And in doing that, I think everyone has, everyone has their genius. And if we can find out each individual team members genius, and let them get the most of that, then you know, with someone like yourself running the business, it’s matching those geniuses up to make sure you’ve got the most well rounded teams, and everyone is at their best.

Ben Nash
Yeah, I think that you and you sort of touched on it there that the natural instinct is often to do the do the doing. And I know that I’ve been in the same position like in my previous role, before I started my business, I was the main I did have a bit of an assistant, but they weren’t taking financial advice. So instead of like you could spend a whole bunch of time coaching and helping someone to learn, or you could just do the thing. And often in the moment, doing the thing is a quicker way to get to the outcome. But it also doesn’t help that person to grow. And it also traps you in having to keep doing the thing for longer because you’re not building that resource in the in the team as well. I think that the communication piece is an interesting one that as you say that when you’re talking to clients, you do sort of just naturally adapt yourself to their the way that they want to communicate. But it’s a funny thing that when it comes to our team members and colleagues and the people that reporting to us, or the people we report into the you’ll often don’t just naturally think about it in the same way. I know I certainly didn’t. And it took a lot of actual conscious thinking and planning around Oh, yes. Okay, this person likes bullet points, this person doesn’t like bullet points so much. You know, like, all of those things. I wonder, did you use any, any resources or tools or anything like for us, we use wealth dynamics, profiling, that gives us a bit of a, you know, be flow profile. It’s not specific to communications, but it does give you some insight around that. Did you use any sort of resources like that? Or how did you actually figure out how to best work with the people in your team.

Nathan Fradley
So we’ve got with us VA strengths and disc. So disc we used to use disc NAB going back a decade ago as well. It’s It’s similar to a few of the others. It’s not a perfect model, but it does do a pretty good job where you’ve got D and I extroverted traits, D is task focus extrovert is to get this done now. I is people focused extrovert to kind of like I’m very maxed out on the eye. And I’m fairly high D. S is people focused introvert the care of the quiet sit back but always reliable the listener and then see is the task focus Introvert, the high detail, the you know, and it’s little things like, you know, they’ve got people in our office that, to my day, TechSoft often takes over, were just saying to someone who’s a high, high high, so very people focused in an email saying, hey, hey, going, can you do this versus someone who’s Hi, Dee, Ben, blah, blah, blah. Like, that’s such a different way where people can get either, you know, offended if you’re not, including some of those niceties, and they don’t respond as well to it as the slightest changes in their communication. You know, or something I’ve noticed sometimes if I if I’ve made a mistake, or something, or I’ve missed something, my my day takes over. And I’m just like, Yep, no worries, I’ll fix that instead of hey, sorry. You know, just note that I know that I’ve done that wrong, I’ll fix that for you. This is little things needs to be 5% in that direction. And then the VA strengths one is more around, you know, what are you? What are your strengths and what are you great at and a little exercise I use from the multipliers book was a thing called naming the strengths. And I did that with my team the other day where we basically all sounds little airy fairy, but I’ll tell you, it was really powerful. We basically wrote down what we thought each other’s genius was, what’s the one thing that that person does, that takes that distill, effortlessly, but it’s an amazing trait. And we weren’t rounded out in our team meeting and when Okay, let’s name them. So no one named their genius, the same as what everyone else thought, you know, one of the team members said to another one that you know, you’re always so calming when things are really stressful. You just seem to be able to bring some sense in. Now that person didn’t realize that was a trait they had. But since then, I’ve noticed because they’ve named that genius. They stepped up more into those things. They see someone who’s stressed and they step in and try and help calm and it’s little things like that, but I think we often don’t know how others see us. And when we’ve learned about what we’re great that we can become, we can lean into those things more. So there are a couple of different tools that I’ve used. And I’d highly recommend the multipliers book as well. There’s a few videos on it as well. But I’m really enjoying that rate around just trying to get the best out of each other. And, and taking a little bit more time in that connection.

Ben Nash
Yeah, I like it, I think those resources can be helpful. They’re not going to solve anything on their own. But you sort of need as much of an advantage as you can with how complex that that area is. I wonder, as someone that’s been coaching people within the team, for people that sort of less senior that are listening in, that are wanting to be coached, or, you know, looking like sort of earlier on in their development path? What would your tips be for them as to how they can get the most out of their own development in their team? What, you know, how focused necessarily that team is on their development?

Nathan Fradley
I think this is one of those things that depends on the business. And it also depends on the individual. So if you’re in a business that is progressive and wanting to strive, you can I reckon you could ask, I think he could ask and engage. You could always get external people but at the same time, you’re not no one’s limited to the business that they’re in. And I look at say, the Tiana, who I’m mentoring at the moment, and she messaged me on LinkedIn after we met briefly at a function and said, Hey, can I have coffee? Want to pick your brain? Like, yeah, like you took the effort? Absolutely. And then she’s like, Can we do this regularly? We’ll lock in a time is this work for you? And I’m like, she’s a jet. So I’m absolutely happy to work with her and help her develop. But it took it took a lot for her to make that ask that question. And I look back into what set my career up. And I still talk to my mentors now that I’ve had I still catch up with and one of my mentors is Luke Ashby, X, MRC, BT insurance, and I look up still contact, catch up with him once every six weeks. And we just chat. And even now, just talking through what I’m going through, or what I’m working on with him, he always just seems to have something enlightening that comes across. And your mentors can be for different things. But I think you if you don’t have a mentor, you should probably find one. And you’d be surprised by just asking people for help. You know, I’ve gotten a couple of people that occasional casually mentoring every six months, I remember this one I’m working on but something a bit more regular. I tell you, it’s really powerful. And it’s it’s actually working with Tiana, who sort of said to me, Well, I don’t have that regular person anymore. Who do I go to now to catch bass with it, you know, that knows me, but also knows what I do and can expand and multiply my my capability?

Ben Nash
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that most people would be surprised as to how many like superstars there are out there that would be open to doing that sort of stuff, like giving up their time and, and helping people to grow. I know, for me, like, I through the AFS mentoring program, like way back in the day, before I started my business, I got hooked up with Dean Holmes, who runs the wealth network now. And yeah, he volunteered his time. And I sort of got into this mentoring relationship with him. And he was like all over it and had so much gold, and it helped me learn so much. And I was like, I just sort of, you know, sunk my claws in. And it was like, I’m not letting go here. Because the amount of development that you get from that, particularly from someone that’s external, that’s not your boss, or, you know, a senior member in your team that you can have those really transparent conversations with, they can challenge you around things that it helps, that helped me progress a lot further and faster than I would have, I think if I was just relying on the business themselves. So I think for anyone that’s listening in that thinks that would be helpful. Reach out, you know, go along to events, meet people chat to them, you know, ask them for that coffee and do that. And you probably be surprised as to the outcomes.

Nathan Fradley
Especially in this industry, we’re naturally helping people with the financial advisors are a unique kind of person where we’re both analytical and but also very caring. And so I think, if you look at compare this to other industries, I reckon there’ll be a greater proportion of people who will be willing to do that work because of the kind of people it takes to do this job.

Ben Nash
Absolutely. Nathan, you mentioned just when we were chatting before we fired up the recording about some of the things that you’re working through in your business around team structuring and and how that’s all fitting together. Can you talk to us a little bit about what’s going on there?

Nathan Fradley
So I think one of the interesting things at the moment is with this is we’ve got this was golf in skill sets or valley, if you want to call it we’ve got a number of people that are really that have been around for a long time, there’ll be leaving, we’ve got a batch of, you know, 1015 20 year experience advisors, and then There’s kind of this gap. And then it’s like three to four years. And then what seems to be and by the numbers, a large amount of new entrants into into the space. And most of the new entrants are really young as well, which is not a problem. But if we start looking at the gap we have in our skill set as an industry, I think the amount of businesses hiring advisors right now that just cannot find the right there’s this, there’s a shortage of advisors. And it’s not just about hiring any of them. It’s about finding the right ones that fit your philosophy and your business. Right. And with a shortage. Yeah, it makes it really hard as well. And, yeah, I look at that goal for that valley. And I like how do we feel that I think there’s two ways you either develop someone from, you know, from the ground up, and that’s the associate thing, or you, or you hire external skill sets and bring them in. And I think that’s something I think, as an industry who might need to start looking forward is like, you know, what are the other other areas as teachers, or lawyers, or whatever it might be that have life experience, and transferable skills that we could bridge over, but they still need to go through that associate program. And I think that that’s really, really hard. So then the next question is, well, if there’s only so many advisors that are great at what they do, how do you get them doing advice? How do you get the surgeons doing surgery? And stop them having to do all the other stuff? Because there’s a capacity constraint industry wide right now? And, you know, and in how do you enable them to see more clients and get more done? While training, the people coming up from below, I think getting that resource mix, right is really hard. Because the more resources you give an advisor, the more clients they have to see. So they’re, their field of work shrinks. And their expectation of the outcome, they can create grows, so you’re getting a lot more key person risk on that. They might go from having to do four clients a month to eight clients a month or something. But then you’ve got twice the resources, so they couldn’t do it. And it’s just such an it’s an interesting dynamic that I think the whole industry is sort of saying at the moment of how do we get the most out of the people who are scarce, enabling them with people around them while feeling that golf.

Ben Nash
Absolutely. And I think that the demand for advice is increasing, advisor numbers are going down. And then when you overlay that, with the fact that every business is different, different culture, different clients, different approach different philosophies, when you look at the how big the pool of advisors is, that could fit the bill to be be the frontline, sort of, particularly those more senior advisors that you want in business, it is incredibly challenging. I was sharing with you that we were hired, we’ve been hiring, we had been hiring for the last 12 months, I’m happy to report that we’re not we’re finally feel those those key advisor seats that we were looking for. And we will be hiring again soon. But you know, it took it took us a year to find two advisors that ticked all of the boxes. And it was slow going and super frustrating. But ultimately, with the advisors that we’ve got, I know that we made the right call. But yeah, it just means that you do need to get more and for us, we work with a pod structure where we’ve got every advisor has got an associate, and the power planner, which we found that allows us to then get get the output up from the advisors. Because they’ve got the support team behind them. And the other the other big advantage that I’m seeing, and it’s not a it’s certainly not a short term fix, but it means that because the the associates are doing more of the advice work, and over the time you want them transitioning to essentially be basically doing all of the advice work, it means that at some point in their development, you say, okay, okay, actually, you’re, you’re now doing all of this stuff. And therefore, you can start seeing clients. And of course, you do the py and, you know, make sure everything’s all sweet on that side. But more so that, you know, the business has got the confidence that the associates can deliver in the way that you want. And I found that, like, we’ve employed advisors that have got, you know, decades of experience, but it still takes them a while to get their head around the way of doing things. Whereas when you’ve got an associate that’s grown up into the model, that they’re going to hit the ground running from day one, knowing all of the stuff that needs to happen behind the scenes, and almost at least from a process perspective, there gonna be more across it and some superstar advisor that’s got 10 or 15 years experience in that space as well. So I suspect that we’ll probably see more of that as as things progressed, certainly if we follow this path that we’re on now, at least in the short term, as you say, with this bit of a valley, we’re seeing some really good committed people coming in. Now I think with those higher standards that we know that the People that are coming into the industry, they’re doing the degrees that doing the py, they are really committed. But it’s going to take some time for them to get to, you know, the ability to be fully competent, technically competent from a client perspective, and, you know, dealing with with all of those things as well. So I think it’s an interesting time, it’s a very valuable problem to solve. In the meantime, a lot of businesses that as you say, so they’re gunning it on the hiring side. And I don’t think there’s one perfect solution there. But it’s interesting to talk to people that are trying out different things, or all with the same end goal in mind.

Nathan Fradley
And I think the conversation I’ve had with a number of really great practices lately is it’s always long term minded. It’s always they’re investing in people. And they know that one or two might not fit the budget, but they they’re willing to take that investment in that person to the next level to get a great outcome. And we can only benefit that industry want. You know, I think that’s that level of if you go back a decade, and it’s like throw salesperson in a in a bank playing a job and give them a limited API, and away they go versus now. It’s really about developing their their soft skills and the intimacy of that building with their clients and the human side of advice and developing great planners, which is, which is what we want. We want professionals and this is how it can happen.

Ben Nash
Yeah, absolutely made. So it wouldn’t be a conversation without you with you without talking about ESG. What’s the latest? What are you seeing out there at the moment,

Nathan Fradley
I think advisors are still still struggling with with sort of some knowledge gaps, we’ve definitely seen that I think what we are seeing a lot more of is advisors doing less portfolio construction, and a lot more SMA or multi manager approaches when it comes to ESG. But we are seeing those conversations increase, we’re getting a lot more interest and a lot more people messaging me and going, Hey, I’m doing this is there any better way I can do it or starting to see these client numbers add up. And that’s really, really cool. One thing I have noticed, though, with some of the you know, since different events and things I’ve gone to, I think sometimes we get too stuck in the details that aren’t effective in training advices for the ESG aspects. And so I’ve for those that follow me on LinkedIn will be probably sick of me spamming it already. But we’re actually running myself. Evergreen and Alexandra Brown from ethical invest group are running a conference specifically on training advisors to have better ESG conversations or ethical investment conversations. And so the entire thing is advisor lens online, so that anyone can access it. And the idea is things like you know, animal welfare, more than slavery or climate change, what do you need to know that a client might ask you? And how do you have those better conversations? There’s a workshop on developing your internal philosophy and questionnaire. And we’ve got some stuff on compliance and the importance of the standards and within the business and the investment philosophy. And then some fun things, we’ve got to remember that that show perfect match from the 80s, where it was like if we went on a date, Ben, you know, where would you take me or number one? Yeah, we’re doing that. But with some fund managers. So that’s kind of how to how to ask fund managers questions to understand for your client. And then we have got a bit of a debate happening, which will be a bit of fun as well, which is just taking, getting away from just straight panel discussions, which can get very drab and and really trying to do something entertaining, but also entirely advice orientated so that people can start feeling that the internal credo we have is taking people from unconfident to competent. Like, you don’t have to be an expert in this stuff. You just need to start talking to clients about it and devices still, I’m finding nervous, and we want to break through that. And more once I work with one on one on this stuff through ethos, the more they go, Oh, actually, I can do this. Like, yes, you’ve always been able to the pelvis always within you. Yeah, it’s just a little confidence booster. And that’s what we want to we want to provide.

Ben Nash
And where should people are like, I know that you’ve got your conference and then you do this work with ethos as well. But for people that are keen to do more or like for you personally, like where do you get your information from the knowledge? How can people go about building this knowledge for themselves?

Nathan Fradley
I think there’s some great publications around Fs sustainability, have got some great stuff. And there’s a few others that that I you know, that pop up in my news feeds and what have you. I also just found people in the industry and connected with them on LinkedIn and tend to follow follow them around. And I think there’s a few practices that specialize in this that also post up a bit so you can just sort of follow them. But like good old fashioned financial advice from 10 years ago, we used to learn things from our BDMS and I can tell you, it people love talking about what they’re passionate about, but none more than anyone who works in the sustainable investment space. Like if you ask to speak to a pm at a normal fund, their portfolio manager and I sorry, they don’t really do that. If you ask to speak to a portfolio manager any ethical investment Under Australia, you can get a frontline seat with that person because they just love talking about it. Yeah. And I think that’s a really cool way to really get stuck stories on the frontlines and engagement stories on the frontlines. But there are also you know, Ria Responsible Investment Association of Australasian. So heaps of resources, Alexander Brown has a course which I think is a real step up course it goes through all the different areas and really activates your knowledge in that space. And then, you know, we’re just neck over the next 12 months, it will be just be pushing out more and more content, through the ethos channels, but publicly available for everyone because I just want, I want to see more people having this you know, we I ran a session at IFA on exactly this. Here’s just a checklist of what you should be doing in your business, I’m not even going to go into detail, just go and do these things, decide for yourself, what kind of advice you’re going to be in this space, are you going to be someone who just refers it out, you’re going to be someone who becomes an expert, or you’re going to sit somewhere neutral, where you’ve got options available for clients that want it, and you are making sure you’re bringing it up. And that’s where I think we’ve learned faster. I think that’s, there’s there’s plenty of resources out there. But you don’t have to go crazy on learning about them to to get the right solution for clients.

Ben Nash
That’s one of the things that I’ve noticed in this space is that everyone’s generally pretty, like, I think people in unbiased are generally pretty open to share. But as you say that people in the ESG space in particular, they’re really quite passionate about that. And generally pretty happy to give up their time and knowledge to help advisors to do more and learn more and play more in that space as well. So the it’s definitely an easier one as well, that it doesn’t really matter how much knowledge that you’ve got that it’s all helping you move forward. Right. So Nathan, for people that are keen to learn more about your conference and what it’s about, where should they go? What do you want them to know?

Nathan Fradley
Ethicaladviceconference.com is the website to really learn website too. I type it wrong all the time. If you if you do follow me on LinkedIn or posting about a fear regularly or you can follow us on LinkedIn, where it’s on the ninth of November, so it’s 100% online, it runs the morning. We are hoping to run some catch up sessions in the afternoon. I think the beauty of conferences is the face to face part as well in that connection. So we want to do something post event like some of the XY events have done. But you know, jump on their tickets are discounted at the moment. And the closer we get to the event. The list is candidate that will become so we want people to get on and get on earlier. We want people to come along fundamentally just want people to be upskilled and that’s what it’s all about. So nothing November ethical advice conference.

Ben Nash
Awesome, made well pumped for it. Thank you so much for for sharing your insights there and I look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Nathan Fradley
Thanks Ben. See you there.

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