April 13, 2022

Delivering Cost-Effective Advice with an Entrepreneurial Mindset #4 – Transcript

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Delivering Cost-Effective Advice with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

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Fraser Jack
Thank you for joining me Nicola Beswick. This been, it’s been great having you on board in the very first episode when we had a good chat. But now we’re getting into a little bit more of the nitty gritty. We’re in this episode four of our five part series. And we are starting to unpack practices and the entrepreneurial mindset in practice and what’s been going on inside the the businesses that this is happening in. So thank you for joining us, again, thank you for being part of this series. Let’s start with a very quick overview of you in the business that you’re in at the moment.

Nicola Beswick
Thank you, Fraser. And it’s lovely to be here talking again, about the practice that I’m in. So the practice that I’m in is very much what we would have imagined as the real traditional type of practice that has grown from the industry. And one of the things that we highlight is in the first session was the comparison between different professions in different organizations and comparing them to what’s the advice practice of what was the last 2040 kind of years looks very similar to a legal firm where you had the hierarchy in terms of the partnerships, and then you’re descending down, I guess, into the level of expertise and also experience and how the practices have built. So I work for a practice that is a very traditional in the sense that we’ve got the directors of the company, and they essentially run the business at that real kind of high level, we’ve got a number of essentially all of the financial advisors that work with the company are also shareholders. And so when we look at across the business at the moment, there’s about 20 Plus advisors, and the majority of them being shareholders in the business as well. So very similar to if we look at a legal firm, where you have the the partners that generally rent, run the business, and then you’ve got a lot of equity partners there that may not necessarily have the same level of dealings or steering the ship, I guess, so to speak, involved. The business is very much built on people having a real general sense across the board with everything associated within the advice, arena. But we’re also starting to see now a lot of people specializing in key areas. So one of the key things that I think we’re starting to see not only in our firm, but across the board is just developing those skill sets or these specializations aged care is one of those things that is front of mind, we’ve got a couple of advisors, and they’ve got a real passion for providing that type of advice. And we’ll start seeing those larger organizations have those key specializations within the industry?

Fraser Jack
Yeah, I absolutely agree. And this is, so this isn’t a really interesting part that we’re coming at this or angle that we’re coming at this from because it’s very easy to say, Oh, we want to create a new business. And we can just go and create it the way we want. But when when we enter into and become a shareholder in a business, that’s a larger, more traditional practice, that, as you said, has the structure of like a law firm where you know, partners will, will come in and exit and the business has that whole continuation of the business or continuity with the businesses great for that. But then how do we apply an entrepreneurial mindset within that existing framework? And then using that entrepreneurial mindset to then create or build the, the the client or the stream? I think we use the term swimming between that swimming in the lane sort of thing, how do we create those lanes and and do something that’s slightly different within an existing framework. So that’s really what I’m keen on sort of exploring with you today. And I know you’ve done that within this practice. Talk to us about where you started with that, and what are the different ideas and thoughts that you had and before you decided on what you went out,

Nicola Beswick
one of the key things that I think we all need to be aware of particularly now is being really authentic in terms of who it is that we are and having ensured that you’re presenting who you are to not only a practice, but then also in that with clients and that then attracts different type of people. I think one of the big things that we’re starting to see now is making sure that a business can continue on as the different people or partners move out as particularly a lot of them retire or come through with these You will not so new education requirements. But also making sure that you’re maintaining and growing that client base within it. Because I think clients are the, the blood life of any business, and particularly in the area that we’re in, where it is about life and living life, but then also comes death. And it’s building those really great relationships with your clients, but then also potentially, the families of clients that you have. And one thing that I’ve been really quite keen on and developing is also making sure that you’re establishing those connections with clients, children or family really early on in the pace. So you can actually continue on serving, not just the client, but the whole family unit. And that approach to how you work with parents. 6065 70 is very different to children from kind of us kind of my generation. And then younger, again, we all have different kinds of things that we’re looking for. And it’s about pinpointing how do you connect with theme and keep that business flowing through, I guess, in a better sense of the word.

Fraser Jack
Yeah. So just on that, because we hear this word wealth distribution all the time, you know, the greatest distribution of wealth, etc, etc, and the $3 trillion. And now I’m assuming that some of these baby boomers or people that are retired now that they’re living, are going to try and spend a lot of their money, but there’s obviously going to be a lot of leftover, and they need to be, you know, passed on to future generations. But it’s often the case that the advisor that will have a great relationship with those clients may not be the right person to have a great relationship with the kids.

Nicola Beswick
Exactly. And that comes down to not only the, I guess the personalities, but what people can relate to. And it’s it comes back to that, making sure that you in a practice, you’ve got multiple different types of people that you can have from a relationship type of perspective. So you’re matching the, the, I guess, the personalities or the the the areas of expertise, right, and then being able to service that that family units more effectively. You’re you’re you’re quite right, what I guess financial planning meant to someone 20 years ago is very different to financial planning, what we think now, and they do take a very different type of thought process around. How do you build relationships? How do you build trust within that, and that’s where coming back to being not afraid to show who you are, from a real, authentic self. And I think that’s where I look at things like social media as an example. We’re all guilty of stalking someone on social media before you look at that. And I think that’s no different to wealth and wealth, the if we talking about this wealth transfer that’s happening at the moment, the children of the parents are going to be out there, Googling us and getting to not only know the firm, but then also making sure that they know or can get an understanding of who the advisor is that they’re talking to, before they even meet them. So I think embracing those, they’re not so new anymore, but those technologies within the prac within any practice is really important. And and that’s something that I’ve started or have been doing is just being not afraid of actually saying this is who I am, and this is what I want to be and this is this is what i i what I believe in from a financial perspective, I think if we look at that, but a whole range of things, I think people really like knowing that

Fraser Jack
I couldn’t agree more like around the old knowing what you stand for, and having some information and you’re right, because of because of the technology that’s available now we can get an insight into to a human being before we meet with them. But this this, as you mentioned before, is it is a different mindset. And it is a fear because we’ve for many years gone as professionals, you know, as lawyers, accountants, as advisors, there has been this professionalism bar that you kind of need to end up feels might the suit and tie type thing right you know, you’ve got to you got to live up to this, this stern seriousness of who you are as a person so that you can be a trusted professional. Whereas we know that humans don’t behave that way there is an innate inside their brain that you As I trust this person because they appear to be telling me the truth with the way they’re presented, and the way that they feel, and they’re in a personality and all this stuff, and if they see something different online on social media, then there’s, you know, this other thing dressed in a suit. And it could well be that they have this incongruent feeling that those two things don’t match.

Nicola Beswick
That’s exactly right. I think that’s the key thing, isn’t it? You’ve got to match who you are in person compared to like the likes of social media and who we are and what we’re presenting ourselves. And there’s nothing wrong or right about embracing those technologies, but it’s about making sure that you’re consistent. Because there’s nothing worse getting a meeting someone that you think you’ve got an idea of what they like, and then you’d meet them and go, you’re very different to this persona that you’ve got, say, in social media, so we’re never going to gel with everyone. But I think there’s a lot of people out there that it’s we we will and that’s why we need to have multiple people and do if we’re looking at a business and have multiple personalities, motor people meet many different people will trust him and work well with with others. So I think

Fraser Jack
and I love the idea that when you are presenting yourself online, the same way as same way as we do a podcast, we tend not to do very many edits, we just say this is me, this is a stumbling questions that don’t ask or do ask, that’s the answers that you give. Because it’s the same in a meeting, it’s exactly the same human that in the meeting would be who you listened to online. And, you know, whether it be podcasts or videos or content that you’re putting out,

Nicola Beswick
exactly. A lot of I know, my meetings, you kind of go off on little tangents and you talk about different things. But that’s what builds that connection isn’t that and not following a script is actually sometimes the best part because you get to get to see a lot of different things.

Fraser Jack
Yep, exactly. Right. Now I want to I want to dive into some of the stuff that you’re doing inside your practice now, because you mentioned estate planning before, but tell us about how you find the or get to speak to the kids or the children of, you know, clients and my beer, you know, a longtime client of another advisor in the business. One of

Nicola Beswick
the things that I find with that is, it’s having those conversations really early on with a client, a lot of clients are very aware, particularly as they get older about their own mortality and looking at what they are going to do and how they want to pass on particularly wealth to the next generation, I find clients are, are in two very distinct camps, when we come to this, we have had the clients that are fully aware they know exactly what’s going on, they know that they need to bring the kids in at some stage to have a chat around what the children will inherit at some point, particularly those more wealthier clients that can’t actually, for the life of them spend what they’ve accumulated. But then you’ve got the other clients that may not necessarily have that as part of the thought process, particularly in a conscious way. So approaching those two different clients has been is quite a challenge. The second camp, a client’s where they’re not really thinking about it, that’s more of a been a very, from my perspective, general kind of gradual approach when you start having conversations and getting them to end up in that, that first camp with they’re very aware of what’s happening of heads, particularly a couple of really neat stories around how I’ve engaged clients, but then also the children following particularly one couples passing and a lot of that to was to do with the clients or the parents themselves bringing the kids into the conversation quite early on in the piece. The first pairs kind of situation and clients situation I can think of was quite a lovely couple where they were very aware of health deteriorating, between both of them and health was deteriorating. One from a more capacity kind of perspective and mental side of things. The other one was more of a physical side and they particularly the the client that was more consciously aware mentally aware of what was happening but aware of the physical decline and health made sure that the children became more and more involved in the regular reviews that we would have. And that was over a number of years. And the children will become a little bit more just aware of who it is that I was and their parents life. And then the parents were quite, I guess, open about their financial status. And so that made the conversations easier. But what I found was the children of that couple became really quite comfortable with who I was as an advisor, and then started to be more engaged on their own financial perspective. And even though they were somewhat aware of what they would have ultimately inherent, wanted to make sure that they were setting themselves up for the right kind of plan or future without taking into consideration anything that may come their way. But when it did, and the these parents unfortunately passed away, we had that relationship and that trust already built that had just been taken over time. And slow pointed time, I think, I think is one of the key things. The second story I’ve got is a gentleman who was very aware of his his wealth, and very aware that his son only child was going to inherit a reasonable amount of money, but also very consciously aware that his son was maybe not in the right kind of financial headspace to deal with money, or even really have that thought process. One of the how him and I agreed to work together was pretty much him saying to me, I don’t need to have two reviews a year on my portfolio.

And I know, that’s part of what you want, you have to do it legally in terms of the review. And so, after a number of discussions, I’d say to How about what we do for one of those review time or that time that you’re essentially paying me for is we’ll have a quick update of your situation, we’ll make sure everything’s okay. But let’s engage your son as part of those conversations and, and build on the education piece, not necessarily say decide how you’re going to receive x, y, but you’re going to have those building blocks and those foundations, really, so when the dad becomes a lot more comfortable with disclosing that information to his son, he’s got that, that understanding behind them. And that I think is just similar to what we do as advisors, but necessarily don’t see, or even maybe have that time. We’re very busy in our and our day to day practices doing what we need to do, but looking at different ways to engage the next generation or engage clients. So they’re actually aware and being able to feel comfortable with that wealth transfer that will happen.

Fraser Jack
Yes, two really, really good points, you’ve just made them obviously, with regards to, you know, setting expectations and trying to make sure that you’re having those joint meetings or meetings earlier on, where you’re actually talking about what they’re what’s expected to cut off. Anything that happens in the future, that might be a surprise to some of the kids as they’re coming through. You know, especially if it’s earnest estate, equalization, and those sorts of things that have, it’s all discussed upfront, and this is the reasons why and this is what’s going to happen. And it can be beneficial later. But also that there’s a really, really good point where you talk about the the fear and a parent’s mind around whether the kids are going to squander the money or wasted or do something silly with it, or, you know, a lot of the time the parents have worked really hard to get their money, and they want to make sure it passes on, but they don’t want it to become, you know, they would hate to think it became a burden for that child or it became something that the you know, the cause that the child had to change who they are completely. So it’s a really interesting topic that you, you then bring to the clients that says, are you I guess you’d say something like, Are your kids ready to receive that inheritance? Or do they needed, you know, ongoing education, and grounding, before they go and can make good decisions with the money that you’ve you’re going to pass on to them?

Nicola Beswick
And that’s exactly right. It’s sometimes engaging. And I’m just thinking of another example. So a third example that I’ve got at the moment where these, these clients that I’ve gotten recently just become a new client of mine, and they they’ve got three children all in very different stages of their lives, and the parents could see how much they’d been benefited from the advice that I gave them and their situation and say to me, would you talk to it to our children? And I was like, of course, definitely. You You’re, you can’t start those conversations early enough and build those relationships because you never know what’s going to happen. And these clients or the, or the children are all about buying a house at this point in time. Of course, it because it’s such a great Australian slash New Zealand dream that we all have. And for me that was in total three hours of my time, sitting down with each of these kids and going, okay, these are the basics, these are the things that you’re doing, I may not see or talk to those kids for another year or two, but it’s establishing those relationships quite early on. So the parents feel comfortable that they if something ever happened, and these, these parents are actually quite young for retirees, they’re in their 60s, or early 60s. And I know that the parents have got that trust, and the kids now know who it is that is looking after them. So it’s becoming that that family units, and treating each individual members the same way, but yet looking at what’s really important to them to help build that relationship and, and continue on. Essential, essentially making sure that we will do what we’re doing.

Fraser Jack
Yep, exactly. And so much, so much of what an advisor is doing is just that looking for and understanding what those fears are, and, and explaining it getting the client to then understand how that what they’re doing is, is you know, they have to be fearful about that. So I just wanted to touch on this state planning. So estate planning is essentially your, your avenues then to then create this opportunities.

Nicola Beswick
Definitely, I think if we’re sitting down having an annual review with a client, one of the key things that we need to cover off is making sure estate planning appears are in order. But then also talking about specific interested in date, the specific details of superannuation balances tax, those kind of lovely things that us as advisors love, but clients don’t necessarily understand. But but the drawing and the conversation of what would happen if they pass away? And where would that money go? What happens if both parents pass away, what happens with children, those kinds of things. And ordinarily you, if you spend a little bit of time on that you become, you can find out so much more about what’s going on in a client’s life and the children’s life, that then opens up avenues to say, Well, I’m happy to have a conversation with Jane, because you know that that situation that she’s in with her ex husband, or that kind of her going through divorce maybe is not a great thing. And we need to make sure that things are split in a way that will I guess, if we’re going to be selfish benefit the the daughter of the client that we’re, we’re advising. So it’s those little kind of little questions that can drag so much out of a conversation. And then you can create and quite slowly build those, those relationships. It’s all about listening to those pain points, listening to that fear, and just having that little bit of, I guess, empathy to go, Well, if I was my client, what’s going to be worrying me so much right now. And then, if it’s not sometimes the children but parents of clients, you know, there may be going into declining health quite rapidly and actually saying, aged care, when you get to this point, there’s so many things that you need to be aware of make sure that you don’t go in blind come to us first. So just planting that seed sometimes as well. Yeah,

Fraser Jack
it certainly isn’t in like, we sort of mentioned parents feeling like their money’s left and saved hand is a massive draw card for that. I’m just thinking, as we talk though, you know, the clients that is the set of parents, the parents have been the client for many years or client, then the we bring the kids in, we’ve sort of now got two clients that are under one family umbrella, and then that parent might go into aged care and the kids might become more of a client. And so there’s this there’s this weird balance, I guess, from you know, who was my client point of view that that switches between and with and together with the you know, the kids as well as the parent?

Nicola Beswick
Oh, completely, and it is a very fine line and one that you have to be very aware of what you’re disclosing to each other and each of those kind of camps, but then making sure that you’ve also got that consent and the awareness, just thinking about my lovely procedure exam study. And I think that’s one of the standards that we had to take No, and if you think about not only who is our client, but then the long term implications of of any decisions, you know, becomes such a broad ranging kind of area, it’s it can get complicated quite fast. And that’s where maybe sometimes you’re not the right advisor for a whole family unit. But other advisors are better off suited taking note looking after part of that family unit to help separate those kinds of conflicts that naturally exist, then money and families, there’s always going to be conflict there.

Fraser Jack
Yes, yes, this is all a constant balancing act. Now, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about was just this, this is a revenue stream, right? Because I mean, obviously, putting the entrepreneurs head on this is we’re talking about a way that you speak to clients and the way that you have conversations and to me you focus on but this is a this is a tactic, I guess, for bringing new clients into the business or existing business, as you mentioned, the traditional it was a traditional business, with your entrepreneurial mindset on to bring a new stream of revenue or new clients, the business,

Nicola Beswick
it is if if a client or a child of an existing client has a relationship with another advisor, and something happens to your client, and they pass away that shift of money, I guess we’ll go from your business, to the other business where that relationships already developed. And I think it is very intentional in some ways of making sure that you’re creating those conversations those relationships quite early, because you just never know when something like that will happen. But then you also don’t know who the friends are of the parents children. And so it’s all about making sure that not only do you build revenue within your business, and essentially do that, but also maintaining the existing revenue that you have within the business. And when it essentially moves from one family to another, within the family unit. It’s all about that that relationship paced and building that quite early on.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, now, of course, in a lot of that, we sort of mentioned the idea of social media and just just publicly, you know, talking about and getting out there the information about you so that people can find it, absorb it, and then start to grow relationship with it with you. You know, we’re you’re obviously playing the long game with a lot of this stuff. So it’s about maintaining a constant presence around of being off turning up on social media, what sort of stuff are you doing with social media and just making sure that you’re there around about and can be seen, it can

Nicola Beswick
be a whole range of different things. At the moment, one of the big things that I like talking about is the that space where we’re the pro bono financial advice network, and actually showcasing what it is that advisors do, I think, for me, that’s building that awareness around who it is that we are from an advisor sense and we wanting to give back that really can resonate with a lot of individuals out there, because we all want to be able to help other people in some way. So that’s one of my big things at the moment where we’re working on that publicity piece just to really showcase not just the work I do is with my everyday adviser hat on but the other work that we do behind the scenes, but then also other things like if you look at his Instagram is one of those really interesting things where you can put on a whole range of aspects of of who you are and what you’re up to. The same with, with Facebook and things like that. But one thing that I’ve I’ve done probably and launched in the last Gosh, it would have been about just over 12 months ago now was my very own very own website that was all about me and who I am as a person and I thought part of that was to help get people to know who I am and who I am as a person. And and get to know me through that not only through the work that I do as an advisor but the pro bono advice network and how my journey went from law to financial planning and the reasons behind that but then also, you know, showing the really important things that are in my life like one of them I’m not quite 500 animals, but animals that we have in our house and my partner, Mark and no, just getting a sense of me, personally, and it’s such a deep toll because then I feel you can, clients can engage with you quite easily and quite quickly in those initial meetings that you have with people are a lot more personalized, because they’ve already already know who you are a little bit, and you can establish things that people people have in common with you. Yeah, I

Fraser Jack
was gonna say, I think it’s a really good idea, that personal brand conversation and for advisors to brand themselves and make sure that they’re the ones that are telling the story about, you know, what it is that you do, and how you do it, and what your beliefs and passions and values are. So that people can just kind of make a decision earlier on before they even met you whether they want to, you know, they want you to be their trusted adviser.

Nicola Beswick
Well, that’s exactly it because the relationship is between the client and the advisor. And it can become such, the peace of being an advisor, you can become that person, that really trusted person quite quickly, you know, is that very much, I think about my hairdresser, and my, my hairdresser, I think I’ve I’ve continued with her for five years or so it’s a similar kind of thing, you had that real, that real trust is the hairdresser. And I think advisors are in that, that same kind of League, and getting to know and show who you are. And authentically coming back to that. That that was, is really key. So

Fraser Jack
yes, if you’re going to be asking your client to, you know, tell tell you all of their private and confidential information, and they kind of want to do so on a two way street, they kind of want to know a little bit about you to this to make them happy with divulging all their information. Then you mentioned the pro bono financial advice network, John, give us a quick overview of what the work you’re doing with him.

Nicola Beswick
So this is a really neat organization where we help people going through illness or some kind of disease, and match them with an advisor who wants to give pro bono advice. Generally, a lot of these clients, in fact, all these clients can’t ordinarily afford advice. What that means is that, essentially, someone’s getting the opportunity to sit in front of a client for maybe an hour and that could completely change their world. We’ve got this, this gap at the moment where the the cost of advice is so high, and ordinary people don’t think that they can actually get advice. And I think we give that opportunity to clients that need it the most to be able to at least get some some points across. So it’s a real passion of mine and the stories that we’ve got from a client perspective that can be completely life changing. So it’s my extra full time job that I took off of my day job.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, no, exactly. It’s, it’s, it’s one of those things they can tell it lights you up when you talk about it. Now this is obviously I’m gonna talk about entrepreneurs in advice, we talk about other professions or their industries, or those sorts of things. And this is probably something that is fairly prevalent in your original your original profession, your is your legal profession, is that something that’s driven you to want to be involved?

Nicola Beswick
I think the drive me to be what drove me to be involved was just really the small changes that us as advisors can do for people and just seeing that opportunity to to make sure that people that really need it the most have got someone like a trusted source to go to we with P fan do a lot of work. Well predominantly a lot of our work is through people with multiple sclerosis. And my dad actually has MS as well. So he’s the the reason that I became an advisor. And then just naturally when I discovered the work that P fan does, I just instantly had that connection with with Ms. And it’s just taking me on the journey that I am now with them. The law, the legal profession is so much more well structured when it comes to the pro bono Avenue. It’s the legal profession has been around for forever in a day and I think that’s it Essentially, we’re financial advisors that are probably hitting in terms of the structure and the way that we operate and be part of just giving out our services to someone that needs it the most like lawyers do. I think it will help grow the profession and the trust within the community.

Fraser Jack
I couldn’t agree more congratulations to on all the work that you you do that really is inspiring. Nicola, thank you so much for coming on this podcast series and sharing how you working within a traditional practice, but still make taking on a an entrepreneurial mindset, and driving a new line of revenue for that business, obviously, helping it you know, with its continuity and your diversification, if you like, as well, but it’s client base. Really appreciate your time and with, with all you’ve shared with us today,

Nicola Beswick
thank you for having me. Now, if

Fraser Jack
somebody wants to continue the conversation with you, what’s the best way for them to get ahold of you?

Nicola Beswick
LinkedIn is probably the best way to reach out. It’s got all my contact details there, particularly email address, if you want to have a look at my website that I’ve completely blatantly self promoters. You can go and have a look on on that as well. But certainly, that’s the best starting point to get in touch.

Fraser Jack
And if advisors want to get involved with the pro bono pro bono, financial advice network or advisor network, what do they do there?

Nicola Beswick
So we have a fabulous website, which is pro bono advice.com.au. So please, jump on that website. Have a look. And also more than welcome to reach out to me directly on LinkedIn or through our P fan page on LinkedIn as well.

Fraser Jack
Wonderful. Thank you, Nicola.

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