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#14 Angela Saltas – Transcript

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

clients, work, people, business, financial planner, angela, coaching, financial planning, understand, person, build, team, existing clients, louis, support, skills, terms, absolutely, run, structure

SPEAKERS

Louis van der Merwe, Angela Saltas

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Welcome to the financial planners South Africa podcast, a show dedicated to driving the positive evolution of financial advice, specifically in South Africa to join a global community of financial advisors, sharing and learning with one another to drive the positive evolution of financial advice paid to x y advisor.com. portfolio matrix is thrilled to bring you this podcast in support of our common passion, people and the evolution of wealth management. A Global Business links precision investment management to expert financial advice through partnerships and technology portfolio matrix is an authorized financial services provider. Acid map is a proud sponsor of this podcast. Are you looking for the next big thing in advisor technology? asset map is used by 1000s of financial advisors to help create more meaningful conversations with clients. See for yourself. Our asset map is leading the next phase of financial advice delivery. Learn more at acid dash map.com forward slash Louis for special listeners discount. This episode is proudly brought to you by Alan gray. They say it’s important to live for today. Although that might be true. We can’t forget to plan for tomorrow. There’s a lot of left of all, Alan gray is an authorized financial services provider, visit www dot Alan gray.co today to learn how we build long term wealth for clients. Welcome to another episode of financial planners, South Africa. Today I’m really excited to have Angela with me. Angela is a certified financial planner and the owner of corporate retirement services based in bedfordview. in Johannesburg, she runs a team of professionals to help her serve our clients. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Angela, thank you, Angela, your business has a very interesting name corporate retirement services, can you give us a little bit of a background of way this business started.

 

Angela Saltas 

So to be honest, it’s a misnomer because we’re not corporate at all. But 25 or 30 years ago, when the business was started by my father, it was corporate. This the sweet backstory is that the logo was actually designed by my then boyfriend now husband. And so we are more retirement services. We work in a retirement space, but we’re not very corporate at all. Lovely, lovely. It’s

 

Louis van der Merwe 

so nice to see that family thread run through there. So financial planning has been in, in your blood and in your DNA. And was that the first career that you jumped into? No, I

 

Angela Saltas 

I left school and took a gap year I took two gap years one was intentional. The other one was by accident. I then studied psychology and communications and went into teaching. So I taught English at high school level for a couple of years. And then when I was pregnant with my first daughter, my father suggested I come and join him for a while I had done his admin to pay for beer and petrol money. And he decided that might be a good fit. And so just after having my first child, I went and joined him with the intention of working together for a couple of years. So no, I’m an English teacher by training, which means that my hopefully my newsletters are grammatically perfect.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

That’s a lovely base. So that kind of teaching and the human psychology I’m sure that served you so well over the years. But it wasn’t wasn’t intentional.

 

Angela Saltas 

It has served me exceptionally well. Funnily enough, I often think that the psychology and the communications training has served me better than then what I have given it credit for. I sometimes joke that I used to teach teenage girls English. And now I teach older people about their money. It’s still a teaching profession at the end of the day.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

But it’s so true to teaching other people how to live their life and how to align their values and you know how to make your money serve you. I want to talk a little bit about about the transition because you now heat up the business and you’re the CEO and the owner of this business. And how did that transition happen from your dad over to you, Angela,

 

Angela Saltas 

as painfully as possible. Unfortunately, I came in and I had started to take over his partner’s business intentionally. And then unfortunately, my dad got very sick. And so I ended up with two businesses and a mentor who was too sick to mentor me. So it was a case of sink or swim. And we very quickly had to learn how to swim with loss of support, with lots of cheerleaders with people in the pool with us, thankfully. And in keeping with the family theme, my sister came and she worked with me for a while just to help me restructure the business. So yeah, it wasn’t a smooth transition. It would have been nice if we’d work together for longer but that wasn’t how to support To be, but I suppose the blessing there is that I was forced to take a business that was my father’s and make it my own.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah, put your own own stamp on it. And it’s so true that you say that, you know how difficult that transition is if if it’s not prepared and unprepared, how has that shaped what you think of your future transitions into, you know, future people in the business.

 

Angela Saltas 

I mean, it was a watershed in terms of finally getting to the point where I stopped running my father’s business and started running my own business. Because we started doing things extremely differently. We got to a point where it was time to actually take out a blank piece of paper and say, how do we want this business to look going forward? Not how has this business been run for the past 20 years. And I think that that was a that was a massive mind shift. And what it means for the future is that we’re not afraid to reinvent, we’re not afraid to look at things and actually discard what isn’t working anymore, as opposed to just keep keep on doing something simply because it’s what we’ve always done.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So it’s almost taking out a blank piece of paper and saying, Okay, let’s, let’s start fresh. And when you explain your services to new potential clients, what like, what is it that you do and what is it that you offer them

 

Angela Saltas 

are always promised to lose them some money upfront. That was a promise that I learned from a friend of mine in industry, and I’ve adopted it wholeheartedly. But what we promise is a partnership, what we talk through is the fact that the whole financial planning journey has got everything to do with making sure that we make your money serve you and not you serve your money, and that it’s gonna look and feel like it has to support your life and your dreams, you know, we kind of we start to consider all of our clients has to be part of our family.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah. Do you break that up into different phases? thing to say, you know, we need to understand your life before we understand your money, or is it all jumbled in together? 100%. That

 

Angela Saltas 

sentence is exactly what we were worth we work with. And we talked to our clients about the fact that we’ve got no right to try and talk to them about their money without understanding who they are, and what makes them tick. Again, it was a phrase that I learned from Paul aaronson. And it’s, it’s changed how we actually do things. So until I know who you are, and what makes you work and what motivates you, and what are your hopes and your dreams, there’s no point in understanding what policies you’ve got, because they mean nothing without understanding what they’re supposed to do for you going forward.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So I’m wondering like your psychology background with this, as that made these discussions a little bit easier.

 

Angela Saltas 

So I wouldn’t create it the psychology degree in psychology is, is a very book based thing. But I did start on a journey, I embarked on a journey on the coaching. In 2017, I went into the gifts executive coaching course with Alan phaser. And it was fantastic, it was probably one of the hardest courses I’ve ever done. When you’re used to being booksmart, it’s very difficult to break into a process, which is about experiencial learning. So the coaching course, was the start of what has been an extremely enriching journey. I went in and did the Alan gray and coaching program, the behavioral coaching program that they offered, which was fantastic, because it married the coaching course that I’d done with Gibbs with the financial planning side of things. And then more recently, I actually was quite fortunate to be one of the first people to do a course offered by Kim Porter hitter in line with her coach, Colleen joy. And again, it was just a further segmentation of the combination of coaching and financial planning. And that has been that probably really being the cherry on top.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Also, this is a skill you’ve been working on over the last five years. And I’m wondering like, how did you spot it? Because it’s now it’s kind of a little bit of a trained way. Now everyone’s saying, you know, take some coach training, and we can definitely see, but in 2017, I’m not sure if it was so well known. So I’m wondering like, how did you spot that trend?

 

Angela Saltas 

I’m not sure I can take credit for spotting it at all. It was just something that I was drawn to it was something about the personal nature of it. And Kim pothead has been extremely generous in her time with me. And I know that she had gotten the coaching route and she had the ICF accreditation. And I did the course that at just after I’d lost my father. So I suppose there was also some level of restoration that was required, and it was a good, it was a good thing to have gone through because it helped me just to dive deeper into myself because coaching is understanding what it feels like on the inside makes you better at doing it on the outside.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah, that’s so true. You know, you have to start with the work yourself. And the same goes for financial planning. And I know we preach that you always know financial planners need to have a financial planner, but I’ve never met someone that actually lives that until we started having, having a discussion and if you’re open to talking about it Maybe you can you can give us a little bit of a background of how is it working with a financial planner, and also being a financial planner? Like, why didn’t you do your own financial planning? number one, and number two, like, you know what, what drew you to working with someone else.

 

Angela Saltas 

So I did start doing my own financial planning. But I started to realize that we’ve all got blind spots, you know, the shoemakers, children are always without shoes, and the doctor’s kids are always sick. And I realized that it wasn’t so much about the academic side of financial planning that I needed the assistance on, it was on the coaching side of the financial planning. And I had known my own financial planner for a good number of years and have always respected how she’s worked and how fiercely she is dedicated to her clients. And it seemed a no brainer to me at the time when I needed her that she would be the person that I would, that I would deal with. It has been fantastic. And as with all financial planners, her value is not in the management of my retirement annuity, her value has been in the conversations that we’ve had around my life, and how do the finances suit, they’re helping me solve Rubik’s cubes of, you know, personal requirements, and how do we structure this? And how do we think about that, and it’s been, it’s been fantastic. And it’s also an asked and asked way to see how other people take their clients through the process.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So Angela, was this more request to say, I want to work with this specific person? Was it hey, I need to figure out finances and now let’s find the people but which came first? the chicken or the egg?

 

Angela Saltas 

What if I knew that I needed my own financial planner, I knew that specifically were estate planning was concerned. I had a blind spot and I was struggling with it. And once I decided that I needed somebody, I didn’t have a question in my mind that she was the person that I would deal with. Okay.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Okay. And for for financial planners that, you know, are listening to this and thinking of how a financial planner picks? Who did you with? Like, did you have a checklist? Or what would what are those things that if you had to pick another financial planner, if your current one wasn’t available anymore, that would be a non negotiables on your list.

 

Angela Saltas 

So it’s a conversation I have with my own clients very often, you know, you you get clients that come looking for long term financial planning, and they only talk to one person. Whereas when they’re looking for their short term or their medical, they go and compare a number of different options that I’ve often said to people, the solutions should be very much the same. You know, if if somebody is giving you something vastly different from the other four contenders, then that person is the one to show off the list. What you’re looking for is the personality with whom you want to keep dealing, you know, products are limited funds or funds. But the person that is going to walk this journey with you has to be the person that that you trust.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

And if you put on your business owner hat thinking that you’re matching a client with a personality? How do you build a business around that?

 

Angela Saltas 

I’m not sure that I can even answer that question adequately. Larry, I think you just be who you are. And the people that are drawn to you, the people that want to do business with you will come to you and the people that aren’t your people. Either, they won’t be referred to you. Because, you know, you won’t appeal to them in that way. Or they won’t end up doing the business with you. So I think you you draw the people that that are right for you.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So Angela, in your in your business founders said correctly, that you’ve built in the support structures to free up your time to be able to work with clients, like explain to us a little bit how your team looks like today and how it came to be the way it is.

 

Angela Saltas 

So we’re very, we’re very close knit team, we work very well together, we trust each other infinitely. We are predominantly working mothers. In fact, we’re all working mothers. And it’s about supporting each other. So I’ve got two paraplanners, who work with me on the analysis and the portfolio side. And I’ve got two ladies who handle my admin. And I leave them to it because they do it far better than what I could ever tell them to do it. They’ve been doing it for long enough. But everybody has everybody else’s back. So anybody that needs help doing anything, is able to ask any one of the five of us and we’re all there for each other doesn’t matter what your actual job description is. We all do everything.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

It sounds like a great team. You know, like you said, working mothers and I often think that women are ideally suited for these roles. And I can just imagine, like, I can see how proud you are of your team. And I can imagine how happy your clients are.

 

Angela Saltas 

I hope so I hope so. And what’s really important is that the client is dealing with us as a team and not me as an individual. Because there is there are things that the team can give them that I can’t give them and a lot of them will actually phone. Some of the ladies in the team rather than phoning me because they like to have a chat and then I have to check in and see how they’re doing lots of clients will pop the head into the to the offices Just to say hello to everybody. So it’s a wonderful environment.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So are these multiple touch points? By accident? Who is it kind of structured with how you deliver advice?

 

Angela Saltas 

So it’s not by accident at all, we are very process focused, we are very stringent on making sure that our clients don’t have to contact us. We want to be proactive, we want to have answered the question before it’s asked. One of the things we had to do when I had two businesses on my on my plate was create uniformity. So there were two very different businesses, how their clients were dealt with were very different, what things look like, we’re very different. And we spent a long time putting processes into place, making sure that there was absolute consistency in the client experience in the client solutions, etc. each client requires something different. But if I choose x for one client, I need to make sure that the same principles have been applied to the next. So we have got processes that we’ve worked on for the last five years. And annually, we look at them, we review them, we make sure that we’re still happy with them, because we want our clients to be informed to know that we’ve always got their backs.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So you’ve been doing this for 14 years. And what you’re saying is that every year, you still go back and you say, Hey, is this the way we wanted to be in? Is that a time that you block out in your diary and say, Okay, let’s focus only working on the business or not in the business.

 

Angela Saltas 

So working on the business is something that I do consciously. We don’t necessarily blocked out a week or so to review everything, we’re constantly reviewing it, and it’s very much about what my team thinks is better. So we’ll often be looking at something together. And, you know, if there was an issue looking at how do we rectify it, or if there was something that we weren’t happy with. And more than more than my knowledge, the team knows what is better. They know, which companies are able to do what for us, they know how we can get information in and out of the system. So I listened to them. We ask our clients will often kind of say to our clients just give us a little bit of feedback on what this felt like, what worked, what didn’t work. And we go from there. So it’s just a it’s a constant work in progress.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

I love that. What do you say, give us a bit of feedback on what this felt like? I’m wondering of what are the responses that you’ve had from, you know, the things that we think are more mundane, like opening an investment account or reading your investment reports? What are the responses that you’ve had from your clients around what it feels like to experience financial planning and kind of the more investment side again,

 

Angela Saltas 

great question, Louis. So obviously, it depends per client, but what we try and do is make sure that the information is accessible to them. What we often do is we give it our own family. So if we’re trying to convey a message, we often joke but I’ll take it to my own mom. And I’ll say to who read this, and tell me what you understand. And if you don’t understand it clearly, then I need to do better at conveying the information. You know, I work a lot with my own family, all of our families are clients of ours. So we’ve got we’ve got good, honest, brutal feedback. That’s sad. Right, and then, you know, being on the receiving side of another advisors, investment process and information, etc, it’s very eye opening for me as well, because, you know, I have to experience that as a client and the pain points of having to redo your FICO all the time, and then having to complete this 15 page form. And, you know, so it’s, there are some things we can solve and some things we can’t, but our job is to make life as easy as possible for our clients. And that’s what we try and do.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

That’s probably already worth being a financial planner for just to say, Hey, I can relate to my clients frustration with filling out just another form believable documents,

 

Angela Saltas 

and how scary it can be to transfer an amount of money into another bank account, you know, kind of where you want to do that first test 100 read and just make sure it lands because, you know, there’s there’s things that we, we know work on our side, because you can never unknow what you know, but as a client, there are things that can be quite emotionally fragile to go through.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

I think that’s so true that emotionally fragile starts from the day where you have to share your accumulation of your assets and essentially to what a lot of people feel like, Hey, this is what I’ve achieved with my life you have to share with the stranger. Almost.

 

Angela Saltas 

Absolutely. It’s frightening. It’s frightening for the clients. It’s nerve racking everybody. Not everybody but a lot of people start by apologizing for not having done enough as though we sit in judgment and it’s very important to make new and existing clients feel very comfortable that that what they’ve got is exactly what they you know what they need to work with. And there’s neither a better way or a worse way of doing it. You know, these are the tools that we’ve got what can we bolt

 

Louis van der Merwe 

and in In a normal environment where, you know, someone would come to the office, and we can get them relaxed and make them feel at home, that might be very different from your online process of bringing in clients. So I’m wondering in, in this wave of, you know, working virtually, with clients, have you made them feel comfortable in those first stages, compared to an in person meeting?

 

Angela Saltas 

Honestly, Louis, anybody that we’ve brought on board over the last 18 months, we have started with an in person, or at least followed up with an in person. We’ve either had people in the office, or I’ve gone to the homes and as much as we can observe COVID protocol, there is a lot to be said, for the efficiency of technology. But especially working in the retirement space, that personal touch, and I can, I can feel it, even with my existing clients, I’m, I’m feeling the lack of their personal touch, and I’m missing them, I’m missing seeing them, even if it’s just a cup of coffee.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

That’s such close relationships that we build over time. And he’s saying when I miss my clients as an advisor, that’s lovely to hear. And I’m sure your clients feel the same. Just phoning you saying, hey, Angela, I miss you, Angela, this teaching hat. Now we spoke about complex financial information and complex. And I often wonder, like, how much time should we spend trying to understand how someone learns, based? Or is there a best practice in terms of, you know, this is how we should be we should be communicating visually and in shorter, bite sized? Or should we take it more of approach to say, let’s understand the person and how they learn better?

 

Angela Saltas 

That’s another great question, Louis, there’s so many different ways to actually try and understand our clients. I mean, it can be overwhelming, just taking them through the process of trying to understand them better. My my take on it is that you learn your clients as you as you actually get to know them. And you start to understand which clients need the information which need the technical data, and which just need the kind of the brush on top to go, I’ve got this all and it’s covered, I know that the teams test that, that can put it to use as I think that that’s got huge value, because that’s not overwhelming. In terms of trying to get it done. I’ve undergone the Hardy da profile, which was amazing in terms of the data produced. So I don’t think that there’s one right way to do it, I think that we do need to better understand our clients. From a compliance perspective, sometimes we have to give them all the data anyway. But if they only choose to read the executive summary on the first half of the first page, that’s, that’s also fine. You’ll see you don’t want to kill them with with information and you’re saying, Okay, let’s

 

Louis van der Merwe 

meet, let me understand this person through using some of the personality assessments as opposed to just, you know, what is your risk tolerance assessment?

 

Angela Saltas 

So I haven’t personally adopted any of them to be honest, it’s, it’s just a conversation and you get to know people through conversation. Yeah, but that’s, that’s where the coaching skills come in.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

And that mindset of saying, This is what we need to get out of a meeting, these are the important elements to take out, this is what I want to get out. And then the input is maybe less structured

 

Angela Saltas 

100%, maybe I’m undermining the fact that the coaching conversation is where I’m learning the information because I’m not going in with the objective of selling a product or, you know, creating a plan that suits what we think is best practice. It’s about learning about the clients and what they need, and then figuring out how to solve the problem. You know, you don’t want to run at the problem with a screwdriver when what you actually need is a is a hammer, you know, they always say for a guy with a hammer, everything looks like a nail,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

don’t only want the same, the same outcome for all of your clients. And, you know, I know that you also use portfolio metrics in your business. And I’m wondering what has that helped you to free up in terms of resources and time by incorporating a discretionary fund manager in your business?

 

Angela Saltas 

I know it was a phenomenal was a phenomenal turning point in my business in terms of finding finding a company that I truly trusted to do the research and the data analysis where the outputs were impeccable you know, we can have conversations about their choices, but I have never kind of set and second guessed it. And what it did was it at massive freed up another week, a month, you know where I wasn’t sitting poring over Excel spreadsheets and trying to understand which you know, which funds were the bits Best of the breed etc. Bringing portfolio metrics onto on board was exceptional because it gave me absolute consistency. It gives me absolute trust in the fact that what’s happening on the back end is well researched, it is perfectly executed and I know that I’m getting the best. Yeah, it’s significantly changed how I actually run my business.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

It doesn’t sound like it’s a piece of the business that you miss. Doing.

 

Angela Saltas 

I absolutely love opening up the systems that they provided, I mean that the technology that they’ve given us to, to run financial analysis has made my life so easy and makes the output so accessible to the clients. You know, and I sleep extremely well at night, knowing that I’ve got them othmar on my side.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So what I’m hearing, Angela is this lack of complete structure in your business around how the processes work around how the implementation flows, so that, you know, someone can step in and and fulfill your role. But at the same time, you are the key financial plan and the only one delivering advice, like, how do you balance those two ideas?

 

Angela Saltas 

I don’t think there is balance, I think there’s just averages probably, you know, sometimes you do too much of the one. And sometimes you do too much of the other. But when you when you work it out, there’s a reasonable, there’s a reasonable average. It’s not perfectly we, it doesn’t always work, and always requires review and always requires assessment. I know sometimes we take clients through one process, and then we decide that we didn’t actually enjoy that, or that doesn’t work. And that didn’t work and we check it out. But for one of the other paraplanners in the business, it might, you know, be workable. So we’ve got to have kind of flexibility in how we do things. But also, we’ve got to be singing from the same song sheet. Or we can be singing different parts of the song.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah, this constant evolution of saying like, Okay, how do we make this a little bit better. But as your team grows, I’m sure having more inputs and more people singing, and doesn’t always make it easier?

 

Angela Saltas 

Yeah, we’ve got to be careful that we bring in complimentary people, and we’ve got to bring in the right people. We’re not looking to grow an empire, I’m not looking to build a massive business, I enjoy being smaller, I enjoy the personal touch. You know, I want to know that the people that we’re working with as a team, are the right kinds of people I’ve long said you hire for personality, and then you teach the skill. So I can’t see myself kind of building myself into a 50 man business. It just doesn’t suit how we want to do business that doesn’t suit how I want to live my life.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

That concept of I think Seth Godin also says hire for attitude train for skill. Absolutely. If we if we talk about the skill bot, right. And we said, okay, now we have someone that’s super energetic, that fits the team, right, that has the same work ethos, and the same approach, like, what are the base skills, that you would start training for someone in the administration team, for example? Like, where would you start in your training journey

 

Angela Saltas 

with communication, how you talk to people is more more important than anything else, we are very specific about making sure that our clients are heard and are spoken to, it’s easy enough to teach somebody the differences between product rules, and every institution has got courses that that people can go on in order to understand that my staff are all as, as Mr. constantly evolving in their own education, everybody’s always studying something, you know, we’re always undergoing our own processes of evolution, but who you are, as a person will translate into how you make the client feel what you know, can be read in a book or taught I mean, it just doesn’t take much to understand the differences between a pension and provident fund, you can grab a product sheet and read it off, off script. So we talk a lot about making sure that we are communicating properly with our clients and that we are empathetic and that we are genuinely they with our clients and we authentic selves. Everything else is is teachable, and my staff are amazing. Everybody’s always studying one lady came in with who, who became financial planning and has done her post grad and her estates qualification. The other lady has done her post grad and is working towards her state qualification the admin staff have both got there in Qf think it’s five kind of the national certificate from ballparks everybody is constantly working on knowing more, but that’s not what counts to we are.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

So it’s this culture of continuous improvement and continuous learning. But at the same time, you’re saying, this is important. We can’t do our jobs without it. But it’s not the most important thing. Our client feels and they experience Trump’s you know, what, you know,

 

Angela Saltas 

yeah, yeah, what do you know, opens the door who you are, allows you to exist in their space property.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Just repeat that again,

 

Angela Saltas 

what you know, opens the door and who you are, allows you to exist in that space properly.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

I think that is that is worthwhile hearing a second time because it’s, it is so powerful, and he was so clear on how important communication is. So it’s a great place for anyone to start training as they as they build up a team. And kind of the next level from that in terms of your your paraplanners. So you’re saying that, you know, postgraduate qualifications are important and what are the skills that you know, you build on the paraplanning team side.

 

Angela Saltas 

So what we’ve done and it’s works exceptionally well, because we were a team made up of two of us have been together for 10 years. And then, and then one in the middle. And then two very new people, we actually embarked on a coaching journey as a team and then individually, and what that has done is that it’s complemented all of those booksmart skills, you know, kind of the post grad, etc, with the, the coaching experience that allows you to be a better communicator. And so just by going through the experience ourselves and being coached ourselves, both on an individual level and as a team, we have grown the muscles that are required to actually do the job with empathy with compassion, because we’ve got the knowledge, the knowledge is easy. It’s, you know, teachable, it’s the rest of the skills that you’ve got to experience in order to be able to give them out.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah, and this is the second phase, I think, after you’ve mastered, or at least gotten comfortable with the technical piece that you go into the more experiential, like you’re saying, and, and you learn that through working with coaches, and working with advisors and starting to build that, but now you’re also doing that within your team and saying, okay, I want I want you to have this golden thread that runs through the business, you’ve got to walk the talk. Yeah. And and you’re working with a coach, in your personal capacity, you’re working with a financial planner? How do you structure your life to get time to be a mom to be a business owner. And then all these other things that you busy with?

 

Angela Saltas 

I’ve got lots and lots of support, Louis, I’ve got, I’ve got amazing support inside the company, because we’re all working moms, if your kid is sick, we all understand that a sick child comes first. I’ve got amazing support at home. I’ve got my mother and my father in law who helped me I’ve got a husband who stands by my side and works with me, I’ve got, yeah, I’ve got an au pair. But I mean, I’m really, I’m very lucky. And I’ve got a lot of support. So like I said, there’s no such thing as balanced as a working mother, there’s always going to be an element of guilt. I’m either working too hard, or I’m bombing too hard. But on average, it should be.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

It should be okay. So it’s this concept of averaging out over time, and then maybe in the future, I’ll be working a bit more, but for now, I’m bombing.

 

Angela Saltas 

Absolutely, absolutely. And I also want my children to, to see their mother working, I want them to see me kind of succeeding in my own capacity and not just as their mother, because I’m an individual in my own right,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

absolutely. How has COVID and lockdown been during this phase and trying to get that balance, right? Or the old trying to get that every drive.

 

Angela Saltas  

We’ve been very fortunate during COVID, in that we’ve both been able to work seamlessly from home, my staff were amazing, they picked up their computers, everybody went home and work. So structurally, it was it was not a big change. Other than not being able to see people, both of my children were very lucky and that their schools moved pretty quickly online, we had good internet connection, everybody has a computer. So our our emotional needs could be met because all of our other needs were already in place. And we just, we just keep checking in and talking, you know, you got two young daughters or younger, a teen and a tween. They just need support like any teen or tween, I mean, a 15 year old is not supposed to spend more time with him either than anybody else. But that’s what that’s what happened. And that’s what she has to deal with right now. Thank goodness for technology, she can FaceTime her friends,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

it reminds me of the things that you were talking about terms of communication and that coaching mindset. But it also sounds like you can apply that to your family. So it’s not a pattern. Hopefully they wouldn’t be listening to this. Otherwise your secret sauce skills on them. Practice so the theme is practice on your family.

 

Angela Saltas 

Absolutely. And if you’re doing it well enough, they’ll never know.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

This is great. The hidden superpower of Angela salters.

 

Angela Saltas 

Love the coaching the coaching genuinely I think has made me a better communicator with my with my family because it means that you listen more than what you talk. You know and in a marriage. Sometimes that is exactly what is required. Just shut up and listen to what I need you to hear. And you don’t always have to problem solve and with a teenager or a tween again, just listen. Just listen with empathy and compassion. Listen to understand don’t listen to answer.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

That’s so true. And it almost sounds too easy to say that listening and communicating is the skill that you need to work on. I once heard someone basically structured to say that, find out what is expected of you is it just eight sounding board, is it a solution? Is it advice? Or is it just someone you know, to absorb what that person is? is saying,

 

Angela Saltas 

Yeah, a friend of mine has often said when who, when she is on the receiving end of a data dump? She kind of stops the conversation and says, right, what do you need from me right now? Do you need me to listen? Or do you need me to help you solve this problem. And as a financial planner, we probably should be doing that more,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

not just assuming that you need me to solve this problem.

 

Angela Saltas 

And also be careful of trying to jump in and prove how much we know, you know, our clients come to us because we’re supposed to have a base level knowledge, we don’t have to prove to them what we know about pension fund law, we’re supposed to know it. Just listen to what the client needs, the client doesn’t need to know, pension fund law, he needs to know that you know it so that you can do your job.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Absolutely, Angela. And if you look back on your journey, building this business taking over from your Dad, what are the things that you would do differently with the skill sets and the knowledge that you have now?

 

Angela Saltas 

I don’t know. I mean, hindsight is always 2020. It was, it was hard. While we were doing it, it was hard. I had a brand new baby doing a post grad, it was hard having a very sick father who couldn’t give me client histories. And I had to go and read the files for two hours. But I think that all of those school fees, I would probably pay them again, because they’ve all built me into the advisor that I am today,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

to saying that the shortcuts on necessarily work worth it, you know, going through this, experiencing it, understanding why it’s important, will get you to where you are now. But I think the thing that comes through through all of these episodes, and all of the guests that we’ve had is that, you know, it’s a really difficult process, especially the first, I would say kind of 10 years, but it’s worth it,

 

Angela Saltas 

it is worth it. And if you are growing an environment that’s conducive to growth, then it’s absolutely worth it. It’s an amazing profession we get to meet the most phenomenal people are my clients are just that they’re the most fantastic group of people. And it’s my absolute privilege to be able to work with them. You know, it’s it’s wonderful to be of service to people who just exude goodness. And if I can, if I can raise paraplanners into planners that walk into their client meetings with that attitude, and I’ve won the battle by a longshot.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

And is that the vision for corporate retirement services to bring up the paraplanners into these roles and make an impact?

 

Angela Saltas 

Oh, absolutely. The two ladies that I’ve got are just so so well positioned to come and work with me it doesn’t it doesn’t have to be a takeover can be complimentary, you know, characters and services, and we can all work together. But you know, we are better together.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah. And it sounds like that team that you’ve formed, is so key to making sure that you know, this is sustainable. And you and you have the right people and you have the structures and you can conserve as your clients and what is the feedback been from your clients?

 

Angela Saltas 

all positive? I suppose if anybody was unhappy about it, they haven’t really let us know. But we have fantastic feedback with our clients are very encouraging. The one lady recently achieved a CFP designation, and we put a little note out to our clients to say congratulations to her. And we received so many replies of encouragement, and congratulations. And it’s just, I feel as though the clients themselves embrace their family feeling. That’s so

 

Louis van der Merwe 

great, because you attract the right people, the right people, you know, means that you can fuel your business and you can kind of move forward on that. Yeah. Yeah. And how do you find those new people coming in the new clients?

 

Angela Saltas 

It’s pure referral, Louis, because I came in and I took over an existing business, I didn’t have to suffer the pain of having to build it from scratch, we had different pain points that we had to suffer through, but that wasn’t one of them. And our clients refer new clients, we are fortunate enough that because we focus on servicing our existing clients, we’re not constantly chasing new business. So I would rather keep a client happy and make sure that my existing client base is my focus. And we build to support that that structure. So everybody that we get is known to somebody else that we already work with.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Okay, so that by referral only in what we see often is that businesses run around so hard trying to find new business that, you know, it’s easy to neglect the existing clients, but the existing client is would base the balls and get the team salaries out.

 

Angela Saltas 

Yeah. So we’re very focused on our existing clients. They are the people who have supported us through the transition. So many clients have been with the company for 20 years, you know, so it’s it It’s our honor to be able to continue to serve them and as our privilege, and we want them to make sure that they always feel that their commitment,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

our client for life, please, and until if you if you look at the future, and, you know, trying to grow this business and bringing your team on and building on the skills, and there’s so much going on, like, how do you keep those averages? What like, what are the things that you’re doing now, to to keep that average imbalance?

 

Angela Saltas 

At the moment, we’re actually taking the time to enjoy the work that we’ve done. So we’re not looking to build or grow for the foreseeable couple of years, simply because we’ve, we’ve gone through an evolution already, we’ve gone through the process of bringing on to new people, the funny stories that I hadn’t intended to bring on to new people, but are just the characters that were presented to me, I don’t want to lose one or the other. So at the moment, we will concentrate on the consolidation and the improvement of what we’ve got. And once we are ready to grow again, I think our path will become more clear to us,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

I can hear that leadership role that you’re taking in terms of saying, Okay, this is this is what we need to do now and also the clarity, of focus of what it is that you that you’re building. I think this has been an extremely valuable conversation, Angela, is there anything else you’d want our listeners to know

 

Angela Saltas 

that it’s just a wonderful profession to be in and that if we’re all working together for the betterment of the industry, then we can actually only grow, grow and improve and, you know, create a profession that we can all be proud of? Absolutely, and x y advisors all about the positive evolution

 

Louis van der Merwe 

of financial advice. And that’s why we have you here. So want to thank you so much for sharing your journey and your story with us. It has been very inspirational. And long, may you continue your impact in this profession. Thank you, Louis. Thank

 

Angela Saltas 

you for taking the time. Thank you for the lovely chat. And for getting to know me better.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Thank you so much, Angela.

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