February 14, 2022

Financial Adviser for ex-pats with Jarrad Brown – Transcript

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Gwen Lazarito
Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the financial planners, the Southeast Asia podcast win here and today I am with a special guest because he is a fee based financial planner and is based in Singapore. But he deals with Australian expats. So please help me welcome Jarrad Brown.

Jarrad Brown
Thank you very much Gwen. Really good to be here and really appreciate the opportunity to come on to the podcast today.

Gwen Lazarito
Oh, the pleasure and is all mine. I am very happy that you’re here because I feel like this is an important topic that I have wanted to discuss last year, but I wasn’t able to find a financial advisor who whose niche is expats. Oh, actually I have but we weren’t able to talk about that particular topic. So I’d like to discuss this with you chaired but before we dive into that, I’d like our listeners to have to get to know you more. So how did you get into financial advice?

Jarrad Brown
Sure. Okay, so look, let me give you the condensed version of the long story so as not to bore anyone tuning in. And so I originally from Perth, Perth is originally home and as we’re recording this today, I am sitting in one of our offices in South Perth, which is lovely on a beautiful summer day. It’s about 39 degrees, which I’m not really used to but anyway, getting a bit off topic. But what is financial planner in Perth for a number of years always had a really strong strong interest in shares investing in wealth accumulation, the whole piece and really the whole strategy behind how do you build genuine wealth and worked with some fantastic clients, fantastic people here in Perth started then to travel, I guess a bit more throughout Asia throughout the rest of the world. And very quickly realized that Australia is a very small part of the global puzzle. So then started thinking about well, look, I I’m relatively young, perhaps older than some of your listeners younger than some others. And thought look, you know, my my then partner now wife, Linda, and I didn’t and still don’t currently have children, you know, what an opportune time to go and work somewhere else. So naturally, Asia was a pretty attractive destination from a wealth management viewpoint. So I made the decision about nine years ago to relocate to Singapore, very quickly found there was a huge Australian Expat population, very much in need of specialist financial advice. And just downs. You know, very quickly that the people we were meeting the Australian expats, so we were meeting, you know, we’re similar but but also different, I guess, in terms of the challenges the opportunity side faced compared to our clients back in Perth. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
So like, what are the differences in how Australians face financial advice in Singapore versus in Australia?

Jarrad Brown
A good question. I mean, one of the one of the things we quickly found was that Australian expats, I would suggest more than most other nationalities are far more likely to return to Australia, and be either to work to start a family or to retire. But naturally, we all sort of have this natural pool back to the homeland back to Australia. So whether we had superannuation, or we have insurances or investments or property back in Australia, naturally, something typically pulls us back. So we found there was a huge need for that advice to work both from an Australian perspective, but then also, what do we do while we’re in Singapore? Or what do we do while we’re somewhere else in the world? And how do we build wealth in this other jurisdiction, whether it be cash or shares or bonds or buying property, or CPF pension accounts in another jurisdiction with the view that we’re going to come back to Australia one day, how do we do that over offshore? How do we plan to move back and then how I want to do we bring all this stuff back into Australia. Yeah, without having, you know, bits and pieces of money all over the world. So the challenges just got a lot more global. The opportunities certainly expanded exponentially in terms of, you know, how much wealth could be accumulated, how much you could fast track, I guess your sort of progress towards achieving your goals, but the complexity is really ramped up?

Gwen Lazarito
Yes. Because it’s you’re not only dealing with like regulations, and stocks and all of those components in in a in one country you’re dealing with, if two, if not more countries, regulations and all that stuff now, because you were already a licensed financial advisor in Australia. How has that experience helped you? When you started your practice? In Singapore? Or did it ever? Were there any challenges you had to overcome? Because of that, as well?

Jarrad Brown
Oh, yeah, I guess a little bit of both. Obviously, understanding the challenges from an astronomy viewpoint, you know, certainly stood us in a good position dealing with Australian sound in other countries, because naturally, you know, we understood the superannuation, the insurance, sort of, I guess the the basics of, you know, what a typical Australian Financial Planner would face and therefore could kind of talk the language with Australians and other countries. And that was also one of the reasons we sort of elected to only work with Australian expats. We have a very small portion of our client base, who are other nationalities who have largely been referred by our Australian clients. But naturally, our expertise, our niche, our entire business model is really built around, providing that you know, what I would call the sort of touch of home, that Australian expert advice to all these, you know, all over the world. So it sort of stood us in good stead in terms of providing transparent advice to fee based advice, where, you know, which I think quite a number of Australians really understand and appreciate, particularly anyone who has been paying attention to the Royal Commission and or they might have dealt with the financial planet back in Australia, that transparency was really important, and obviously put us in a good position to kind of, I guess, distinguish ourselves from other practices throughout Asia.

Gwen Lazarito
That’s really interesting. Now, was there a particular way in how you marketed yourself in order to reach Australian X expats in Singapore? Or was it more like a word of mouth kind of thing.

Jarrad Brown
It’s been a bit of an evolving model. So and again, not to not to bore everyone with the with the detail. But originally, we had a effectively a joint venture set up between a Sydney based advisory firm and a Singapore based advisory firm again, to provide that specialist Australian expert advice. That Singapore based firm was then acquired by a UK fund manager. And there was a, I guess, not quite as seamless a fit as what we felt would suit our clients. So we then picked up our model moved our sort of Australian expatriate focus across two global financial consultants, which is now our licensing in Singapore, which, oddly enough, was set up in Sydney back in 97. And it’s now one of the oldest known sort of non aligned advisory firms in Asia, which is a nice fits, and then have effectively partnered with Ally Wealth Management in Australia, to again provide that sort of seamless experience. So, you know, for our Aussie expat clients in Singapore, or the US or wherever they may be, we can look at their superannuation in Australia, their insurance in Australia, their investments in their 401k their CPF investments in Singapore, whatever else that might be, puts us in, you know, quite a, I guess, a unique position to deal with Australian expats. And on the back of that, you know, we’ve tried to sort of run videos run a big believer in webinars, the sort of Lunch and Learn style sessions, the back when we were allowed to gather face to face yeah, outside of Western Australia. You know, the old wine and cheese evenings, you know, sort of an hour on what else the expats need to do need to know about money. All of those things I’ve always loved because You know, I’ve always found the Australian expat community is a very tight knit community. Yeah. And if we can ensure that the right information is going out there, yeah, we’ve always just, I guess, sort of been a big believer in that. Coming full circle, those who who want to need advice would always come to us. And if not, at the very least, worth spreading the right information out there.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. And I agree with you, the Australian expat community is very tight, because I used to work for a migration agent years and years ago, and she would come here as well. And she would visit the same watering holes and just meet her the same mates. So and it was very interesting that she could just somewhat like picked up where she left off after being away in Australia, after how many years and coming back here in the Philippines to have a chat with them and see what they’re up to, like her previous clients and all that stuff. So that’s very interesting. And it’s also very interesting that you mentioned that Australians tend to return to back to Australia later on in life. So that’s very, I wonder, like, do you know, what are the most common reasons why they tend to return back to Australia?

Jarrad Brown
Lots of reasons. I mean, I think, yeah, Australia is in very simplistic terms, and I mean, this in the most endearing way, a big beautiful scent it, it’s a lovely place to live, it’s from a work life balance viewpoint, it’s the place to be the weather, whilst extreme at times, is a great place to be the culture is very friendly, we have you know, great produce, we’re gradually learning that you’re allowed to open beyond the hours of nine to five, you know, we were relatively accepting of different cultures, you know, we’ve got a bright dining scene, great travel opportunities, and some incredible places to sort of see and be, I think of all the countries in the world from a lifestyle perspective, Australia, Australia is a beautiful place. You know, when we look at things financially, I would suggest that Superannuation is arguably one of the most attractive parts on the Australian tax system. Yeah, for sure, and certainly makes Australia a very attractive place to retire, obviously, as long as you plan appropriately and, and sort of position yourself for that outcome. You know, obviously, Australians typically love property, not terribly unique amongst many other nationalities that a lot of Australians have a home that they might have rented out to move offshore, they might have a portfolio of properties, we tend to be a relatively stable market, in that regard, and also quite a large residential property market, particularly relative to our superannuation system. So I mean, I would suggest for a lot of reasons, Australia is just a very attractive place to be whether lifestyle employment, kind of balancing, I guess, all of those, you know, again, to use a probably an overused term, those sort of work life factors.

Gwen Lazarito
Yes. That’s so true. And, and that’s cool. Right? And I wonder, though, because some Australians go to other countries, and let’s say, in your case in Singapore, to to marry a local, no, are there any challenges that you’ve encountered when providing advice to couples from different nationalities?

Jarrad Brown
That’s, that’s a very broad question. And the short answer is yes. I mean, there are just so many, and naturally this is is, you know, a very common occurrence. And Australian, male or female moves to another country, falls in love with a person from a different country, and they marry or enter some form of relationship. Naturally, that throws up all sorts of challenges. Whether that be you have to look at planning to return to Australia or, you know, do they have a right to reside in Australia? Is their foreign buyer surcharges foreign tax duties because of buying property? Can we set up superannuation? What right? Do they have to reside in different countries? Do they had pensions in that other? I mean, there’s just so much to consider. And this This is sort of always, I guess, been quite a common part of the advice we provide, just because it is so prevalent. Do I think it’s increased over the years? I’ve been in Singapore nine years. I don’t think it’s changed a great deal. You know, the the desire for people to move abroad and find love, I think has probably been slowed down a little bit by COVID. And naturally, a lot of that isn’t going to return. I’m sure it will as soon as people arrival.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah. So you mentioned as well that you’ve you, you’ve been in Singapore for nine years for almost a decade now. How were you able to manage to like deal with differences in culture, local mindset and government regulations?

Jarrad Brown
Look good questions. So when, when Linda and I sort of sat down and thought about where, where we might, might like to live, where we might like to work. And we sort of settled on a few key jurisdictions as options from a business viewpoint. And they were New York, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore, to be completely transparent. Yeah. New York and Switzerland, we felt were arguably perhaps not as growth oriented, as Hong Kong and Singapore. And then so then naturally, when we looked at Asia, and to be totally honest, I don’t speak Cantonese or Mandarin, and has no real desire or intellectual capability to learn. So Singapore was a very easy option English is the spoken language of Singapore. Yeah, it is very easy to function live, thrive survive in Singapore. Naturally, there are cultural differences. That being said, I mean, a lot of people refer to Singapore as Asia, for beginners. It’s a very well run country that works extremely well. It’s very efficient. And if you’re in Singapore, particularly as an expat for business, or career progression, I think Singapore, arguably, in my opinion, at least, is probably the best place on earth you could possibly be. If you’re looking for work life balance, look elsewhere. For is not the destination for you. It’s a good place, you can try obviously, non non highly times you can travel elsewhere, it’s the world’s best airport, you know, the world is at your doorstep, you can get a cheap flight to most parts of the world. But it is very much a career oriented, a progress oriented society where people genuinely want to get ahead. The government is extremely supportive for innovation for you know, at the moment, that’s a huge focus on FinTech cybersecurity, the entire space. And if you’re looking to launch a business or progress in your career, I would say Singapore is a no brainer to be looking at. And to be honest, you know, sort of somewhat selfishly, but not really, I think more Australians should be looking at Singapore as a place to be, even if it’s only for two or three years. And even if it’s only to save the property deposit. Wow, it’s just a phenomenal place to, to really get ahead.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah, you sold me on that. But yes, I

Jarrad Brown
did my billion to the Singapore tourism agency.

Gwen Lazarito
That’s wonderful. And yes, I’ve been meaning to go to Singapore, Singapore for quite some time now. Oh, yes. I actually, me and my friends actually booked a ticket. That would have gone out May of 2020. COVID happened in March. So yes, interesting. Yeah. So but, again, so we talked about this before we started the podcast that hopefully soon, everything is going to become new, normal, normal. So fingers crossed. But you have been mentioning your wife, Linda, and she is your business partner. So two, I want to touch on that because I find it interesting for couples to work in the same business. How, like, at the very beginning of your careers, did you guys decide that you’ll be working together? Or did that just come like organically over time?

Jarrad Brown
Look, it’s a little bit of both, but probably more of the latter, to be honest. So Linda and I have run a number of charities and not for profit projects over the years largely as part of various rotary clubs across Australia and Singapore. So naturally, we’ve always worked very closely to, you know, to pull those off And arguably in some ways closer than you would accompany, you know, when it comes to not for profit. But from a business sense, Linda has very much run her own practice in terms of social media marketing, LinkedIn advertising, marketing, consulting, career coaching, business coaching, and being been very successful in that area. And then we, we kind of reached a point where we were working somewhat closely together, traveling the world working with different clients, or like, you know, different Australian Expat clients all over the world and thought, now, now, it’s probably the time to, you know, to sort of bring those businesses together. So naturally, Linda sort of brings her expertise around the marketing coaching, consulting side to to our businesses, and to work with Australians all over the world. And naturally, obviously, that allows us to sort of travel more flexibly and have a bit more flexibility about where we’re based. But again, I guess, because we’ve sort of had that experience at the not for profit level, which personally, having experienced both our value is perhaps more stressful at times anyway. But I guess, because we’ve had that experience that made the corporate side that much easier. And I think, you know, we have our, for the division of labor, and we have our set responsibilities. We have our, you know, sort of workflow management, you will each sort of try and stay in your lane, I guess. Naturally, every now and then, yeah, there needs to be a discussion, a heated discussion, if that takes place, but for the most part, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah, wonderful. So Linda seems like a very wonderful, awesome woman. So I actually asked, and this is a bit selfish of me, because my husband is a financial advisor. And I’m into, like, I’m a financial advocate. But I’m mainly into marketing as well. So I one, I’ve always wanted to know how it’s like for other business folks to to work as husband and wife in the same business. So yeah. But I’m glad to know that it looks like it’s working for you guys, and especially nine years on to the business and a very successful business at that. So it’s so cool. Yeah,

Jarrad Brown
look, I would only encourage you to explore. Yeah, look, I mean, having done it, I would not have it any other way. Yeah. Having had conversations with many, many clients over the years who’ve done various things with their partners. It’s not something for everyone. Yeah. There needs to be a bit of self awareness around strengths, weaknesses. You know, what, what sort of sets each other off? And is this a sensible path to go down? But I think if you can do it, well, it can be tremendously fun, rewarding. And, you know, obviously, hopefully, financially successful.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. It’s not for everyone. But if it works well for you, then it’s actually one of the best things. So that’s really great advice, Jared. Now, since we’re conscious about time, I just have one more question to to ask you. And that is, what is your advice for financial planners who, and not just like Australian financial planners, but also an especially here in Southeast Asia who would like to move to another country and serve fellow expats?

Jarrad Brown
Okay, so, sorry, just to clarify, are we talking about us Australian financial planners in Australia or financial planners in Asia or both?

Gwen Lazarito
Um, both. So, like a general advice?

Jarrad Brown
Okay. That’s a very broad question. But that’s okay. We can tackle that one. Okay. Look, I think, first and foremost, I mean, I’ll try and give I guess, some sort of overarching advice. And then perhaps some specific as well, either or, and try and make this as helpful as possible. I think first and foremost, you really need to decide, as with any any business, financial planning, cafe, restaurant, whatever you’re trying to do, decide who you want to work with. Very early on in our business, we decided we only wanted to work with Australian expats. Now as I said earlier, we have a very small handful of other nationality clients, who we absolutely love and will continue working with But 99% of our clients are Australian expats. And we made that choice because I selfishly, we wanted to spend a little bit more time back in Australia visiting our clients. But the more importantly, we just loved working with other Australians. We could relate, you know, we understand super insurance, all the moving pieces when it came to that Australian piece. Yeah. So that I would say is probably the starting point to work out. Do you want to work with Australians? Do you want to work with businesses? Do you want to work with Singaporeans, Malay Indonesians, whatever it might be, and that that’s got to kind of be your guiding light as to? How do you structure your business? If it’s just I want to be a financial planner to everyone, I think that’s gonna be problematic, because you’re naturally the sort of the jack of all trades and master of none, sort of approach to business. So I think starting with that is very sensible. If you if you want to go down even further to drill into right, or what niche am I going to suit? Am I going to work with a specific sector? Naturally, you can, then I think, once you’ve sort of cemented that it’s then working out well. And obviously, just to add, obviously, come and talk to myself first. And hopefully, we can work together just to get our own little plug in there before we go any further. But then then also deciding more, how are you going to split your time? If you’re going to work? For example, with Indonesian clients? How much time will you spend in Australia? How much time we spend in Indonesia? How are you covered from a licensing perspective, which is obviously incredibly important. Can you market and solicit business in Indonesia? Yeah, do you need to work with a partner in Indonesia now, just using Indonesia as a hypothetical example, obviously, here, but you really need to do your homework here to check out whether you can solicit business, whether you need to work for a third party, should you partner, should it be a joint venture, should you step up, set up a separate entity, as a jointly owned entity to sort of generate and derive that business? And that’s all going to be pretty critically important to work out, you know, what’s going to be next going forward? And once you’ve gotten that part done, then I would say it’s down to the marketing, you know, how are you going to actually solicit business? In that particular country? Is that video, you know, or you got on tick tock is a webinars seminars? How are you actually going to get people to listen to you? And you know, to really hear what you’ve got to say, yeah, yeah, these things can take time. I think social media has accelerated a lot of it. Yeah. And they, you know, made a lot of it and much faster, much easier to really reach people. But that said, I really think you need to get, you know, the messaging correct to the right, people work out the niche before anything else can really happen. And obviously, also, as I mentioned, really make sure you’re covered from a compliance from a licensing perspective, in terms of the business that you’re actually soliciting and reaching out to, ah, that’s

Gwen Lazarito
wonderful. And I think that’s echoing to the the same advice that Clayton Daniel provided as well, when I asked him for any advice for any financial advisor starting out in the industry, right. And you’re right, it’s it’s to, it’s very difficult to become a jack of all trades, and then a master of none. It’s better to, and I love the way you phrase it to decide who you want to work with in the first place. Because that way, it’s easier for you to know what you need to know and know who you need to pass on the knowledge and who you’re going to market it to. So wonderful. Thanks for coming to the show, Jared. And, yes, I’ve learned so much. And I hope the listeners have learned so much with regards to how being a financial advisor for expats work and in you know, being able to work in a country that’s awesome while still being able to go back to to Australia to relax and retire. So that’s so awesome. And before we end, where can people find you if they want to know more about you if they want to reach out to you? Where can they go?

Jarrad Brown
Perfect. Well, firstly, thank you so much for the opportunity, really appreciate it. And I really do genuinely hope that there’s been some helpful content there and hopefully a few helpful insights there as well. As far as reaching out to me. There’s YouTube. I think it’s Jared brown Australian finance, something along those lines. There is also my LinkedIn Usually the easiest reach out, there’s Facebook, there’s Instagram, as well, any one of them but LinkedIn, usually the best, best place to touch base.

Gwen Lazarito
Okay, cool. So I’ll put all of your social information in the show notes, particularly your LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook and Instagram. So I’ll be happy to connect with you there as well. So again, thank you so much for coming into the show. Jarrad, it was a pleasure having a chat with you have a good one in Sunny is it sunny in personnel in sunny Perth.

Jarrad Brown
is 39 degrees today and maybe dropping to about 37 At the moment, so yes, it’s nice.

Gwen Lazarito
Have a good one.

Jarrad Brown
Thank you so much, Gwen. Really appreciate it.

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