AFA Adviser of the Year 2016: Peita Diamantidis

4 min read

Peita Diamantidis is the current AFA Adviser of the Year (2016). Her business Kaboodle is a very different model to most financial planning practices as she specialises in the C & D clients most advisers want off their books.

In addition, Peita has a strong social media presence with a website, twitter, FB and LinkedIn following. She has written books on planning - Finance Action Hero I & II - and is also a champion of millennial clients which she has undertaken her own research on. She is an engaging public speaker a great advocate for advice and a champion of women in financial planning. 

How did you become a financial planner?

I did a joint Actuarial Studies and Finance Degree and went straight into a role at an investment bank. It was only after working there for some time I realised that it felt too distant from humanity and a bit soul destroying so I decided to search for something else.

I knew about advice because my Dad knew the chairman of a dealer group and he suggested I meet him. I didn’t know much about it until then. Financial advice sounded like a good transformation in skills to smaller dollars for individuals rather than corporations.

I started in a technical advice role, like paraplanning, and did a graduate diploma in Financial Planning.

Technically bubbles happen because people forget cash is king. Actuarial studies has given me a fundamental understanding. I invest in index only. Get the asset allocation right and that’s the game. The biggest tip is to put more money away. If someone doesn’t have enough money technique won’t help. 5% of no money is no money.

Why did you choose to go where other advisers don’t dare go?

My practice was two businesses merging and I got involved in practice management and all the consultants were telling advisers to segment clients into A & B only and get rid of C & D. We started to say if that was our practice with 1000 and others that no one else wanted we’d be able to service clients at scale and that’s how our business Kaboodle started 10 years ago.

C&D clients with passive portfolios from other advisers is our clientele. Our job is to wake them up and nurture these clients and that’s the evolution of us.

We’ve tried consolidating super campaigns. People are truly passive and representative of the majority of the public who want other ways to connect, deeper and further back and making any action simple. The business spends 99% of its time nurturing these clients. Because it’s such a new space - these clients are lost at sea. What we do now is try and bring them back into sight.

Making money in this business is not easy and so we’ve tried communicating with mass audiences in any way we can - through social media, writing books and speaking to groups of people.

What do you love about being an adviser?

What I love the most is the storytelling to convey a message and concept and hearing someone’s story. There are different ways people have approached life.

We need to have graphic designers linked to us because the public takes for granted that we have the technical skills they need but we need to be able to translate the ability into something they want - even from the product point of view.

What would you recommend to people getting into advice?

Write a blog on any topic. Find a voice and learn to find analogies between that and communicating with clients.

They don’t need to love what you love but if you have a way of stating thats what they connect with. 

For example, I tell them that TTR is just legal money laundering. That’s how I get them to understand it. If you say something direct it has a greater chance or resonating with the clients.

What I don’t love about advice?

I don’t love the paper work and the admin work. What I love about advice is taking the 1:1 element and expanding it to empower 200 people in a room. That’s what excited me more. I believe we can transform lives through a simple action.

Did you have mentors to help you in the industry?

I have a number of mentors. I get inspired by the energy and enthusiasm and intellects of Dr Jason Fox. Rather than monitors I try to connect mentally with people inside and outside the industry and be challenged on what I think is normal. Essentially people outside the industry represent our customers.

What did winning the AFA Adviser of the Year award mean to you?

When I was nominated I debated whether I’d apply because I’m not an awards person. I decided to honour the person who nominated me and I’m really glad I did. Stepping through the process I was really blown away but the other finalist and different we all were - our businesses, our backgrounds, and focus. To actually win the award was initially a bit surprising but actually made me really think about what I could do and what imp at I could have in the next 12 months to help develop an infrastructure on what we could do beyond the next 12 months. For all we think that we’re a profession - we’re not a profession until we have internships and graduate programs.

We need to tell young graduates about what the opportunities are in financial planning. We also need to highlight that it’s all about being an entrepreneur. It’s one of the only roles in finance where you can do that.