Ben Nash started late in financial planning, learning most of his skills on the job. But late was in his late 20s and now, in his early 30s he may be a late bloomer but he’s come out on top, in the 2014 crop of the industry’s rising stars.
“I actually had a bit of time off after high school. I had some mates who had gone to uni and had dropped out and then my Nan gave me a book on finance which piqued my interest. I found it interesting and not super complicated. It talked about investments and different financial strategies, broad financial planning straggles and it was sometime after that I saw myself working in that area, particularly investment markets, that I decided I wanted to go back to study,” Ben says.
Ben enrolled in Sydney University where he majored in economics and finance and then he found a graduate role in a financial advice business in his last year of study. He started working two to three days a week and hit the ground running upon graduation.
A solid foundation in economics helps you to understand the global economy and what to look out for in the future. The process of learning teaches you how to analyse things and add value with that knowledge.
“I fell into the role but stayed. I thought I would get some experience in the finance industry and use it as a stepping stone, but I enjoyed the work and working with people and different clients and being able to help people financially. Every client is different, every day is different and the more you learn the more value you can add and there’s so much to learn and something more you can be doing. I found that aspect of the role quite engaging and I was also attracted to the flexibility. The flexibility lets you work your own hours, work from home and balance work with other priorities” he says.
What did you hope to achieve in financial planning?
I’m currently finalising an equity buy-in in the business I’m working at to build our business and to get more clients and help more people in our target market – Gen Y and Gen X clients. We’ve been doing a lot of work in developing our service offering to make it relevant and focused on the target market and it’s going really well. In terms of relationship with clients it’s exactly where I want to be forging long-term partnerships to help them get ahead.
Have you seen yourself make a difference to clients?
We’re working in the younger bracket of clients aged 25-35, and a lot have no idea about their finances, insurance, super, or structuring their affairs. The advice that we provide is a lot of strategy work in bank account structure - cash flow strategy and the next step in the accumulation journey. I help clients buy their first property, get a budget and make sure assets are structured to support that budget.
You see clients with their affairs structured in the wrong sort of way but with high credit card balances and paying ridiculous amounts of interest. When we do the cash flow modelling to buy their first home it gives the clients confidence to maintain lifestyle they have. I find that a simple sort of strategy but it’s quite rewarding when clients say I’ve found a property now and they can go ahead with confidence.
When clients have no idea about finance and you start to teach them and they learn more, it’s rewarding.
What did the recognition in the AFA Rising Star awards mean to you?
It’s just good to know you’re doing a good job. A lot of advisers put a lot of work into what they do in business and in the industry and it’s good to know that recognition and that you’re up there with the better guys in the industry and then it allows you to help other advisers.
It also opens doors with the networks, especially coming into the industry as the only adviser in my business.
It was fantastic to bond with the other finalists. I thought it would be competitive but it was a great group and we became quite close to the others. We heard about challenges they’re facing and we’ve all remained in contact. We’re quite spread out (geographically) but we’ll all catch up.
What’s next for you?
It’s about building our business further over time and getting targeted with our market and engaged. It’s to make the business the best it can be.
Do you see financial planning as a good job for females?
It’s a great career for everyone. I know a fair few female advisers who work flexibility as much as they want to work. It’s a fairly profitable business if you’re good at what you do. I know advisers with children and they can do the school pick up and drop offs and schedule work around their families, and the same for male advisers if they have kids or other commitments it’s great.
In a gender sense, I think that females have more empathy than men which is incredibly important in building relationships. It gives them a bit of a leg up.
And at the moment there is so much support for female advisers I think that for newer female advisers they’ll find that support quite helpful to becoming successful.
How have you helped a woman in financial planning this year?
We’ve just hired a young woman to train her in financial planning, so our office now has two men and 7 females. We’re getting outnumbered in the office and tried hiring a couple of guys but it didn’t work out. Females have a lot of skills to being successful in these roles. For the new woman hired – her previous job was as a nanny and we’ve given her the tools to develop her processes and will back her in her studies.
I’m also one of a group of adviser who started a group called XY advisers to provide support to newer advisers in the industry. We’re trying to get more women engaged in this group and pushing to get more female advisers generally.
Bachelor of Commerce (Finance & Economics) University of Sydney
Master of Business Law (Taxation) Sydney Law School - University of Sydney
Master of Applied Finance (Financial Planning) - Kaplan Higher Education
ASX Accredited Listed Product Adviser - Kaplan Professional
SMSF Specialist Certification - Kaplan Professional
Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (AFA) - currently completing
Certified Financial Planner (FPA) - currently completing