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‘How I doubled my business in a year’: AFA award winner

Eleanor Dartnall, the AFA's 2014 Adviser of the Year, said she doubled the size of her business in one year after incorporating client education into her service.

Speaking at the AFA roadshow in Sydney this week, the financial adviser of Lonsdale-aligned Dartnall Advisers said she achieved growth by adding extra steps in her advice process to teach clients the basics of investing.

"One of the things that came to me was that I can't take all the responsibility on my shoulders. This has to be a joint responsibility. It's their money, they earned it, they brought it to me so they are responsible too," she said.

"But I can't ask them to be responsible if I don't give them the tools to do it."

Ms Dartnall said she has integrated an extra meeting with new clients devoted entirely to their education. Later, she helps them understand their tolerance to risk and allows them to choose an investment portfolio and time frame, she said.

"Our first meeting, which is our engagement process, we find out what it is [the clients] need and want. The next meeting is about finding out what their investment knowledge is and the beginning of our journey together," Ms Dartnall said.

However, there are times when a client would rather skip the schooling, or prefer to do it online, she said.


"I do get some people who come in and they say, 'This is what I'm coming to you for; I trust you to do this'. And I say 'You can't trust me. I didn't earn this money, you did'," Ms Dartnall said.

"We thought about [using] animations and voiceover on PowerPoint slides. But there's something wrong with doing that. I'm not there in front of them ... they can't ask questions."

Since implementing the education aspect into her service, Ms Dartnall said client referrals have rose to 23 per cent in 2014, up from two per cent when she first began her practice.

"Now it is a full process in the office. We do it the same for everybody and they go and tell people," she said. 

"So it does work."