Practice profile: Fighting for advice
Entrust Solutions’ director and financial planner, William Burke, began his working life in the hospitality industry before being approached by his father who encouraged him to pursue a career in financial planning and to join the business.
With only six years of experience under his belt, Burke is relatively short on career highlights, but is quick to list “becoming a partner” as one of his proudest moments.
“I don’t have a whole heap of industry experience, but the main thing I have learnt is we just need to fight for our clients,” Burke told ifa.
“We’ve always been of the belief that we are not just advisers to our clients; we are really advocates for our clients,” he says.
“We, to a degree, need to stand up for them against the product manufacturers, insurance companies, fund managers – that sort of thing –
to really represent our clients. The industry has lost that a little bit.
“We need to fight for the best possible result for our clients and I am really proud that our business does that on a day-day basis,” he adds.
Burke explains that standing up for clients and ensuring they receive the best possible outcomes is what sets Entrust Solutions apart from other financial services businesses.
“We never relent on this goal,” he says. “We are also not afraid to tell our clients the facts of life.”
Although Burke is passionate about his role to help clients achieve financial independence, and is satisfied with the company’s definition of maximising a client’s position, he does note there are challenges in the industry that the business has to overcome.
“The industry seems to be in a constant state of flux with all these Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) changes, and obviously the FSC’s (Financial Services Council’s) churn policies and the AFA (Association of Financial Advisers) and the FPA (Financial Planning Association) having differing policy positions,” Burke told ifa.
“So it just never really seems like the industry is on the same footing – that everyone is on the same page,” he says. “It makes it difficult to run a business when you don’t know what is happening.”
While Burke and Entrust Solutions commend the work of the AFA throughout FOFA, he suggests the industry needs a united voice in order for it to improve.
Burke says he continues to adapt and transition the business to comply with FOFA. Two years ago, the company introduced an advisory board to assist with the transition.
He adds that the company plans to achieve this organic growth and improve relationships by constantly striving to enhance its business service offering.
“[Growth] is ongoing,” he explains. “It will probably be a never-ending process. We have had to transform our business to be suitable for the post-FOFA environment. Really, we have a lot of clients and we are focusing on those clients, trying to grow them and improve those relationships.
“We weren’t looking to really increase client numbers through referral sources or accountants; it is really just to improve the relationships we have with our existing clients and drive organic growth with those clients.
“There is no timeframe for doing that.
“It’s all about improving relationships and improving the service offering we provide to clients. FOFA has really been one of the triggers for that,” he says.
Burke’s five-year plan is an extension of this organic growth drive.
“We still have a lot of work to do on our business,” he says. “Within five years, I hope to have a much more streamlined business where our advisers can maximise client facing time in our working week.”
Company: Entrust Solutions Pty Ltd
Dealer group: Australian Financial Services
Location: Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
Total funds under advice: about $75m
Platforms: Oasis, Asgard, OneVue
Research: Lonsec, Risk Researcher
Number of advisers: 4
Number of clients: about 1,200
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