As the year draws to a close the festive season kicks into gear – and 2012, as expected, has not been short on Christmas drinks, functions and events.
A few shaky mornings after the night before, have proven to be a productive time for networking and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to several functions over the past weeks that have been both insightful and entertaining.
A particularly memorable event was Asset Wars, which put five industry executives head-to-head to argue their case for why a particular asset class represents the best opportunity for investors.
The format of this event was new to me and so I had little idea of what to expect from the evening – and I was pleasantly surprised by what was on offer.
Each contender delivered a well-positioned, articulate pitch mixed with plenty of humour, plus a small amount of innuendo and light-hearted jesting that drew many laughs from the room, including plenty from myself.
The key asset classes were all represented: Tim Samway from Hyperion championed Australian equities; Jason Huljich from Centuria supported direct property; Susan Buckley of QIC backed fixed interest; PGI’s Grant Forster focused on global equities; and Greg McAweeney from RaboDirect sang the praises of cash.
It was an even field, both in terms of each asset class and the gusto with which the arguments were delivered; however, the crowd agreed that Grant Forster from PGI and his case for global equities carried the day.
Grant championed the technology and health care sectors as two areas that continue to shine globally. He also argued there is a need for true portfolio diversification, not only to realise the globalised economy but also to hedge against potential threats to our local market.
The debate on the night is one that runs throughout the planning industry – and one that is ever present. Striking the right balance for a client’s investment portfolio remains front and centre to all advisers, whether aligned or non-aligned.
Customer-focused advisers with the right tools and capabilities to secure and retain client businesses are those leading the field right now – they’re generating the most new, repeat and referred business and are positioning their operations for growth as FOFA comes into play next year.
This issue of ifa includes our much-anticipated dealer group ranking. Compiling this benchmark report has been an interesting exercise and highlights the very important link between adviser effectiveness and the group with which they are associated.
While there are benefits associated with size and scale – AMP Financial Planning, for example, has 1,669 advisers, an academy for driving adviser education and an Australia-wide support network – smaller, more boutique groups remain key players in this ranking, highlighting the diversity of adviser businesses in Australia.
With 2012 all but wrapped up, the focus for advisers now falls firmly on readying for FOFA. The new legislative environment will benefit both the client and the adviser in the long run; however, the transition could be a bumpy one for those who are not prepared.
As 2013 approaches, I’d like to wish you all the best for the festive season.
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