Home-Grown Advice

Home-Grown Advice

Crowe Horwath Albury’s Kathy Evans tells ifa’s Rachael Micallef why community spirit is critical to advice

Most advisers believe their job is to “help out where they can” but for Kathy Evans, it’s a mantra she takes to heart personally as well as professionally.

In addition to her career role as a principal at Crowe Horwath Albury, leading the superannuation division, Ms Evans has been president of the local netball association, worked in the Albury AFL commission, assists a local church group with their books and has spent six years involved in school councils, including a role as council president.

“To be honest with you, I have a lot of fun with it,” Ms Evans says. “You meet some fantastic people.

“For us on a Saturday, when we pack our two kids up and go off to the football and netball, we leave at eight or nine o’clock in the morning and get home at nine o’clock at night. You go, ‘oh, what are you doing, you’re crazy’ – but it’s a fun day.

Her community spirit is a product of her upbringing – born and bred on a dairy farm in Albury, the township in which she still resides with her husband, two teenage children and lots of farm animals.

“I grew up [here] and my mum and dad are still on the original family farm, which is only about half an hour from where my husband and I and the kids live,” Ms Evans says.

“I come from the country, I love the country, I love getting out even in the big old city of Albury of an evening and getting back to our little patch.”

This focus on her local community – and simply people in general – is what has made her a good fit for the financial services industry, having started her career in 1989 as an accountant, Ms Evans says.

Her movement into financial services, where she works specifically on superannuation as a limited licence adviser, started in 1997-1998.

“I straddled the fence for a while, [doing] superannuation and businesses services but… the growth in superannuation meant I couldn’t possibly continue to do both and do them justice from all angles [and] maintain my sanity,” she says.

While the growth of the SMSF industry has happened relatively quickly, its popularity as a vehicle for superannuation hasn’t surprised her.

In fact, it was Ms Evans’ belief in SMSFs as a vehicle for clients who can tackle the responsibilities and obligations that go with them that made her change the path of her career, focusing purely on superannuation – specifically SMSFs – for the last five or so years.

And despite just falling into the sector, she has found her passion within it.

“I enjoy dealing with people and talking to them about strategies that can make their retirement better,” Ms Evans says.

She also believes the holistic structure of Crowe Horwath, comprising accounting, audit and financial planning work under one roof, is a unique factor that allows her to give the best advice possible to her clients.

“We often have meetings where there are two or three of us in the room with the clients and then they can get all of their questions answered – we all do it in one place and bounce off each other,” she says.

“It’s about having the right people in the room and working with that client on something that is going to help them and … they can walk out and say, ‘well, I now understand how all these things fit together, and where we’re heading as an overall goal’.”

Ms Evans is now focused on her latest role for Crowe Horwath which involves travelling across the country, ensuring that different branches of the SMSF and superannuation businesses are able to work as part of a larger team.

But despite her busy schedule, Ms Evans hasn’t lost her home-grown focus.

“[To me] family is of the upmost importance,” she says.

“Being able to mix that with a successful career that I enjoy, you sort of go, ‘OK… you can’t really ask for too much more’.”

RThis article first appeared in the April 2014 edition of ifa magazine

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