A helping hand

It was the support of the advice community that helped guide Ben Nash when setting up the planning arm of Successful Ways Financial Planning

In 2010 during a “very stressful” final year of university, Ben Nash was actively hunting for a job that he could sink his teeth into. He applied for jobs across the financial services industry and was soon accepted in a position with non-aligned financial planning practice Dixon Advisory.

Working casually with the practice while still studying full time, Mr Nash was quickly exposed to many areas of the business and began learning the ins and outs of financial advice.During this period he came to realise that a career in advice was what he wanted to pursue.

“I just really love the work, dealing with people and helping people through giving advice,” Mr Nash says. “I got really good exposure [working for Dixon Advisory]. I was the only adviser that worked with the managing director Alan Dixon and the guy who started the business, Darryl Dixon.”

Learning on the job
Although Mr Nash spent only a short time there, in 2012 he was approached with an opportunity to build the financial planning business of diversified financial services company Successful Ways.

“I liked the idea that I could build it the way I wanted to. There was no one saying what we should be doing, this is the business, what is going to work [and] what procedures we are going to use.”

It was at this point that he turned to members of the advice community for help.

“There is no way I could have done it myself,” he explains. “I just learned from other advisers [and] talked to them. It’s amazing how open everyone was – I really couldn’t believe it.”

One such adviser who guided Mr Nash was Jeff Thurecht, director of AFA New South Wales and of Professional Investment Services-licensed firm Evalesco. Put in touch through a business development manager of Mr Thurecht’s former licensee, Professional Investment Services, Mr Nash says he was “amazed by how open he was”.

“I went and caught up with him and his head para-planner, who basically runs a lot of the back-end advice pieces, and I was asking what they were doing in investments – that was one of the first things that I wanted to lock down,” he says.

“They have an investment committee meeting that they do, and [they] brought me the notes from their meetings, all the different fund managers they use, and how they use them – he basically just gave it to me. 

“‘Can I keep this?’ I said. He said, yes. I thought, Oh my God – this guy is giving away all of his secrets!”
Mr Nash soon discovered that this wasn’t just a one-off and the other members of the advice community would also be just as supportive.

“[With] every person I have ever asked [for advice], never has anyone said, ‘I don’t want to share that with you’,” Mr Nash says.

The Association of Financial Advisers’ mentoring program also played a huge role in Mr Nash’s professional development and assisted him in taking his services to new levels.

Absolute Wealth Advisors co-founder and director Dean Holmes was partnered with Mr Nash, for which he says he was also very grateful.

“Every month for a year, we caught up and he was super professional in the way he did it. He got me to put up all my goals, what were the areas I wanted to focus on, prioritise them and we worked through the list,” Mr Nash says. “He sort of gave up heaps of time for me and to help me work on all these different areas of our business.

“That [program] has really helped us develop the service that we have now and as a result we have really good relationships with our clients. That is one of the most important things for me as an adviser,” he says.

Mr Nash adds that through the AFA mentoring program, and through his experiences with the advice community which helped him build the business, he was able to see the value in a strong community of advisers and to meet others who were facing the same challenges as he did.

“We have built this business from nothing to where it is at now [and] we are pretty happy with it,” he says. “That has all happened from support from other people.”

Paying it forward
In fact, it was learning from members of the advice industry and from his experiences with the tight-knit community that led Mr Nash to join others in creating a support group for like-minded advisers.

Joining advisers Clayton Daniel of Hillross Silverstone, Adrian Patty of AP Financial Solutions, and Ray Jaramis of Treysta Wealth Management, Mr Nash co-created the XY Adviser group.

Mr Nash explains that the idea behind the group was to connect all like-minded members of the advice community so they could share ideas and support each other, just as members of the community had supported him.

“The idea behind it [is to] connect these people so we can learn from each other – and there are people out there doing great things, so let’s put the light on that and hopefully other people can learn from that,” he says.

“We have been amazed with the success so far in terms of getting people involved and getting them along to the events in the first instance.”

Mr Nash says that after holding a number of events, the XY Adviser group now nurtures the ambition to host a half-day or even full-day event towards the end of the year to get the advice community more engaged with each other.

“We love the events because they get the conversations started,” Mr Nash says. “It’s not about [saying] the person presenting is the way you should be doing [things], but it’s about this is what is really working for people.

“But for XY Adviser, it is not just about the events; we want to be ideally talking to government and going through the process of making advice better.

So improving advisers is one aspect, but [also] what else can we be doing to improve the [industry].” 

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