Finding a passion for advice

Sacha Loutkovsky tells ifa how, shortly after joining the family business, she discovered a passion for providing risk advice

For Sacha Loutkovsky, growing up around the family risk advice practice meant life insurance was a frequent topic of "dinner time conversation".

However, when those discussions turned to Ms Loutkovsky one day joining the family business – Loufin Tailored Insurance Solutions – that is when, she says, the conversation would stop.

"I must admit, I never wanted to be an adviser," she says. "I remember strictly telling my father when I was about 16, 'No, it is not my calling'."

Little did Ms Loutkovsky know that years later, she would end up working alongside her father, Igor Loutkovsky, in a profession she had never – as a teenager and then an undergraduate – wanted to join.

In fact, it would be right after her time at university that her father would see his window of opportunity to bring her into the Parramatta, NSW-based business.

"[I originally] came out of uni and I wanted to join my passions of outdoor education and Japanese together, [but] it just didn't happen," she recalls.

"So, [that's when] my father took the opportunity to welcome me to the family business."

Ms Loutkovsky started out in the business by doing administrative and reception work, but then discovered how much she enjoyed working with clients.

It was because of the interactions she had with clients that she decided to become qualified and so she started working as a risk specialist adviser.

"I obviously love what I do now, it just took a while to uncover that passion," she says.

While she started out as an adviser managing to pick up the skills needed for risk quite "naturally", she concedes that working in a small risk business was not easy.

"I guess one of the hurdles of working in a family business – and small business to boot – is that you are just thrown into the deep end," she says. "I think when you are lucky enough [to] go through a corporate channel with a clearly defined process, it can be a little bit of a smoother transition."

Beginning a new chapter
It has now been nine years since Ms Loutkovsky joined the family business and just as she has grown as an adviser, so too has the business.

In fact, towards the end of 2015, Ms Loutkovsky's father saw an opportunity to evolve the business from a purely risk advice practice to now offering a wider range of services through a merger with an accounting practice to become Orion Financial Group.

"We just felt it was time to give our clients more," she says.

"The amount of clients that would call us and ask, can you help with our superannuation? can you help with self-managed superannuation? – we just really saw that as a really good opportunity."

"So, we sold part of our business to an accounting firm and [they] brought with them accountants and mortgage brokers. We have [also] partnered with an estate planning firm which has been a wildly successful business model and we have brought in-house a financial planner," Ms Loutkvosky says.

With the Life Insurance Framework also set to cause disruption across the risk industry, Ms Loutkovsky says they see the reforms as more of a business opportunity than a challenge.

"My feeling is in the next 12 to 18 months that a lot of advisers will be leaving the industry because of pressure like that and that actually presents a great opportunity for us," she says.

Despite more advice services now being made available to the firm's clients, Ms Loutkovsky highlights that both she and her father won't be looking to offer other advice services themselves; rather, they will be sticking to what they know best.

"We have designed our business so that the client experience is one of individual specialisation," she says.

"So, if a client comes through the business model, they will deal with my father or with me on the risk side and our financial planner on the investments and superannuation side, then the estate planner.

"In terms of taking on other specialities, honestly, risk has changed so much since I started – from quite simple to quite complex products – that I don't think I have enough brain space to also give the best advice in investments and superannuation," she laughs.

Ms Loutkovsky adds that the merger with the accounting practice has allowed them to tap into a whole new client base.

"It is actually one of our biggest opportunities now," she says. "I'd say we are lucky that we [don't have] to do the hard yards to get new acquisitions at the moment.

"I think it is a reasonably good position to be in, but it doesn't change the level of work required."

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