Winner of the ifa Excellence Award and the Best Client Servicing Individual award for 2016, Experience Wealth’s Adele Martin spoke to ifa about her journey to the top of the independent advice sector.
Ms Martin has been working in financial advice since she was 19 and is now the managing director of her firm, Experience Wealth. However, she pointed out, she almost never became a financial adviser.
Ms Martin intended to major in accounting for her Bachelor of Commerce degree at Newcastle University, but eventually came to the realisation that it wasn’t for her.
“I remember putting my hand up after the first tutorial and saying, ‘Is the rest of accounting like this?’, and they said ‘yes’,” she recalls.
A turning point came when she had completed her degree and was working part-time as a personal assistant to a financial adviser: she began listening to his conversations through the partition in her office.
“That’s when I had a ‘lightbulb moment’, because I realised that financial planning was more about people than money and that the two are side by side,” Ms Martin said.
Throughout her 20s, she progressed further in a financial planning career, eventually creating a retirement planning practice.
However, she was frustrated by her inability to change retirees’ financial outcomes.
“I loved my retirees and they were beautiful, but what I found was that I couldn’t change their outcome,” she said.
“They would come to me with an amount of money, and I couldn’t change it, and they would all say, ‘I wish I saw you years ago!’.
“So, three years ago, I made the decision to exit that practice. I wanted to work with people under 45 so I still had time to make those small changes that would have that big difference long term.”
Ms Martin is now heavily focused on helping Gen X and Gen Y clients – people who have still got time to make significant changes to their financial situation.
A major part of her firm’s client offering is helping them to balance having fun today while keeping the future in mind.
“We’re not about not having fun,” Ms Martin said. “We’re just about getting that balance right between fun today and saving for tomorrow.”
She cites one of the key factors behind her firm’s success as the way Experience Wealth treats its clients like family.
“So with our clients, we’re friends with them on Facebook, we’re friends with them on Snapchat and we really just have a great rapport with them,” she said.
“I know when they’ve just had a baby or if they’re engaged. It lets us be a part of their lives.”
Ms Martin is also passionate about increasing female representation within the financial advice industry, and hopes winning this accolade will encourage more women to become financial advisers.
“I think [women] only make up 20 per cent of of financial advisers, so it would be great to see more women there,” she said.
“The population is around 50-50, so we should have that representation of financial advisers.
“I hope that by winning this award that maybe there’s someone out there that’s thinking about it as a career.”
As for her firm’s future, Ms Martin wants to keep expanding its client offering and keep on helping as many people as possible.
“We’re starting the Ultimate Money Masterclass, so we’re doing a tour around Australia where we’re teaching people about how to manage their money,” she said.
“On top of that, we’re revving up our financial planning coaching business – so we’re helping other advisers on how to work with Gen X and Y.”
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