Adviser case study | Starting up your advice firm

Case Study

Interview with Pat Casey, Managing Director and financial planner at Assure Wealth

Can you tell us a bit about your background, Pat?

Prior to setting up my own advice business, I was National Manager, Dealerships, for Suncorp Life, responsible for managing Suncorp's two self-employed AFS licensees and five practice development teams.

When did you decide to set up your own financial advice business?

After Suncorp Life announced it was exiting the advice business, I chose to start up my own financial planning business, Assure Wealth, as an authorised representative under the banner of Centrepoint Alliance Financial Advice.

What attracted you to Centrepoint?

The first thing I asked myself when setting up my business was what would my clients want? The clients I am looking to attract are those in their 30s, 40s and 50s looking to improve their financial position with the goal of achieving peace-of-mind. I know they value independence of ownership from the big banks.

In choosing a licensee with whom to partner, what were you looking for?

In choosing a licensee, the deciding factors for me were, first and foremost, non-institutionally owned, closely followed by scale, risk management and compliance capabilities and technology.

Having worked in the industry for the past 13 years, I knew that whomever I partnered with needed to have the size and scale to be able to provide my business and my clients with resources and protection, in terms of risk management and compliance.

What is your view on the financial advice industry and where it is heading?

Larger non-institutionally owned groups with scale have a very strong future ahead of them. We have seen a lot of non-institutional licensee groups flourish in recent times because they have established a unique point of difference and value proposition. They are niche, and they are consistently seeking to innovate and grow.

It is inevitable that good professional practices will question the perceptions associated with being part of a bank-owned licensee and the value of being part of it.

I understand you bought a client book. What is your value proposition going forward?

My value proposition is focussed on providing quality advice and consistency of service. These go hand-in-hand with driving practice efficiencies, so it was vital that I had the right technology and compliance support, and the right attitude from my licensee.

Setting up the business from scratch meant I could design it the way I wanted, but with the support I needed in terms of systems, client solutions and business expertise.

How important is technology to your business?

I rely heavily on technology in my business to create efficiencies. This was an important part of my due diligence on which licensee group was the best fit for my financial planning business.

Centrepoint has invested a lot of time and money in Compass, their version of XPLAN, and it has allowed me to run my business efficiently, while at the same time, reducing the cost of delivering advice to clients.

Why did you decide to become authorised instead of becoming self-licensed?

I decided not to go down the self-licensing path because as a brand new business, I needed the support of a larger group, in terms of resources, expertise and technology.

However, if in five years time I decide I want to become self-licensed I can. The beauty of belonging to Centrepoint is that through its Licensee Solutions division, I can transition my business to a self-licensed model without losing access to the services and peer support I find so valuable.

Thanks so much for your time Pat. We're excited to watch your growth and be a part of the evolution of Assure Wealth.

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