Licensees from the Centrepoint community sweep the floor!


Our very own Darren Johns, from Align Financial, and Peita Diamantidis, from Caboodle Financial Services, have wowed the crowd at this year’s AFA National Adviser Conference – with Darren being named the 2016 AFA Adviser of the Year, and Peita claiming the Female Excellence in Advice Award. We caught up with both Peita and Darren after their wins to chat about good advice, challenges facing the industry today, and more.   



Congratulations on your win Peita! What do you believe got you over the line?
To be honest, the finalists have all been doing such fantastic work in their community and within the industry I felt like any one of us would have been a deserving winner.

What is the biggest challenge facing Financial Advisers today?
We face a battle for relevance that can't be underestimated. Today's consumer has had a new benchmark set for them in terms of engagement and communication by businesses such as Amazon and Apple – who take the customer on a journey of discovery and community building that the financial services sector is simply not ready to deliver currently. Our main competitors are no longer advisers, but instead, the standards set by the disruptors in other markets.

What advice would you give other women working in the finance industry?
The single thing that has propelled my progress in the last few years is tapping in to my unique story, storytelling style, and using it to engage with both your industry and the public.

Start a blog, even if it isn't about money at all, and find your own voice. Your perspective and take on things as a woman will naturally shine through in this, and so will your expertise. Your values, and hopefully your sense of humour! These are all characteristics that clients engage with. We need to give over more of ourselves to the public if we want them to connect with us, and authentic storytelling is a wonderful way to do this.

How does Centrepoint Alliance assist you in your day-to-day business?
Centrepoint has become an invaluable resource in our development as a newly self-licensed business. The team are always on hand to answer the numerous questions we have, and to break through any blockages or challenges we encounter. In the short time we have been with the group – Centrepoint has also taken the time to understand the unique, passive client offer we have for advice practices; and connect us with those that they feel this would be relevant to. 

What are your business goals for 2017?
We are very focused on getting further traction off of our financial literacy efforts via our blog, and build the community of people taking small steps towards getting on top of their ‘money stuff’.

Through this work, I also hope to provide young women with the confidence to take action with their money and (for some of them) inspire them to consider helping others by becoming Financial Advisers themselves. For us at Caboodle Financial Services, we expect to continue to grow the number of passive client partnerships we have with other practices, and also provide tools and resources practices can use to replicate some of the techniques we use to engage with the public and systematise our business.



Congratulations on your win Darren! What do you believe got you over the line? 
The other finalists are such great guys and deliver really high-quality advice, so I really don’t know for sure. Perhaps my recent experience of living in a Canadian Ski Resort for six months with my family while still running my business helped give me the edge!

What is the biggest challenge facing Financial Advisers today?
For me personally, it is getting a steady stream of qualified prospects through our front door. For the Adviser community more broadly, I think we have to pull together to earn the trust of the wider community as a profession, not just as individuals.

What was the best career advice you ever heard?
That there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ year in business. Opportunities arise, plans don’t work out, people come, and they go. By all means plan the year, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a ‘normal’ year – you’ll be very disappointed!

How does Centrepoint Alliance assist you in your day-to-day business?
As a tiny advice firm, they provide an ‘industrial strength’ back-of-house support system in key areas we choose to outsource such as technical advice and AFSL compliance (for example).  They are our ‘on call’ specialists when we need them. And that’s invaluable.

Images: All images kindly supplied by TAL.