AT THE COALFACE
The Empire Financial Group boss tells Ben Harvey the GFC taught him some important lessons in business
Q. why did you enter financial services?
A. I think this profession allows for a convergence of two of my strongest traits — I genuinely enjoy meeting and getting to know people and I have a strong acumen for figures and finances. In this line of work both are incredibly important. I used to spend my university holidays in my father’s accounting practice coding bank statements and lodging tax returns, all the while watching the financial services person in the practice getting to know and building relationships with clients, and that appealed to my personality.
Q. What is your favourite part of the job?
A. The satisfaction I receive, when after meeting with a client multiple times, we can present our final findings and let them know that they are going to be financially OK. Many people have the right tools, but have extreme anxiety about how to pull it all together to make it work — witnessing the relief they feel when we show them how really makes my day.
Q. What is your investment approach?
A. In our practice we unashamedly put financial strategy first, and focus on the investment selection second. Hived through the global financial crisis relatively early on in my career and that experience taught me that as an adviser putting your entire value proposition on investment performance can be flawed. The right insurance and estate planning is a vital foundation to that financial strategy. Only once that is in order will we work with the client to choose the right mix of investments. We keep it simple and transparent. Managed funds or direct share ownership in easy to understand holding structures. We are also different because we feel really comfortable working with property investors.
Q. Name one regulation you would change.
A. Regulation, particularly when people’s money is in question, is necessary and important and no professional practitioner should resist it. However, constant changes don’t give clients the certainty they crave, neither in the rules within which they can manage their financial affairs, nor in the delivery of the service that they can expect their professional advisers to provide them.
Raymond Pecotic is managing director of Empire Financial Group