Has it really been 20 years? Impossible! However, I do remember our first week in 2003 but that is largely because it was the week that US President George Bush decided that it was time to take down Saddam Hussein. The US started the campaign with “Shock and Awe” bombing (designed to scare the daylights out of everyone) prior to a full invasion.
The commencement of hostilities was seen as a positive by financial markets which had been looking for a clear direction since the events of 9/11. The Australian ASX 200 share index had been languishing at below 3,000 points. Over the next four years the share index doubled in value as confidence returned to the investment markets.
So our journey began. Firstly, we needed a name for our fledgling financial planning firm. Many suggestions were made, most were either not available, or totally inappropriate! As we prepared to move into offices in ‘leafy’ Wakefield Street Kent Town. I applied to register the name ‘Wakefield Partners’ and I succeeded. The pieces of the puzzle quickly dropped into place.
We soon recognised that we needed to keep our back office small and multi skilled while preserving a flexible family friendly environment. To this end Lynette and Petra provided continuity and ongoing administration, always with a friendly smile. Before long Scott joined us and with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Centrelink regulations he guided us through the detail of pensions and nursing home fees.
From day one our aim has been to provide a quality service that is tailored to the needs of each individual client. Often this involved dealing with major life changes, providing support and ‘helping out’ where needed.
Scott also provided the extra feet on the ground to enable us to provide a regular service to the Limestone Coast and we have forged many long term friendships in that part of the state as well as across the border in Victoria. Clearly our approach appeals to people on the land, or in small business.
Then in 2019 Rick the boss, became Rick the client, as I retired and was delighted to pass the firm over to the long serving staff. Despite some health issues, I was keen to do some ‘retirement stuff’ like travelling, fishing and hobby farming. This sounded good on paper but with hindsight my timing was not ideal. A few weeks later we went into COVID 19 lockdown.
Now that I have been retired for a few years people have asked me if I have any regrets, comments or concerns about the direction that financial planning is taking. Of course I do!
What concerns me is that the digital age has provided Australian investors with easy access to sophisticated investments, as well as blatant scams from overseas. Sometimes there is some general advice provided, other times there is no advice. Unfortunately, many would-be investors have only a meagre understanding of investment matters and basic issues such as risk/return, income Vs assets, and shares Vs property, let alone cryptocurrencies or options and contracts for difference. I would like to see these concepts discussed in a mature way in the mainstream media and through education programs.
Read what each of the Wakefield Partners family had to say in this article.