The Financial Planning Association of Australia’s inaugural Blog Star, Kane Piper,faces a busy few months and a steep learning curve as he prepares to spearhead the association’s push to make the profession appeal to a younger demographic.

Piper was announced as the winner of the student Blog Star competition at the FPA’s conference on the Gold Coast. His role will be to produce daily blogs, weekly videos and to attend financial planning events to interview planners and present what he finds to an audience of students.

Piper says that before he entered the competition, financial planning was as much a mystery to him as it is to the audience the FPA hopes he will cultivate. Piper says he had not considered financial planning as a potential career.

“Before I started, there was no attraction,” Piper says.

“I guess not many people know what financial planners do on a day-to-day basis.

“They’re always talking about crunching numbers and that kind of thing.”

But Piper says once he started to look into it he realised “crunching numbers” was only part of the planner’s business, and the chance to interact with clients is a key attraction.

“It’s a lot more complex than people think,” Piper says.

“It’s a lot more exciting, I’d say.”

“I thought they would be cold, and just after the bucks, but they had real stories, [they] have a role in people’s lives. It’s not all about the moolahs.”

Piper will spend the coming months building up a bank of material, ready to go live in the new year, and learning about the profession he’s chosen to cover.

Marcus Field, a director of Evolution Media – which created the Blog Star campaign and will produce Piper’s content – says it was decided to select as the first Blog Star someone with no financial planning background, so he can take the audience with him as he discovers more about the experience.

“This is a journey that Kane will go on,” Field says. “The audience that we’re talking to don’t know about financial planning as well. A lot of the magic around the storytelling will be around Kane’s journey.”

Blog Star is an initiative of the FPA’s Future Financial Planners Council, set up to address the skills shortage the profession is expected to face over coming years.

The chief executive of the FPA, Jo-Anne Bloch, says there’s a need for net growth of 500 planners a year, and establishing financial planning as a viable and attractive career alternative for students is a critical part in the strategy.
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