Cara Brett’s first position in the finance industry was, by her own admission, “the world’s most boring job”.
“I was essentially scanning documents for Macquarie Bank, but I did end up staying there for almost two years,” Brett says. “It was a big company and I knew that I wanted to do something in finance so I thought, ‘Well, let’s see where this takes me.’ ”
After she left, she took up a job in recruitment, worked in a nursery, and studied massage.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew it had to be something in business,” she says.
Brisbane-based Brett scored a job at global insurance company Aviva before it was taken over by MLC, which was pivotal in shaping her career aspirations.
Brett was initially employed on a contract; she found herself enjoying her days at Aviva and had a hunch that her future might lie in financial services.
“I remember saying to my boss that people seemed pretty happy there and I asked him to explain the insurance industry to me,” she says. “He went into detail about how it works and the importance of insurance and it was eye-opening.
“I come from a low socioeconomic background and the concept of life insurance was foreign to me. I realised there was this whole world I didn’t know about.”
Brett progressed through a number of roles at Aviva, from personal assistant to business development manager. Then, after close to five years, she took up a role with Morgans.
“My role meant spending half my time at Morgans as a corporate super adviser and the rest as a technical risk adviser, helping other advisers across Australia ensure that their [Statements of Advice] were compliant, and providing advice,” Brett recalls. “I realised I was a bit of a nerd with this stuff.”
She left Morgans in 2014 to start her own company, Bounce Financial, targeted largely at the Millennial and Gen Y markets.
In 2015 and 2016, she was a finalist in the IFA Excellence Awards for Best Client Servicing Individual, and in 2015 she was a finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards’ Professional Services category.
“I wanted to be my own brand,” she says. “Running your own business means that every time you gain a new client, that new client is yours to keep and you can approach the relationship how you would like.
“But I was a functioning business from day one, so I started out with no clients and I had to build them up one by one.”
Brett takes a hands-on, no-fuss approach to her younger clients.
“I’m a Millennial myself, so I am honest with clients about my portfolio, and the house I own, and while I don’t give them detailed specifics, I outline how I invest,” she says. “I think some young people think you need to choose between home ownership and enjoying yourself. But I am here to tell them they can have a great lifestyle, they just need to make sure they achieve some other life goals.
“People just need to make good decisions about where they put their money and the earlier you start, the better.”
Brett is ambitious and driven, but places a high priority on quality of life.
“I’m still at a growth phase of the business, so I am definitely working more than 40 hours a week,” she notes. “But long term, I would like to work four days a week, maybe live on the Sunshine Coast and do work I really enjoy, but also with time to travel overseas each year.”
Name of firm: Bounce Financial
Name of licensee (if not self-licensed): Synchron
Time in the industry (previous jobs?): 11 years
Academic qualifications: Bachelor of business (financial planning), diploma of financial planning
Professional association memberships: Association of Financial Advisers