Erin Truscott, like many advisers, is not a big fan of time-sucking compliance.
She spends hours at it, dotting her I’s and crossing her T’s, to ensure she is meeting all of ASIC’s regulatory requirements.
Truscott can only imagine how much more box-ticking will be involved once the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services industry is done and dusted.
“While the royal commission is a great thing and the industry really does need a cleanse, I fear the compliance requirements that will come after the findings are handed down,” Truscott says. “There have been a few bad eggs in the industry and, as a result, those that have been doing the right thing all along are going to get tarred with the same brush.
“Some days, I throw my hands up in the air at my desk and think, ‘This time that I am spending on compliance, I could be spending with a client or giving a talk to young people about money management.’ ”
But Truscott, who won the Association of Financial Advisers Rising Star Award in 2016, does think the industry needs to embrace reform, and those who resist change or refuse it outright will be left behind.
“There is a lot of fear around industry change,” Truscott says. “People fear it so much, but if you’re going to catapult your business into the future, then change is to be embraced.”
Such change starts with advisers questioning why it is they do what they do.
“I think one of the things people need to get back to right now is why they’re in the industry in the first place,” Truscott says. “Why do you do what you do? Why do you have a business? If you’re passionate about helping clients change their own lives, and that is ingrained in what you do, then you’ll be open to change and ready for it.”
The problem, she says, is that many people exaggerate industry developments: regulations are derided as onerous or unnecessary before they’re even introduced, while technology is sometimes viewed as an evil disruptor.
“Take robo advice, for example,” Truscott says. “A lot of people fear it, but it’s really just a tool to help with portfolio construction, so why wouldn’t you think about using it?
“The biggest challenge for businesses will be being able to adapt to the changes and use what other people are scared of. I’m lucky in the sense that as a young person I view change as an opportunity. Where we are as an industry now will be quite different [from where we are] in five years’ time.”
Change is something Truscott knows much about. Before she became an adviser and partner with boutique planning business GCA Financial in Brisbane, she worked as a practice development manager for Financial Wisdom, helping advisers streamline their businesses, formulate business plans and reach targets.
“Businesses always know what they’re trying to achieve; my job was to help them step outside and look to the future, to put some long-term processes in place,” Truscott says.
It was working so closely with advisers in these early years that made Truscott decide to become one herself.
“Now that I am a partner in a business, I know how hard it is to step out of the day-to-day, because you’re working so hard in the business that you don’t have time to work on the business.”
But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love what I do,” she says. “I love sitting in front of clients and talking to them. It makes my heart leap out of my chest.”
Name of firm: GCA Financial
Name of licensee (if not self-licensed): Financial Wisdom
Time in the industry (previous jobs): 12 years (prior to that, practice development manager at Financial Wisdom for 4.5 years; before that, started career as business development manager with Professional Investment Services for 4.5 years)
Academic qualifications: Advanced diploma in financial planning, Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner
Professional association memberships: AFA