Iain Leech and Pete Pennicott

 

Iain Leech, Director of Network Management, Financial Institutions, ANZ

I was told that I had a new financial planner in about 2005, and I thought, ‘My gosh, they’ve given me the junior here!’ But that lasted about two seconds.

When I informed him about my situation, he listened to where I wanted to go and what I thought, then he started to put forward how my portfolio should look and how we could move towards that over time. He’s definitely an ideas guy. What he was saying went far beyond my previous advisers, both in terms of the industry and my investments. His insight was clear as a bell. Right away I thought, ‘OK, this guy is sharp.’

He was helping me diversify my portfolio because we were pretty long on company stock. Along the way, there were some recommendations that I wasn’t sure of because I didn’t understand them, but we built trust very early so I absolutely saw the value in what he was recommending.

Two years back, one of my sons – they were 13 and 16 then – said he wanted shares for Christmas, so I asked Pete if he could put something together. He brought them on as clients in their own right and made their first advice document, which we gave them for Christmas. They know Pete now and are building a relationship with him and the staff. It’s such a good thing. I was just blown away how he jumped onto it and got across what the boys wanted to invest in – they didn’t want Telstra and AMP, they want Apple and the exciting tech companies.

Pete’s got a very, very strong foundation in clearly understanding people’s risk appetite and taking them to it but not taking them beyond that. I know risk quite well in my job, so it’s something I look out for.

He’s someone I can have a chat to or have a beer with, even if it’s outside of the advisory piece. There are no shortcuts but we certainly have a bit of fun along the way.

Pete Pennicott, Principal Adviser, Pekada 

I met Iain when I was an adviser at ANZ. When you’re quite senior at the bank, your remuneration is shares in the bank, which I understood quite well, so I started off with an advantage there. We clicked really quickly and our relationship extended beyond when I finished five or six years ago and started at Pekada.

I sat down with Iain and his wife and worked out what was important to them. Flexibility and, of course, not losing the capital were both really high on the agenda. A big part of it was looking at whether we needed diversification and what were the tax implications. This was around the time of the GFC, so we built an investment strategy that was pretty tight, from a risk perspective.

We’ve never butted heads but we’ve had some robust conversations. Iain’s not an order-taker and neither am I, so part of us having a healthy relationship is making sure we understand the why. The tension points have only been around when big changes to the investment strategy have been required. Sometimes it’s me wanting to move or Iain getting an itchy trigger finger, but we’ve had a pretty good balance so far – no major blow-ups.

It was really cool getting his sons, Nathan and Patrick, on board. Iain was really keen to get the kids money-smart, so I had a burger with them and talked about what they were interested in. We then built a diversified portfolio via some simple managed funds. Technology was a big focus for them, obviously, so we tried to build something they’d actually engage in. Credit to Iain for opening up that conversation pretty early.

He’s very open and quite funny, Iain. It was very apparent early on as well that he has a very high financial IQ; he’s a very savvy guy who understood the concepts.

We’ve got a pretty good thing going, I think there’s some real trust there.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.
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