There’s a lot to be said for staying put and getting on with the job. It shows a dedication and commitment that isn’t common in the modern workforce.

For Phillip Gillard, he’s staying put to get the job done. He’s about to clock up a quarter of a century with Shadforth Financial Group.

A strong office culture and achieving the best results for his clients is a driving motivation.

“The culture in our office is great. We have a happy and productive group that are willing to put in extra effort for our clients.”

Based in the North Sydney office, Phillip is highly regarded in financial circles, mostly helping time poor professionals and executives simplify their financial affairs and keep them on the optimum path.

“As for the clients, I enjoy getting to know them, understanding their needs and objectives, providing a plan that suits them and seeing that plan progress over time. I can only fulfill that if we stay together,” Gillard says.

And while he’s collected a string of accolades along the way, that’s not been a motivator for him. “In reality, I am less about putting myself forward for awards and more about doing the best work for my clients. My success and growth as an adviser has come from looking after existing clients well and in turn receiving warm referrals from those clients,” he says.

“My success has been on the back of a focused plan to look after time poor professionals, providing concise and timely advice and implementing that advice for them. This gives them confidence that their financial planning is in order and reduces the distraction from their professional work,”

Gillard chose financial planning as an elective in the final semester of his Bachelor of Commerce degree. After just a few lectures, he felt sure that financial planning was where he wanted to be. “The ability to plan ahead for clients and the ability to problem solve was what he enjoyed most.”

The certified financial planner has since completed a Diploma of Financial Planning and an Investment Training College Certificate in Financial Planning. He’s also a member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

His lucky break in the finance game came when he knew John Godfrey, the founder and managing director of Godfrey Pembroke. “I had been friends with his son James at school. John provided me a good character reference, which helped me find a job.”

Shadforth focuses on providing full service advice to high income and high net worth individuals and families.

The firm has 350 employees, of which 116 are Certified Financial Planners, and 12 offices across the country. It has $12.1 billion in group funds under advice, administration and management, 12,545 clients on the books and manages 22,000 accounts across individuals, corporate, trusts and SMSFs.

The firm provides a range of investment options for clients, from listed investments held on a broking account, to managed funds via platforms, right through to discretionary accounts.

Each adviser works with the client to determine the right fit for them, based on the client’s experience and preferences.

The firm charges an agreed fee for the initial advice, which can take three to four meetings to work through all the important client matters and provide comprehensive advice. Ongoing advice fees are either a flat fee for strategy-only advice, a percentage fee based on the funds under management, or a combination of the two.

When the pandemic hit, the firm’s business continuity plan was put into action and work continued from home. “We remain fully functionally and fully staffed. Clients have adapted quickly to video conferencing. We continue to get new enquiries and are engaging clients remotely,” he says.

The outcome of the Royal Commission has been positive for financial planning, and his job remains unchanged as a result, he says. “My conversations with clients focus on their specific situation and bring to bear my experiences and those of others to put basic rules around the plan. The key is to limit client distractions and focus them on the strategy in place to best guide them to meeting their objectives,” he says.

As a father of four, much of his time outside of work is spending at his kids’ sporting events. He’s coached cricket for his children for the last decade, and he loves a round of golf when time permits.

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