Garry Crole

The mud-slinging match during the commission has left the industry with an image problem that needs to be rectified, according to Sequoia Financial Group chief executive Garry Crole.

He hopes that in time, regulators and the government could better understand the positive role that advisers play within the broader financial landscape, but that will take a concerted effort by financial advisers to better articulate their value in the market.

Crole tells Professional Planner financial advisers are not valued highly enough for the role they play.

“There’s a lot of negativity associated with advisers,” he says. “The rise in robo-advisers and the less skilled advisers have also led to some negative perceptions out there.”

It’s a fair statement given that research by IOOF (now Insignia Financial) a couple of years ago revealed that there are several myths out there about financial advice. For one, that advice is just about getting richer and getting higher returns. That advice is just for the rich, and that it will cost more than the value it provides.

But Crole is the first to admit there’s no silver bullet to debunking these myths.

Where it all began

He’s been in the industry longer than most, starting out in 1987 as an adviser with Colonial Mutual. He decided after a few years that marketing products for one company wasn’t the way of future.

So, he set up what was one of the first multiple agency businesses in the nation, which traded as The Money Planners. In the 11 years as the CEO, the business transitioned during changes in legislation to become a life insurance broker and an Australian financial services license, known as Deakin Financial Services.

The company listed on the ASX and was later renamed DKN, before being sold to IOOF around 2001.

Crole accepted the role as managing director of InterPrac Financial Planning in 2003 and invested equity. Interprac was established to provide a range of services to accountancy firms including licensing and partnering accountants with a financial planner or risk insurance specialist. InterPrac has been helping accountants and advisers deliver financial service solutions by operating as an extension of a practice.

In 2018 Interprac was acquired by Sequoia which provides products and services to self-directed and wholesale clients and Crole become its CEO around a year later.

Sequoia has a broad service offering to intermediaries including wealth management and advisory services, corporate and capital markets expertise, retail, wholesale and institutional trading platforms market data and financial news services.

Sequoia focuses on reducing the cost of advice, from licensing, the cost of administration, setting up company super funds, selling advice and the like. The company employs about 100 people and like many firms, is on the hunt for new talent to join the team, in particular Crole is keen to support risk insurance specialists and stockbrokers looking to reduce their cost of operating.