Norma Falconer

At just 16, Norma Falconer experienced deep tragedy that saw her catapulted into financial planning just to survive.

She was involved in a horrific road accident that resulted in her father’s death and left her mother a quadriplegic. From then on, she had to figure out how to make things work financially.

The accident occurred in her birthplace of South Africa, and completely changed the course of her life in an instant. That test of courage made her realise that no matter how chaotic things became around her, inside, she was able to remain calm and resolute.

She confesses that she had contemplated journalism as a career in her teens, but quickly realised that financial planning was a much more practical choice, despite feeling it was a career that had chosen her. “Luckily, accounting came easy to me, which was a blessing of sorts,” the softly spoken financial adviser recalls.

While circumstances necessitated that she makes her own way in life, she developed a passion for helping others with their financial planning and investment management over the years, enjoying the role more each year. She also gets to ask probing questions of her clients, which is akin to being a journalist, she admits.

Falconer has enjoyed a career working in banks, insurance, and investment management, before being presented an opportunity to come to Australia to work as a financial planner in Perth, Western Australia. It felt like life was making the plans for her all over again, and she packed up her belongings and made the move.

What greeted her was another world of equally warm financial professionals who embraced her into the local industry. She started working as a financial planner specialising in estate planning, personal and business insurance, and investment management with Wealth Today, and then taking up the role as head of wealth management for Here Business and Wealth.

A few years ago, she established her own firm, Think Capital, quickly attracting new clients seeking out her financial expertise. “Once I’ve got the strategy in place, I can set up the building blocks to support the client,” she explains.

While she didn’t have all the answers when going out on her own, she trusted that she was adept at overcoming roadblocks and seeking out opportunities to learn and improve, even after more than two decades in the finance industry.

The financial planning firms she started in South Africa are both still going strong under the leadership of the women she trained up to meet the demands of the local clientele. She has been through the dramatic changes ushered in after the Royal Commission alongside her Australian professional colleagues, evolving and perfecting her practices to the point where she feels that she’s got the mix just right.

Hiring a business coach to guide her with processes and assisting her to articulate her message has proven crucial to helping clients understand her motives while also helping her establish digital processes that stripped unnecessary costs out of her business.

“I’ve been innovative in my approach to providing financial advice, starting from scratch so that my business is completely digital and all of my staff are outsourced,” Falconer says. I’m very light on the earth’s resources. I could even be nomadic if I wanted to be.”

But travelling is by no means the plan. For now, she knows that she’s exactly where she’s meant to be.