Katie McDonald

Financial industry stalwart Katie McDonald knew early on in life that she was financially savvy.

She recalls a spreadsheet she started to calculate that she was paying the same in rent that a mortgage would cost her when she was 20. The point of the spreadsheet was to convince her boyfriend at the time that they could afford to purchase a place and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We bought a house and went on to renovate the property and sold it 18 months later, making three times our combined income in profit,” McDonald tells Professional Planner. It was an amazing experience. Really hard work, but very worthwhile.”

Buoyed by their success, the couple went on to develop and flip properties. She eventually married the boyfriend, which is when she started trading the market to provide her with an income once they started a family. “My friends and family started asking me how I was managing to make money, so I decided to do it for a living.”

McDonald knew it was the right career for her and could see early on that she had a knack for offering others financial advice.

She went on to launch her own financial investment and education business for women in Newcastle before a move to Sydney saw her offered a role as an associate adviser. Next, the family moved to Kalgoorlie and she worked as a business adviser in the goldfields before getting back into wealth management roles for a number of years.

She has now been appointed the director of advisory and manager of the Perth office of Giles Wade, which intends to embark on an ambitious growth phase in Western Australia. The firm provides strategic advice to private and multi-family office clients, not-for-profits, super funds and others.

Giles Wade holds its own AFSL and tax agent licence, which enables its team to provide advice across a range of specialist areas to deliver end-to-end services for clients. The team also provides pro-bono services to not-for-profit organisations, including a range of indigenous trusts and boards around Australia.

The firm combines strategic advice with intellectual capital, broad asset management expertise, wealth structuring, tax and compliance. Until now, WA-based clients have been serviced by Melbourne-based team members.

McDonald has the experience to lead the team. She’s a certified financial planner and holds a Degree in Business (Finance) and an Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning.

“Strong female role models in financial advice are important,” McDonald says. “The gender pay gap, along with lower average superannuation balance and structure trends that result in men generally being financially better off than women are issues that concern me.”

She says in 30 years this is the first time she has had a business partner or boss that is a woman.

“That in itself I find extremely exciting and rewarding, and I look forward to seeing how that develops in this very male-dominated industry.”

Giles Wade CEO Liza Janakievski says McDonald’s appointment coincides with the opening of the new Perth office, which provides the firm with a strong platform to deliver strategic advice to high-net-worth and non-for-profit clients in the expanding WA market.