Even back in school, Kyle Brown admits he was gravitating towards big numbers. His passion lies in people, small business and finance, which led him to see the potential for a career in financial planning, so he set out in that direction.
Based in Hobart where he graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2004, Brown got his footing in the industry when a more experienced adviser spotted his potential, recruiting him and took him under his wing.
Those early days weren’t glamorous, but after a period working in back office roles, he secured his qualifications in 2007.
He worked hard, forging a name for himself before taking an opportunity to combine forces with a larger firm via a partnership until 2017. This gave him the impetus to then go out on his own.
An amicable split from his business partner followed shortly after, enabling him to freewheel into his own financial advice business, Kyle Brown Wealth Management. He currently employs one other financial adviser. He would hire another back office support person if he could find passionate, caring and career-minded talent, which he admits is an ongoing issue facing the industry.
“There were challenges I was grappling with at the time, particularly based on the industry’s approach to IT and reputational controls,” Brown tells Professional Planner.
“Then in time, the [Hayne] Royal Commission came along and there was a groundswell of change in that regard. I choose to believe that this will help improve our industry’s reputation.”
Being under his own steam meant he could redesign the technology infrastructure in the business, freeing up his time for his firm to forge deeper relationships and enjoying providing a greater level of service with his clients.
His business is completely paperless since its inception, but the broader adoption of virtual meetings through the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled even further growth. “It’s been great. I’ve managed to tick off things that I’ve wanted to achieve because we’re small and nimble.”
Brown focuses on wealth protection, wealth accumulation and retirement planning, trading mostly off word of mouth.
Proudly Tasmanian, he works largely with locals all over the state, with clients in Sydney and Melbourne also seeking him out. He believes this largely comes through the quality of services delivered to existing clients, but winning awards has also helped get his name out there.
He’s been named the winner of the FSP Practice of the Year in 2020, and also a finalist in the national adviser of the year three years in a row, among other awards.
“There’s a lot of people with a genuine need for advice who are really open to deep engaging relationships with their financial adviser and they’re comfortable paying for it.”
Brown tends to attract clients nearing retirement, enabling him to teach younger colleagues the nuances of the nation’s superannuation sector so they can make their mark as well.
The move to fixed term agreements with clients has allowed him to build specific systems and processes around that, providing greater structure in his advice firm. “You become a product of your success over time. The more you give to clients, the more success they have and therefore, the more success you have,” he says.
“In the last few years, there’s been no shortage of clients looking for advice. However, we’ve got a strong filtering process for potential new clients, which, in today’s environment, I feel you have to put in place.
“Unfortunately at times, we’re best to turn away new clients who don’t quite fit the model,” Brown says.
“The reality is that we need to be doubly sure that there’s a need and a service that we can help them with. It needs to be very clear that we can deliver value in the current environment.”