Brian May (left) and Charles Badenach

When it comes to practice size, smaller is certainly better for some planners despite the challenges of hiring other good advisers.

“Having previously worked in a large ASX-listed financial planning practice, working in a small boutique practice is a breath of fresh air,” Main Street Financial Solutions principal and private client adviser Charles Badenach tells Professional Planner.

“You are able to control your destiny and focus on what is really important for the clients.”

The Hobart-based practice employs 10 people. It has three financial advisers, two of whom are principals and one who is completing the professional year program. The remaining staff members support the advisers.

“The main challenge that all businesses face in the current climate is recruiting new advisers to service the ever-increasing number of people that need advice,” Badenach says.

“As a small business, we have made the decision that we need to train from within… Technology has been a great leveller in that it enables small businesses to have access to the same resources and tools that ASX-listed businesses have without the bureaucratic structure.”

A bright future

Badenach believes small financial planning practices with efficient processes and systems that focus on their ideal clients and outsource where appropriate have a bright future.

“We can pivot and adjust to changing environments far easier than larger practices can,” he says.

“In addition to this, the pendulum has now swung with clients often preferring a professional, boutique, fee-for-service small financial planning practice.”

Brian May, managing director of Horizon Wealth Management in Sydney, is another planner who would like to believe his small practice will still be flourishing in 10 years’ time.

“We have a relatively young client base that continues to grow,” May says. “Our challenge is to constantly grow our human capital and continue to maintain our world-class operational platform.”

Horizon has three full-time and two part-time staff members. It has its own AFSL but outsources its compliance and has an independent member on its investment committee.

Pros and cons