Practice of the Month – Evalesco Financial Services

15-Feb-2017

By Sarah Kendell

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The concept of ‘holistic advice’ is thrown around a lot these days, particularly with regard to the next generation of advice customers, who are going to be less interested in an offering based solely around their superannuation, investments and insurance.

Finding examples of advisers who have accurately cracked this concept is where the difficulty lies, but when Jeff Thurecht set up Evalesco Financial Services with his business partner, Marshall Brentnall, nine years ago, he was determined to create an offering that would work for clients whose concerns lay outside of the traditional pre-retirement market.

“We were both in our mid-thirties and most of our peers were doing work with retirees or were risk specialists – we felt there wasn’t anyone at that time paying attention to people like us and giving advice that was relevant, because we didn’t want to talk about retirement at that stage,” Thurecht says.

“So it was about looking at what was out there to help with the specific issues we were facing.”

The two advisers started out working with generation X clients on their main financial concerns – typically buying property, funding education options for children and solving income issues while a spouse took time out of the workforce – but they soon found their customers were also looking for help with the emotional and lifestyle issues that lay behind their finances.

“Some of the things we are doing now have evolved out of seeing too many clients having stress-related issues, mental health problems, and going through relationship issues and divorces, so we are starting to evolve what we are doing to look at how we can help with those issues,” Thurecht explains.

“The conversations we have with clients about their fears and goals are conversations people generally don’t have with anyone else unless you engage a life coach or counsellor, so we want to do more with that information to help them achieve what is important to them – there’s no point talking to someone about their mortgage if they are having a blockage in some other area.”

The firm uses a “well-being wheel” to help clients rank their performance in different areas of their lives and engages external consultants to work with clients on non-financial issues they may be having problems with, including their relationship, physical health and fitness.

“We are partnering with a trained counsellor and psychologist, so where clients are in need of more assistance in that area, our advisers can refer out to her,” Thurecht says.

“Another one is a naturopath and nutritionist who does work around areas like health and energy, and we are talking to some people in the gym and personal training space about how they can contribute to our proposition as well.”

For those looking to build their own holistic advice practice, he recommends focusing on the areas that add the most value for clients.

“We try to use outsourcing where possible and push back on product providers to make our lives as easy as they can be – that frees up our team to provide great service rather than focusing on crunching the numbers,” he explains.

“It’s also about focusing on who you want to service early on – it’s easy when you first start out to take any client that is willing to pay the fee, but when you get stuck on that treadmill it’s hard to get off when you are spending a lot of time on those clients.”

Looking ahead, Thurecht sees himself evolving Evalesco into a business about being “healthy, wealthy and happy” rather than a straight advice practice, but is willing to adapt if market conditions call for it.

“Over the next few years if it works we will keep going with it, and if it doesn’t, then we’ll pivot,” he says.

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