Practice of the Month: First Advice


By Megan Tran

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When Tracey and Warwick Edwards started their financial advice practice, their vision was to break down barriers by incorporating educational literature that allowed female clients in particular to define their financial goals and understand their options.

The husband and wife duo, who have 30 years’ industry experience between them, have a majority female staff and view their clients as friends.

“Within our 10 main corporate clients overall around 50 per cent of employees are female. Many feel intimidated asking questions of a male and many prefer to deal with female advisers,” Tracey says.

Tracey started in the industry in an administration role with National Mutual in 1985 and later moved into superannuation fund administration and member education with the Local Government Superannuation Board.

“It was here that I became passionate about helping members with their goals and seeing the effects poor planning had, particularly on women,” she says.

After encouragement from industry peers, she started her own business in 2000, a move she describes as about finally being able to take control.

Following 15 years under large dealer groups, she moved to acquire her own licence with husband Warwick and established her current business, First Advice.

The pair found Tracey’s passion for advice and Warwick’s business skills, gleaned from several years in adviser-facing roles at Perpetual and BT, were a winning combination under their new venture.

“We didn’t lose one client in the process – our clients are a mix of pre-retirees and retirees and we have around 300 clients,” Warwick says.

The business name derives from the educational seminars the pair hold with their corporate clients, which aim to encourage employees to seek out financial advice for the first time.

The courses range from general financial literacy to budgeting and retirement planning to super education, and the firm holds about 50 sessions a year nationally.

Warwick advises those wanting to start or grow an advice business to be rigorous about compliance and also seriously consider whether they need the services of a dealer group.

“Being non-aligned, we set our own destiny and are not told what products to be using,” he says.

For those building a business by acquisition, a cultural fit between the advisers and client books being acquired is also important.

“What I’ve witnessed has been atrocious with cultural fits and clients will work that out very quickly,” Warwick says.

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