FPA Awards 2017: Stamp of quality

08 February 2018

Photo of David Andrew

Jayson Forrest

Jayson Forrest is the managing editor of Money & Life Magazine.

‘Helping people live richer, happier lives’ is a mantra working well for both clients and the team at Capital Partners Private Wealth Advisers, as it takes out the FPA Professional Practice of the Year Award.

FPA Professional Practice Profile

Name: Capital Partners Private Wealth Advisers

Established: 1999

Licensee: Capital Partners Private Wealth Advisers

Number of staff: 27

Number of practitioners: 10

Number of CFP® practitioners: 7

FPA Professional Practice since: 2011

They must be doing something right out west because for the second consecutive year, a Western Australia practice has taken out the FPA Professional Practice of the Year Award. And in a quinella for the West Perth practice, Michael Hayward CFP® from the team also took out the FPA CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Professional of the Year Award.

It’s an achievement not lost on David Andrew AFP® – the founder and managing director of Capital Partners Private Wealth Advisers.

In accepting the award, David showed great humility, saying the award was a “quality stamp” and a “rich reward for 20 years of hard work”.

“This is great recognition for the team who are switched on every day to help our clients ‘live richer and happier lives’,” David says. “This is our mantra. We want people to have good relationships with their money, while achieving their goals and being successful. I think we’re very focused on that and this award recognises that commitment.”

David believes the award will strengthen Capital Partners’ credibility and provide clients with one less thing to worry about when thinking about engaging with the business.

Coming of age

His decision to enter this year’s awards is a reflection of Capital Partners coming of age. In fact, the business is reaching a stage of maturity where it’s moving from founder ownership to second and then third generation ownership.

“We genuinely believe we provide financial planning advice and services that are as good as any practice. So, it was really a matter of us throwing our hat in the ring and testing ourselves. It was all about seeking recognition for our team.”

Standing out

In a crowded market, David believes the FPA Professional Practice designation sets Capital Partners apart from other planning practices. For him, it’s third party endorsement by the FPA that the practice is not only compliant with the profession’s highest education and professional standards, but that it’s among the country’s leading firms.

“So, the effort you go to in meeting the FPA’s criteria demonstrates to consumers that you are taking professionalism seriously, and that’s something that does matter to them.”

With Capital Partners trading just shy of two decades, David is also keen to share his own experience and insights with smaller firms to help them on their own journey.

“We started back in 1999 with nothing – zero clients and zero revenue. But from there, we’ve built a successful business. So, for other firms to see what we’ve achieved and how we’ve gone about doing it, is something I like to share.”

Today, David attributes part of Capital Partners’ success to a number of internal initiatives, including belonging to a select study group of six non-aligned businesses that helps keep the firm connected to industry best practice.

“This initiative is all about pushing ourselves to being better. It’s part of our business culture that every single day, we’re looking for better ways of doing things and engaging with clients. It’s about understanding best practice and implementing it, and having peers who will hold us accountable to do what we say we’re going to do. So, this initiative is all about continued improvement.”

The practice has also rolled out a 10-year social media program, with the aim of building relevant and engaging video content for its website. David says this is quite affordable, with his team even using blog articles as scripts for video content.

“This is all about putting the client at the centre of everything we do,” David says.

Generational transfer

As for the future, Capital Partners is on course to become a three generation ownership firm within David’s lifetime.

From 1 July 2018, the business will bring on board eight new principals as part of its succession/transition program.

“There has been a lot of emotion around this program, which has taken about 2.5 years to implement. We’ve taken a long view with regard to succession planning and it takes an enormous effort to do well. But we’re confident we’ve got the right mix of equity partners in place to guarantee the long-term future and ongoing success of our business.”

However, winning the 2017 FPA Professional Practice of the Year Award hasn’t been without its challenges, something David is acutely aware of.

For him, attracting the right type of clients, providing an exceptional client experience and winning the talent war, are three challenges key to staying on top.

“These challenges are all hard but interestingly, I never worry about losing team members,” David says. “If our team members are inspired, have meaningful work and are properly remunerated to enable them to achieve their goals, then we’ve delivered on our mantra of helping people live richer, happier lives. So, in that respect, we’re pretty successful at keeping the people we want to keep in our business.”

However, David believes the talent pool in financial planning is reasonably shallow, meaning he has to cherry pick good people. “You need to guarantee them that if they do their bit, then we will provide them with an amazing career.”

But is that enough for the younger cohort of planners?

“Probably not,” David says. “They want success, they want flexibility, they want to be challenged, and they want to do rewarding work.”

And are they looking for equity?

“I’m not sure. It’s something I’m rarely asked,” David replies. “Ownership in a business is earned. It’s earned through creating value.

“In life you’ve got to focus on the journey and being really good at what you do. When you do that, good things happen.”

The FPA congratulates the runners-up of the FPA Professional Practice of the Year Award:

Eureka Whittaker Macnaught (Sydney and Brisbane)

MBA Financial Strategists (Adelaide)

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