Riding the wave of success

16 February 2021

Money & Life team

Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.

With a relentless focus on improvement at Hard Line Wealth, Nat Daley AFP® has been recognised with the 2020 FPA Financial Planner AFP® of the Year Award.

Name: Nat Daley AFP®
Educational qualifications: MFIN (Investments), BBus, BCom (Finance), DFP
Position: Partner and Financial Adviser
Practice: Hard Line Wealth
Licensee: Fitzpatricks Private Wealth
Years as a financial planner: 8 years

For a small practice, Hard Line Wealth consistently punches well above its weight, with a string of industry awards showcasing its commitment to excellence. It’s an enviable record that Hard Line Wealth partner and financial adviser, Nat Daley AFP®, takes in his stride.

“It all comes down to a lot of hard work that we’ve put into the business over the past four years,” Nat says. “We’re relentless about our continuous improvement, including providing advice of the highest standard. These awards confirm that our quality standards are of the highest level.”

And industry peers agree, with Cody Harmon AFP® – a partner and financial adviser with the business – winning the 2016 Financial Planner AFP® of the Year Award, while Brad Aleckson and Graeme Morris – who were both coached and mentored by Nat – taking out the FPA University Student of the Year Award in 2016 and 2019 respectively.

But the practice’s strong pedigree of success doesn’t stop there, with Nat recognised for his approach to financial planning by receiving the 2020 Financial Planner AFP® of the Year Award.

In presenting Nat with this award, the judges said they were impressed by his approach to ‘health and wealth in everything he does’ – from the advice he provides to clients, to mentoring and coaching, to the way he has established and developed Hard Line Wealth with his partners.

With offices in Melbourne, Coolangatta, Byron Bay, Sydney and Geelong, Nat works out of the popular holiday and surfing destination of Byron Bay in Northern NSW.

And while he might not be rubbing shoulders everyday with A-list celebrities who call Byron Bay home, like Chris Hemsworth, Nat does enjoy hitting the ‘waves’ outside of work. With a strong work ethic, a solid analytics game and a natural ability to make sense of the numbers, Nat is a planner who prides himself on providing great financial advice. 

But that advice does take skill and that’s where the business relies on an analytical approach for  delivering best-of-breed advice. So, what does that mean?

“It’s all about strategy,” Nat says. “For the majority of our clients, we provide them with strategy papers that are non-product related or non-investment focused, to enable them to consider alternative strategies.

“This approach is different from many other advice businesses, which tend to provide the solution before they address the problem. However, we have a fundamental issue with this type of ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to advice, which is not appropriate or in the best interests of clients.”

For Nat, personal finance should be personal. “This means we start from an analytical, tax and risk mitigation point-of-view, and then formulate an appropriate tailored solution for clients. This approach underpins our advice process. It’s a process that works well for us and our clients.”

Next generation planners

Close to Nat’s heart is mentoring and coaching the next generation of planners. He did this with two previous FPA University Student of the Year Award winners – Brad Aleckson and Graeme Morris – as well as other aspiring professionals. And having recently taken over the Chair of the FPA’s Far North Coast NSW Chapter, he intends to encourage more students to consider joining the profession by encouraging universities to form a relationship with their local FPA Chapter.

“Unfortunately, many potential young planners go down the analyst route and subsequently are turned away from the beauty of financial advice early on in their careers. This is something we need to change, and I believe mentoring and coaching is the key to doing this,” he says.

“And with a large number of planners retiring or leaving the profession, there’s going to be a real issue with the supply of planners in the next two to three years. So, mentoring young planners and graduates is going to be absolutely vital – not just for their Professional Year but ongoing.”

Commitment to education

Nat takes education and professional development seriously, and has set the bar high with all financial planners working at Hard Line Wealth. Both he and his business partner, Cody Harmon, have already obtained their Masters degree, while the third partner, Jayden Post, is currently in the process of completing it.

And for the business’ two graduate planners, who both have undergraduate degrees, one is on track to complete her Masters alongside Jayden.

“You could say it’s almost mandatory for the Associates of our business to complete their Masters degree before they become an authorised representative of Hard Line Wealth,” says Nat.

He views a commitment to education as a necessary cost of doing business. However, Nat is mindful that some planners are resentful of having to do the additional education as required by FASEA, but he recognises these are necessary changes for the profession.

“Today, there are much higher expectations on planners, both from Government and consumers, so we need to comply with these expectations if we are to call ourselves professionals,” he says. “And if we really want to develop the profession, practices need to create more structured training programs for their graduate planners, especially in relation to advice and paraplanning.”

Supply, demand and technology

Nat doesn’t deny there are challenges ahead for the profession, particularly with the ‘old guard’ approaching retirement or exiting the profession early, creating a subsequent undersupply of planners in the short-term. However, with challenges come opportunities, and Nat identifies three of these as: supply, demand and technology.

“With some of the older planners approaching retirement, they will leave a short supply of planners in the market at a time when demand for advice is skyrocketing. Quality practitioners will be in high demand, which is an opportunity for many practitioners.”

He also forecasts that intergenerational wealth transfer, global volatility and uncertainty – such as COVID-19 – and the ever-changing legislative environment, will continue to increase the demand for financial advice by consumers for the foreseeable future.

And while Nat believes this is a “massive opportunity” for the profession, he concedes that for most advice businesses, they’re already at capacity with what they can do. That’s where technology kicks in as his third opportunity for the profession.

“As more technology comes onto the market, it will progressively remove some of the burden off  planners. Currently, planners are overwhelmed by compliance, which has pushed up the cost of delivering advice. However, it’s only a matter of time before technology addresses these issues, which will help streamline advice and drive down the cost of delivering it.”

However, he concedes that while technology providers are making some headway in reducing the compliance burden for planners, what is required is the full integration of technology, so it can be used compatibly as part of a technology platform or stack.

Best advice

For any person aspiring to join the profession, Nat recommends they don’t get “hung up” on the location of where they work – let’s face it, he works in Byron Bay!

“You don’t have to work in a big flashy city office,” he says. “Planners and businesses have all functioned superbly well throughout 2020 by working remotely.

“If you find the right advice business, you don’t have to travel far and wide to work there, particularly with the flexibility that technology now provides, which can enable you to work flexibly and remotely from anywhere in the world.”

Finally, Nat advises anybody considering joining the profession to take the time to establish their reputation.

“You need to approach financial planning with a long-term mindset, which requires a slow and methodical approach about what you want to achieve and how you’ll go about achieving that,” he says. “Don’t be in a rush with your career, because success takes time, management and careful planning. You need to play the long game.”

***

FPA Financial Planner AFP® of the Year Award

Winner:
Nat Daley AFP® – Hard Line Wealth (NSW)
Finalists:
Felicity Cooper AFP® – Cooper Wealth Management (Qld)
Craig Phillips AFP® – Phillips Wealth Partners (ACT)

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