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Podcast Transcript

Episode 09, Season 1

How to be "independent" with Ellie Fordham


Ellie Fordham: [00:00] It was fantastic. We have a lot of clients now who have gotten to know each other and connected on that basis, a lot of small business owners as well. Just a lot of even young families who were just having a date night out and came along to the fundraiser. Definitely something that I’m hoping we can put on the calendar again next year. Whether it’s in the same capacity or not, I’m not sure, but I just think from a client point of view, they all had a great time, and they all speak about it very highly. It was a good night.

Fraser Jack: [00:32] Welcome to The Goals Based Advice Podcast, where we have conversation with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack, and I’d like to thank you for tuning in today. I’d also like to thank our supporting partner Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast.

Fraser Jack: [00:49] In this episode, I caught up with Ellie Fordham from a multiple award-winning practice, dozzi Financial. Now we did have a few issues with the internet lagging in this episode, so there’s a couple of sound issues. However, it doesn’t take anything away from just how impressive Ellie is, and we had a great chat about her journey and what they’re doing in their award-winning practice. We covered all sorts of topics from working as a independent financial advisor, to importance of relationships, and she talked a little bit about starting her career in a small country town. We covered off on things like goals and values and just how to frame those conversations. They’re also doing something really impressive in their business, and we talk about the success of their client fundraising night and just how that worked. As I said, it’s a great chat with a very, very impressive advisor, so let’s get straight into it now.

Fraser Jack: [01:51] Welcome to the show, Ellie.

Ellie Fordham: [01:52] Thank you, Fraser, for having me.

Fraser Jack: [01:54] You’re very welcome. How you been?

Ellie Fordham: [01:58] Good, thanks, great. Just back from a week of annual leave, so what better way to kick off the week than chat to you?

Fraser Jack: [02:04] Yeah, you were up north in the tropics.

Ellie Fordham: [02:06] In the heat, in the humidity. Got a nice tan, though.

Fraser Jack: [02:13] Okay, that’s worth it. Back in Brisvegas now?

Ellie Fordham: [02:14] Back in Brisvegas. Came back to more heat here, which is fantastic.

Fraser Jack: [02:19] Bring on summer, right?

Ellie Fordham: [02:20] Really ... Yeah, love the summer. No, I hate it, actually. Hanging out for Brisbane winter because it is not cold.

Fraser Jack: [02:34] It isn’t.

Fraser Jack: [02:34] Tell us about you, tell us about what you’re doing at the moment.

Ellie Fordham: [02:34] At the moment I am an advisor with dozzi independent advice in Brisbane. That’s something that Caleb Dozzi started about 18, 19 months ago. So Caleb’s got a lot of experience in advice, he’s been in the industry for about 15 years and myself for about 12. And he wanted to start something that ... he realized that there’s a lot of things that you can do in financial advice that really make ... a very small changes can make significant impact for clients. And dozzi is a business that’s been developed to enable that. Made the decision to go independent from day one, which is a pretty courageous move actually. It meant a lot of ... of essentially turning off about 60% revenue in the business from day one, which is massive.

Ellie Fordham: [03:23] But onwards and upwards from there and I’m really loving the type of advice we’re providing to our clients. I’m loving all the relationships that we’re building and really excited for what the future holds for us.

Fraser Jack: [03:33] Yeah, nice. And how did you guys meet?

Ellie Fordham: [03:36] I came to work with Caleb at his previous practice and I was fortunate enough to work with him and another advisor there. It was only about six months later that he decided to make the move. And so I asked him if I could come along on the journey with him.

Fraser Jack: [03:52] Very good. You actually initiated the conversations here. You said, “I want to come too.”

Ellie Fordham: [03:57] I did, I did. It was interesting because we were working at a very traditional advice practice and Caleb was really trying to reinvent the way he was providing advice [inaudible 00:04:09] with him along the way in doing that. And we had some really great outcomes there, but I guess in the end, he decided that potentially he could go a lot further by going out on his own.

Fraser Jack: [04:21] Very good. And how did you get into advice? What was your journey? Where did you start?

Ellie Fordham: [04:25] I think my journey into advice is pretty much similar to what I’ve heard from a lot of other people in that I fell into the industry. Actually, that’s something that I want to do a lot more work around, but I was in high school, encouraged to go to university. I had an interest in finance, did quite well in accounting but knew that that probably wasn’t the career path for me. So I applied for a university, got into accounting, saw an ad in the newspaper, don’t know if anyone actually reads the paper these days, but, in the local newspaper for a trainee financial advisor. And thought might as well call up, that sounds interesting. Don’t know what it is. Got schooled on what it was and got the job. And the rest is history, so to speak.

Fraser Jack: [05:13] Wow. An ad in the newspaper. That might have been the very last ad that went into a newspaper that could possibly-

Ellie Fordham: [05:19] Look, I did grow up in the country, so there’s probably still a lot of people there reading the newspaper there.

Fraser Jack: [05:26] Whereabouts were you? Were you up north end?

Ellie Fordham: [05:28] Yeah, I was. So I grew up about an hour west of Mackay in north Queensland. And lucky enough to get a role there, in a quite a good practice actually and it’s pretty fortunate, I think, to have landed in that sort of style of practice. Because I look back now and think, if I had of landed maybe somewhere which was more aligned with a product provider, the way that my career would have developed would have been very different. And so I feel lucky that I ended up there and I actually had a lot of great success there, but I was pushed really hard.

Ellie Fordham: [06:05] I was about 17 years old and I was sitting in client meetings. Which was probably not something I would probably do to anyone that I have these days, but I learnt a lot very quickly and probably really didn’t give it the respect that it deserves, until I look back on it on my later life.

Fraser Jack: [06:23] So let me just think about that. You’re 17 years old, what sort of age group was the clientele?

Ellie Fordham: [06:28] Clientele was probably about age 55 to 65 predominantly. I actually feel like from a relationship point of view, I didn’t do too bad. Obviously I was very new to the industry, so it was difficult to establish those relationships. But I had done a lot of work in the past, volunteer work, and I’d also worked for a long period of time with older people. So I felt quite comfortable in having those conversations. But definitely the experience was lacking there, which really threw me into the deep end.

Ellie Fordham: [07:02] But looking back on it now, it was such an amazing way to learn. And I had a couple of really good mentors there as well, who took me along that journey.

Fraser Jack: [07:10] Yeah, great. And when did you decide to head south?

Ellie Fordham: [07:13] Just about two and a half years ago. So making that decision was really tough, because I’d worked with amazing people, but looking back on it now, jumped into working at the previous practice. Caleb’s trying to make some changes with the way he’s providing advice, looking to start something up, jumped on board that, and it’s probably been the best two years of my life. It’s been amazing.

Fraser Jack: [07:35] So when Caleb decided that he wanted to start his own practice and you said, “You’re not doing it without me.” What was that process of planning and what was the idea around what you wanted to add to the clients? What were the things that you thought were missing?

Ellie Fordham: [07:50] For us, we wanted to focus on holistic advice, on goals-based advice and for us to be able to do that, there was a number of process changes that needed to occur. I think the first thing for us was becoming independent and fee-for-service was massive. We had both of us worked in practices where it was fund-driven, and one of the biggest elements of advice that we wanted to add was around cash flow planning. To enable us to really provide an amazing service to our clients, we needed to be fee-for-service. And that was primarily what kick-started the journey.

Ellie Fordham: [08:23] The second thing was just in regards to the way that our clients viewed us as an advisor. I’m quite passionate about the fact that you, depending on the advice that you’re seeking, you don’t need to have a large sum of money to be able to seek advice. And we create a model where our clients can come on board with us and receive amazing advice over a long period of time without needing to start with quite a significant level of capital.

Ellie Fordham: [08:48] The journey to getting to where we are now has been interesting and it’s probably been one of those ones where you win some, you lose some. So we’ve learnt a lot. We’ve made a lot of changes in just two years and I’m sure we’ll continue to evolve quite significantly over time as well. But learning from those things that probably didn’t go as well as you’d thought has really kick-started and boosted where we ended up now.

Fraser Jack: [09:14] Yeah, would you like to share a couple of those with ... as in just a couple of things that you thought, oh, this will be quite cool and will work, and then you went, yeah actually, not as good as we thought.

Ellie Fordham: [09:23] Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). I think for us when we first started out, we were so driven to provide great service to our clients that it really became very labor-intensive. And so for us to be able to give the same level of service but perhaps tweak it some way or another to not create quite the time-consuming process that it was, we really needed to embrace technology. And I know everyone says that, but actually going in and embracing technology and talking about it are two different things. So that was probably the first thing.

Ellie Fordham: [09:54] The second thing was for us to actually price our services the way they needed to be. We both wanted to create a business where advice was affordable to most Australians. And there’s definitely a difference between being relevant and pricing accordingly to the service your clients are receiving.

Ellie Fordham: [10:14] And look, we know that we didn’t necessarily get it right straightaway, but also we learnt from those barriers, all those things that didn’t go quite as well as which we liked and move forward.

Fraser Jack: [10:24] Yeah, it’s a very tricky process to try and work out. The level of service you’re going to provide and then go from there and work out what clients are going to value. How did you go with, for example, when you worked out that maybe you were over-servicing or doing things that were not as sustainable and then you had to go back to your existing clients and talk to them about different fee services or structures?

Ellie Fordham: [10:45] I think if clients can see the value of the advice they’re providing, it’s a really easy conversation. And for the clients that we were working with, at that point, they really did appreciate the level of service we’re providing at. They could see the outcomes that they’d already received in a short period of time, and so that was a really easy conversation. Ideally if they don’t see us as providing the level that, and to be remunerated effectively, then perhaps they’re not the type of client that we want in our business. We know that we’re not going to be the right type of business for every client, and if that’s the case, that’s fine, because for us, we have got a long period of time left in financial planning and it’s a business that we want to continue to really enjoy working in for a number of years and we want our clients to enjoy what we’re doing for them as well.

Fraser Jack: [11:30] Yeah, it’s a really good way of looking at it. With the clients that you do want to work with, is there a specific demographic or?

Ellie Fordham: [11:36] Naturally because of our ages, I think we do attract clients probably in that young family stage, buying their first home, got a lot of debt to repay. But just on the same side of the coin, we receive referrals from clients who are pre-retirees, retirees as well, business owners, so we don’t have a particular client segment that we want to work with. We just want to work with people who want great outcomes, who value advice and who we can actually develop a relationship with over a long period of time.

Ellie Fordham: [12:06] We set out a number of different personality traits that we look for in our clients and that’s not going to be the be-all and end-all in terms of what types of clients come on board with us, but one of those personality traits is someone that you can have a friendship with. We really value that with our clients. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them and chatting to them a lot, so we want to have that friendship sort of basis.

Ellie Fordham: [12:29] Also, it enables us to have the hard conversations with them then, like you would to your friend who isn’t receiving advice from you. If they’re on a path that isn’t going to get them to where they want to be, you have that base to really give them that tough outcome of what might be happening from doing that.

Fraser Jack: [12:49] Bit of tough love to your friends, nice.

Fraser Jack: [12:51] If I’m coming to you, what’s your typical advice process look like? Is it two or three meetings? Is it mostly cashflow to start with? Give me an overview.

Ellie Fordham: [12:58] I think that depending on the type of client and what sort of service level you’re looking for, it changes. But for us, the first meeting is quite a long one and we really want to get to know our clients on a deep level. So we have a number of processes that we go through before we even have a meeting with our clients, just in terms of screening them, seeing if they’re the right fit for us, what they’re looking for from an advisor as well, and why they’ve made the decision to have a chat to us.

Ellie Fordham: [13:25] The first meeting for us looks at just really getting to know them. Basically just handing the mike over and letting them speak. The core thing that we want to get out of that meeting is really understanding why they’re seeking advice and what they want out of the advice process and really that comes down to what their goals are. Some of the biggest things I’ve learnt to date in terms of giving an advice is how to frame that conversation and how to really try and get clients to articulate that. That comes down to them knowing that you’re going to be chatting about that before the first meeting but also about the way you structure that conversation as well.

Fraser Jack: [14:03] Yeah, exactly right. A little bit of preparation then. You mentioned how you say things. What are some of the ways that you say things that have worked really well for you?

Ellie Fordham: [14:13] Tough one, because it depends on the client as well. One thing that we recently learnt was about the intent behind ... what I learnt actually was behind the ... the intent behind the conversation and the impact that it has on clients. And being able to understand the way that the impact of what you say has on clients is interesting because often there’s ... when you’re initially meeting a client for the first time, there’s a lot of whether they can actually understand that you truly are interested in what their goals are. You’re not just there to get a sale out of them. And for us to be able to do that, I’ve personally found that one of the best ways to do that is really around the client trusting you and trying to build that trust.

Ellie Fordham: [14:56] Some of the ways that we frame conversations, it really comes down to the way that they’re, how they’re coming out of that. Yeah, it’s interesting, it’s different for every client.

Fraser Jack: [15:07] Tell me, Ellie, about the process when you, the long first meeting and you’ve gone through their goals and you’ve quite a conversation, what’s after that?

Ellie Fordham: [15:18] After that, for our clients, we take them through a second meeting and that meeting is designed for them to really see the value in obtaining financial advice. So in the past, I’ve done different types of meetings where it’s looked at strategies you might be looking for for a client, an idea of some of the advice you might be providing without giving advice. For us, it’s not giving our clients the advice, it’s about them understanding by engaging us as a firm, what we might be able to do for them and the value that they might receive.

Ellie Fordham: [15:47] So that’s really a great meeting to weed out clients that are going to be long-term prospects for you or someone who’s just looking for initial advice, probably more piecemeal advice than anything, before engaging a long-term relationship. So I actually really enjoy those meetings. It really sets the frame for the future relationship that you’re having with the client and whether they’re going to actually value the advice that you’re providing moving forward. And the reason why we have those meetings is that so that before a client’s engaging us as a firm, they understand what they’re getting out of the process.

Fraser Jack: [16:21] Yeah, great. And are all your meetings tend to be, especially those first meetings, face-to-face?

Ellie Fordham: [16:26] We do prefer to have face-to-face meetings. We do have a lot of clients, though, that are living interstate and overseas. If that’s the case, we just use Zoom. I also use FaceTime with a lot of my clients, if that’s something that they prefer to do, but particularly for the first couple of meetings, I prefer to have face-to-face meetings with them.

Fraser Jack: [16:46] Yes. So how many meetings would you have on average?

Ellie Fordham: [16:49] With the initial client?

Fraser Jack: [16:50] Yeah.

Ellie Fordham: [16:52] We’d usually have the three meetings. An initial meeting, a second meeting and then the statement of advice presentation.

Fraser Jack: [17:00] Okay. Tell me about, because you do a lot of work in cash flow, tell me about how much time you spend on that.

Ellie Fordham: [17:03] Cash flow’s an interesting one and it really comes down to whether a client is really keen on making some improvements in that area or they’re not. But a lot of our clients, as I mentioned earlier, are the young families or clients who are buying their home for the first time. So that process is really interesting. I lead a lot of that conversation to clients and probably spend through the initial advice process, about three or four hours just working one-on-one with the clients. Usually it’s with the person who’s in charge of the banking structure et cetera. And that can be quite labor-intensive, but it has had some amazing outcomes for our clients. And where we’re picking up a lot of the great feedback about the value of our service is in the cash flow plan, given that cash flow really drives the whole outcome of the advice process. Cash flow’s related to debt repayment, to being able to make super contributions, to essentially being able to achieve majority of clients’ goals.

Ellie Fordham: [18:01] So getting that process right, getting that structure right and being able to ... clients being able to know that they’re actually spending what they say they’re spending is imperative to the rest of their strategy.

Fraser Jack: [18:13] Ellie, I love the cash flow idea. I think there’s a lot of financial stress out there, underlying financial stress that people like to have solved with that cash flow conversation.

Ellie Fordham: [18:22] Absolutely. Particularly it’s interesting because you usually think that it’s going to be in younger families or people that are more starting out. But a lot of our biggest ... some of our biggest clients are actually people who are quite successful in their own right from a business perspective, but from a cash flow perspective, are really relying on someone to just get that working for them and get it under control. So again comes back to the whole creation of dozzi in that we weren’t necessarily needing to provide services that were fund-driven and having that cash flow piece being fee-for-service allows us to provide that service.

Fraser Jack: [18:58] So 100% fee-for-service, independent. Tell me about the, once somebody’s come on and they’ve accepted and they want to proceed with some of the advice. Do you start a regular meeting process straightaway or is it?

Ellie Fordham: [19:11] Yeah, absolutely. So for all of our clients, when they’re going through the implementation process, there’s obviously a really significant amount of touchpoints with them. But as soon as the implementation is done or close to it, we do have a meeting with our clients, a 90-day review. And the regular meeting schedule depends on the level of service they’re selecting from us. So we have a number of service packages, so it can be very frequent, monthly meetings with clients. It could be six-monthly meetings. It depends on the service level, but obviously we’re always there along the way.

Ellie Fordham: [19:42] One thing that we decided to do when we first started dozzi is we actually provide our mobile numbers to clients, so there’s a lot of texting going on with clients. Just they feel really comfortable to be able to call us, no matter what. And I feel like that’s really created open line of communication, to be able to move forward for them, to just drop us a line when something’s changing as soon as possible.

Fraser Jack: [20:05] Yeah, yeah, that’s a good idea. So tell me, is there anything that you’re working on now for the future, over the next six, 12 months?

Ellie Fordham: [20:14] Yeah, there’s always a lot of things we’re working on. Probably some of the two key areas that we’re looking at working on are embracing technology more. So we’ve trialed a number of different pieces of software that, some have worked, some haven’t worked. We want to create some more efficiencies in our business to be able to spend more time with our clients as well. That’s taking, it’s not necessarily taking a long time, it’s just understanding what we need in the business first before we can go about implementing that.

Ellie Fordham: [20:48] The second thing that we’re spending a lot of time on at the moment is how we can really increase the level of service to our higher service-package clients and how we can get to understand them a little bit more and provide the best possible service to them and the advice they’re looking for. Because a lot of clients just trust you so much that you don’t have to go and see them every month or do something with them. So trying to find out from them what they want from an advisor and how we can give that to them.

Fraser Jack: [21:22] Nice. How many people in the business now?

Ellie Fordham: [21:25] We have four people in the business. So we have a para-planner, an accounts person and two advisors in the business at this stage.

Fraser Jack: [21:33] And are there plans to grow or scale or what’s?

Ellie Fordham: [21:37] I think at this stage, we’re pretty happy with the number of staff members we have. For us, as I mentioned earlier, embracing technology will allow us to probably maintain the number of staff members that we have. And that would be ideal for us. And then as I mentioned earlier, we can spend more time with our clients in creating better relationships with them moving forward. So that’s probably where we’ll sit at this stage.

Fraser Jack: [22:00] Nice, okay. How do you see the more sort of the longer term of the industry panning out?

Ellie Fordham: [22:07] It’s an interesting space. I had a lot of people, family and friends say to me, “Why are you in advice? Because the Royal Commission’s on TV, you have education changes, et cetera.” But one of the reasons I love advice is creating some great relationships with clients.

Ellie Fordham: [22:28] For us, I think the future is all about having those relationships and continuing them into the future. There’s obviously technology out there that’s going to be able to do a lot of the things that we already do as advisors. So I think the future of financial advice is more so about being there for your client whenever they need you, so you create a relationship where they feel they can contact you and get some advice from you as soon as things happen. Because if they’re looking purely for advice in regards to what’s the best superannuation fund or what’s the best insurance policy, if there isn’t already technology out there that they’re seeking, they’re going to be seeking that sooner rather than later. So to have someone trusted that they can turn to, I think, is the most important thing for us moving forward.

Fraser Jack: [23:22] Yeah, I think the relationship is definitely the biggest part of that equation. I think technology will actually just end up enhancing that relationship, make you look good in front of your clients a bit more and you can scale accordingly.

Ellie Fordham: [23:37] Yeah, absolutely. That’s where we’re really keen to develop more into our business over the next 12 months, to make us look amazing in front of clients and have everything at the touch of a button, so to speak. It’s just about making sure it’s the right fit for the business.

Fraser Jack: [23:56] Yeah, certainly it sounds like a pretty amazing business that’s obviously been recognized with a few awards lately.

Ellie Fordham: [24:01] Yeah, we’ve been pretty fortunate to have a few awards in the business, not only just from the work we’re doing but also from a lot of charity work that we’re doing as well. So that was one thing that we were also keen to do when we started the business was spend as much time as we could, while trying to get the business going, on the charity side of things.

Ellie Fordham: [24:20] So we recently did quite a large fundraiser for Mater Little Miracles in Brisbane. And we were in a group called Running CEOs, and we won highest fundraiser team. So for a team of four to be able to raise just about $40,000, we were pretty stoked with that.

Ellie Fordham: [24:38] So there’s some great recognition from within the industry but some great stuff that we’re doing outside the industry as well.

Fraser Jack: [24:44] Wow, that’s really, really impressive. What were you doing to raise the money?

Ellie Fordham: [24:49] We contacted our clients and got some donations. But one of the biggest fundraisers we had was a Casino Royale night earlier in the year, which was amazing. It was a really fun night. Got to get to know a lot of our clients on a social level as well. But we were fortunate enough to have a lot of prizes donated, a lot of auction items, some amazing donations from clients as well. And at that particular evening, we had some good old-fashioned casino fun with some funny money and some raffles and some auctions. And that was primarily how we raised the majority of the funds.

Fraser Jack: [25:30] Sounds good, and obviously it was a fundraiser, but it would have been quite interesting, the dynamic, having all your clients there and them talking with each other and meeting.

Ellie Fordham: [25:38] It was fantastic. We have a lot of clients now who’ve gotten to know each other and connected on that basis, a lot of small business owners as well. Just a lot of even young families who were just having a date night out and came along to the fundraiser. And definitely something that I’m hoping we can put on the calendar again next year. Whether it’s in the same capacity or not, I’m not sure, but I just think from a client point of view, they all had a great time and they all speak about it very highly. It was a good night.

Fraser Jack: [26:07] It does sound like a fun night. I’m hoping I get an invite next year. I would love to come along to that one.

Ellie Fordham: [26:11] I’ll put you on the list, Fraser.

Fraser Jack: [26:12] Great, okay, thanks Ellie. So tell me, we might duck to our last set of questions, which often are the same. But tell me, when you were talking to a consumer, maybe your friend that is thinking about getting advice, what advice would you give to them?

Ellie Fordham: [26:32] I think when you are out there looking for advice, you’ve got to have a relationship with someone who you feel like you can trust, who are on the same level as you, probably more than anything, that have similar experiences to you as well. I often tell people to actually use the ASIC website, so go to moneysmart.gov.au I think it is and I find by actually sending them to the government website that it’s already a level of trust there in that particular source, but it’s going to point them into the direction of what sort of education standards there should be for clients, what sort of fees they’re looking at paying, what they need to ask from an advisor. All the things that we sort of take for granted being in the industry, but they have not any understanding of that and they can check that out and find out what’s going on.

Ellie Fordham: [27:17] For me, I’m probably a little bit biased but the other really big thing obviously is I think that they should be looking for an independent financial advisor or at least one that’s not aligned to a product. A lot of the correspondence that I get back from family and friends but also clients as well, is they’ve seen an advisor who is aligned with a product and it’s become really evident to them when they’ve received the advice and not something they’re particularly happy about.

Ellie Fordham: [27:43] So yeah, I actually just send them there to the government website.

Fraser Jack: [27:46] And just on that, independent, when you talk to your clients about that, what’s their reaction, as in their initial reactions? Is it something that they’ve thought about it before or?

Ellie Fordham: [27:59] A lot of the clients that actually come in and seek us are looking for an independent advisor. But clients that haven’t particularly looked for an independent advisor, the reaction is often that they didn’t think they existed. And particularly that they don’t actually have any awareness of what an independent advisor is or how we’re independent. And it’s only when you start to discuss how the industry’s evolved, that it’s essentially been developed from, I guess, insurance sales in the past, from our predecessors and then moving forward into the way that most advisors are remunerated these days. Once we explain that sort of process to them and that history, that’s when they become pretty excited, I guess, that they’re sitting in front of independent financial advisors and that we’re definitely uniquely different.

Fraser Jack: [28:49] Okay, yep. So when it comes to having that conversation and putting your fee structure up, is that something that clients ever consider? As in, oh, it could be paid out of that product?

Ellie Fordham: [29:03] Look, that’s still part of being an independent advisor is that they can fund part of their fee out of their product. It’s just that they have a really clear awareness of what that fee is, rather than being paid commission or that they have a fee that’s changing depending on the balance of their particular investment or superannuation fund.

Ellie Fordham: [29:21] I think for them, it’s more about having transparency on what they’re being paid and that it’s really clear and they’re able to see that at any occasion on what they’re being paid. Not only that though, I think that seeing ... that understanding what an independent advisor is for clients is that they know that with any sort of advice that we’re recommending to them, that there’s no bias in where the recommendation should be. We’ve had a lot of clients come to me, they’ve got cash funds, they’ve got a number of goals, probably more so around making an investment in property, et cetera, and it’s been really great to be able to provide advice to them that hasn’t been fund-driven and which is something that I would have to consider in the past.

Fraser Jack: [30:11] Yeah, great, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Now I thought I might ask you the next question which is, if you’re talking to somebody who’s thinking about getting into advice, maybe just starting out or wanting to become an advisor, what would you say to them?

Ellie Fordham: [30:25] I would definitely say to them that I really appreciated the experiences that I had in starting out in financial planning. Being in administration to start with, then para-planning, it really set the foundation for the rest of my career in financial planning. And although it’s not something that we really want to be doing initially, getting to know clients through that role, particularly in administration and getting to know the processes of a firm from back to front, is really an amazing start to the journey. So I would say don’t feel like you’re starting at the bottom and it’s a bad thing, because it actually can really benefit you so much more in the future.

Ellie Fordham: [31:10] The other thing I would say to someone just starting out in advice is that, listen to your mentors. Listen to people with experience. Probably because of the age I was when I started out in advice, sometimes I used to be told different things and I brushed it to the side. And now it’s probably only as I’m getting older that I look back and think, I really understand what that person was saying to me now. That’s so true. I should have listened to them then.

Fraser Jack: [31:42] Nice. And if somebody’s wanting to transition from their existing, maybe their traditional business, towards maybe a goals-based advice business or even an independent business, what would you say to them?

Ellie Fordham: [31:53] I would say don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re willing to make the move, then don’t be concerned that there’s small things that you’re going to do in your business that you aren’t going to get right. Because you’re not going to get it right straightaway.

Ellie Fordham: [32:06] I would say to them that if you’re concerned about making that move, then why not try it with one or two clients? Clients who you have a long relationship with, are wanting you to succeed just as much as you’re wanting them to succeed. And perhaps you can try out different elements of what you’re maybe looking at with them to get a bit of an understanding of whether you want to go forward with that or not.

Ellie Fordham: [32:28] But if you don’t get it right straightaway, that’s great. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because you can learn from that and you can have amazing outcomes from that, through that learning.

Ellie Fordham: [32:40] So yeah, just go for it. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong straightaway.

Fraser Jack: [32:44] Yeah, well said, I think that’s probably good advice for a lot of people.

Ellie Fordham: [32:48] It’s definitely, it’s not easy, and particularly I can understand people who are into the end of their career. It’s not something you want to consider. But with the way that the world’s changing, not just financial advice, I think that if you don’t do something in terms of changing your business, you’re going to get left behind and that’s probably already started to happen quite a bit in the industry, I would say.

Fraser Jack: [33:16] Yes, that’s exactly right, getting left behind. There might be a few people out there getting left behind at the moment.

Fraser Jack: [33:21] Now tell me, let’s talk about you. If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, where would you go and what would you say to yourself?

Ellie Fordham: [33:29] I’d probably say, thinking about where I was in the past, don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t be afraid to go and do something different, even though what you’ve got, what you’re in at the moment is doing really well. So there’s a lot of advice businesses out there that are doing really well with what they’ve focused on for a long period of time, and it’s not a bad thing to make a change. I wish I would have gone back in time and really taken a dive into something that I enjoyed doing but I wasn’t 100% comfortable with, because making the change is hard, but you can end up being so much happier with yourself and your clients will be happier as well if you could just make the courageous call and make the change.

Ellie Fordham: [34:18] So there’s probably a lot of small things in my life and in my career that I would have changed, but I’m also very happy at the same time that, where I’m at the moment.

Fraser Jack: [34:30] Yeah, very good. And you’re obviously kicking a lot of goals and doing well and we certainly wish you every success in the future.

Ellie Fordham: [34:37] Thank you, Fraser. Thank you very much.

Fraser Jack: [34:41] Now, if people want to continue that conversation, can they hit you up with something?

Ellie Fordham: [34:45] Yeah, they can hit us up on our LinkedIn page or they can also head to the dozzi website and they can have a chat to us on live chat. I’m usually on there most days, when I’m not in client meetings, and I find it’s a good way to have a chat to people.

Fraser Jack: [34:57] Very good, and we’ll stick those links in the show notes so people can click on them.

Ellie Fordham: [35:02] Great, thank you.

Fraser Jack: [35:04] Thank you very much for your time today. I really appreciate it and I’m sure people got a lot of information out of that where they can have a think about their own businesses and work with that space around that goals-based advice and independent advice. Thank you so much.

Ellie Fordham: [35:16] Thank you.

Fraser Jack: [35:18] If you haven’t already, I’d love you to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice. And to continue the conversation, head over to our social media channels. We’ll catch you next time.


Disclaimer: This document is a transcription obtained through a third party. There is no claim to accuracy on the content provided in this document, and divergence from the audio file are to be expected. As a transcription, this is not a legal document in itself, and should not be considered binding to advice intelligence, but merely a convenience for reference.