Corey Wastle: [00:00] Good decision-making is decision making that is aligned to what you value. That’s what it is. You can’t align your decision with what you value if you haven’t clarified what you value or what you’re trying to do. If you want to be a goals based advisor, however you want describe that, you have to get great at helping people clarify those things, because they need to become the compass for how you direct them.
Fraser Jack: [00:32] Hello, and welcome to the Goals Based Advice Podcast, where we have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack, and I want to thank you for tuning in today. I’d also like to thank our supporting partner, Advice Intelligence, for powering this episode.
Fraser Jack: [00:49] In this episode, I chat with Corey Wastle from Averse Wealth. Corey is a purpose driven, goals based advisor, proud family man and motivated business owner. We had a great chat about his business and he made sure he dished out nuggets of gold that you can take away and implement directly into your practice. We cover topics like his teammate and team culture, the real value of advice and the value of coaching and the difference between financial plans and statements of advice. He shares how he works with other professionals to help clients achieve their goals. And as a team, they’ve codified their definition of great advice, what it is, and what it isn’t. I also asked him about his thoughts on the future of the advice profession, and he gave a truly phenomenal answer, so listen out for that part. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and I know you will too. Let’s dive straight in.
Fraser Jack: [01:45] Welcome to the show, Corey.
Corey Wastle: [01:53] Good day, Fraser. Thank you for having me.
Fraser Jack: [01:55] How are you going?
Corey Wastle: [01:57] I’m very well. I’m just enjoying a lovely Monday here down in Melbourne. It’s a good time of year down here, mate. We’ve got the Spring Racing Carnival on. It’s Cup Day tomorrow. So everyone’s in a pretty relaxed state and yeah I’m looking forward to having some family time tomorrow and hopefully a win on the punt.
Fraser Jack: [02:14] Yeah. Melbourne really comes alive, doesn’t it, at springtime?
Corey Wastle: [02:17] It’s just a good time of year to be in Melbourne, particularly if you get to the races as well and you make the most of it. We had Derby Day on Saturday, which is the big first day of the carnival. Melbourne’s just got bit of a buzz this time of year. We’re pretty fortunate down here we’ve got so many great events, particularly sport. I love sport, so it works well for me down here. But we really are fortunate.
Fraser Jack: [02:37] Fantastic. Now, Corey, do you want to just quickly introduce yourself?
Corey Wastle: [02:40] Yeah, sure. So a bit about me personally. I’m a dad. I’m a fiancé, so fiancé to [Christy 00:02:48]. We’ve got our boy, Brady, who is 20 months now. The little man is the absolute light of our lives. I have got a business, which I’m sure we’ll talk about, that’s Verse, we’ve been running for nearly four years and we’ve put plenty of hard work into try and build something that’s impactful for people which hopefully we can explore pretty soon together, Fraser.
Fraser Jack: [03:07] Fantastic, now it’s a wonderful goals based advice business and I can’t wait to bring this story out to everybody. But before we do, just tell us about where you came from and your journey towards where you are now.
Corey Wastle: [03:19] Yeah, sure. So I mean life is interesting isn’t it? I never anticipated that I would be a financial advisor, but when I look back it makes all the sense in the world. You know that famous quote from Steve Jobs that, “You can only join the dots looking backwards.” I can do that so easily right now, I think back to when I was a kid, I had parents that taught me great financial habits, they taught me to save, they taught me a lot about delayed gratification which is an important concept but also instant gratification is also important.
Corey Wastle: [03:47] I was taught hard work and discipline, so happily working a lot through high school, making some good money early, putting money away, start investing in high school as well, had a margin loan by the time I was 17, which I think I was the only one at school that had one of those. Most of my mates were taking out personal loans and buying potted up Utes and I was talking about whether I should be in Origin or AGL. And I ran to the GSE soon after that, which was a great learning experience as an investor, it’s helped serve me well as an advisor.
Corey Wastle: [04:18] But from there I decided to get into advice because my whole thinking around making money and putting money away and investing, it was I always want to be wealthy. I’m not afraid to say that. But it was never for the sake of having money for the sake of money. Money is not the goal, it’s the fuel in life, it’s to help you get the things that you value and I personally want to lead this great life full of amazing experiences, now with my family as well. And I guess I’ve always intuitively thought that money is the thing that gets in the way of the happening for most people in life and I just don’t it to be a roadblock for me personally.
Corey Wastle: [04:57] And I really don’t want it to be a roadblock for other people either and I guess it just seemed like a natural fit for me that advice would be a great playground for me to jump in and help people. So I got into advice in 2011, I was working at CBA initially, not as an advisor, working on [inaudible 00:05:16] advice and then moved into an advisor role. And it was just an interesting experience for me, because I went into advice with this view that you’re going to sit down with people and you’re going to have great conversations, you’re going to get clarity around what they value, what stresses they’ve got that are wholly or partially caused by money and then you’re going to work with people to help them achieve those things and get what they want out of life with the use of their financial resources.
Corey Wastle: [05:45] And my first impressions of advice were is that it doesn’t do any of that stuff. It’s sales focused, it’s commission focused, it’s about moving peoples super and selling insurance and maybe some strategy but never saw any advisors have the kind of conversations I thought people were meant to have with clients, never saw anyone get the kind of guidance I thought they wanted and I never thought anyone got anything near the kind of value that I know advice can give to people. And for me it just seemed so obvious that I needed to build something and create something that delivered that, because if I’m going to be in advice for a long time I want to make it impactful. I truly do. And that was the whole motivation for developing this vision that’s become Verse, that is a big work in progress still, we haven’t fulfilled any vision yet. We’re on our way.
Corey Wastle: [06:36] But I wanted to make advice really impactful so we started Verse and things have moved from there.
Fraser Jack: [06:42] Sounds to me like you actually came into advice as a consumer, wanting to create advice that you would want as a consumer, not just what traditionally was handed out?
Corey Wastle: [06:53] Exactly right. Even before I got into advice I kind of missed a step in that story, but that is the fact that I actually developed a business plan to go into schools and educate high school kids around money. But not the traditional stuff like, “This is how you do a budget.” And those things and, “This is how a share works.” Some of that stuff, but more so around context and decision making. “This is the value of money in your life when you use it well, this is the importance of having the right mindset, this is the consequence of different decisions. If you do go and buy that car with that $30000 personal loan; here’s the flow on effect to other things in your life.”
Corey Wastle: [07:31] To help make sure that people have got the right mindset around decision making with money, because fundamentally that’s where good decision making starts, with the right mindset. Any business success and anything is around mindset, so that’s kind of what I thought financial advisors were actually doing with people, that kind of stuff. Approaching people. And then when I got to the bank I thought, “Hang on, surely this is not it. There’s more to it than this. This is more self serving than...” So it’s kind of more sales masquerading as professional advice and actually giving professional advice to people so that’s how I felt about it and I still feel that way about it.
Corey Wastle: [08:07] I started at the Commonwealth Bank in 2011, which was kind of the tail end of a really interesting period for them, let’s put it that way. And for me there was so many positive experiences there and I’m not even going to say they’re negative because they’re positive because they helped me identify how do I think advice should be delivered and what I think advice is and where is it impactful and where is it not. And that really was a catalyst for me to start kind of creating this vision for Verse. And I guess acknowledging that how advice has traditionally been delivered to people is not a significant value and people are skeptical about advice and for good reason. I think advice generally speaking as an industry over the last 20-30 years has kind of viewed people like walking wallets, that’s not everyone, you have good people in industry [inaudible 00:09:00] or infrastructure. But I really wanted to help change the narrative of advice, making it really [inaudible 00:09:05], make it something outcome orientated, bring coaching into it and remove some of those traditional conflicts that have interfered with the quality of what people do.
Corey Wastle: [09:16] So started in 2015 as I said, we got going at Verse with putting in all the hard yards, since then we’re at a point where things are really beginning to move and we’ve evolved a lot as people and as a culture and as a business. But yeah we’re doing we now feel absolutely great about.
Fraser Jack: [09:32] Now, take us back to that moment when you were working in the bank and you decided, what was the decision for you that you wanted to open your own practice?
Corey Wastle: [09:42] Good question. It wasn’t even really a decision, I’m probably going to sound gimmicky, but I’ve always felt like I’ve had this vision that has pulled me and it’s felt effortless, it never felt like a decision, I never felt like I was taking a risk leaving a well paid advisor role at the bank. I’m purpose driven as a person, knowing I want to do something in my life that has big impact on people. I have my own financial goals but I’ve got noble goals as well, and I want to make sure that what I’m doing is really impactful and for me it was never a decision, it was something I’ve been inspired to do, that burning desire that I’ve had to build this advice business that I’m currently doing and it hasn’t waned at all. So it was a pretty simple exercise for me to be honest, Fraser.
Fraser Jack: [10:24] Great, and when you started your business, what size was it? Just the two of you and then how did you grow and evolve staff-wise from there?
Corey Wastle: [10:32] Yeah, so it was just the two of us both as advisors and we had our first client experience manager Nick, Nick joined us at the end of year one, we put a para-planner on about six months after that, Hailey Knight, a CPS that many people well know, Hailey White Knight if you’re listening. Then we had a couple people in the Philippines via 5L to join us as well and we’ve still Jorim that we’re working with. In terms of bringing other people on that was a reflection of scale, a very minor amount of scale, right? So we just needed to create enough work and enough demand and enough revenue to be able to justify that ability to bring someone else on, to give them a role, give them things to do that are going to help improve the business, make it more efficient and fundamentally free, myself and at the time James, up to do higher value activities and that’s kind of a cascading effect that hopefully creates more capacity to bring on more people and sell further into the future.
Corey Wastle: [11:36] So nothing unusual, Fraser.
Fraser Jack: [11:40] Now, I wouldn’t mind having a chat about your processes and your clients in the business and where you’re up to and how you actually have conversations with clients and where they come from. Do you want to start sort of running us through a bit of your process around how you bring on a new client or what sort of thing you go through?
Corey Wastle: [11:56] Yeah, sure. So when we initially have a referral come through or a lead, however you want to call it, it might come from a current client, it might come from account or referral partner, it might come from online. We’ve got a systematic process that we have built to take people through that onboarding journey, once a referral comes through, from there the first thing to do is get on the phone with them, we’ve got a tin plated email that we respond with, I had to put a bit of social group on there, things like reviews alluding to previous podcasts, those types of things so they can get to know us a little more.
Corey Wastle: [12:29] Initially we have a quick five minute phone call with them which is essentially nothing other than, “Hey, thanks for getting in touch, tell us a bit about your motivation for reaching out and we’ll explain what the early steps in the process are for you.” From there what we do is we book them in for a video session over Zoom, we call it an alignment session, if they’re part of a couple it always needs to be with the couple. You can’t give goals based advice and values based advice with one person out of the partnership.
Corey Wastle: [12:59] We get them onto a video session, they go through about 45 minutes to an hour and this alignment session is to do exactly that. It’s basically just to work out whether we’re a good fir for each other, so we’ll spend half of that time talking about where they’re at a high level. Personally, financially, what’s working, what’s not working, what’s your reason for getting in touch, where do you think you’re going to get value out of working with an advisor and why. You’re not deep diving into goals or plans, just high level about how they’re feeling about things and their motivations. And then we will really clearly explain to them, “Well, this is our approach to it, this is how we work with people, this is what we do do, this is what we don’t do, this is the service we provide, this is how we price it, this is how our service works, here’s some fee expectations for you so you’re not getting surprises further down the track. And then yeah, we’re an open book, ask any questions you have of us to work out whether we’re the right people with the right approach to help you guys get where you want to go.”
Corey Wastle: [13:56] And if we’re feeling good and they’re feeling good, meaning they’re confident and they’ve got some conviction in working with us and we’re philosophically aligned, which is really important if you’re giving goals based advice, then we will have them pay to come in and meet us and we’ll take them through the client experience, which will start with a discovery, discovery people will pay 295 before they come in. And that is basically 90 minutes, a bit longer if it’s a couple, no advice at all, it is just us asking as many good questions as we have to to get maximum clarity on who are you, what do you value, what are you working towards, what are your goals, what are your problems, how are you feeling about money, what needs to change for you individually, as a couple, as a family unit. And then we capture their financial life in that meeting as well, you might call it a fact find.
Corey Wastle: [14:49] That all happens in 90 to 120 minutes and then we have a follow up meeting with them, typically about a week later, and that’s really the first point in the process we kind of put our financial advisor hat on and we can say with conviction, “Alright well we now know what you value, what resources you’ve got, what you’re trying to do, what stresses you’re trying to overcome, this is how we’re going to work with you, this is what we’re going to focus on, this is what you need to start thinking differently about in terms of your finances and your approach. This is what we’re going to prioritize, this is what we’re going to part. This is the other professionals we’re going to call in to help you get where you want to go, here’s confirmation of the service and the fees.”
Corey Wastle: [15:25] It’s documented for them in a document called Client Agreement, and it’s not jargon laden, it’s a sexy kind of webpage, they get their own URL, we take them through that document in that meeting, set some expectations around how they’re going to conduct themselves as clients. It’s not just on us, it’s a two way street. They typically sign that in that meeting, they sign it digitally then they’re a client and then we can get started. They want to take that document from that meeting before they sign it, send it back, they can do that, no kind of sales pressure that’s put on them but most sign then and there because by then we’ve had three meetings including that video session, things have been consistent, they’ve got a really good sense as to how we’re going to work with them. They’re philosophically aligned, that’s why they’ve paid to come in for the discovery in the first place and we can typically get started.
Fraser Jack: [16:10] So it’s quite a comprehensive process really isn’t it? With a good couple of three or almost four hours of conversation and meeting time before you even talk about strategies?
Corey Wastle: [16:23] Yeah definitely, I mean people call up and they say, “I want to know whether I should buy an investment property or buy a home or I want to know whether I should invest my savings in the share market.” And I think a lot of people instinctively want you to give a quick response and I say, “Look, I just have no idea what you should do. None. I can talk to you about the property market, the share market and these things.” But good decision making is decision making that is aligned to what you value. That’s what it is and you can’t align your decisions with what you value if you haven’t clarified what you value or what you’re trying to do. And if you wants to be a goals based advisor, however you want to describe that, you have to get great at helping people clarify those things, because they need to become the compass for how you direct them. And the better you can be in helping them align what they do day to day and strategically with what they’re trying to achieve or overcome or realize in their life then the more impactful the advice is going to be.
Corey Wastle: [17:23] And that’s not a short process, that’s not a 15 minute conversation with people. That’s not just a tick box exercise. You’re not dealing with robots, these are humans and they all think differently, they have to look differently about things, even husband and wife, they want some of the same things, they want some different things and how people feel about their money differs as well. You actually want to get some depth and some definition around these things and you have to have people ... They’ve got to be feeling like they’re understood in a deep way, if they don’t feel like they’re understood it is really difficult to be an impactful advisor that you want to be.
Corey Wastle: [18:06] That old Steven Hobby, Habit Number Two is, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.” That is the fundamental first step of financial advice that you can’t short circuit if you want to give people great advice.
Fraser Jack: [18:18] I’m imagining that these clients come in and they go through quite a transformation during this process. I mean I’m imagining that they thinking it might be one thing, come in and then during the process or during the journey before you speak to them they’ve had quite a few significant changes in their demeanor and what their thinking of, would that be fair?
Corey Wastle: [18:38] Yeah, definitely. I’m really proud to say that we have had numbers of clients describe our experience as life changing, not so much just that onboarding experience, people get value out of those conversations of course. But what you can do for them over the first six to 12 months, for some people it can really be life changing. For people where money really has been a roadblock to them, for perhaps goals but also emotionally as well, that people when they come to you initially some people come ... Ideally you want your client to come to you, future client, going, “I am open minded about what you’re going to do for me. I want to share with you all my goals and what I value and I want any direction you can give me in helping me attain those things in my life.”
Corey Wastle: [19:21] That’s what you want, and you get that sometimes but most of the time you get people come in with like a discrete problem, going, “I’ve got savings, I don’t know what to do with it.” Or, “I think I want to set up a self registered super annuation fund.” Or, “I think we need insurance advice.” Or, “I’ve got some bad habits, I want to change those.” They typically come with one issue that they’re focused on and your role really early is to open their mind up to the fact that you’re not their to solve a singular problem, that problem is symptomatic of something else and it’s symptomatic of what they’re doing as a person, as a decision maker. Almost always your job is to open their mind up to the concept that you’re helping them solve that potential problem, but there might be far more important things at play and your job isn’t to help them work through a transaction, it’s to help them over a journey.
Corey Wastle: [20:13] So your language and your words in the early stages of your communication with a client is so crucial in conditioning them to have the right mindset around what’s it going to mean to work with you, what’s it going to mean to get advice. And you can only say these things if you believe them, right? Like if it’s not authentic you’re wasting your time, if you think that advice is just about selling people insurance and rolling over super funds and maybe giving a cheeky [inaudible 00:20:40] around you, then just talk about that because you’re going to be speaking your own truth. So you’ve got to actually mean what you say because you really do need to frame their mindset around what you’re going to do really quickly.
Fraser Jack: [20:53] So once they’ve agreed to become a client and you start working on strategies to obviously put them in a better position, what are the main strategies you’re looking at and how does that go over at the next few meetings?
Corey Wastle: [21:06] Yeah, sure. So when we get started, the first thing we do is what we call the [inaudible 00:21:12] Project, and the project basically is trying to get them as financially organized as possible in the first two to four months. And there’s some things in there that you’d typically find in advice, things like some advice around super annuation, there might be insurance advice, we tend to not do that straightaway these days. For most our clients, because most of our clients are 20s, 30s, 40s, their cashflow is one of the things that is slowing down their progress and not giving them the sense of control they want to have around their finances. So quite often we will get them to do a budget, a spending plan, we will get them to automate their cashflow, we’ll work with them over a 90 day period to basically have them in control of their cash flow, and then from there you start doing things like paying off credit card debts, personal loans, building buffers.
Corey Wastle: [21:57] Just trying to develop as much financial stability and security as possible early, because from those solid foundations you can actually start being more strategic and working towards goals. Now a lot of what we do in those early stages is around just laying solid foundations for people and it’s not just around strategy stuff, bro, so much of the [inaudible 00:22:20] advice is in coaching and half the conversations we have with people in those early meetings is around their mindset, how they make decisions, if there’s a lack of cohesion between husband and wife financially, we’ve actually got the conviction to call it out in a diplomatic and respectful way. And like I said, the sooner you get to the truth the sooner you can do something about it. If they’re pulling in different directions financially or with what they want we need to address that. If they come in and they’ve got a list of 10 goals and we know that because their resources are limited, time, money, energy, they’re going to have to say no to eight things so they can say yes to the two most important things.
Corey Wastle: [22:58] And helping them work through that decision making process, that’s some of the stuff we do, helping them work out whether they should buy a home or wait or rent’s best, so they can afford to have kids now. It’s varied and it depends on what their priorities are.
Fraser Jack: [23:13] So the first few months are all about foundation advice strategies. Cashflow’s obviously huge in business planning and I believe it should be bigger in financial planning as well. Also you mentioned that you caused a project, is that something that’s sort of a different mindset for the client to think about?
Corey Wastle: [23:32] I don’t think so. I think just when you explain to them that, “Look, we want to get you financially organized in the early stages of working together, here’s some things that we can do to help make that a reality, these are what those things are. We’re going to bundle them together and call them a project.” There’s a one off fee for that project work, I think for most people that seems to make sense to them.
Fraser Jack: [23:50] Now you mentioned fees, what sort of fee structure? Do you want to talk about your fees?
Corey Wastle: [23:53] Yeah, happy to talk about fees.
Fraser Jack: [23:56] How do you set them? You mentioned before that you had them already in a schedule?
Corey Wastle: [24:03] Yeah so in the alignment session over video we explain to them how the project fee works, that’s the initial one off fee and how our ongoing service packages work, we’ve got four. They’re basically based on how simple or complex the clients situation is, if things are complicated you pay more, vice versa, that makes sense to them. Our minimum ongoing fee is 240 bucks a month, highest fee paying clients they might be paying 10 to 15000 dollars a year, we don’t have a lot of those clients. Average clients paying 5 to 6000 a year for ongoing advice and the fees are documented and the service is documented, it’s all in that time agreement that they get at the end of our second face to face meeting together.
Fraser Jack: [24:46] And for that you obviously spend a lot of work them in the initial time, in the first 90 days, what does it go back to after that?
Corey Wastle: [24:53] So it’s typically for most of our clients once they’re through that first six months when a lot of heavy lifting has been done, we meet with them twice a year, that can be face to face, over Zoom, we do most of our meetings over Zoom these days. That’s the formal kind of arrangement but we’re really flexible, because our clients have got unlimited access to me and the team and the other advisors, we spend a lot of time over Zoom with clients so it might be at three different points over the course of the year they’re looking at a career change, they’re thinking about maybe selling off a property, they want to have another child, maybe they’ve fallen off the horse with their cashflow and they’re creating bad habits again that have held them back in the past.
Corey Wastle: [25:34] We just make time to talk with people over Zoom, so there is at a minimum there’s two meetings a year. For the average client we’re probably having kind of four sessions a year with them.
Fraser Jack: [25:45] So a lot of your time would spend as the accountability guy or helping people make sure their habits are on track?
Corey Wastle: [25:52] Yeah, I mean it’s part of it. It’s a big part of it. The thing around the team is that great advice is a combination of coaching and strategy. Strategy is I think where advisors have traditionally focused and where they think their value lies and there’s value in strategy, right? You’ve got to be able to give strategy, you’ve got to have three or four jobs, that’s like the ticket to the game. But that might only 30-40% of the value of advice. The other 60-70% it is in coaching, it is in helping them have the right mindsets, improving their decision making around the finances, giving them discipline and accountability, helping them learn how to say no to things. Being the sounding board for big important life decisions, giving them context for them, helping them understand opportunity cost. Being a set of bumper bars, making sure they don’t do stupid stuff along their journey financially, that’s one the most important things you can do is be those bumper bars so they never roll [inaudible] and keep knocking pins over.
Corey Wastle: [26:51] And I think about strategy and also product that goes in an SOA. There is no SOA that has ever been produced that has actually been a proper financial plan that has lasted someone over 20 years and got them to those 20 years goals. It just hasn’t. And any advisor that tries to tell you, “We’re going to create the financial plan for them that’s going achieve these 20 year goals.” It’s just life doesn’t work that way. You’ve got a plan, it’s not only plan. And that document can contain some strategy advice and product advice but life’s just so dynamic. So you’re there for the changes and twists in life, and those changes and twists they just happen more than anyone’s going to anticipate in everyone’s life.
Corey Wastle: [27:35] Like I was meant to get married a couple of years ago, I had a child instead. I had to cancel my wedding because we were pregnant and we were due when were about to get married, it just ... Life is just so dynamic and your job isn’t to manage peoples money, you’re there to work at the intersection of their life and their money. And it’s a really messy place to be but it’s where all the value in advice lies. And it means that some years you spend more time with people and others you spend less time with them, there’s ups and downs along that journey that it’s exciting and I think it’s, as I say, it’s where the value of advice actually lies for people.
Fraser Jack: [28:11] Love that, love that comment, it’s fantastic and I really also agree with you around the idea that the coaching plays 60-70% in the advice process. I think that’s really strong. Now tell me about your staff and where you’re up to now and how they come along on the journey?
Corey Wastle: [28:31] Sure so at the moment we’re a team of four, let’s call it five. So I’ve got myself working as an advisor, in the business but also trying to help grow and develop the business and the team and the culture. We’ve got Vivienne who joined us as a financial advisor back in July, and Viv had just spent nine months kind of traveling around the world, particularly South America, she’d previously worked at ANZ Bank as a financial advisor. I met Viv when I was at CBA, was actually [inaudible 00:29:00] at the time, did some mentoring with Vivienne and someone who I’ve maintained a really good relationship with over those kind of four, five years since, because with the view for both of us I think to work together at some point. So we’ve come together in July, she’s joined the team, she’s now bringing on new clients and really kind of getting acclimatized to how we do things.
Corey Wastle: [29:23] We’ve got Daniel who’s our client experience manager, we had Monique for the first couple of years, Monique gave so much to our business, she’s now traveling the world herself, she’s in Italy at the moment I think. Anyway and Daniel has come up with a personal plan to be an advisor in the future but at the moment he’s trying to give people the best client experience we can. He’s working with Jorim, Jorim’s based in the Philippines, we work with Jorim via 5L. Many people will be familiar with Danielle and the team at 5L. They’ve been wonderful for us, Jorim, we call her Flash because she gets everything done so quickly, Flash from The Incredibles. She’s on the client experience side of things as well, trying to make sure that things are done efficiently for people, we’re simplifying things for them, we’re responsive and getting paperwork done, those types of things.
Corey Wastle: [30:10] We’ve also got Michael Back that we work with, and many people will be familiar with Michael, Michael’s been a big part of our team and our culture for a few years now, he’s based out of Brisbane, he comes down and spend to spend some time with the team. But he’s really fixated on trying to help create the best client experience at Averse we can, create the best culture we can and build best brand that we can.
Fraser Jack: [30:35] Good, good. So I just wanted to go back to the way your staff interact with your clients?
Corey Wastle: [30:40] Yeah.
Fraser Jack: [30:41] You mentioned Daniel wasn’t it, that works now in a client services role? Are you getting him to coach as well?
Corey Wastle: [30:50] Coach clients? Not at this stage no, just giving them direction particularly around cashflow and helping people get their budgeting done, automating their cashflow in those early stages but he’s not coaching clients in client meetings. He’s not yet an AR.
Fraser Jack: [31:08] And with regards to cashflow, how are you doing that at the moment and how’s it working?
Corey Wastle: [31:13] Yeah. So it starts with them doing a budget, so going and identifying what is this thing looking like at the moment. It’s a tin plated budget that we’ve created, we then use that to give them commentary around what their spending patterns look like, but most importantly to help them automate their cashflow. So we’ve got a bucket system that we’ve put together, the system has been designed to be as simple as possible so basically people have a hub account for all their income comes into, then they have a lifestyle account, each if they’re a couple. A bills account I should say sorry and a goals account for any short, medium term goals that need to be cash funded. Travel’s the most obvious one for people.
Corey Wastle: [31:52] So each month or each week there’s automated transfers, they go into those accounts so people know what they’re spending, where they’re spending, what their savings rate should be and quickly they’re going to move through some of those short and medium term goals.
Fraser Jack: [32:06] Now Corey, you do a lot of work with other professionals in your business as well and introducing the clients, can you tell me a little bit about that?
Corey Wastle: [32:13] Yeah, sure. So invested a lot of time in building a really good ecosystem of other professionals that are going to come in and out of the financial life of our clients on their journey. So if we’re going to look people in the eye and be able to say, “We are going to do everything that we can to help you achieve the goals that you’ve got or get the things that you’re working towards.” To be able to deliver on that we actually need help from lots of other professionals, now as a financial advisor you don’t control 100% of the clients financial life. We can’t execute on 100% of it is probably a better way of describing it.
Corey Wastle: [32:49] Your client, they’re going to need, if they’re in business, they need to make sure their business is running well. They need good people around them, it’s a business coach or a business accountant. If they’ve got a property portfolio that they’ve got assets in there they shouldn’t really be owning long term, that are holding them back, someone needs to identify that and call in a property specialist to give them some advice around that portfolio to help them perhaps sell assets down to reinvest in the right quality assets. They need a mortgage broker at the right time, they’ll need an estate planner, they might need a commercial lawyer.
Corey Wastle: [33:23] People need different people coming in and out of that financial life as I said, over time, to help them get to where they want to go. So a big part of what we do is we’re like a traffic controller to their financial life. We work out based on where they’re trying to go, who they need help from, we call in great people they can trust, that are going to give them a great experience and they do what they need to do and then they lead their financial life and we call the next person in at the right time. And I think that if you are going to give truly goals based advice; that is a necessary component. Because the reality is you can’t do all of it, if you’re trying to help an athlete achieve their goal, they don’t just have a coach. They’ve got a head coach of their team, they’ve got a nutritionist, they’ve got an S&C guy, they’ve got a psychologist. It’s the same thing.
Corey Wastle: [34:09] But maybe there’s that one person that’s closest to them that helps make sure they’ve got the right team around them, that’s the role of the advisor.
Fraser Jack: [34:16] Now I’m assuming these are also people that, you mentioned earlier you get a lot of referrals in, that these are also your referral partners?
Corey Wastle: [34:22] Yeah, definitely. So we refer out and we refer out on average to three professionals per client in the first 12 months and we get introductions from these businesses as well in varying forms. They’re not all there just to refer to us. Most importantly we want to deliver what we say we’re going to deliver to people and that means we need to work with great people and great businesses.
Fraser Jack: [34:45] And how did you go about creating these relationships?
Corey Wastle: [34:48] Man we source people primarily on LinkedIn and then picked up phones, started having coffees. Fortunately don’t do too much of it at the moment because we’ve got a great team we’ve built but met lots and lots of accountants and mortgage brokers and property people to find the people that we’ve got maximum confidence in. Once you work with them for awhile, sometimes it will validate that, sometimes it won’t, and over time if you put the energy into it you’re going to meet enough people and follow through you’ll build a good team around your clients.
Fraser Jack: [35:23] And how long did it really take you to get that in place?
Corey Wastle: [35:27] I’d say probably two years till we got to the point where we’re like, “Right, we’ve got all the right people in the right areas.” And there’ve been a lot of people that we were working with when we first started we’re not working with now because we’ve found people that we think can deliver more value to our clients.
Fraser Jack: [35:44] Fantastic, thank you. Now one of the things that came out of the Royal Commission was this idea of quality advice, it was mentioned several times. And I know you’ve done a lot of work in this space with codifying what you and your team refer to as great advice. Can you talk to that a little bit?
Corey Wastle: [36:03] Yeah, sure. So as a team we used to talk about great advice a lot. And Michael and the team said, “What is it? How do you know when you’re delivering it to some people and how do you identify maybe when you’re not delivering it to other people? And we really should codify what that actually is so we can be accountable internally to people that we’re working with.”
Corey Wastle: [36:29] So we sat down as a team and we thought about what are the non-negotiables? What are the things that have to always exist in the advice relationship and what you’re doing for people to make sure you’re giving great advice? And we come up with three concepts, three pillars to it basically.
Corey Wastle: [36:49] Number one is; make it personal. So great advice is not cookie cutter, is not about products, it is not about just a strategy. It is about person and what they’re trying to do and achieve and get in their life, what do they value? What’s going to make them happy? What stresses do the have that need to be overcome? And so much of that is in coaching, as I said, there’s not an SOA in the world that is going to get people where they want to go over 20 years.
Corey Wastle: [37:16] The second element is around leadership. So we’re here to give people the advice they need, not necessarily the advice they want and there can be a disconnect there for people at times. So great advice involves not avoiding hard conversations. Earning peoples trust by asking great questions, listening well and caring and then just being really frank and objective about, “Well, this is what you need to do to get where you want to go and this is what you need to change.” And if that means that we need to have a difficult conversation with them or tell them they’re lacking accountability or have hard conversations between husband and wife because maybe they’re not working cohesively together, we don’t avoid any of those conversations. We’re not dictatorial at all, we’ve got a great relationship with clients, we give them a great environment but we always default to the truth and the truth is sometimes uncomfortable. But people value it too, and if you come from the right place with the right intent and you’re willing to say the things that perhaps other people aren’t willing to say to your clients, you can earn a lot of trust and a lot of respect really quickly.
Corey Wastle: [38:14] And the last element is around outcomes. So third is; deliver outcomes. And what we explain to people is that we will help you save more money, we’ll help you save tax, we’ll help you get better investment returns, we’ll help you build more equity and more wealth. But none of those things are outcomes. They are just tactics and strategies to help you get real outcomes, they’re the things that you tell us that you value. You want a forever home, you want to educate your kids, you want to leave a legacy, you want to not be stressed, you want to be confident, you want to have better wellbeing, you want to work less. They’re outcomes. And they are the things that we’re focused on helping clients achieve.
Corey Wastle: [38:54] So we explain this to clients in that alignment session to explain to them how we approach working with them, for most people it’ll resonate with them. And this is for us internally; we’ve got it hanging up on the wall and before you walk out of the office to go into a client meeting you’re going to see this right in front of you and it’s a real reflection of what we think great advice is about.
Fraser Jack: [39:16 Yeah, that’s fantastic, yeah definitely for me it’s definitely about the outcomes too and I really want, “What have you actually done and what’s actually happened?” I’m really passionate about the idea that if we’re in the industry to help our clients achieve their goals, not just set them so the outcomes are a big thing.
Corey Wastle: [39:33] Very well said and I wholeheartedly agree. There is a lot of talk out there about goals based advice and in some way there is a disconnect as to how as a collective industry we’re talking about it and we’re actually delivering on it. We do more talking than delivering I feel. If you’re talking about goals based advice and you believe in it, or values based advice, you’re already in the the right group within the industry that’s progressive and thinking the right way. But thinking that way and actually executing on it are different things. And it’s a journey, you’ve got to go through a lot of development and evolution as advisor, a team, a business, the journey we’re still on, we haven’t perfected anything to actually be able to deliver these things for people.
Corey Wastle: [40:18] It’s like one huge science experiment. Plenty of things, I would say the two biggest things where we’re working on right now, or beginning to work on, is standardizing many things in the business and standardizing the client experience. Previously we’ve been getting clients of all different shapes and sizes and now we’ve built this really personal experience but we need it to personally scalable at the same time and efficient. Because if it’s not efficient and not scalable, we’re not going to be able to help as many people as we want to help. So we really try to standardize processes, both back of house and from a client experience point of view as well so we can help more people more efficiently. That’s something that we haven’t done so well in the first few years of our business.
Corey Wastle: [41:07] And the other one is around adding more value to people, not just our clients, but our network through great content. So the last 12 months or so we’ve had a lot of changes in our business, we’ve been really quiet from a content point of view, I think content is really powerful because you can help people without them actually being a client. So we’re really at the moment working on some projects, we’ve got two that we’re undertaking with top secret names, they’re not top secret but they are named projects. Project Rafter and Project Pigeon, named after two sporting greats. Won’t go into that.
Corey Wastle: [41:42] But we want to start getting a lot of content out in 2019 to a lot of people, to help them make better decisions, to have better mindsets around money, to identify blind spots and give more value to people, not just our clients. And as well internally we know the business will benefit from that because we will generate more business, we will come away with more resonant clients and there’s a cascading effect I think of generating value, adding content to people.
Fraser Jack: [42:09] And when you say content, what medium?
Corey Wastle: [42:12] Yeah so a number of mediums, we’re shooting a lot of video at the moment, shooting kind of five to seven videos a week and there is a plan to have a kind of all-in week where we do nothing other than shoot video and produce 100 videos in five days. And then from there they will be broken up into smaller videos, maybe some small blogs, some micro content and those things. They’re going out on Facebook, on Instagram on YouTube, potentially some of that video content might become audio content as well.
Fraser Jack: [42:44] Fantastic, that’s a huge endeavor.
Corey Wastle: [42:48] As a team we went to Tony Robbins in September and one of the things that Tony spoke about was taking massive action. If you want to create momentum with something in your life; take massive action. Don’t just do a little bit of it. So in that we thought, “Well let’s not do a video a week, let’s go all in. Let’s build some real momentum.” And that was our way of doing it.
Fraser Jack: [43:11] So tell me, somebody that wants to shoot some video in their own business, what’s the process you run through?
Corey Wastle: [43:17] The process in terms of what?
Fraser Jack: [43:19] Yeah so writing, working out what you want to say, working out how you’re going to record it, all those sorts of things?
Corey Wastle: [43:24] Yeah so I think you can over think these things. I think it’s really easy to think, you can get into this bit of inertia of like, “I don’t know, I’ve got nothing to say or I don’t know what to say or how do we do it?” Just get out a pen and paper or get out the notepad on your computer and just start typing down ideas and things that you already tell clients. So I got out the Notes on my MacBook Pro and thought just start throwing stuff at the wall basically. Like what are the things we say to clients consistently that we know are impactful and valuable that other people, if they’ve heard them, that our clients will get value out of them too and it took about two hours and straight away we had 70 videos we were ready to shoot.
Corey Wastle: [44:05] And there all from like one to three minutes and I think part of it too is identifying as an advisor that you have so much value to give to people and I think we undervalue ourselves. Not just as advisors, people generally. Like if you know stuff you kind of assume everyone else knows it, it’s not that valuable because it’s easy for you and you’ve been doing it for years. But this is life changing stuff for so many people out there, they want to hear this stuff. So I think just getting over that mental barrier, however you do that, and then just putting stuff down on paper as to what you’re going to do and then getting a camera and turning it on. Don’t get too wrapped up in the lighting and getting your haircut before you shoot and all these kinds of things; just get started. And you’re probably going to suck from the get go but that gives you a chance to improve.
Corey Wastle: [44:50] You’re doing, “Oh I don’t look great, I don’t sound great and that was too long and I’m carrying on.” But you just make iterations and improvements and before too long, hopefully, you’re looking great on camera. But you’ve got to also be mindful that maybe video is not the medium for you, if you’re a wonderful writer but you’re not great on camera don’t try and push a square peg into a round hole forever; just write.
Fraser Jack: [45:15] Yeah, very good. Now tell me, you’re recording it yourself with your own equipment?
Corey Wastle: [45:19] Yeah so got the iPhone and tripod and a little mic and you don’t even need the mic because the mic on the iPhone’s pretty good these days, depending on where you’re trying to shoot a video, so it’s pretty simple stuff. You don’t need the 3000 dollar Canon camera anymore.
Fraser Jack: [45:33] And what about the cutting it all up and working out what you want, are you doing that as well or are you getting someone else to do that?
Corey Wastle: [45:39] No so we’re actually in the process at the moment of trying to find the right editor to do this work for us, but also someone that can also package it up and distribute it online. But not as a distributor, I don’t just mean pop it out, I mean understand the nuances of each platform. So you know you’ve got your context is right for each platform and get that content out for us. Because we want to make it really efficient in getting it out and that means we need to call in someone that knows how to do it and do it well.
Fraser Jack: [46:02] So it sounds like there’s a lot going on at the moment, a lot happening in 2019 for you guys?
Corey Wastle: [46:12] Yeah, oh I think for everyone in business, there’s always lots of things going on. There’s just things to work on and improve. They’re just opportunities and if you’re not excited by them you probably shouldn’t be in business.
Fraser Jack: [46:22] And how do you think the long term’s planning out for the profession?
Corey Wastle: [46:27] We’re in an interesting time, we’re in a changing world, a lot of that change is going to be driven by two things. One is legislation, the other one is technology. I find it personally a shame that legislation drives so much change in financial advice, I mean if legislation is forcing you to change your business you need to have a look at your business. Not even once a year but I really do believe that advice has under delivered, seriously under delivered for people for way too long and advice done well is something that almost everyone is going to want in their life and the reason that people aren’t chasing financial advisors left, right and center is because they haven’t been valuable enough for people. And if they had been and we had been delivering transparent value to people we wouldn’t need all this legislation. Legislation typically comes in to solve problems and I think about the future of advice and I’m just so excited by it because I just see the advice industry developing in a way where we start to remove all of the garbage, the focus on products and the low value aspects of advice are traditionally what things have been centered on. And we replace that just with a focus on people.
Corey Wastle: [47:40] And what they value and coaching people and helping them through big decisions and then using the tools around, people talk about robo advice. Robo’s are going to get rid of lots of advisors but they’re going to get rid of advisors that aren’t adding value to people. If you think your value lies around just portfolio construction and the development of the TTR strategy or the selection of an insurance policy over another one and you don’t change that mindset you’re a zombie. Your time is coming unfortunately, that’s the truth.
Corey Wastle: [48:12] However if you have that other mindset where you know you can impact people on a really personal level and you want to be that coach, that sounding board in their financial life that guides them on a journey, you’re going to have some seriously amazing tools around you from a technology standpoint to help you with the commodities of advice. And that is product selection, that is portfolio management and these types of things. You’re going to be able to surround yourself with wonderful tools so you can deliver a bucket load more value to people at scale, at a lower cost, which is always been an issue for advice so we can serve more people as well. And you’re going to do it on terms that I think they want it on and that is; on their phone. It is in their pocket, it is when they want it, how they want it, there’s going to be consistent contact, consistent value and advice is going to change the lives of a lot more people.
Corey Wastle: [49:01] And you can probably tell from the way I talk about it, I just think the future is just insanely bright and there are so many advisors out there with the right philosophies and a progressive nature about them that are going to truly capitalize on it, it’s going to be remarkable.
Fraser Jack: [49:16] Yeah I 100% agree, it’s absolutely a massive opportunity coming up now and I congratulate you for where you’re taking your business and where you’re heading and I really do think that there’ll be a lot of people following along in your footsteps. Especially the understanding how you run your business, it’s just phenomenal. Thank you so much for sharing that with us today.
Corey Wastle: [49:36] Yeah, you’re welcome Fraser, thanks for the kind words.
Fraser Jack: [49:39] Now I just quickly finish on our final thought questions, which is really around what advice would you give in certain circumstances. Tell me, if you’re speaking to somebody who hasn’t received advice or is lethargic about it or might even be thinking about going to an advisor, what advice do you give to that consumer?
Corey Wastle: [49:56] I mean hopefully they’ve got someone in their life that’s been getting great advice that can really confidently say, “You’ve got to go and talk to this person or these people because they’re wonderful.” If you don’t have that, use the internet. The internet is a democratic and transparent tool to help you access information to make more informed decisions as a consumer so jump online and there’s lots of websites out there, people have got their own websites of course but there’s websites like Advisor Ratings and I think you want to do two things. You want to, one, you want to get a sense of the people that you would be working with, ideally you want to be able to see them and hear from them, that’s where video is great, you can see whether you’re going to connect with them, whether they seem authentic. People have really good radars for authenticity or bullshit radars.
Corey Wastle: [50:40] And the other one is social proof, so look at their Google reviews, look at their Facebook reviews, look at the reviews people are leaving on them online. Don’t just look at the star ratings, they don’t say much. Look at the words people use, look at the depth of what they’re saying and that is the simplest and easiest tool you’re going to have to finally get a clear sense as to whether they’re actually giving people great outcomes.
Fraser Jack: [51:03] Really good to know that I can trust the person. And I guess that’s a call out for advisors to make sure they’ve got the content out there that they can be seen and know and like and trust.
Corey Wastle: [51:13] Oh definitely, yeah. If you can’t be found online you can’t be found now.
Fraser Jack: [51:17] Yeah, now tell me if you were talking to advisors coming through, somebody that’s wanting to get into or start their own practice, what advice do you give to them?
Corey Wastle: [51:26] Advisors coming through; get in the right environment. Work with the right people, be in the right team. You are going to learn, you’re going to learn things. You’re going to develop habits, you’re going to develop skills and ways of doing things and that is so largely going to be influenced by the person to the left of you and the person to the right of you. Don’t just take the first job that comes your way, seek out the right people and the right environments and you go after them and you get yourself in the right environment where you’re going to learn from the right people that are philosophically aligned to how you see the world and the kind of advisor you want to be. It’s called modeling, copy the people that you think are doing what you want to become and that’s the quickest route to developing yourself into the advisor you want to be I think.
Fraser Jack: [52:11] Yeah, great advice, great advice. Seek out and don’t sit back and wait for it to come to you.
Corey Wastle: [52:16] It won’t, you’ve got to create things. If you want to open doors for you you have to open them yourself and walk through. Sometimes people say, “Actually no. Go back out of that door.” And you’ve got to find another door to come in, that’s called resilience.
Fraser Jack: [52:28] Yeah, now we’ve heard a lot about traditional advice businesses out there now that are looking at changing and modeling and disrupting themselves in a way, what advice would you give to somebody who’s been in the practice a long time and hasn’t really changed much in their business?
Corey Wastle: [52:44] Other than get out soon? Yeah it would be if you do want to evolve, you want to transfer into being more of a goals based advice business is find someone that’s done it, find a mentor. If they are running these businesses, quite often they’ve got public profiles as well, they’re getting content out there, they’re building a name for themselves and people want to give back, they want to help people. Advisors definitely, that’s in our nature so I would be trying to find someone or multiple people that have done what you are trying to do as a business owner and transition towards goals based advice and learn from them. Ask great questions and if you go at it with the right intent and your’e trying to give back to them as well and everyone has got things to give then you might develop these relationships that will help you make that transition.
Fraser Jack: [53:35] Thank you, now Corey you’re obviously pretty impressive from the outside looking in, from myself and other people that see what you’re doing; it’s great, it’s incredible and I think it’s definitely the future. But tell me, if you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, what do you think? Where would you go with hindsight in mind? Where would you go and what would you say to yourself?
Corey Wastle: [53:55] I’d probably say don’t work so hard. There’s no shortcut for hard work but I personally have ... I’ve dealt with burnout, I think for a long time actually. Like I even go back to high school, high school I was working, I was working 40 hours a week during year 12 and then in university I was working three jobs and studying full time and I was so fixated on trying to create some success for myself and build things both for my own personal satisfaction and significance, I’m not afraid to say that. But also for noble reasons as well. But maintain a great balance, the last couple of years for me I’ve got the point where I’ve worked so hard and I’ve started having a family and it’s challenged my wellbeing.
Corey Wastle: [54:40] I’ve been tired, I’ve been rundown, I haven’t been as healthy and as fit as I’ve been in the past and I think when you start to lose those things, those are things that you value actually the most, you can have all the success in the world but if that leaves you feeling unfulfilled in some way then you’ve got to reassess. So I would just advise people to maintain great balance and don’t try and do everything overnight.
Corey Wastle: [55:00] Life’s short but it’s also long too. And if you are so fixated on trying to achieve big goals so quickly it’s going to take all your resources and it means you’re going to give up a lot of other things, which are the things we talk to clients about. So have perspective, make sure you maintain focus on the most important things in life and consequently you actually ... You’re more effective in working in business as well, that’s the irony of it all I think.
Fraser Jack: [55:27] Fantastic, thank you so much Corey. Now if someone wants to continue the conversation, how can they hit you up? Where will they find you?
Corey Wastle: [55:35] Yeah, sure. So I mean all the usual places, you can connect with me personally on LinkedIn and the people in our team at Verse, as I said during the podcast, Fraser, we’re going to start getting a lot of content out that hopefully is of real value to people moving forward. A lot of that’s going to come through Facebook via Verse, all of that’s going to come through Instagram as well so I would like us on those two pages, hopefully that content’s of value to you as well and maybe gives you some ideas as to what you’re doing with clients who are in your business perhaps. And I am always wanting to talk with great people and advise as well so if you want to reach out and chat with me personally, I’d love to make the time to chat with you.
Fraser Jack: [56:14] Thank you so much Corey, I really appreciate your time today and I really look forward to following your journey to success over the next few years and seeing how you’re going to take over the world with the social, the content side of it. And I look forward to following your journey, thank you.
Corey Wastle: [56:30] Thanks Fraser, I really appreciate the time and the opportunity to be on your podcast, man. I love what you’re about and the fact that you’re getting great people together to share really important stuff that’s helping myself and others, it’s a pleasure to be part of it.
Fraser Jack: [56:43] Great, thanks Corey.
Corey Wastle: [56:45] Thanks, mate.
Fraser Jack: [56:46] 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.