Glen james: 00:00 I think it’s harder and it will be more so, to be the one person band, maybe with part-time support staff going forward. I think advice, particularly over the coming years, you’re either in it or you’re not.
Fraser Jack: 00:15 Hello and welcome to The Goals Based Advice Podcast where I have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack. I want to thank you so much for tuning in today. If you’re enjoying this podcast, then please help me spread the word and share it, leave me a comment. We’d also like to thank our supporting partner Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast.
Fraser Jack: 00:35 This week I caught up with Glen James. Back from episode eight which was released around November, 2018. And, we talk about change. He has completely turned his business on its head. I’m really into the new world of helping consumers outside of the traditional advice world. We also chatted about the work he’s doing with the Association of Financial Advisors and the conference that he’s working on that will be in August, 2019.
Fraser Jack: 01:02 Let’s jump straight into my chat with Glen. Welcome to the show, Glen.
Glen james: 01:10 Hey Fraser, thanks for having me back. This is my second time.
Fraser Jack: 01:13 I know, I know. It’s so good to have people come back and hang out again. It’s great.
Glen james: 01:17 I know and it’s so weird to be a guest on someone else’s podcast.
Fraser Jack: 01:21 Yes, because you’re normally the one that’s doing the hosting.
Glen james: 01:23 Yes, I’m usually putting all the effort in and now, I can just rock up and have a chat to you and you can carry this bad boy.
Fraser Jack: 01:30 Yes. Sound’s good. Sound’s good. Now, since we spoke to you last though, you’re business has had a massive change. You were talking about referral partners and how you get your new clients coming into your practice, a financial advice practice, through great sources of referral and relationships. And then after we published the podcast, you went and changed everything.
Glen james: 01:53 Yes. And it really was actually quite hilarious because I got to the stage in my own business that I really found that I was really bad at managing people and really, I was actually getting over carrying... Because, I had such a good relationship with my clients, it was too good and I had about 250 clients and they would all contact me and, yes, you do try and train them to contact the office and all that but, they got your mobile number, they call you and it’s all right. So anyway, I jokingly... Actually you were at this event. The Your Money... No, you weren’t were you? The [inaudible 00:02:36] event
Fraser Jack: 02:37 No, I didn’t make it. I couldn’t get to the Sydney that week.
Glen james: 02:40 Yes. So, I was at an event at the end of last year and there was a colleague there and I bumped into him and said, “Oh hey, do you want to merge businesses?”. Literally just as a bit of a joke. And you go, “No, no, no”. Anyway, “See you later”. A week later he goes, “Oh, hang on, this has a bit of... We actually did have a think about that”. So, I actually merged my business with another practice in Sydney and they’ve just got a bigger back office, more infrastructure. Because I had to go through and obviously, you’ve got to service your clients well and there was a heap of changes I wanted to make in my business and, I just didn’t have the mental or emotional strength to do it just with myself. And, it’s one support staff and an outsourced para planner so, it just made sense and it just freed me up to really do what I’m doing now which is, the My Millennial Money podcast.
Glen james: 03:39 I still see some clients. I’ve got seven to ten that I still actively look after. But it’s a transition period to introduce my clients to the broader team now. I retired my fortified financial brand which I loved and I did that for nine years and built up that business one client at a time organically. Yes, so it’s a transition year this year. I was actually going to have the year off and have a bit of a chill year but, I started this podcast and it exploded and I’m doing that most of the time now.
Fraser Jack: 04:15 I’ll ask you about the podcast in just a sec. Heap of changes is the statement you just made. Probably the understatement of the century considering the amount of change that everyone’s going through. Not just yourself obviously but, you’re obviously in the same boat as many advisors going what am I going to do next? What was my passion and purpose and reason for getting into it in the first place and if you weren’t emotionally feeling the love of what you were doing, the time then it’s decision time, right?
Glen james: 04:45 Absolutely.
Fraser Jack: 04:47 Yes, like what decision are you going to make and what’s going to be a path or something that you can follow? So, it sounds like you came across something then, almost off the cuff, that panned out exactly how you needed it to be.
Glen james: 04:59 Yes. It was really bizarre. It’s funny, I just always landed in a right place at the right time and, I’ve been fortunate with some of those crossroads in my industry. But, I think the changes that we’re seeing now as financial professionals, the mortgage brokers are getting it... I was actually with a mortgage broker the other day and very same parallels. I think it’s harder and it will be more so to be the one person band maybe with the half time or part-time support staff going forward.
Glen james: 05:42 I think advice particularly over the coming years, you’re either in it or you’re not. And, that’s not a bad thing but, I think it’s a good line in the sand for all of us to think, “Okay, I really do love being with my clients and I do love the people I look after. I want to be in this”. So, what I thought was, I’ll get more help in the back office. But then, it’s even unraveled more as I go through this year that even the podcast’s exploded more. But, I think, as I was saying to a mortgage broker this week, I said, if you want to grow, make the decision, employ the staff, get the technology, get the systems and processes and turn it up to 11 and actually run a freaking’ business not just this lifestyle, I work one or two days a week.
Glen james: 06:31 When I started my business doing the one or two day week floating around, getting good clients, getting good money, I just don’t think that is there anymore with particularly consumers the way they think, talk and the information they’ve got. Number two, the level of compliance and scrutiny that we have and the costs to run a business now. I think you’re in it or you’re not. So, if there’s any encouragement out there to someone listening, use this as a good time to go, right, I’m turning this up to 11 and it’s probably a great time to be alive. And I think with your business add-on or you’re small business hat on, I think there’s the most opportunity over the coming years to really have a cracking business than ever before.
Fraser Jack: 07:14 Yes, couldn’t agree more. You’re right, times they have-a-changed and you either embrace it or you do something about it.
Glen james: 07:22 And even to the point Fraser, and it’s the same for advisors and mortgage brokers or whoever you are, if you get a contact online or a referrer online, I think, within the first four business hours, if you’re not replying, you’re dead. Because we just-
Fraser Jack: 07:49 Amazing isn’t it? Used to be the referral and it could take a few days and-
Glen james: 07:52 Yes, it’s all instant.
Fraser Jack: 07:57 As consumers we have all got so used to getting instant responses online.
Glen james: 08:01 Yes. And that’s the problem we... Like, we’re in this transition where the back office of delivering advice is still so clunky. Even the software that you guys use, you’re trying to make things more efficient for people. There’s probably a million things that your business, that you guys want to do that it just does take time and you’re heading somewhere but, it’s so clunky in this instant world. So, there is that disconnect and I think that’s why you really need to double down on the engagement piece. And as much as it is clunky, hide that from your clients. Don’t ever use the excuse of compliance with your clients.
Fraser Jack: 08:40 Exactly right, exactly right. As a consumer when we purchase things, we just want the outcome. We don’t necessarily want to see how it’s made.
Glen james: 08:47 And as a bonus tip for those playing at home, any compliance stuff you do have, flip that around into a client experience. So, you’ve got to write a file note, well, flip it around and send the client the file note after the first meeting to say, hey just making sure we’re on the same page. And they sign off on the first meeting file note as well. Just embed that into your process.
Fraser Jack: 09:08 Yes. Couldn’t agree more. Get your clients more involved in the co-creation of documents, advice, file notes, everything really.
Glen james: 09:15 Yes. So, flip what is a nightmare into an advantage to service your clients.
Fraser Jack: 09:22 You started this little podcast which started as a hobby but, as you mentioned, it’s exploded and now really creating a membership, a group, this whole new way of doing business where you’re communicating to a lot of people and getting them to come back and unite really?
Glen james: 09:41 Yes, absolutely so. It was just over 12 months ago where I started this podcast. And I did want to go direct to the consumer in a one-to-many way and whether it’s the... they say, the personal brand or any of that crap that they talk about. But, for me it started that I was sick of telling the same thing to the same person over and over again, particularly with just basic cash flow management. So, that’s when I did the online course and then developed my little workshops that I did face-to-face and I thought hang on, I’ve got all this content here so, I started the podcast. There’s just such a need for one, good entertainment and two, information. So that’s why I call mine infotainment. Not too heavy, not too light.
Fraser Jack: 10:32 Goldilocks. It kind of fits you too. It’s allowed you to actually be yourself, allowed your personality to come through and go, you know what, let’s not take all ourselves too serious. We all understand that there can be problems and issues and sensitivities around this but, let’s have a bit of laugh about it. It’s been very refreshing.
Glen james: 10:50 Yes, even just as last night. One of the young ladies in the Facebook group put a post up and she said, “Hey everyone or hey fam,” like it’s that language that we’re a tribe, we’re all in this together. “Since October when I started listening to the podcast I’ve managed to save $10,000 and it was only because of your encouragement that I could do this”. And I honestly say and we’ve got to have this mindset when we are talking with our clients, that we’re not above anything and we are not your guru. We are just a bit of a coach. A bit of encouragement, good quality sounding board to help you be encouraged and make the right decisions.
Glen james: 11:37 Whether that’s me talking to thousands of people at once through the flipping’ interwebs or the podcasts or, whether you’re face-to-face with your clients. It’s the same concept. I’ve just weirdly scaled it up and given that it is podcast, people feel like they know me. It’s weird. I never thought I’d be stopped in the street in Sydney. It’s weird. It’s like, if you really knew who I really am, I’m just a bogon from the Central Coast. Don’t tell anyone.
Fraser Jack: 12:12 When you say stopped in the street, I was thinking of a security guard or a police officer then.
Glen james: 12:16 Yes, that too yes. That too.
Fraser Jack: 12:21 I’m just thinking exactly right. The whole idea and this is some of the stuff that I learnt from my podcast from you and your podcast was, it’s okay, this is just who we are, we make a mistake. I’m terrible at asking questions. I tend to just send it to let it run off into nowhere and people pick them up because I drop them on the floor. But you know what? That’s just me. That’s a thing I learned from your podcast as well. Just be yourself and let people be themselves as well.
Glen james: 12:50 And that’s it. And even for those... I know that you’ve got a lot of younger, financial advisors that listen to your podcast and I’m actually going to put this in the group. In my group, because a lot people go, how do I get into finance and after I finished saying, don’t, I say, there’s a lot of good resources out there. But, if you are new to advice, I would say always in the back of your mind, the way you do things and this is what I teach when I teach to thousands, it’s not the way, it’s a way. And it’s a way that I do this and it’s a way that works for my clients and this is why. Just find your a way. Don’t be arrogant enough to think that you’ve got all the answers.
Glen james: 13:35 And that’s why I’m more of a cultivator of this community. I don’t even know what I am. People go, what do you do? And I go, I don’t know. I cultivate an online community. It’s a bit of a cult. So, just be pragmatic enough to know that you don’t have to be the guru. You’re way isn’t the best way. It’s just a way. And you just need to help your clients find their a way. Sounds horrendous.
Fraser Jack: 14:05 And certainly making sure that they have a way rather than no way.
Glen james: 14:09 Exactly. Absolutely. And that’s it. It’s funny, a lot of the parallels that I’ve used in my financial practice, face-to-face, I’m just duplicating that and doing it one to many because the concepts are the same and that’s high level of engagement, relationship and, if you are going to start a podcast... and you probably even do this yourself, Fraser. When I’m talking into the microphone and there’s a lot of advisors who listen to the show, I always go, I’m not doing this to thousands of people. I’m thinking of that one 24 year old guy or gal who’s on the bus commuting in Perth.
Glen james: 14:50 We’ve got this amazing tool, I’m going to speak into that individual and try and really put myself in their shoes.
Fraser Jack: 14:59 Yes.
Glen james: 14:59 So, you can be personal and scalable.
Fraser Jack: 15:02 Yes, exactly. I always think of it like you and I are sitting at a table at a conference or a pity day and we’re just chatting to each other, I’m inquiring and there’s other people at the table just happen to be listening in and then, they can just jump in any time. But, with you and I, they can never get a word in.
Glen james: 15:19 Yes, that’s right. I’ve taken feedback back from my listeners that just, shut up and let people talk. I’ve got the microphone and people, you don’t.
Fraser Jack: 15:32 So, you’re also doing a lot of work with the AFA in New South Wales?
Glen james: 15:36 Yes. I’m the State Director for New South Wales, ACT. The AFA is on a journey like any other business and I can’t actually speak on behalf of the AFA because that’s part of the rules. Only the Phil’s can do that and Mark. But yes, there’s a lot going on. The amount of dialogue that we’re having particularly after the election with the government of the policy front, it’s just been amazing. And I personally have been trying to make sure we get that message out more. But it is great time to be alive and it would be a very different outcome if the opposition formed government couple months ago.
Glen james: 16:22 So, I think in terms of the industry, we’ve got a bit of a pause and breathing space. So, there’s a lot going on. Watch this space around the policy front. It seems that the new ministers have got a really good open ear to us as an industry and profession. I know the AFA and the FPA had a joint meeting with the assistant minister recently. So, there is a lot going forward in a united way. And in fact, I’m also on the conference chair for the conference in August of this year. And we really wanted to actually try and change a whole heap of one percenters on the conference to make it a really different experience. And even on the theming of it. The only way forward is united. We’ve all got our own financial planning businesses and clients, yes, we’re in competition but, yes, we’re on the same team. So, it’s this weird scenario.
Glen james: 17:24 I wanted to... Whether you’re looking at whatever association that it is, like yes, it’s all got our own thing around flavor but at the end of the day, it should be the same team and we actually need to be united.
Fraser Jack: 17:36 Yes. It’s an interesting, like you say, united is an interesting topic. That just makes me look back over the last couple of years and realize how fragmented a lot of the industry’s been. And obviously that’s been caused because there was a lot of pressure and everybody handles pressure in different ways and, some people are under more pressure than others and, now it’s about coming back together.
Glen james: 18:02 Yes. And I will say, every time I get near a bloody microphone or talk to anyone, you can’t actually draw the parallels between, Ah, but the mortgage broker’s this and the mortgage broker’s that. Because every mortgage broker I know has one business model and it’s commission business model. Right? The financial advice industry, whatever association, whatever licenser you’re with, whatever... I don’t know. Everybody’s got a different business model and there’s legacy products and there’s real consequences from legislation.
Glen james: 18:35 We actually have to just band together on the things that we actually all agree on as an industry. Because, we don’t have the same business model. There are businesses out there that do hundreds [inaudible 00:18:48] risk and super and investments. That’s cool. There’s businesses that don’t. I think it’s low hanging excuses to use the mortgage broker discussion with how they formed a big, national campaign and whatnot. I would be very interested to see how much that costs and who paid for that?
Fraser Jack: 19:12 We’ve all got theories but I’m sure we can talk about them here. You obviously had a fair bit to do with organizing of the conference, which we should give a shout or to. It’s in the end of August, 28th to 30th of August?
Glen james: 19:26 Yes. So, it starts and what I really from an advisors point of view, what I wanted to do this year, because costs is an issue everywhere you look. Right? We wanted to make it so we could ditch one of the night’s accommodation, number one. The conference starts on Wednesday the 28th of August at 1 pm. Right? So, you could actually get a morning flight from basically anywhere in Australia if you didn’t want to come the Tuesday night before. So, that’s just one way that we’ve helped. Two, having it in Adelaide, it’s going to help the people in Western Australia, Victoria... For New South Wales it’s probably the same as Queensland. But, it’s just a different location and the Adelaide Convention Center, it’s actually beautiful. It’s fairly new the building and it’s actually really nice.
Glen james: 20:18 So, Adelaide on the location front but also as a capital city. There’s heaps of accommodation. If you don’t want to just go and stay at the Intercon next door from the conference center, you can get an Airbnb or whatever you want. So, there’s plenty of options there. And then it ends 3.30pm on the Friday. So if you want to be out of there Friday afternoon it lines up with a whole heap of flights leaving town. Again, you don’t have to have another night extra at the end. And our awards dinner particularly around the united theme, it is all on the Thursday night and it’s a united awards dinner.
Glen james: 20:58 That’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s not in the school holidays this year because I know that was a bit of a hassle for some or a lot of advisors. Just a couple of little one percenters we’ve tried to changed there as well.
Fraser Jack: 21:11 Yes. Quite a few changes really compared to how it was. Traditionally it had a format that it tended to go every year which probably came a bit predictable.
Glen james: 21:22 Yes. And that’s it. It’s funny. A lot of people, they make comments and whatnot but, the sheer fact of it is, when there’s a lot of people involved, the more people involved in an organization, the most systems, structure that it needs. Okay? It’s as simple as that. It’s easy to move a ferry than the QE2. We’ve just got to be mindful of that and a variety of different industry stakeholders. We’ve just got to try and slowly tweak the little, knobs on the edge of board. I don’t even know what I’m saying.
Fraser Jack: 22:00 You’re the tweaker? Nice work.
Glen james: 22:04 Yes, we’re trying. I think it’s exciting. Julie Bishop, that’s going to be a very cool session. I think she’s got to be one of the most powerful women. I’m a bit scared to meet her to be honest. And the cool one is as well, we’ve got Clare Payne. So, she’s doing a couple of sessions on ethics. That’s a big deal with our CPD going forward. There is not a lot of clarity from FASEA at the moment I do not believe. We are required to have 40 CPD per year of which four hours can be professional reading. Now, in terms of how much meet the actual face-to-face and the online type of articles, there’s just no clarity yet.
Fraser Jack: 23:01 It sounds to me like from what I’ve read and spoken and heard about, that we do actually need to a lot more practical, face-to-face type learning rather than just...
Glen james: 23:12 Yes. I think as at today, we know at least, they’ll be at least 12 hours of CPD from the conference.
Fraser Jack: 23:23 Great.
Glen james: 23:25 Obviously, that’s not the main reason for coming to a conference. I think it is a really bad time out there. I won’t say bad time, it’s challenging. Advisors have copped it from every angle. I don’t like to be negative but what I want to say is, take a couple of days out, take three days out, just come along and hang out with people and just get refreshed, get restored, get encouraged. Maybe use this time for, I’m going to go to the conference, going to connect with people around Australia. At the end of that conference, hell, maybe, I will go and sell mobile phones at Westfield. Or, at the end of that conference, hell, I’m doubling down. You might meet people you can have co-operative arrangements with.
Glen james: 24:14 For me, a conference, and I’m a bit of a conference bandit. I just love it. The main conference happens in the hallways, in the foyers, in the 11.30 pm chat on a hotel stairwell. It’s all of us coming together. I still am licensed through MLC okay? So, big national... I love the AFA conference because it got me out of the MLC bubble. So, it’s kind of like real world, what’s happening. If you’re with a mid tier dealer group or a larger dealer group, come along and get out of that bubble just to put your finger on the pulse.
Glen james: 24:55 I’d encourage anyone to come along and, there’s a whole heap of little focus sessions. We’re going to do a whole session about the FASEA exam and do some study tips and tricks. We’re going to talk about... And this was a big one. A lot of business owners employ staff right? And I think for one of the first times that I can remember, we’re actually doing a session about HR and how to have a good quality team manage people, have a good culture. So, that’s a big one as well. And also, if you’re a para planner, there’s going to be a lot of cool, little things that the AFA is starting to do with the para planners. So, we really want to bring you as a trusted tier in like you’re a pillar in our advice business.
Glen james: 25:48 We really want to make sure that we are aware of that and para planners do get the time that they need and I guess the respect, the acknowledgement.
Fraser Jack: 26:02 Good. You and I have been to a number of conferences together in the US and one of the things that... that’s why I’m glad you’re also running this because I know that you’ve seen some great stuff. You’ve seen things like, when in the US, you’ve gone to conferences where the theme was really around the idea of coming and giving before you receive and those conversations as you mentioned that are outside. Times when you’re actually having conversations with people. People are giving and giving and giving and then just they happen to take away and receive at the other end.
Glen james: 26:35 Absolutely. It was funny. I’ll say it anyway whatever. I’ve said much worse on a microphone. I was talking to this guy the other day and he was pretty old actually and he knew that I was on the Chair, the AFA, ACT, New South Wales. So, “What’s the AFA doing for its members?”. That his first thing he said to me. I said, “Mate, what are you doing as a member?”. It shut him up. It was funny. He actually couldn’t say anything back to me. Like any organization, the value is when we all bring maybe a strength to the table and be active and give to this. It’s just amazing what will happen when you are in that type of environment.
Fraser Jack: 27:25 Yes. I couldn’t agree more. I think if you always go into these sort of events like you want to help and give and be a part of it and engage in it not just go there to take stuff away.
Glen james: 27:36 Now, I’m going to put you on the spot Fraser. We haven’t actually discussed this. You’re coming to the AFA Conference aren’t you?
Fraser Jack: 27:47 So, in the AFA Conference this year and a bit of an announcement to make, we will be broadcasting the Goals Based Advice podcast from the conference.
Glen james: 27:55 Yes.
Fraser Jack: 27:56 We will be asking people, so if you’re listening to this, come along or get in touch with me beforehand. And if you wanted to jump on a podcast, then we’ll have slots and spots available. We might see if we can grab a few of the speakers and drag them in and a few people like the board and what have you.
Glen james: 28:15 That’s really cool. We’re organizing a little area, there’s going to be a little stage or whatever and if you’ve got something to tell in a fresh way that you’re doing that’s cool, Fraser will have a... And it will be very soon, a schedule. You can book in a little half hour mini podcast and we’re just going to get the message of what’s happening that’s good out there. And I think it will be really cool. This is what I’ve kind of put on you, I’ll make sure we’ve got more than two microphones so we can have a bit of a panel podcast discussion as well.
Glen james: 28:56 Let’s find two advisors that are doing this really well and two advisors that are doing that really well and have a bit of an advice fight.
Fraser Jack: 29:07 Looks like a bit of competition to get everyone working.
Glen james: 29:09 Yes. I’m really excited about it. Adelaide should be really fun. And the cool thing is, we’ve announced as well one of the other key notes who’ll close the conference. Are you editing this?
Fraser Jack: 29:26 I can do, but preferably not.
Glen james: 29:29 I don’t know if it’s been announced that he’s closing it. It’s been announced that he’s there but I don’t know if it’s been announced that he’s closing it.
Fraser Jack: 29:35 All right. If you’re listening to this, keep it secret.
Glen james: 29:40 Yes. Richard Harris. He is the doctor, the cave diving doctor who rescued the Thai soccer team from the cave. That’s just a banging story that. Amazing. And it’s funny. I’m like surely we can get some ethical CPD points from that? I think it’s an ethical discussion that you’ve got to anesthetize kids almost against their will. It’s just funny when you think about ethics. It’s just in every area of our life. Warren Randall, he’s a famous wine maker from South Australia and Michelle Hoskin is flying in from the UK and she’s got a lot happening. So, she’s talking about client service and just take the one percenters from every speaker.
Glen james: 30:31 I’d really encourage you, if you do have a team like I did, take them to the conference and say to them, “Hey everyone, the whole week I want you to write five ideas down then have a meeting and let’s all choose our top two and we implement them into the business within the week of getting home. Make it worth your while”.
Fraser Jack: 30:47 Yes. Good idea. That’s the conference, 28th to 30th of August. And as I mentioned, we’ll be doing a few podcasts from the event and throwing them out around that time. So, expect to end up with a stack of downloads in your podcast queue.
Glen james: 31:06 Yes. You can go to afaconference.com.au. And if you’re not an AFA member, you’re still allowed to come. That’s cool. If you’re an AMP advisor, I know they’re not doing the conference this year, why don’t you come and make this your conference because the more people that we can get there together and connecting, it’s just a better experience. It’s great. There’s a lot of first timers that are booked in this year which is great. There’s a lot of people who have been to conferences over the years that are coming. So, we need everybody. We need you who’ve been there before to impart your wisdom. If you’re a million years old, we need you to tell us some old war stories and, if you’re new, we need you to always challenge us as advisors.
Fraser Jack: 31:51 Fantastic. And if you’re listening to this after the 30th August, you have to check out what’s going on in 2020. That will be a nice surprise.
Glen james: 31:59 Yes. All right. I’ve got to go.
Fraser Jack: 32:01 All right Glen. Thanks so much for coming and having a chat today. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon and we will see you-
Glen james: 32:06 Next month.
Fraser Jack: 32:06 See you next month.
Glen james: 32:09 All right. Bye-bye.
Fraser Jack: 32:10 Cheers mate.
Fraser Jack: 32:11 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.
Fraser Jack: 32:21 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.