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Adviser Ratings Profiles Gavin Fineff

Editorial General 25 May 2018

Our Adviser Profile this week is Gavin Fineff. Gavin is a Platinum adviser with 13 client reviews with an average client rating of 96%. He works as Director and Senior Financial Planner at Sentinel Wealth Management in Sydney’s CBD.

  1. Best thing about being a financial adviser?

Taking someone from a position of feeling overwhelmed or stressed to feeling excited about their future. I gain great satisfaction by solving complex problems and achieving optimisation for the client. On top of that, I really enjoy the personal relationships that develop with clients.

  1. One thing you would like to see improved or changed in the industry?

Minimum education standards are far too basic and it is no wonder parts of the industry has the reputation it does. That said, excellent progress is being made and I thank the regulatory bodies for their action.

The other area is the complete removal of commissions which is a dirty word for consumers and just unnecessary. Progress has been made but we haven't had the conviction of some other countries where commissions have been eliminated.

  1. The areas of their finances or economy that worry your clients the most?

They worry about the future and anything that could impact their lifestyle. The media is a big influence as whenever there is something reported on war, terrorism and market concerns, they understandably worry. It's human nature and they are certainly not alone. Fortunately, our process deals with this incredibly well and we spend a lot of time focusing on the provision of comfortable cash flow.

  1. What's the strangest question a client has ever asked you?

I once had a prospective client tell me how the earth's energy was extremely negative and markets were likely to collapse because of it… I said "no problem, let me know when you think the collapse is going to happen and by how much so I can simulate the scenario and develop a plan to protect against it". 

  1. If you could get three things into consumers' heads about what advisers do or don't do what would they be?

a) Alleviate anxiety around money and a good financial planner will never start a financial/investment plan without first knowing the life plan.

b) We are wealth managers who never leave a stone unturned. Decisions are never in isolation and always consider aspects such as changing legislation, capital adequacy, goal achievement, tax minimisation, situational awareness, long-term care planning, efficient portfolio management, legacy and estate planning. A good planner is the trusted professional at the centre of the team creating the synergy.

c) Ultimately, the priority is to ensure that clients always have sufficient cash flow to fund a lifetime of desired expenditure without anxiety along the way.

  1. How do you describe what you do at BBQs?

I work in wealth management but we do things a little differently. We know that our beliefs have far greater impact on success than strategies. We also know that having a "plan on purpose" gives you a far greater probability of success. We refer to these aspects as the interior of money and we integrate that with the mechanics which includes the optimisation of all the things you know about; super, investment accumulation, risk, tax, cash flow, estate planning...

  1. What's the most interesting situation you've been in with a client?

We have very interesting and meaningful conversations. Part of our method is to deeply understand our clients. So the conversations go places that might be unexpected. For example, conversations have led to clients saying such things as "my life can't be all about me", "I want to be inspired and loved", "to be a creator of fine work", "to be the father I know I can be"…

  1. What should consumers be mindful of when selecting a financial planner?

Many relationships are established on a basis that dooms them to failure or sub-optimal outcomes. We suggest:

1. Treat the selection of your financial planner as a recruitment process;

2. Define the planner’s role, including how you will measure success;

3. Profile the planner - What qualifications? What conflicts exist? Is the planner licenced to an institution or are they independent?

4. Social proof - check testimonials, speaking with existing clients, check how engaged the planner is with the industry and now Adviser Ratings provides an excellent mechanism.

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Adviser Ratings & Adviser Ratings Profiles Gavin Fineff, Comments Section:


"In my experience, several advisers I "interviewed" before choosing an adviser saw me as a tyre kicker and did not seem to want my business, let alone listen to what I was trying to plan for my financial future."

Withheld 14:45 on 26 May 17

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