Scott Fitzpatrick started his journey in financial planning where many others do, working with some of the industrial brands. But after striking out on his own, Fitzpatrick has discovered a new territory for advice that many others are quickly settling in.

Fitzpatricks is not your typical financial planning firm. What started as Scott Fitzpatrick’s adviser business in 1987 – under AMP, Financial Wisdom, and later Lonsdale – is now self-licensed and multi-faceted. As well as his own adviser business, Fitzpatrick has started Headspace, a coaching firm that teaches other advisers how Fitzpatricks does business. The Fitzpatricks dealer group now has 20 proper authority holders in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Adelaide and has still others knocking on its door. And what they want to sign up to is a new way of dealing with clients. “We call it a strategic partner program where we are purely running the client’s agenda,” Fitzpatrick says. “We are project managing our clients, asking them what they think makes a good life and then getting them to delegate as much as possible.” Consistent with that philosophy, the business changed from a commission to fee business eight years ago, and has unbundled the investment fee from the professional fee. Now clients pay an amount (from between $8,000 to $40,000 a year) to get “financially well organised”. “We feel like we are on the frontier,” Fitzpatrick says. “Most advisers are still commission-based and are really in the funds management market. We are trying to provide relationship-based service to a smaller number of clients.” What’s more the firm’s philosophy is that financial planners are not investment advisers. When they do invest it is via the internally-built IMA, called DNR Portfolio Administration Services, which has been developed on the back of the FMC technology. Most of the clients across the dealer group, with an average account of about $800,000, have the majority of their assets in direct investments, rather than managed funds. And there is a team of about 10 investment research professionals that look after the IMA. “We like to surround our clients with good people, and as well as investment support we provide them with access to great legal and technical support,” he says. Fitzpatrick is quick to point out that the firm typically offers investments alongside a package of services including estate planning, asset protection, cashflow and tax-effective management, with the aim of ultimately freeing the time of his clients, to get on with what he calls the more important things in life such as looking after their health and relationships. And if his own personal experience is anything to go by the practice is working. Fitzpatrick himself, only works 40 weeks a year and has every Friday off. Adviser’s Name: Scott Fitzpatrick Business Name and Location: Fitzpatricks (Aust Pty Ltd), Coolangatta Dealer Name: Fitzpatricks Dealer Group, www.fitz.com.au Number of Staff: 40 people across the country, 20 proper authority holders Area of Specialty: Freeing clients’ time, getting clients financially well organised. The idea is to get the “context” of the client before the “content” can be filled in. So every planner sits on the “family board” of each of its clients in an attempt to understand the family structure and ideals. As part of this family program all members of the family are looked after. Relevant Qualification: CFP Member of the FPA: Yes, but considering its role with the Association, believing it does not represent the advisory market Number of clients: 75 per adviser max FUM/Advice: An average account per client of $800,000 Method of fee collection: flat yearly fee paid monthly Investment Platforms: internally developed IMA Front-end Software: Planners use Xplan, Visi or Prestwood Investment Research: share research from eight institutional brokers, plus there are 10 internal people on the IMA analytical team Insurance Research: n/a Technical and Legal Support: a wide variety of technical and legal support Ongoing Education: PD days are tailored to advisers’ requirements and include legal and relationship experts, emotional intelligence programs, and high net wealth strategies.

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