Maintaining your beliefs within a dealer group can be a tough ask for many financial advisers – hence the constant flow of planners in the industry. But PIS adviser Paul Brown has found the balance between dealer pressure and personal attitudes.

Weighing up the benefits and distractions of a large dealer group is the bane of many a planner. It is certainly something that Paul Brown has contemplated for at least the past few years, specifically whether his type of business fits within the constrains of a large dealer. But due mostly to the quality of compliance, technical support on offer and persuasive charm of the group’s leader, Robbie Bennetts, Brown has remained a part of Professional Investment Services. However, he still maintains his business does not really suit a large dealer group. “;PIS promotes a lot of products that I don’t necessarily use,”; Brown says. “;I had been thinking about leaving for a couple of years but chief Robbie Bennnets came to see me and said PIS wanted to be able to assist different types of businesses.”; PIS encourages people to build a business in their own way, to allow individuals to build their own business without prescribing, he says. With more than 250 clients he inherited a large business when he bought a PIS practice a few years ago, but he prefers to focus on good service to existing clients and not on growth. “;A business that is built on adding new clients but then ignoring them is not a good business. Our focus is not on growth but service,”; he says. In addition Brown advises his clients to invest in listed securities not just managed funds through platforms. “;I get criticised within PIS because of that,”; he says. But Brown is not afraid of doing things outside of the norm if it is in the best interests of the client. When he does invest through a platform the lower fees have attracted him to FirstChoice Wholesale. “;In 1998 when I became a planner, Chris Cuffe said to me people don’t worry about fees when investment returns are good but they do when they are not so good,”; Brown says. “;I use FirstChoice Wholesale because it is a cost-effective Platform and provides good value for clients.”; He also doesn’t use the more conventional research providers but subscribes to Merlea Investments, research developed by Adelaide-based planner Brian Nash. “;Merlea has had a big influence on the way we operate,”; Brown says. Before becoming a planner seven years ago, Brown worked in corporate super at AMP and has an actuarial background. He is joined in his practice by his wife, a former Colonial First State employee, and another administrative employee. The majority of his business is self-managed super advice, and despite being knowledgeable about corporate super Brown is resisting the call to sell it. As well believing that the Sunshine Coast has a limited market for corporate super, it is also administratively complex. Admin is something Brown places a lot of credence on for business success. “;We place a lot of emphasis on keeping it simple,”; he says. “;And to be successful you have to be very organised and methodical and make sure your administration processes are efficient.”; Name: Paul Brown Business name and location: Professional Investment Services, Buderim Queensland Dealer Name: Professional Investment Services Number of staff and designation: three staff, sole planner business Area of specialty: About a quarter of the business is self-managed super Relevant qualifications: Bachelor of Applied Science (Maths), Graduate Diploma in Management, actuarial studies (unfinished) Member of the FPA: Yes Number of clients: 250, only about 120 are active clients Funds under management/advice: $48 million Method of fee collection: a mix of commission and fee, the larger clients are charged an agreed annual fee debited monthly Investment platforms: Navigator, First Choice Wholesale Front end software: Xplan Office management software: Microsoft software Investment research: Merlea Investments Insurance research: Outsourced insurance to a risk provider within PIS Technical and legal support: PIS resources and Challenger for technical support Ongoing education provider: FPA

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