Gold Coast planner Lyn Hughes explains how her move out of the institutional world has enabled her to create the financial planning practice of her dreams.

Lyn Hughes has worked for banks all her life, that is, until she recently changed dealer groups, joining Lonsdale with two other practices in March. A bank manager for more than 20 years, Hughes became a planner seven years ago under the Suncorp Metway flag. Within a year she had moved to National Australia Bank and then quickly to HSBC and then Bendigo Bank. At Bendigo she was hired to set up the Gold Coast office and within 12 months she had built a planning business, recruited planners, managed the branches, and accumulated $15 million. She was the top Queensland planner for Bendigo Bank for three years running, an honour that earned her an all expenses paid trip to the American FPA in Philadelphia. “That was an amazing experience, I learnt so much about planning and about how I would want to run a business,” she says. “Not just about investments but about lifestyle issues as well.” But in her last 12 months at Bendigo Bank she moved into a role called a “manager planner” where she had a team of planners. Increasingly she moved away from the practice of financial planning as her day filled with mentoring planners and hiring new employees, and while she was still running her own practice the focus had been softened. “After a year I decided I really wanted to get back into planning, to help people in their journey,” she says. But Hughes quickly decided that her aim of “coaching people towards their financial security” was going to be very difficult within the constraints of a bank. So she started shopping around for a dealer group, a process that took more than six months and covered about 10 prospects. “There were plenty of dealers that wanted to wine and dine me,” she says, “but too many were owned by a bank and dictated what the client will or won’t have. I think Bendigo Bank is on the right track as far as banking is concerned, but I wanted to do financial planning my way, which is to focus on the clients not on how much you write or the bottom line.” After much scrutiny Hughes decided to join Lonsdale – which now has 75 practices with 170 advisers – becoming the first Gold Coast practice for the dealer. “Lonsdale was the most professional of the dealers I looked at,” she says. “They were also the most supportive of what I required, and let me run my business my way.” In particular she says Lonsdale had a strong compliance team and had a range of additional services that could be adapted to her own business. While concentrating on getting the business running smoothly under the Lonsdale banner, Hughes also has plans to expand the business to cover lending alongside planning. “I am investigating options to expand but I want to keep the business to a size where I can service my current clients properly.” Name: Lyn Hughes Business Name and Location: Lynrob Financial Planning, Gold Coast Dealer Name: Lonsdale Number of Staff: one Area of Speciality: wealth creation and retirement Relevant qualification: Diploma of Financial Planning Member of the FPA: Yes Number of clients: 30 FUM: $150,000 on average per client Method of fee collection: A combination but heading more towards fee for service Investment platform: IOOF, BT Wrap Front end software: Visi Investment research used: Lonsec Insurance research used: Plantec Technical and legal support: legal and compliance from head office in Melbourne Ongoing education provider:Professional development days and conferences provided by Lonsdale.

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