Business management is not the strong point of most financial planners, according to Brad Lawler, and so he was happy to outsource these ‘distractions’ to ipac and concentrate on giving advice.

Giving good financial advice is all Brad Lawler wants to do with his professional career. Running a business, dealing with staff, technology, paperwork and building maintenance are just not his thing. The advantages of being a salaried adviser, and having another entity look after all those other things are what, in part, have attracted Lawler to ipac. “Ipac owns the business and the client, which means I have no staffing issues, technology issues, business or finance issues,” he says. “Most advisers end up becoming managers, not advisers, and most are good at financial planning not running a business. Working with ipac this way lets me do what I want to do, and what I do best, give financial advice.” Ipac has a two-tiered system for its 48 salaried advisers around the country. There are the business accumulators or client advisers, such as Lawler, who find new clients, work out if ipac can help them and implement a plan. Then a private client adviser will deliver the ongoing client management and drive the relationship with the client adviser stepping in for meetings or where needed. “If there is one person finding the client and maintaining the relationship people get left behind, there is not enough time to maintain both jobs,” Lawler says of the system. Typically a private client adviser at ipac has between 180 and 240 clients each, but an adviser such as Lawler could have a limitless number of clients Lawler says he fell into his particular role as a client seeker because that was the available position when he started at ipac, but eight years later he thinks he’s found his niche because he enjoys the challenge of solving people’s financial problems. Lawler has been in Brisbane for three years, arriving in 2003 from Sydney to set up the Brisbane office for ipac and attracted by a change of pace. Living on a golf course less than an hour from the office has helped cement the decision as the right one. Lawler spent 10 years as a corporate super consultant at AMP before joining ipac after enduring a rigorous employment process that included multiple interviews over many weeks. “To become an ipac adviser was very onerous, I had eight interviews over two months, and ipac only takes CFP qualified advisers,” he says. The rigorous nature of the hiring process, the minimum standard of education, and the fact all advisers use the Strategic Lifetime software, ensures there is a consistency of process and quality control for the dealer. In addition to the 48 salaried advisers, ipac also has an investment in eight equity partner firms which have a total of 65 external advisers Australia wide. All the models, the technology, and the plans used by these advisers are ipac run. “Ipac is great, because if I get hit by a bus, then someone else from within the company can come and pick up my client with little fuss,” Lawler says. The consistency of process also benefits large corporate clients, with employees in multiple states, as they can be assured that employees are getting the same experience no matter where they are geographically. “For large corporates they can know that all their employees will have the same experience because all ipac financial planners have the same philosophy. At ipac there are restrictions on how advice is given, there is a certain journey you go on to get the advice,” Lawler says. “Advice might be different because there is some subjectivity, but the experience, the fees and the product outcomes will be very similar, it is a consistent message.” Ipac is pushing its ties with large corporates, and already works very closely with the Australian Lawyers Alliance. Increasingly the group is doing a lot of work with corporates in setting up financial planning as an employee benefit and conducts in-house educational seminars for companies from the Corporate Relations Group, coordinated in Brisbane by Melissa Hartman. Name: Brad Lawler Business Name and Location: ipac Financial Planning, Brisbane Dealer Name: ipac Number of Staff: 48 salaried advisers around the country Relevant qualification: Diploma of Financial Planning Member of the FPA: Yes Number of clients: limitless FUM: $2 billion Method of fee collection: fee for service Investment platform: Axa Summit Front end software: Strategic Lifetime model Technical and legal support: legal and compliance from head office in Sydney Ongoing education provider: Professional development days and conferences provided by ipac.

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