Introducing a Thought Leadership Forum to its financial advisers in Sydney this month, Intelligent Planning managing director, Phil Osborne said that while the profession needs thought leading ideas, they should not be shaped exclusively by industry leaders.
 
‘We don’t think anyone has a monopoly on good ideas,’ he said. ‘You learn from people with years of experience, and we all benefit from that. But you also learn from people who might have less experience but who have a fresh take on the issues facing the industry.’
 
Mr Osborne believes genuine thought leadership comes from looking at current issues through a variety of lenses.
 
‘We want to make sure that we’re learning from advisers, the people who are actually out there at the coalface with clients,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to be just sitting up in an ivory tower directing traffic.’
 
Actively seeking input from advisers is one of the ways Intelligent Planning, a bespoke financial services licensing offer, is embedding a collegial culture.
 
‘We believe in allowing advice practices to be what advisers want them to be,’ Mr Osborne said. ‘Our role is to make sure they are compliant and accountable. Anyone can buy a suit off the rack, but it’s never going to be a custom fit. You go to a bespoke tailor for that. We believe it is similar with financial licensing offers.’
  
Mr Osborne said the Thought Leadership Forum demonstrates that Intelligent Planning meant what it said when it launched earlier this year, about listening to financial advisers.
 
‘We gathered a number of adviser thoughts on current issues from the forum which will not only help further inform our offer, but also help shape the profession,’ he said.
 
These include:
 
1. On qualifications and accreditation ~ soft skills are just as important
While qualifications and accreditation are vital to being regarded by the public as professional, proficiency in ‘soft skills’ is equally important – not just from a business practice point of view but also in helping clients improve their financial literacy and better understand the work we do.
 
2. On technology  ~ technology should not be driving advice practices
As useful as technology is, an advice practice should never be driven by what a particular technology can, or more importantly can’t, do.
 
3. On professionalism ~ a professional reputation is earned
Being a member of a profession isn’t enough. Gaining a reputation as a true professional, just like gaining respect, is something that is earned by actions.
 
‘We will be working with our advisers to implement these ideas, where they consider them important to their business,’ Mr Osborne said.
 
The Intelligent Planning licensing offer launched in January this year. Key elements of the offer include a flat licence pricing model, the ability for advisers to speak directly with an internal industry expert on a peer-to-peer basis and a culture of community.
 
Intelligent Planning also offers a part share in its business to the first wave of founding advisers. ‘This gives our first advisers a degree of ownership in the business, thereby guaranteeing their voices are heard,’ Mr Osborne said.