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Mid-Life (not quite) Career Change

Discussion in 'Financial Planning Study Group' started by Shady, 13th Feb, 2009.

  1. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13th Feb, 2009
    Posts:
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    Location:
    Sydney NSW
    After 10 years of owning a couple of retail stores I've sold up and looking for my next 'big gig'.
    The wide world of investing has always been a hobby/passion of mine (for Christmas I ask for a current book on superannuation and another 2 on property investing) and I wanted to ask a few questions on training, direction and the role.

    I've noted that there are bucket loads of institutions that offer RG146 compliance and DFS/ADFS certification. Is there any real world difference between them? Does a prospective employer really care where you got your qualifications from or how long it took you to obtain?
    What about programs like the Professional Development Program - Financial Planning offered by Oceanic-PR that cost $7k-$8k or the 'get your DFS in 8 or 9 day' courses or the full time ones put on by AFIA where you can finish it in a month fulltime.

    What does FNS50804 mean? I'm assuming its got something to do with ASIC compliance. Is a Kaplan DFS(FNS50804) the same as a TAFE DFS (FNS50804)? The reason I ask is because the TAFE course is recognised by the Uni of western sydney where I have completed half of an accounting degree.

    Are there any other industry bodies other than the FPA in Australia? I'm assuming that CFA is similar to CPA/CA/NIA.

    At 35 its quite a mid life career change but I've spent my my whole working life in sales/service type roles, am I correct in assuming that financial planning is as much about sales and people contact as it is about planning?

    What are the limiting factors on what you can recommend to a client? (setting up a SMSF; purchasing investment properties; structuring mortgages; recommending different entities like company/trusts)
    I know a lot of financial planning is recommending managed funds, retail super funds and Insurance products but don't know how far you can branch out in advice.

    I have plenty more questions but I cant remember them atm.

    Cheers
    Darren
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 13th Feb, 2009
  2. AsxBroker

    AsxBroker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8th Sep, 2007
    Posts:
    1,448
    Location:
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    Hi Shady,

    Welcome to an exciting and fulfilling industry.

    There are bucket loads of registered training organisations (RTO) which can be foud here http://www.asic.gov.au/eTraining/eTrain.nsf

    The Diploma in Financial Services (Financial Planning) is under the Australian Qualifications Framework which means there is no real world difference as it is the same course at any RTO. While I haven't heard of Oceanic that doesn't mean anything, though I would be worried as they aren't listed on ASICs website http://www.asic.gov.au/eTraining/eTrain.nsf -> Provider Details on the left panel. then click on "K-O" to explode the list to search providers. I would be asking them (Oceanic) why they are not listed on ASICs website or even call ASIC to confirm that Oceanic is on their trainer list (they may have changed their name since being put on the ASIC list). AIFA is on the ASIC list.

    The issue if you complete the course is what sort of job are you expecting to get?

    Close, the FNS reference is to do with the AQF saying that the course is the same. Hence, you could start at TAFE and carry across to AIFA or wherever.

    The Financial Planning Association (FPA) Welcome to the FPA is the main association, there is also a smaller group called the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) Welcome - Association of Financial Advisers LTD . The FPA have the Australian rights for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) mark in Australia and the AFA have the Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP) mark.

    Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) is usually a mark found in funds management (read seriously heavy number crunching) not as a financial planner.

    It is all about the people contact/relationship and sales, though you can't do alot if you don't "get" the technical side of things.

    The licensee chooses the restrictions on what you can recommend, eg, my licensee doesn't let me advise on foreign exchange though I am RG146 compliant in foreign exchange. To advise on Self Managed Super Funds you are required to have the specialist knowledge through a specialist course.

    Let us know when you remember the other questions...

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  3. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sydney NSW
    Thanks for the reply Dan,
    I rang Oceanic-HR and got a sales pitch about their development program and apparently they are a recruitment company that provides industry based skills. All the formal education is done through AFIA which as you mentioned is on your list. Their program runs for 13weeks full time and includes the DFS from AFIA which you pay directly to AFIA. From what I understand the DFS takes 3 days for each of the 4 module so at most, full time means 4 weeks, I'm waiting on an information pack as to what's included in the other 9 weeks of the program.

    I also spoke my cousin who is an analyst for ASIC in QLD. Their team looks after all the financial planing regulation for the state. It was a very interesting conversation as they're in the middle of investigating the Storm Financial thing. My cousin has a CBA bank planning background. After an hour on the phone my cousin suggested I get RG146 compliance and then look for a parra-planning role that also does reviews for 6-12 months. Its sounds like good advice

    If I wanted to be able to recommend a client complex financial plans including setting up a SMSF, investing in funds and directly in property using instalment warrants, setting up offset accounts on individually held investment properties and LOC's on PPOR mortgages to make use of debt recycling, direct share investing as well as salary sacrificing and tax effective investing, what type of company (if any) should I be looking for employment? Also you mentioned specialist knowledge for SMSF, do you get this on the job? or is there a formal qualification to be able to recommend it? I'm assuming its the same for trust structures too?


    Thanks again for any help
    Darren
     
  4. AsxBroker

    AsxBroker Well-Known Member

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    No worries Darren,

    That makes a little more sense in relation to Oceanic being a recruitment company...I'd suggest that you read up on Kaplan Professional | Home as this is the most well recognised RTO for financial planning. Most people would go to a recruitment company and the recruiter know who the RTO is rather than being asked uncomfortable questions. Also if your going to do it in 8 or 9 days don't tell a recruiter, an employer and especially clients, I think it would scare alot of people off you. If your sitting at home every day doing nothing, you can enrol and do the course by distance and probably knock each subject over in a week, do the assignment and while you wait for your results enrol in the next subject! I think Kaplan is about $750 per subject which would be $3,500 for the DFS.

    I think you'd already figured out that you have to be compliant. Stick to the list http://www.asic.gov.au/eTraining/eTrain.nsf as that is ASIC's RG146 compliant RTOs.

    Customer service or paraplanning, paraplanning isn't always customer facing (eg, a large licensee would have a paraplanning unit, compared to a smaller practice who wants to employ a paraplanner to do plans and answer phone calls and have client meetings).

    Obviously there are benefits and disadvantages with each. Eg, in a paraplanning unit you'll do a different plan a day and have the support of other experienced and knowledgable paraplanners and you won't have anyone ring you up to ask the balance of their account or to send out forms for their account. In a practice, you'll be taking calls from clients and doing administrative things as well as constructing plans and be more customer service oriented.

    Most licensees won't let you recommend direct property because if something goes wrong with that individual property that you have recommended they are liable, though you are able to advise on the structure itself and the client find an investment they like (whether it be property, shares, etc). Offset accounts would be more around debt management and not restricted as it is a cash product. Accountants or banks styled practices would be helping clients with these sorts of structures.

    Re SMSF goto http://www.asic.gov.au/eTraining/eTrain.nsf and click under "Specialist Knowledge" -> "Self Managed Superannuation Funds" this will bring up courses which are suitable to make you RG146 compliant in SMSFs. Trusts (including SMSFs) are usually set up through solictors or accountants.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  5. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sydney NSW
    Thanks again Dan, I appreciate all the help.

    Have you or anyone else heard about these 'Professional Development Programs'? I've been doing some more research and found that AMP do one they call the Horizons Financial Planning Academy. Same deal as the Oceanic/AFIA one except that its 'in house' and you get paid while going through the 13 weeks course and ongoing training, but a DFS is a requirement.

    Seek Ad for AMP Horizons Financial Planning Academy
    AMP web site link to Horizons Financial Planning Academy
    I read that AMP started the academy in 2007 with room for 32 people for which they got 400 applications. I wonder how many application they get nowadays? 4000?
     
  6. AsxBroker

    AsxBroker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Hi Darren,

    Having previously worked at an AMP owned licensee, the AMP Horizons Financial Planning Academy is a much better way of doing it, ie, they pay you instead of you paying them! The AMP Horizons is about 2 years old as they were starting to feel the pinch to get quality staff for their practices. AMP practices work as franchises, headoffice gives the support of compliance and the practice gets a very wide choice of how they operate their business.

    I think MLC also have a similar training course, others licensees may also have similar programs.

    The thing to ask yourself is what happens after you complete the AFIA/Oceanic training? They try and find you a job...What happens after you complete the AMP Horizons training? Your already in a job!

    Certainly try and get a job in finance so that an employer will pay for the course while you get hands on experience, before November jobs were plentiful and anyone could get employed as employers were desperate for employees. Now, things have changed and there are experienced people who have been made redundant will also be looking for jobs alongside those who have no experience. Most employers will look for experience as they have some idea of what they are doing compared to those wet behind the ears.

    Getting your foot in the door is the hardest bit, from there the world is your oyster!

    Cheers,

    Dan