Commitment to financial literacy, strategic financial advice and client service has seen Charles Badenach crowned the 2011 Money Management Financial Planner of the Year. Milana Pokrajac reports.
A firm advocate of financial literacy and strategic financial advice, Shadforth Financial Group’s Charles Badenach has won this year’s Money Management Financial Planner of the Year award.
According to the judging panel, Badenach excels at demonstrating clear value to clients and uses innovative methods in retaining existing and finding new business – skills which will be highly sought after in the new regulatory environment.
Badenach’s commitment to the community and willingness to look outside of the financial services industry for inspiration in improving client service were admired by the judges and his colleagues alike.
Based in Tasmania, Badenach has worked for Shadforth Financial Group as principal and private client adviser since 2001, following a brief career in commercial law.
“Upon my return from overseas in 1996 I commenced work as a commercial solicitor with Murdoch Clarke in Hobart; both personally and professionally I was not enjoying working as a lawyer,” Badenach said.
That is when he decided to acquire a Diploma of Financial Planning and become a Certified Financial Planner, before undertaking further studies including a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment, as well as a Diploma of Life Coaching.
Since joining the industry 10 years ago, he won the Financial Planning Association National 2010 Value of Advice Award in the pre-retirement category. But it was Badenach’s thinking outside of the box that truly impressed our judges.
“I was impressed by Charles’ openness to learn from other disciplines and apply those skills for the benefit of his clients,” last year’s Money Management Financial Planner of the Year, Catherine Robson, said.
“Clearly, his clients have benefited from his legal training, but I also think that his life coaching studies will also prove to be the way of the future for many advisers – he is clearly an individual of great energy, intelligence and forward thinking,” Robson added.
Financial advice – not sale
With a background in commercial law, Charles Badenach said that he had always focused on the strategic value rather than just selling a product.
“In many instances, these clients have no investible assets and simply want strategic advice such as cash flow modelling,” he says.
“This is an example of how I have been able to provide comprehensive financial planning advice without even discussing financial products which focus on concepts such as goals-based investing.”
Over the past 12 months, Badenach had adopted a proactive approach on issues such as the importance of asset allocation, lifestyle planning and cashflow modelling, given the difficult investment conditions.
“This has helped my clients make informed decisions when the temptation is to act on the ‘media noise’ and make short-term decisions based on emotion,” he said. “Client education on volatility has been a major focus over the last 12 months.”
Managing director of Matrix Planning Solutions and one of the members of this year’s judging panel, Rick Di Cristoforo, said that Badenach was a true example where “true client engagement and value of advice is a reality”.
Another member of the judging panel, former FPA chair Julie Berry, noted that Badenach’s client testimonials demonstrated good relationships and strategic advice that has helped his clients achieve their goals.
Promoting financial literacy
Since joining the industry in 2001, Charles Badenach has been very passionate about improving financial literacy in his community, and this is evident from the activities he has undertaken to date.
Badenach developed a financial literacy program for the Migrant Resource Centre in Tasmania, which has now been replaced by a similar program run by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
He had also authored a self-help financial book Old Head on Young Shoulders, which was released in April 2011. Badenach donated the book to every school in Tasmania and made it available to school and parents and friends associations.
Following this, Badenach spoke to high school students around the state about common financial mistakes made by young people and how to avoid them.
He regularly runs educational workshops for migrants and helps them understand Australia’s housing and investment market.
Badenach’s involvement with the community, however, does not stop there. He provides his skills and financial expertise to a number of charity and community organisations in Tasmania.
In addition to being a board member of the children’s charity Variety, Badenach is also chairman of the appeals committee which considers applications for financial assistance for medical and physiotherapy aids for the financially disadvantaged.
As a fellow of Jane Franklin College, he assists with the development of the college’s long-term business plan, reviews monthly budgets and financial statements and provides strategic advice to the college on how to maintain their relevance in the business community going forward.
Badenach is also a board member of the Family Planning Association of Tasmania, where he manages budget development and cashflow, among other responsibilities.
In his application, Badenach mentioned his desire to mentor younger financial planners both within the Shadforth Financial Group and outside of its network.