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Louis van der Merwe
Welcome to another episode of ensemble advice South Africa. Today I have with me in the studio, Jason Bernic. And Jason has a very interesting title. We’re not going to go with the official version. But I think a Creative At Heart when I look at the element coaching, consulting and cartooning. Jason, thank you so much for joining me today. And I really look forward to unpacking everything and has within your title,

Jason Bernic
Hey Louis, thanks for having me really excited to be here.

Louis van der Merwe
Jason, you, you you started out in this profession around 2003. For I remember correctly, momentum, give us a little bit of that backstory of how you found yourself in financial services.

Jason Bernic
Yeah, it was even before momentum, it was sage. So you’re right on the year 2003. But I joined sage life. And I tell the story, often I had two weeks of product training. And then I was let loose and to the world of financial planning having to go and find my own clients. And in those days, sell them some sort of product. And at the end of that month, I owed sage 450 Rand for parking because I hadn’t, in inverted commas written any policies. So what led me to it was probably a bunch of trials and tribulations I had a background in, in both finance and marketing, I worked in the ad world for some time, I left out I dabbled in my own business. My partner cheated on me, my business partner had some other stuff going on. And we had a big bite. And I was wondering what I could do. And like so many financial advisors that end up in the industry. One or two conversations led me in that direction. My dad had been in it for some time. And there was an opportunity to join his branch, which was a high performing branch, we can talk about what that actually means. But with that with FES having, having shown up around in, there were a lot of good guys doing good things, not just trying to run around with a bag of application forms. And there was literally a guy that did that he had a bag of application forms with topics where he used to change things. Slightly, it’s

Louis van der Merwe
always the last one, hey, if you’re not going to take this one, the next clients gonna tell you.

Jason Bernic
Absolutely. They I mean, there was one guy that had a pin on his stack of application forms and made a roll off onto the table and said, Oh, there’s a pen, would you like to use that to sign this application form over the topics? So I was in a lift with a guy once and he had a kit bag, and I thought he had been to gym and I go what is it? Did you go to gym? And he goes no, no, no, let me show you because he was older, I was young. And he knew and I was learning. And he cheese like like some exchange. He put the kitbag on the boardroom table, and he pulls out these forms. And that’s when I was introduced to topics in the corporate world. So I mean, that being said, the branch that I was worth was, was a group of very good guys doing good things, and really trying to turn the history of the insurance world into financial planning. The way the guy who was when they played these dual roles, he was a high performing financial advisor, but also managing the branch and he was one of the first guys to go from pillar to CFP. So I had a very good mentor at that stage. My father was in the broadsheet, he was really doing the right thing as well, a lot of other people. But I find myself still very soon trapped in this world of selling insurance. So no matter what I tried to do, and I joined in the October and started my diploma in financial planning in the March, which was a game changer for me, but I still felt like I was fighting against the real or perceived competition of everyone that was out there with their bags, of brochures and with those tented things where they flip the charts. And you know, before they all had the laptops, and I didn’t like it. And look, we all know that a lot of our perceptions at that time are, are self created. So it may have been a little bit of the industry. And it may have been a little bit of me. And maybe it was a little bit about how agency worked at that time. Going back, I probably could have done a lot differently. But that doesn’t matter. I did well, I built up a nice, a nice base of clients. I’ve got a little bit of AUM going I had some defends on my book. But after five years, I just I knew that it’s not where I want it to be. And I wanted more independence and more flexibility. And I wanted to do more for my clients. And I started to look around the world that was what was happening and the countries of Australia and the UK really appealed to me more than anything. So I started looking at which international companies had local presence and I skipped out the whole momentum thing. So during this time, momentum bought Saj and we moved over as as an agency force and I really liked book so continued with momentum. So then I joined at HSBC, and what was really remarkably different for me at that business was that internally, we had a coaching culture and coaching to me was still sports test edge, it was very far removed from my knowledge and reality. And what that resulted in was the way that people showed up, showed up internally showed up with clients, a very different way of being a different demeanor, they spoke less and listened more. And that translated through to how I engaged with my clients. And the timing was interesting. I joined in July of 2008. And shortly after that something happened for us working in the high net worth space, which was opportunistic, and I was very fortunate in that I went from probably I could describe myself as not an incredibly confident salesperson that technically sound financial planner. But at Sehgal momentum, I struggled to form and create new relationships. When I did they were they were really powerful. And the, the value delivered into them was good as well. But that new business generation was difficult. For me, I wasn’t a natural born salesman, as much as I struggle, extraversion and extra and introversion. I wasn’t one to go out there and just create group conversations from nothing. But that’ll change at HSBC, because we had a particular model where we had a business development lead. And then we had relationship management from the banking perspective, which then fed into wealth management where I set so it was nicely set up for us, but we weren’t licensed in South Africa. So we still had to do a lot of work ourselves without relying on business development. Because the limitations were huge. But because of the professional orientation of the business, and how they groomed us in the way that we were, I found other ways of doing it also this way, this coaching culture that they created, had us approach everything really, really differently. And that’s where I learned to really build the business for new relationships and serve those relationships. To the extent that and I’m only giving you the numbers because it becomes irrelevant to what I do today. To the extent that I was building an AUM book at 100 million Rand a year, and that that was even good on an international basis, not as good as my counterparts in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Dubai, because they had access to a more real money ads, their average deal size was three times bigger. But nevertheless, I and we did very well. We weren’t only riding the back of the recovery of the market, we were really developing a valuable new business with good clients, expats and South Africans and South Africans and secondment around the world. So that’s, that’s really my financial planning journey.

Louis van der Merwe
And can we can we pause there a little bit, I want to, I want to chat about that coach training, did it induce formal coach training, or if I’m sensing it’s more this is the way we do things. at HSBC. At that point, at least, there was

Jason Bernic
no formal training, I had a manager in the banking area of the business that was a qualified coach, a life coach and NLP practitioner. And I spent a lot of time with him asking questions, learning about a coaching way of being. And then after that, I went to a boutique asset management business, which had a consultancy function into independent financial planning businesses, all of which you’re familiar with. And it’s that business that sets us on quarters. And that’s when I learned to be a coach. But there were coaches at HSBC at very high levels, and that the way that they showed up, really created this culture which cascaded down to the rest of the business. And we all felt it.

Louis van der Merwe
So it seems true that saying of people then leave the business, they leave a manager. And in this case, you were exposed to this in a different way of managing,

Jason Bernic
yes. And it wasn’t just that it was also the fact that micromanagement out of South Africa is very different to how we see it. We don’t like it. Yeah. And everything’s micromanagement. If you talk to me, you’re micromanaging the rest of the world, they seem to call it management. So I experienced this thing called truly you called micromanagement which that what that is that we in South Africa might call micromanagement. To me. It’s just an incredible, tough sales function. Although we were doing financial planning and the client was at the center of everything. We had incredibly challenging goals, to the extent that we would sit every single morning very early in the morning as a team and we will look we would look at what’s going on where we need to be going or where we are relative to that, where the gap is. So here’s an example of, of the kind of conversations we would have. Yesterday you said that you would that you were seeing five potential clients for first meet things. How did that go? I saw four what happened to the fifth one? His wife died. So how are you making up for it? So it was tough. It was tough. I used to describe it as what was that movie with, I’m forgetting his another Boiler Room, I used to describe it as the boiler room, more legal than that movie that we were under a lot of pressure to perform. The thing is, though, we had managers showing up in meetings with us, and we had a very specific way of interacting and engaging with clients that was fully in service to those clients. So we had to marry the the need to the goals with the need to, to serve the clients, to the extent that if we didn’t, and I know it’s a qualitative measure, but there were people that reviewed documents, sat in meetings, or listen to phone calls. If we didn’t, we would be put on on a the other remediate as it was called, well, there would be a fail, which had dire consequences to income. At the same time, there were incentives on the upside. For example, if we were a CFP, the bonuses were bigger. If we were advanced, the appeaser bonuses were even bigger. So the performance was driven hard, but the rewards were massive, based on client centricity and qualifications. But I don’t want to give HSBC too much of a punch here. Although it was a very good experience for

Louis van der Merwe
me, no, but it seems like back in 2008, that this was a really good base, that I think a lot of people would be surprised that that’s what you can actually accomplish through having a sales focus. But as long as it’s more geared towards the client receiving benefits, I’m always positioning it to say that our relationship should be mutually beneficial. The client should get more out of this relationship, and the advisor should get up. It’s one of those two pots fail, it leads to an unhappiness maybe now or maybe in the future. How do you position relationships between potential financial planners and clients in that context,

Jason Bernic
going on from what you just said, I think that is, is based on two things. The first is transparency. And the second is agreement. And if any financial planner embraces those two things, the relationship is so much more pure than it could ever have been. You think about it, agreements can be managed expectations, nightmare to lead to disappointment. And in the

Louis van der Merwe
coaching world, you know, we learn contracting is an important piece, I don’t want to jump the gun. Tell me a little bit more about the world after HSBC.

Jason Bernic
So HSBC was closing offices around the world, consolidating everything back to Jersey, and the writing was on the wall. So I joined, joined axis, I can’t remember to use you name names on this podcast.

Louis van der Merwe
We can’t name names. But I’m sure Andrew Bradley has come up enough times in

Jason Bernic
your Android access toward the end of the brand of access, but I was fortunate enough to be part of a really amazing team there. And then old mutual obviously bought access, and I joined old mutual wealth, which was one of the five or six companies at that time that formed old mutual wealth. And we had all mutual wealth in both the financial planning coaching team and ultimately, when I was still there of 11 people around the country, and we continued the work that axis began, which was really going into independence, at least that was a space that I played in independent financial planning businesses, and trying to add as much value to them as possible, again, with financial accounting coaching, it just consultancy and practice management. And, you know, the truth is that to this day, that, to my knowledge, there isn’t an independent consultancy until now, during that there are a lot of institutions and and people that are that are offering value to independent financial planning businesses, but it’s always on some kind of condition, even if the condition has already been filled. So that’s imagine there’s a subscription service of some sorts, and the business providing the service into the financial planning, practice or organization has reached its quota. So now they’re looking for ways to continue to add value to the clients over and above their core business. So they start creating webinars and putting other people into their business and so on. It’s imagine it’s an asset management business. How do you ensure that that your financial planners, clients are putting their money in your fans on your platform, so add value by consulting into their business, but there’s always whether it’s implicit or explicit, there’s some kind of term and condition to that. And that’s where I got thinking about the opportunity of independent consultancy, especially into the IFA world. And as I said, until this time, I don’t think other businesses exist that are purely there for advice.

Louis van der Merwe
I like how you use the term until now. If you can’t leave the leave this conversation with addicts Spending a little bit on my

Jason Bernic
time is up. Thank you so much.

Louis van der Merwe
Breaking up for that.

Jason Bernic
Alright, so I went from HSBC to access into old mutual wealth, between access and old mutual wealth, I was sent on the coaching courses, where there were some new neuro leadership, some integral coaching to UCT. And that’s really what developed my love for coaching. And to the extent that I went to x squared, or mutual wealth and said, I really love it, and I don’t want to lose the raw talent and the raw capacity in this regard. And I’d like to coach on the side, which is where it all started. And I continue to, I stuck to our agreement, where I have a very limited number of plants, and I do it outside of working hours. But what that did was a kept feeding the love or coaching, and also found my preferred niche in that respect, which was very specifically entrepreneurs and business owners. And I think it was about two and a half years after I started doing that, that I made the jump into success coaching, which is the my coaching business. And then it was only natural that I added financial planners to entrepreneurs and business owners, there’s also similar mindset and that there’s a large independancy, to the way that they that they show up and their businesses. And also I have a love for the profession. And I get it and I’ve got the background, I retain my CFP. And I’ve always said for years and years and years that I want to play my part in helping to professionalize the industry. So how can I do it? How can I do it as a coach Well, through coaching financial planners, or working with financial planning businesses, and I’ve done that in a number of ways over the last, where are we three, almost four years, and June will be four years, and I’ve been on my own, I do

Louis van der Merwe
want to know about that transition out of old mutual, right. So a lot of people, they set something up, they tasted, they see if it works. But before they do that, they stop their formal employment, they stop that income stream. And they give themselves a time limit to say, you know, if this works within the next three months, then I’ll continue pursuing that you chose a slightly different approach. You bought the skills, you went back to your employer and said, Can I do this part time? Tell me about the thinking behind behind that? Was it more strategic? Or did you just position this and so the intention was never for it to become your full time gig. Yet. It just was the natural evolution,

Jason Bernic
or combination of everything you just said. And there’s actually a an entertaining and horrific story at the same time. So I gave myself seven months. So I went to Xcode, I got permission to do this. And my labs read kept to continue to kind of grow. And at some point, I realized that I would want to leave employment and start my own thing. And I flew to London and met with a mentor coach of mine at an intensive where they were under and 43 coaches from around the world. It was so incredibly inspirational. I also met my future coach, they’re a Canadian guy had been following the guy for a while. I had a number of conversations with him over a number of months to learn that even though he says dollars, and he lives in Canada, he was still charging American dollars, which I think was sneaky. But I started working with him. And I had a seven month plan to leave. I don’t know if I told the company that that I had a seven month plan to be ready to jump ship. And it was Louis the perfect plan. Everything was laid out everything. Except for one thing. I still had a full time job to deliver on what Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Yeah.

Louis van der Merwe
Why was this a time when you had a significant other you had other responsibilities? Or was it just…

Jason Bernic
Oh, yes. Yes, I was married. I had, at that time, three year old twin boys that were quite demanding. There was a lot going on. Because of the twins. I had lost so much sleep, I was going through ill health. It was mad and I had so much focus on delivering on my employment job that my commitment to that job was was primary. The the establishment of the sideline business was secondary. But now the perfect plan. I had to continue continue with the primary focus anywhere else where it all worked out. Okay. The result was that I jumped ship and I didn’t land in exactly the way that I wanted to where I wanted to. That being said, I established a business. I think I had four clients when I left just for four or four clients. But I’d been in conversation with a few sites activated a pipeline, I had been holding this pipeline and be in conversation I activated that pipeline. And I’d actually built up significantly quickly, just with a little bit of fear because a few of the for example group coaching sessions, I have these themed coaching circles I wasn’t ready for them. I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t have the time. So I built up to financially a point that was acceptable in a very short time, and then COVID hits. But you know what I dealt with 2008. So I could deal with something else. So in 2008, there was an opportunity to have deep conversations with people that understood money, and were liquid. In 2020, there was an opportunity to go from 50% Unfortunately, I was 50%, virtual at that time to 100% virtual and do different things. So one of the ideas I had when I started success, coaching was this brand of mindsets. And prospecting was to launch the bootcamp. That time same prospecting began with a boot camp. And I launched it in August in Johannesburg and October in Cape Town. I think that’s what it is, I’m going to be in Durban as well. And the next one was scheduled for March 2020. And then it was announced that COVID knockdowns were landing. And that was cancelled. But then I started the webinar, which continues to this day. And I still remember, in the marketing slash just going all over social media and saying that this webinar is starting, it was a one sort of saying, My words were something along the lines of for those financial advisors who wish to continue prospecting, but whose potential plans or social distancing this webinar is for you, it’s a once off. And here we are. Years later, three years later, the webinar continues, I think there was a seven month sabbatical. But it also gave me the opportunity to, to do what I wanted to do, which was take the idea of the webinar, and turn it into an online course, which is, to my mind, to my knowledge, the only existing exclusively developed online course for financial advisors in the prospecting space in the English speaking world, that took me seven months. And as I go, by lights and things when shops were still very restrictive,

Louis van der Merwe
sneaking in a JSON book, before we get to the work around what you did in prospecting, it strikes me that you’re moving from old mutual to your own business, you had to build this pipeline, right, create this list of potential prospects. But at the same time, the value offering was very different. Because in financial planning, we often get paid, you know, through the products, right, some of these are third party or indirectly, we get to recover the fees yet now you had to position it to say, you need to write out to Jake or someone has to be on your behalf. And a lot of financial planners struggle with that mindset when it comes to charging for financial planning fees. Share with us how you how you went through just the mental struggle around positioning, that audit didn’t just happen naturally.

Jason Bernic
It was a process but I had had some experience in that. So at HSBC, we we charged 3% upfront and we had to position that. So there’s some experience about asking for a high fee, and needing to deliver value into that fee. And then we being I want to say fee base, but it was a version of fee base, but then moving into the access and then old mutual wealth world and talking about fee based financial planning at large with other independent financial planners, franchises and even agency even when agency so we can invoice trust me a lot of agencies can invoice they just got to find the right people and press the right buttons. But a lot of the work that I did when I was consulting with the financial planning team into businesses was about was around two things that financial planners struggled with. The first and I mentioned the lesser one first was about was about inviting client to ties to their offices, instead of going to the client’s office, which was huge in the manner financial planners, I had a lot of experience around that because I’ve made this decision years before that if I want to be effective and efficient with my time, I need to be on the road less I need to be in beautiful offices with great coffee, where I can invite clients to I can double my number of meetings during the day until I don’t have kids at that time. And then I could write up the financial plans at night. And then I got paraplanning. So that just made everything easier. But needless to say, and I still remember the first person that I ever invited to my office because I was told you got to get in this was interest as you got to get in your car, go to a client’s and the first person I’ve invited to the office was a junior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. And the guy was on the phone. He goes what I have never been told that I have to go to a financial advisors office before you will come to me. So I said okay. And I went to him built a good relationship never went to him again. He kept coming to me. So that was the one thing and the next thing.

Louis van der Merwe
What was that conversation like? How did you position it while we’re on that point? Like, what changed between you going to him and the next meeting?

Jason Bernic
The first thing was that I didn’t argue him. He said you’ll come to my office. I said okay, we’ll come to your office like I don’t know 10 He’s down the road. And so if this area can absolutely put him, so from a from a neuroscience point of view, I put him on his front foot instead of his back foot, okay? Put him in rested, digest, not fight flight, by putting him by being in agreement with him. And then when I was at his office, we I built a relationship like, only word through rapport and asking pertinent questions, getting him to think and, and offering value through the financial planning process as well. And toward the end, as and I don’t have pure memory of this, I just know how I did it. And how I continue to do it is that I suggested that next time He comes to my office, because it’s a beautiful office, I’d love him to meet my team, loving to see where we operate from, and he has to try my coffee served by and there were two guys in tuxedos that served the coffee, and he has to meet my receptionist who will at times on the phone, because she’s just wonderful. And if that experience is delivered adequately, then people will keep coming back. So then I took what what I had done, and I took what I had learned, and I took ideas of coaching way of being, and conversational skills and listening skills, and so on. And I packaged all of that, and I worked with other financial planners to do the same. So most of the people I worked with, before long, they would be inviting people to their offices saving time, and then we enter into the fee based conversation, it’s very much the same thing, that first time you ever invite someone over to your office, if you’ve been going to them? Well, that first time you ever asked someone to pay a fee, when you’ve always been earning the implicit commission is, is a hurdle, it’s a mental hurdle. And you just have to do it. There’s some practice and maybe some preparation around how you do it. But you just have to do it. And you know what, once you do it, you raise the bar, and you’ll never go back. Like, for example, if you charge by 1000 Rand for a financial plan, and that that’s your fee, and you decide you’re gonna go to 10,000 Rand, it will be hard for you to ask for 10,000 Rand the first time, but once you’ve done it, you will never go back ever, you’ve raised the bar, that’s your worth, the work, the delivery that you have for your clients is 10,000 rare for a plan. But you know that their financial planners if you’re not doing it, charging 40,000 rent, because that’s the value. So it’s exactly the same with coaching, I said, I flew to London to meet with a mentor who is the only coach in the world that I know of, to have to be a salesman in the coaching space, there are a lot of good coaches. But like many professionals, they’re not good salespeople. And the great thing about what I learned, and what attracted me to this person, a Brit living in LA, is that he sells through coaching. So let me translate that to financial planning. You Louis could sit it and you know this, but you know, you could sit in front of a financial planning client. And you could go you know, what, if you were if you and I were to work together, we would do this. And we’d do that and that cost you this match. And then we’ll go through a few steps. And we’ll meet at the end of the year, if not twice a year. And we will review. Okay, great. But that’s all promises. That’s all promises. There’s, you’re telling me that, but the five guys that I met before you told me exactly the same thing. Or you could show up Larry in front of your potential client, and just ask them questions that no other financial adviser has ever asked them questions about their dreams, questions about what keeps them awake at night? Questions about their children’s dreams, their children’s children’s dreams, their fears? Like what load shedding actually means to them? Or what they’re doing about it not? Do you have panels or inverters. The lack of the stage six goes on to seven or eight in a year’s time. What does it mean for you and your family. And that makes the difference. And that’s what I do as a coach. When I sit in front of a potential client, as I say, I could tell you about coaching, or I could coach you. And if I coach them, they receive a particular experience. If I’m good, and I think I am, they’ll have insights within that experience. And it will have to do with our culture or financial planner to say something like if you experienced this, within this 30 minutes Imagine we could work together from a coach’s point of view week in and week out from a financial planners view point of view, if we could work together year in and year out. So from a prospecting point of view, the brand is called insane prospecting. I position that brand as I help financial advisors, and this is a debate that we’ve had financial advisors or financial planners, but I think advisor is more will encompassing and more people relate to it. And I know legislation is going to say I know the story. But the other debate is around the word prospecting which you raised earlier, but the brand of insane prospecting helps or supports financial advisors to get in front potential clients, because that’s where the struggle is. That’s where it is hot. The question is, and this whole thing is built on the basis of the question is, how do I get in front of potential clients? There’s a lot of collateral and the services and businesses, institutions, people that help advisors once they’re in front of clients, like Pareto, Duncan McPherson, amazing, so much good stuff, but it plays right in that space. And I’m mentioning this because when I talk about that initial conversation, showing up as a coach, even if you’re a financial planner, for the first and only time, last year, October, I did a presentation with FPI. It’s a webinar, it’s available on fpis. Learn tech, an hour around exactly how you need to have that conversation to take potential clients or even existing clients where they have never been, and then in inverted commas against sell them on the back of that. But if you’re not selling something they can’t touch and feel you’re selling the experience that just had, because it’s tangible, and it’s real, and they can feel it. And it’s meaningful. And that’s what financial planning is, financial planning is, is an experience that people have, when you relate the numbers to how they feel about their lives. It’s about taking people from where they are to where they need to want to be. And if you can have them, look into that and see it for themselves. Like they’ve never seen it before. You’re playing a whole different game with your clients.

Louis van der Merwe
Jason, I love how you kind of just narrow in, in that conversation to say not what does this mean to you what feelings are coming up. And it reminds me of a story of Ross Marina, who’s a fellow financial transitioners that has two coffee cups. And both of them says, think, feel do and he keeps on holding onto those coffee cups in his meetings to remind clients, these are the things we need to work on. And we often just jumping to do oh, you know, what are we going to? What are we going to implement? And what are we what planning are we going to do? And we skip the thinking and the feeling component? And it feels like your conversation? Or like right there in the field? I hate what shows up? Are people surprised by the types of conversations? Or is it now getting to a stage where, hey, this is what I’m expecting? A lot of financial planners have had some coach training, they’re becoming more aware of emotions. And the conversations lead more to transformational than transactional. I got is this still so foreign that so few people are doing it that people are saying, Oh, wow, I didn’t even think of that.

Jason Bernic
In the coaching world. I don’t think that it’s foreign. I think it’s probably a relief, like, you know, I found the person that I’m looking for. In the financial planning world, it is often a surprise, because and David Karp and I were having a conversation with someone this morning, where we were talking about bits and pieces of this. And we said, if you show up with in front of your clients like this, you are in the top one percentile of financial planners, without a shadow of a doubt. So it is still unfortunately a surprise to a lot of clients. But it’s, it’s a relief of a surprise, because they everyone’s had a financial advisor, right everyone. And they’re experienced different forms of financial planning different processes, different personalities, that had financial advisors come and go. And the whole thing with this is that let’s imagine a client is looking for a new financial planner. Or at least our eyes and ears are open to it. And there could be lining up three, or there could have and they meet with you, Louis, and they’ve got to coming up. And what they want to experience is that once they’ve met with you, they’re not even hearing a word that the next one’s saying, because you blew them away, because you cared so much about their future, not only financial well being but their future well being. And if they had met with two already another, they meet with you, they should be feeling that there should that shouldn’t even remember what the other two, were talking about. There’s your walk away from that guy, I actually don’t even remember the names of those two other guys, I’m going to work with Louis, because it is so powerful. But unfortunately, there are a number of things that are getting in the way of all financial advisors, showing up with more of a coaching way of being. And honestly a lot of it is institutional, a lot of it is legacy. A lot of it is financial, some of it is greed. And a lot of it is leadership. So unfortunately, in my opinion, too much of the industry is still old school insurance based. And the industry is attracting young and qualified advisors to tick boxes and teaching them about product and you know, if you have a look at the education within institutions, there’s there, they’re talking about advice learning, but there’s way more product learning way more product learning, and we’re not building the pool of specialists at the rates that we need to and often when we Do we lose a lot of them to the industry, what we’re talking about here, this behavioral coaching way of being is the next level, you need to be, in my opinion, you need to be a qualified financial planner, ideally a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional, you need to have some experience, you need to have developed a skill, you need to have experienced some success, either own or be in a business that’s doing okay. And then you start to bolt on the additional learning, coaching courses are not cheap. coaching courses are a lot of work, work on self as well, because you face up against yourself, you challenge your way of thinking your belief systems, you it’s hard, it’s hard. And then you still have to go and do this with your clients. So there are there are things getting in the way of every financial advisor, adopting this way of being and showing up coach like, but we are seeing some really good courses out there, we are seeing many businesses that are changing the way that they do things they’re reviewing, or Wazoo business, creating a philosophy that is more client first or client centric systems that support the business and support the clients, processes that help them with efficiency, and carve out time so that they can do what they need to do, which is being in front of in front of clients. So there are what I always describe it as as pockets of excellence. And these pockets, in my opinion, are getting bigger, and they’re more pockets. But we have a long way to go. What I love is that so many of these financial planners like you and your business, and that and similar, are putting so much time and effort into their contributions to the industry. And I think as it grows, and we’ve got more people and more businesses contributing in these ways, we’ll get to a point where we will experience the professional growth to be exponential, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Louis van der Merwe
Jason, I can’t agree more with you that specifically that leadership piece, and I want to know like, which industries do you look at to inspire the changes that you’re seeing, like, apart from coaching, which industries do you look at and say, Hey, we can as financial planners, we can learn and we can, we can take some of that that they’re doing. And we can apply it to what what we are doing,

Jason Bernic
the first thing that comes to mind is digital marketing. Because I have a look, I had a look at how digital marketing, embraced pivoted, drove forward and COVID. And I was an opportunity for the industry. But it was it was really inspiring the way they they often did things. And you know, it’s not everyone not not everyone embrace that I’ve got a very large digital marketing client. And to the extent that they opening in Europe, they’ve got international brands now. And I work with their leadership team, as well as their second tier leadership team. And it, it is hard to limit it to an industry like that. But I think that digital marketing came to mind off the cuff because those that did well saw opportunity, assuming that took an entrepreneurial kind of approach to it. And they embraced it. And they pivoted in the way that they needed to, and that and then there was the separation of the doers and the watchers, right? The doers and the observers, I can tell you which industries don’t inspire me. And I’m going to lean on the the financial planning legacy here because too many financial planners keep comparing themselves to the likes of doctors, and there are a few, but I’m going to focus on doctors, because, you know, they talk about in many ways you should be like a doctor, prepare them as a doctor never goes to your house, they don’t do house calls anymore, be professional, like a doctor. But the last three years have shown us that doctors are really so this may be controversial or really quick to prescribe without doing a full needs analysis. Exactly what we in the financial planning profession advocate against and that’s not all doctors, I think surgeons are incredibly specialized professional but you know, I’ve had it’s the stories of general practitioners and this is my strong opinion, you know, that are giving out anti anxiety drug prescriptions like, like jelly tots. So let’s not as financial planners, let’s not compare ourselves to other professions that don’t support the client centric philosophy that good financial planning does. Financial Planning is an incredible profession that if stuck to its guns, if all of the people is tutions businesses, agencies franchises, just for examples stick to the at least the idea of the six step financial plan and put their clients in the center of it. Boy, well, the delivery be amazing,

Louis van der Merwe
but so great that you’re not only focused on a, this is what we can do, right. But also try and avoid relationships I have, I don’t have a lot of friends or family members that rave about the doctors, the ones that are do, or doctors that are queuing that phone in and say, Hey, I know I saw you last week. But how are you doing today? I have not heard of many doctors that do that. And I want to echo what you’re saying, Jason, if you can put the client at the center and the human first approach, you will not only most likely future proof your business, you be a lot more fulfilled just as a human and the space that you in, you seem very content with the work that you’re doing. Now. I know we’re coming up towards the end of our conversation, it was

Jason Bernic
to the seed that I dropped

Louis van der Merwe
into. Do you want to expand a bit on that? Or should we leave that for Episode Two

Jason Bernic
very briefly, David Harper and I, soft launched, FYI, consulting stands for financial financial institution, consulting in March and will officially launched in April. And it really is a consultancy very exclusively into the financial planning industry to work with. With all sizes of financial planning businesses, we are good to most small to medium right now. But we’re building collateral and content to very large businesses as well. But effectively what we’re doing is we working are we partnering with them to work in and on their businesses, to help those businesses evolve and take the next steps to where they’re going. And the way that we do this is, is by working with specific themes. So we follow a modeling, I mean, a coaching approach to the way that we do things, which is really having conversations for exploration and understanding. So we go into the business, in depth and understand everything from people to processes to systems, we identify the gaps. We we create projects around those gaps. And then we come up with solutions that we then implement with those businesses.

Louis van der Merwe
Jason, you set up the conversation, and I’m so glad to say I’ve sheduled some time with David to be on the show. So that the sketch shows we get a lot more sales driven to share what it is that you’re doing and how we’re going to build this profession. And oh, poor answer would be very upset with you for calling this an industry. And we are straddling both Jason, all the best with what you’re building and what would be the best place for people to reach you. When they want to see your cartoons. They want to have a conversation about coaching and consulting.

Jason Bernic
So LinkedIn, the place where professionals hang out, has everything over there. Jason Burnett on LinkedIn.

Louis van der Merwe
Thank you so much for a wonderful conversation.

Jason Bernic
We had fun. Thank you.




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