Each Money Makeover we give you the opportunity to get your financial questions answered in our Ask the Expert segment.
Now, we love all of our experts, but we really enjoy when Claire Mackay, principal of Quantum Financial, joins us on the course. Claire is a top-notch financial planner and, more importantly, a lovely person… Lib and I always look forward to our chats with her.
So let’s hear about how she got started in financial advice.
How did you get started as a financial adviser?
I started in financial planning at a young age around the dining table as my father Bill established Quantum Financial back in 1994. He wouldn’t let either my brother Tim or me join the business until we had proven ourselves professionally elsewhere so we embarked on successful accounting, legal and investment banking careers. After working at PwC and Macquarie Bank and gaining qualifications in tax, accounting, law and Self Managed Super Funds, I formally joined Quantum Financial on a full times basis 8 years ago.
What about your experience?
My investment banking experience gained at Macquarie Bank and my brother’s experience at Deutsche Bank and UBS in London and New York means our clients receive best of breed advice.
We constantly tap into our professional network for research and investing ideas. In addition, our Chartered Accounting experience, my legal experience and my brother’s SMSF expertise is invaluable for clients who require complicated structuring advice.
What do you love about your job / proudest moments?
Many years ago when I was entering finance my father said to me ‘If you are going into finance then the only thing you have is your reputation and if you look after your clients then they will look after you’. I am keenly aware that every year our clients place an enormous amount of trust in us to look after their family’s financial security. I view the trust they place in us as a great responsibility and a great honour.
One of the coolest parts of my job is that my clients are all so amazing in their own right. Most have been incredibly successful in their professional lives and live full and happy personal lives. They typically travel extensively and are active in their communities. Many of them even sit me down and share with me great business advice and wonderful feedback on what we are doing for them.
In 2015 Money Management’s awarded me Financial Planner of the Year and in 2014 IFA Magazine awarded me both Investment Advisor of the Year and Excellence Award in Advice. What made me proud of these awards was that they were great recognition for our wonderful clients, the wonderful team I work with and for the mentors in the industry who continually help me develop.
In 2014 the Chair of ASIC Greg Medcraft asked me to join ASIC’s External Advisory Panel and with effect 1 July 2016 I become a Board Member of the Accounting Professional and Standards Board (APESB). Both are recognition for the leading role Quantum Financial has taken in driving professionalism and ethics in financial planning.
Can you your advice philosophy?
Like doctors, our first rule is to do no harm. By that we mean our clients should not take any more take investment risk than they need to meet their goals such as funding their dream retirement or managing their family’s wealth.
Next our investment philosophy is driven by asset allocation and asset location (where assets are held securely in the most tax effective vehicles).
We implement core and satellite portfolios, with a low cost diversified core and high conviction investment ideas as satellite investments. Our proprietary ‘Investing Insights’ research is at the heart of all of our investment advice.
Can you introduce us to Quantum Financial?
Established by my father Bill Mackay in 1994, Quantum Financial is one of Australia’s few truly independent private wealth advisory practices. Since Day 1 we have never had any ownership or other ties to institutions and we have long avoided the old discredited commission model.
We advise a select group of successful professionals, business owners and jet setting retirees. Our clients want independent, ethical advice not aligned with a large institution or product provider. We only accept a select number of private individuals and families for whom we know we can add significant value.
Can you explain your fee structure?
We have long avoided commissions, rebates, asset based fees and other hidden fees. Instead we adopt a fixed fee approach.
After meetings with prospective clients, we undertake a structured process in which we assess their personal circumstances, the complexity of their situation, our assessment of our professional time and any additional risk factors. We then provide them with an all-inclusive, transparent fixed fee for their first year of service as part of their tailored Service Agreement. They know to the dollar how much they will pay us before they commit to anything.
We know that Quantum Financial are not the cheapest financial planners in the market. However, for clients we choose to partner with we know that we will add significantly more value than the fees they will pay.
When should people see a financial adviser?
Typically our new clients are retirees or lead a busy and successful professional life and are time poor. They value dealing with a professional and are willing to delegate management of their finances and partner with a trusted, expert advisor to protect and build their wealth.
Many new clients come to us when a significant event happens in their life. For some its selling their business or when they are starting to think of transitioning to their retirement. Others seek help in successfully managing a significant divorce settlement or inheritance. For some in retirement they want the peace of mind and trust that their wealth is being managed in their family’s best interests should something happen to them.