“Nothing But Opportunity” for The Wealth Designers
TWD stands out among its peers as one of the only truly ‘future-read’ practices in the country. Here Graeme Hyland talks about how technology and WealthO2 underpin a vibrant growth and culture story at this thriving advice business.
TWD has five distinct service offerings, from their Private Office for wealthy families to their Essentials service for millennials and young families, as well as a special service for their clients tailored around ‘strategic giving’ combined with advice for not-for-profit companies. This complex business relies on robust and flexible technology, and considers IT investment to be critical to its success.
“We use a number of systems including XPlan, Xeppo and WealthO2’s MA Operator, so ensuring our technology all works together is critical,” said Graeme. “We have worked very hard to ensure that we’re able to get a single view of every client, not just their holdings but down to every communication that we send to them. WealthO2 is very important for us because we need a system that’s really efficient for our clients, and for us as well, that provides the functionality we need and is also robust, user friendly and competitively priced.”
TWD has been fee-for-advice since its inception in 2009. All clients have a service agreement and meet at intervals – yearly, quarterly, monthly or more often – to review their progress with all the advice projects as well as their portfolios. Their TWD Invest arm manages portfolios for all their clients, from the very sophisticated, wholesale investment strategies for family wealth to more streamlined, low cost opportunities for Essentials clients. TWD’s efficient, client focused business practises were an important part of winning them AFA Practice of the Year in 2018.
“Our goal is that our advisers spend their time seeing clients, professional partners and completing research with no time consuming admin work,” Graeme said. “We use technology to enable us to do this efficiently whilst at the same time providing more value to clients. We also strongly believe that for our back office to be efficient our systems have to be very easy for them to use and reduce their admin time as well. A couple of years ago doing our tax packs was a 2-3 month process for up to three full-time staff. Now, we press a button and it’s all done in three or four weeks. So now those staff are working on other projects, marketing, developing new business and assisting in our growth.”
WealthO2 was selected by TWD purely as a technology play by the business to give it an advantage in implementing their value proposition to clients. The business conducted extensive due diligence over a long period of time reviewing other providers including Hub24, Netwealth and Panorama. Despite WealthO2 being new to the market at the time, TWD decided to they were the right fit.
“The attitude of Shannon and Colin and the team was very much ‘we’ll work with you to deliver what you need,’” Graeme said. “If we want something specific for our business then WealthO2 will always look at it, and they have developed a number of bespoke solutions for us so far. They’re proactive, competitively priced and efficient and they work very well with our business.”
TWD have moved 300 clients on to the WealthO2 system, with each client signing off on the process. “Each of our advisers has seen every client individually and taken them through the features and benefits of WealthO2 before moving them over,” Graeme said. “Their team was very helpful – they trained our staff, put information into the system for us and sat down with us every week to review and help with our transition plan. While it was necessarily quite intensive it’s been a very satisfactory process from our side.”
TWD have big plans for the coming months, with expansion to the East Coast and even grander IT plans in the works.
“We’re one of the only future ready practices in Australia,” Graeme said. “While it’s been painful for much of the industry the Royal Commission has been nothing but opportunity for us, and we see a really bright future ahead.”