Adviser asks Santa for access to clients' ATO tax portals November 2020


Liam Shorte is director, financial planner and specialist SMSF adviser at Verante Financial Planning. He is also a director of the SMSF Association and author of The SMSF Coach. He shared his journey to financial planning with Industry Moves and explains how so much admin and red tape is hurting advisers.

What do you like about being a financial adviser?

I love working with people on strategies to achieve their goals, some that they would never have voiced or pursued without guidance and advice. There is nothing better than sitting with a client after 5 to 10 years planning and knowing that they now have the control of their decision to work, semi-retire or retire comfortably. So many don’t have those options.

Can you share with us your path to becoming an adviser?

I moved to Australia in 2001 having been in the Insurance field in the UK and Middle East. I started fresh here as a paraplanner in an accounting and financial planning firm and worked my way through the exams. I had a lot of exposure to small business owners who used SMSFs for commercial property and the flexibility around contribution planning and small business CGT concessions on the sale of their businesses. I set up my own firm in 2005/6 and I became an SMSF specialist because I knew I needed to understand the technical aspects but also to have the confidence to say no to clients that wanted, but were not suited to, an SMSF and be able to provide alternatives. So I am confident I can offer a range of solutions to suit each client’s needs and as we work on fee for service basis, there is no bias towards any product.

What is the one thing you would like all your clients to understand?

We are not just investment advisers. It is the strategies using the superannuation, tax and cashflow systems that make the most difference in the long term. We give clients confidence to use these to their benefit, saving more every year. We can’t control markets but we can ensure you diversify, hold you accountable and make the most of opportunities.

What advice would you give to somebody wanting to become a financial adviser?

It can be a very fulfilling career and to help people control their finances is a great feeling but you need to be ready for lifelong learning as so much changes through the years and you need to stay on top of strategies and legislation. Find a niche that excites you but have the holistic background across all options to back up your advice.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in the financial advice space at the moment?

Just the costs of running a business and meeting compliance requirements. The paperwork and process involved in providing advice to new clients has expanded exponentially and clients who have not had financial advice before often don’t see the value, so you really need to concentrate on delivering good advice and explaining why so much data collection and signing of forms is required.

What’s on your Christmas Wishlist?

Time to breathe! I will definitely be relaxing. I would love access to the ATO Tax Portal so that I can see my client’s superannuation information, including contributions, bring forward position, total super balances etc. as at the moment advisers rely totally on a client’s understanding of that info and providing it to us.

View Liam Shorte's profile