Recognising the poetry in financial services: Q&A with Naomi Christopher September 2019

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Naomi Christopher has a way with words and a passion for positively changing the perception of financial advice; both of which will be an asset in her new role as national manager, marketing and communications at Implemented Portfolios. Naomi shares with Industry Moves her excitement and plans for the role, as well as a little about her formative years and the woman who inspires her most.

Why did you decide to take the role with Implemented Portfolios?

The most important things for me when choosing a new work home, is the integrity of the people and the integrity of the product or service.

When you work in Marketing and Comms – it’s difficult to do your job well if you don’t have an authentic belief in the people and the brand you’re helping to grow.

Implemented Portfolios have had a very real and positive contribution to the evolution of our industry and I’ve always been impressed by their team’s genuine desire to see financial advisers and their clients triumph and flourish.

There are a lot of shiny ball concepts in financial services but this isn’t one of them. So, when the opportunity came along to help good people amplify a fantastic service – the choice was easy.

"When you work in Marketing and Comms – it’s difficult to do your job well if you don’t have an authentic belief in the people and the brand you’re helping to grow."

What do you hope to achieve in the role?

For me, it will always be about creating and showcasing true benefits for advisers. I’m not about promoting products, people or services for the sake of it. I’ve observed the quiet success of Implemented Portfolios for some time now. My ultimate goal is to work with the IP team to share with more advisers around the country, one of our industry’s best kept secrets.

Can you share some of your goals for the first 12 months?

We’re in a stage where we are poised for accelerated growth with some very interesting projects coming up. Although as the saying goes “renovation before innovation” my goals over the next year will likely be a combination of –

• Helping to prepare for the next stage of business growth,
• Developing day-to-day strategies which will see an improved flow in communications for our current and potential clients and
• Spreading the buzz of some of the new and exciting achievements, innovations and milestones from Implemented Portfolios HQ.

"I feel passionate about positively changing the perception of financial advice, particularly post royal commission."

What was the impetus for your career in marketing & communications?

I’m a massive book geek. I spent a huge amount of time at the library as a child – an obsession I took well into adulthood where I found myself studying English Literature, Creative Writing and Communications at university. I was also very interested in the intersection between words and people, so I added Social and Cultural Analysis into the mix.

Although at one stage I fancied I’d become a poet, I serendipitously landed in financial services instead. But as many of us know, being able to effectively communicate and market some of the products and services in our industry can be a form of poetry in itself, sometimes hahaha.

Is there any new technology that you are most excited about using at the moment?

Coming from a tech background, both myself and Implemented Portfolios are experienced users of various technologies, particularly within the Advice Tech space. I have recently seen some real game changing applications and as I mentioned earlier, we have some exciting plans which are yet to be finalised – that are very centered in technology. Watch this space.

What’s something that you feel passionate about changing?

I feel passionate about positively changing the perception of financial advice, particularly post royal commission. It’s no secret that the industry has taken a bit of a rap, and it’s upsetting to see ‘many reputations suffer for the actions of a few.’

If I can in any way, help to effectively communicate the true value of financial advice, to show how advisers across the country have changed people’s lives for the better, I will.

"Her tenacity, fearlessness and just good ol’ fashioned hard work has been the inspiration for everything I do."

Who or what has inspired you in your life/career?

My mother – who arrived in Australia at 16 knowing very little English; who raised four children on her own and managed to complete three degrees, establish her own thriving business, whilst keeping us all housed, clothed, fed and loved. In my eyes, she’s what we call “The MVP” (Most Valuable Player). Her tenacity, fearlessness and just good ol’ fashioned hard work has been the inspiration for everything I do.

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It was and still is a sunny, magical place with a small-town vibe. Summers were filled with bush walks, bike rides, beach hangs and Bubble-O-Bills.

What was your very first job?

At 15 I begun as a waitress at an Italian restaurant called La Bruschetta in Newport. Although, it wasn’t long before I moved from waiting tables to helping with the business admin. Couldn’t keep me away from books and paperwork!

With the benefit of hindsight, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t shy away from self-belief. Choose kindness over brilliance. Never go to the hairdresser right after a break-up.

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