Passion is the defining characteristic of this year’s winner, writes Heather Jacobs.
Erin Truscott of the Brisbane-based GCA Financial is the winner of the 2016 AFA Rising Star Award. The award recognises advisers with three years or less experience who provide quality advice, excellence in client engagement and are active contributors to the profession and/or the wider community.
ANZ Wealth has partnered with the AFA to help recognise this rising talent over the 12 years it has been running.
Truscott became a 15 per cent shareholder in GCA Financial in January this year making her one of four owners. She’s also the Queensland state chair for the Association of Advisers Inspire Community, which is about encouraging female advisers through networking and education.
The judges were particularly impressed with Truscott’s passion for the industry and her contribution to the community.
Chris Browne, founder of Rising Tide, and one of the judges, considers her an all-round talent. “Her contribution to our profession, unquestionable passion for her clients, combined with a strong business acumen gave her the edge over a very strong 2016 field” he says.
Another judge, Jenny Brown, founder and CEO of JBS Financial Strategists, adds that Truscott has the ability to inspire others and help them on the journey.
“This shows in her enthusiasm with both her work with clients and giving back to the AFA Inspire community,” says Brown. “Erin believes that if you can build structure and process to work together we can change lives for the better. Her work with Hands Across the Water over the past six years also shows her passion for giving back to the community, having raised over $10,000 per ride each year.”
Truscott was inspired to become a financial planner during her years working as a practice development manager with Financial Wisdom, of which GCA is an authorised representative. When the partners asked her to join them for a “honeymoon” period of 12 months before making the partnership official, she agreed.
“Spending that time with the partners and getting really involved with their day-to-day, watching how they deal with people and the beautiful things they get to do and the conversations they get to have, good and bad, that really adds value to people’s lives is something that really stuck with me – as soon as I got the opportunity, I was in there.”
Truscott has completed an advanced diploma in financial planning and is working towards gaining her master of financial planning degree.
The personal approach
GCA was first established 43 years ago and many of its clients are small business owners. Truscott’s goal is to expand the number of Millennials on its books, starting with the adult children of GCA’s existing clients who are now coming to see them.
“I’m an incredibly passionate person and I love what I do,” she says. “I get butterflies in my tummy after I walk out of a cool meeting with a client. To me, leadership is about sharing that passion, energy and love for what I do and inspiring others and helping them.”
Her approach to giving advice is to find out what money means to her clients and how it’s going to add value to their lives. Seeing them go from a lack-of-control over their finances to total control is one of the things she’s most enjoying about being a financial planner so far.
“If you get into bad habits early on you can carry that through your entire life unless you make a choice to change,” says Truscott. “Spending more than you earn and living outside your means becomes the biggest stress as you try to keep up with whatever your lifestyle is and with what’s happening around you. You can spend a bit of time bringing that in and saying, ‘it’s about you, not about what’s going on around you’.”
Truscott is heavily involved in community service including her work with the AFA’s Inspire community.
“We have a lot of value to add as females and as advisers,” she says. “We bring something completely different to the men and it’s really nice to gel that together. It’s really about getting females involved in what traditionally has been a male dominated industry and giving them the skills and confidence and support to want to step up.”
Truscott was initially nominated by Fraser Jack of myonlineadvisers, who also mentioned her passion and enthusiasm: “She is a superstar, full of energy, passionately committed to advice and how it benefits consumers,” says Jack.