Client Profile: Harry & Yvonne Clack
Harry and Yvonne have kindly written the article below for Trade Secrets on their family, working life, retirement and the long term relationship they have had with our company over the last 37 years – we greatly appreciate their contribution to this edition of Trade Secrets.
I first had contact with GFM in April 1977 when they took over the agency of my life insurance policy with Legal & General. GFM immediately impressed me with their product knowledge and suggestions for restructuring my insurance affairs.
I have been a Chartered Accountant for just on 50 years, with extensive business experience. During my career, I worked predominantly in Melbourne but also enjoyed a two year stint in London during my mid-20’s to obtain further experience.
The experience gained in London was very beneficial for my career, but wherever we travelled, some major incidents seemed to occur. This included being on the last passenger liner through the Suez Canal, before the 1967 Six-Day War, venturing into Cairo with guns trained on us the whole time, a military coup in Athens, riots and a massive general strike in Paris, and flying out just before the airport closed for six weeks. On the return voyage home, there was an attempted coup in Panama City on the day we docked there, and the hotel that I stayed in Belfast was bombed, just after I returned to London.
After returning to Melbourne, I became a Partner in one of the major accounting firms, and later moved into industry financial management, and served as the Chief Financial Officer to a range of companies, as well as providing business consulting services to a merged Local Government Council, and later joined the ill-fated Ansett Airlines prior to its subsequent demise.
For a number of years, I was heavily involved in the training and mentoring of graduate accountants, and was a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Education Committee. This has always led me to recognise and appreciate any organisation which advocates development of its staff and maintains up-to-date knowledge, research and practices – an area in which I believe GFM excels through its extensive information bulletins and seminars for clients.
Yvonne and I have been together for 22 years, I have two adult children from my previous marriage and we are proud grandparents of the six little ones between 2 and 12.
We retired three years ago and our main interests/hobbies centre around antiques and art, but we still provide some accounting services and business advice, and lots of time with the grandchildren and friends.
We have been clients of GFM for 37 years, and as our needs developed, it was matched by the personal competence, service and professionalism of the senior people within their firm. GFM have grown to be an extremely competent financial planning practice specialising in SMSF’s.
As a qualified accountant, I was well aware of the benefits of superannuation, and generally had a good idea as to how investment markets worked, but we realised that the GFM team possessed highly technical expertise, and we were comfortable in GFM advising on strategies, managing our investment funds and partnering the whole superannuation function, to meet our objectives.
I believe that the reputation, success and positive client relationships is simply a by-product of the skills and expertise displayed by the whole GFM team over many years. The level and ease of communication and services provided by GFM has always been outstanding, better than we have seen from most other professional service organisations. The regularity of portfolio reviews, information on potential investment opportunities and technical newsletters all greatly assist us in our decision making and the managing of our financial affairs.
The stability of advisers and support staff within the GFM organisation has been remarkable – a point that adds to the overall impression of the strength and working capabilities of the firm, which in turn provides additional comfort to clients such as ourselves.
We had a variety of superannuation funds in place, but in 2006, we started our own SMSF. Initially we had some hesitation, mainly around the complexities of managing our own fund, but in hindsight, the ‘in partnership’ support of GFM led us through every step and they explained every recommendation that would improve our financial position.
There has been a lot of attention directed at ‘bad apple’ financial planners through the media over the last few years, and it’s not surprising that some trepidation exits in the community, particularly with something as important and emotive as life savings/retirement wealth being involved. During my career, I have evidenced numerous instances of poor or inferior advice given to individuals and companies with dire consequences, and it’s important to get the right advice from an expert in the field. I have readily referred clients to GFM as I have experienced that comfort over the years, and am onestly able to recommend the firm on the quality and competency of its principles and its staff, their knowledge, service and attention to detail.
Investing your life savings is a very difficult and complex subject, and we have always been reassured by the research, communications strategies and knowledge of GFM, and their support in providing the confidence to maintain our strategic plans. We know that our financial planning needs are being professionally managed, and in the most appropriate manner for our circumstances – in a word, – trust.