Client Profile: Ian & Barbara Gray
I have been a client of GFM for a very long time, nearly 38 years:- Wow!
I can remember the first meeting with GFM in our house in Warrandyte, something that I admire about them, ‘the client comes first’. I was a young Engineer, married with two girls, with an ambitious goal of obtaining an MBA and to lead a significant manufacturing operation. GFM provided us with various insurances suited to our needs at the time.
My career progressed through Engineer, Engineering Manager, Factory Manager and ultimately to Group Manufacturing Manager of a medium sized multi-million dollar manufacturing and service company. I gained an MBA which was very helpful in my career. I am now retired.
In 1996, the last company I was working for came up for sale. Having been in this position a number of times, a sign of the times for manufacturing in Australia, I was apprehensive about my future. The senior management of our company, of which I was a part, put together a management buy-out. This is where GFM came to the rescue! I needed to raise cash and the only cash available was tied up in superannuation funds. GFM helped me put together a self-managed super fund, something I had never heard of back then.
The early years of our company ownership were difficult but going in the right direction. GFM were very supportive through the ups and downs, then things started to pick up and we decided to float the company on the stock exchange. This was a positive move, which enabled my portfolio to become rather more serious than it had been. GFM was very helpful through this time offering very tailored advice that suited me as an investor. I experienced highs and lows as the market moved, but GFM has always provided me with explanations that made sense and I agreed with the strategies proposed.
My first marriage broke down many years ago, and I am now married to Barbara. We have an extensive combined family with five children and five grand children. They are a significant part of our lives, and Barbara is also part of our association with the ‘GFM family’.
We lived in Mt Eliza for many years where we renovated our home twice as time and funds permitted. Retirement provided a different perspective on life. We found that living in Mt Eliza, which had been very enjoyable, was somehow different when you lived there 24 hours, 7 days a week. We felt crowded and hurried everywhere. That is when we decided to move into the country.
We now live in North East Victoria, in the hills, a place totally different to the hectic pace in Mt Eliza. We have a property of a couple of acres. The house is some forty years old and in need of renovating, which we have dived into with gusto. As an Engineer and lucky to be gifted with a talent for hands on work, we are enjoying our progress through the cleaning up of the gardens, the renovations, and basic maintenance. Our welcome into the local community has been so warming, so totally different to our experience in Mt Eliza. This place is where we wish to live out our lives. We have become involved in a number of community activities, theatre group, social club, Probus, the local post office, and many more. We are busier now than ever before, but also enjoying life more than ever.
I reflect on my life in Australia and many things come to mind that have impacted myself and my family. Two things in particular have had the greatest impact. The first is the company buy-out; the second is the ongoing advice and support from the GFM team. Without the two, we would not be in the position we now enjoy. This may sound a little contrived, but to me the fact that I am retired, living in the country, on a comfortable income from our own fund could only have come about with these two events.
We have found working with the GFM team a very pleasurable experience. There is a level of professionalism far beyond what I have seen in many other organisations. There is a friendliness, which immediately puts you at ease. The assistance and advice is presented in a manner easily understood, and very well researched, without prejudice.
I have recommended GFM to many of my friends and colleagues and would not hesitate in carrying on doing so. The 38 years of association I have had with GFM has been very productive and I look forward to continuing the association for at least the next two or three decades.