Catch up with Brad Church

24 Nov 2017

Catch up with Brad Church

Next in our series of interviews with people who have been part of our 30 year journey, we speak with Goodman Chief Executive Brad Church. Read on to hear about how his career began, the vision for the next 30 years and the important place clients hold at the heart of the firm.

  

How did your interest in personal finance begin?

It probably goes back to 1991 when I bought my first parcel of shares. I was 14! I was earning some pocket money and my Grandad suggested putting this money into shares rather than the bank. He introduced me to the CSR share purchase plan. Back then, CSR would let you invest a relatively small amount into shares each month. There was no brokerage payable, they offered a discount to the market price and they always rounded the number of shares up. I was making an immediate return on every investment and I thought I was a genius! Perhaps this was where I began discovering the principles of value investing.

When did you know that your interest would turn into a career in financial services?

The truth is, it took me longer than it should have. I remember meeting with my Career Guidance Counsellor in year 10 to discuss the school work experience program. Somehow we got onto the subject of personal finance and she couldn't understand how her brother had a large share portfolio, yet he was paying no tax on the income. I spent the rest of our meeting explaining the dividend imputation system and how he was probably using franking credits to offset his tax payable.

At the end of the appointment, my Career Guidance Counsellor asked me what field of work experience I would like to undertake. I said "information technology"!

It took me a few more years before it clicked. I ended up studying a Bachelor of Business – Banking & Finance at QUT. After graduating, the first job I applied for was a position at Goodman Private Wealth. That was January 1998, and I have been here ever since.

What is your vision for Goodman Private Wealth?

Our vision is to be the leading provider of private wealth services and advice to successful families. To us this is measured by the quality of the outcomes we produce for clients rather than the size of the organisation. To achieve our vision we need to be the best we can be. Unlike the visions of many other businesses, we take it beyond simply a statement and set tangible goals and measurable criteria.

Our vision includes remaining 100 percent privately owned. We can't truly do the best for our clients if we are heavily influenced by a large financial services group selling its own products.

Also, we will continue to deliver truly comprehensive financial planning services. While most in the industry can't define what this means, we've gone the extra mile by exploring leading financial planning businesses world-wide. In 2006 we discovered a comprehensive process in the United States which not only defines comprehensive financial planning, but distils it down to a 145 point checklist. We've embraced this approach and adapted it to meet the needs of Australians.

These are just two examples of our commitment to our vision. It goes far beyond a tagline.

The firm's Family Office and Private Wealth services have evolved over recent years. How do they fit together now?

We've invested a lot of time, money and effort into both services, and over the years the research and development in one service area has turned out to be very relevant to the other.

As our business has evolved, we've improved these two services side by side so now our core offering is designed to put our client's entire financial house in perfect order.

Also, we recognise some families have more complex requirements and need additional services beyond that core offering, such as book keeping, bill paying and philanthropy advice, which we deliver through our Private Family Office.

The common feature in all aspects of our business is that our clients delegate to our team of professionals. Trust is at the heart of this relationship, and our clients know that everything we do is designed to ensure we deliver on our promises to them.

What has been a key influence on your approach to business?

It really comes back to John Goodman's enduring legacy that this business is all about people.

From early in my career I have been passionate about honing my technical skills. My initial focus was on understanding complex financial strategies and structures, and this lead me to accept various leadership roles within the industry. As my career progressed the penny dropped: I realised what really matters is taking the time to understand what's important to people and then putting in place a structure that frees them up both physically and mentally to spend more time doing what's important. That is what we have now created at Goodman Private Wealth.

My focus today is very much on communication with our clients and our team members – that's the glue holding every successful plan together.

What do you enjoy most in your role as Chief Executive?

Over the years I've been rewarded by the great pleasure that comes from helping our clients to achieve their most important goals. Nowadays, I not only get the opportunity to work with great clients, I also get to lead and work alongside a great team while seeing them grow and develop both personally and professionally.

What lies ahead for Goodman Private Wealth?

We know our strategic plan is an ambitious one. While the rest of the industry seems to be obsessed with getting bigger and bigger, for us it's about getting better and better.

We will remain staunchly independent and privately owned and continue to design the business to ensure we have the best team to serve our community of successful families in South East Queensland.

Our future growth will come from continuing to serve our existing clients extraordinarily well. They are at the heart of the firm and we rely on them to tell others about all the benefits they enjoy from working with us.

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