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Robert Sekulovski

Principal, The Wealth Quay

“It starts with a simple conversation.”

The Wealth Quay’s Principal Robert Sekulovski has built up a lot of experience over two decades as a financial planner and if there is one thing he has learned along the way it is the importance of starting early or with little.

“People think that if you see a financial advisor you have to have all this money. I want to try and change that perception,” Rob says.

A meeting with the financial planner in the bank where he got his first job at 18 and his parents’ habit of budgeting into little jars reinforced positive financial habits early.

“Good money habits were built into me. They are a part of my DNA,” he says.

Rob has taken these good habits through his career since he started at the tail end of the tech wreck in 2000 and he has been focused on educating people about how their financial needs evolve with time. He emphasises the importance of starting.

“You start with little and you just grow. You implement and you monitor,” he says. “Learning to be disciplined from a young age with your finances goes a long way as you get older. You learn the value of money and what it is worth.”

He says that one of his most challenging times was advising clients through the GFC in 2008, which reinforced the importance of taking a long-term approach to building wealth even through the inevitable bumps in the market.

“The GFC to me was an eye opener. I had hundreds of conversations telling my clients not to crystallise those losses. Although it was painful, the world did not stop spinning,” he explained.

Rob’s 20 years of experience in financial planning has seen him build a loyal clientele and a few awards along the way. He was the winner of the 2015/2016 National Advice Quality Recognition Award and the 2017/2018 NSW Practice of the Year, but he finds more satisfaction in his role as an encourager, coach, sounding board and a partner to help people reach their money goals at all stages of life.

He focuses the conversations with his clients on understanding about where their money is going and how it is working to create wealth. “You need to be involved with your money. You don’t have to love it, you just have to understand it,” he explains.

Rob says while it is never too late to start investing, he wants to get the message across that investing small amounts over the long term is more effective than shovelling money into savings or investments at the end of your working life.

“Mostly the penny drops in the mid-40 and 50s and it is interesting to see people’s reaction,” he says.

Rob keeps returning to the importance of listening and understanding the needs of his clients before pulling out the calculator.  “It starts with a simple conversation,” he smiles.

“You start with little and you grow.”

Venessa Sekulovski

Marketing/Administration, The Wealth Quay

“One thing I’ve learned is that it’s really important to think of the future.”

A career in recruitment and administration management has given The Wealth Quay’s administrative assistant and social media manager Venessa Sekulovski an appreciation of the importance of smooth administrative processes.

But Venessa says that her role isn’t just about dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s that are so vital, it’s making sure clients’ money gets to the right place at the right time. That’s a given.

She says that a large part of her role is to make sure that all of The Wealth Quay’s clients get the care and confidentiality they deserve when it comes to dealing with their money.

“We deal with people from all walks of life; young people, middle aged people and elderly. You hear good news, you hear bad news and you’ve got to reassure the client that it is all under confidentiality,” she explains. “Whether you’re the admin person here or you’re Rob or Alex, you make clients feel comfortable no matter what.”

It is her ability to make clients feel comfortable that keeps the referrals from family and friends coming in.

“I used to hear a lot about the industry because when you’re married to a financial planner (her husband Rob is the Principal), they come home and they talk about money and investment,” she says. Since coming on board as the administrative and social media manager, she has developed a greater understanding of finance.

“Now I feel like I understand it,” she says. “Rob and I work well together. It is a family business. I always felt part of it, but I think I feel more a part of it now because I’m physically here doing the work.”

Venessa has learned that the most important things about finance are often the simplest and that starts with following your own advice.

“Being in this industry, you can’t just preach it. You need to practice it as well, otherwise your customers will say, ‘It’s great that you provide advice for us, but what do you do?’ They want to make sure that you’re following the advice you are giving,” she says.

“One thing I’ve learnt is that it’s really important to think of the future. If you don’t then when you get there one day you think ‘oh maybe I should have thought about this earlier.’ It’s a bit of a rude shock in a way. That’s the biggest message I’ve learnt here,” she says.

The Wealth Quay has a mission to serve clients at all life stages – not just those in retirement. And that starts at home.

“You make clients feel comfortable no matter what.”

Anna Kezovski

Administration, The Wealth Quay

“In this industry, you are always learning something new.”

Since The Wealth Quay’s administrative assistant Anna Kezovski started working in the banking industry in 1981, she says that the one constant has been change.

I’ve been in the same industry for a long time. My knowledge base is strong, but you’re always learning something new. No matter how much you know there’s always things changing,” she says.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the people-focused approach that The Wealth Quay takes with its clients. Anna spotted it early when she worked with Robert at Colonial and the Commonwealth Bank.

“I always liked the way Robert worked and the way he spoke to clients. I liked his work ethic,” she says. When the opportunity came to work for him 10 years ago, Anna took it and has been at The Wealth Quay ever since.

“We always joked that if Rob ever worked for himself, I would come work for him. And I am glad it happened. Like Rob, for me it has always been about helping out and doing the right thing for the client,” she says.

It is this approach that has seen clients stay loyal over long periods of time.

“The closeness that we have with our clients, it’s like family. You still see them regularly, chat to them regularly, you know about their children and their grandchildren,” Anna says.

Anna is the administrative backbone of The Wealth Quay. She runs Rob and Alex’s calendars, makes sure the clients are being seen and schedules appointments. “Basically, I take care of the customers and take care of the office. Make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed and all the little boxes are ticked,” she says.

Anna also runs the annual seminars for clients, a task she compares to organising a mini-wedding.

Like other members of The Wealth Quay, Anna adopts the same positive financial habits she has seen that has helped their clients build wealth over the long term.

With her wealth of experience, Anna understands the importance of financial planning at all life stages and she is also careful to pass down what she learned from her own parents to her own children.

“I’ve always taught my kids about the right stages of finance, probably because I’m in the industry or maybe because that’s what my parents taught me,” she says.

“In the old days where they set aside an amount for the groceries, another amount for the mortgage, a set amount aside for bills. I don’t know whether that just stuck, whether I’ve always been like that,” she explains.

“That closeness we have with clients. It’s like family.”

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