Honner’s key take aways from the AFR’s Super and Wealth Summit 2023

Any doubt that retirement policy and planning is now a central focus of the news cycle was cast aside at the AFR Super and Wealth Summit on Tuesday October 31.

From the opening remarks by AFR editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury and Deloitte Australia’s Neil Brown, the retirement needs of the impending “silver tsunami” featured in the annual summit as much as the usual topics of investment strategy, regulation and technology.

This mirrors the AFR’s recent wealth coverage, with derivations of the word “retirement” regularly dominating its headlines (probably because it generates the clicks that today dictate editorial strategy).

Assistant Treasurer The Hon Stephen Jones MP told the summit the super industry was at a “critical juncture” with over five million Australians either at or approaching retirement – and “they’re going to expect more from their fund with a higher level of customer service and responsiveness”. APRA’s Deputy Chair Margaret Cole further laid down the gauntlet to industry, stating the “wicked question” as more people approach retirement is whether “super funds will be ready for the challenges ahead”.

There is a clear opportunity for financial services organisations to help shape ongoing media commentary in relation to retirement, particularly to ensure it does not oversimplify issues or promote the notion of a one-size-fits all solution. Bernard Reilly, Chief Executive of Australian Retirement Trust, highlighted this risk in a panel discussion by reiterating different funds have different age cohorts – and those with younger members may still have a focus on accumulation, while others may not.

An education and engagement opportunity exists to communicate directly with members as they near the end of their accumulation phase. The experience will differ for default and choice super members, as well as SMSF and advised super members, and it creates communication challenges that the super industry must grapple with, said HUB24 chief executive Andrew Alcock.

Major press outlets have not previously focused on retirement in detail, so they require trusted sources and new commentators to grasp such nuances and deliver the volume of coverage sought both by older readers and policy makers.

Key takeaway: Retirement is likely to be a dominant topic in wealth press coverage for the foreseeable future. Financial services organisations can capitalise on this demand to build a media profile.


Advising the missing middle

Opportunities to provide financial advice to the “missing middle” of Australians was another key focus for the summit – with panel members talking about “reinventing” the advice offer to middle Australia in particular.

WT Financial Group Head of Advice Jack Standing called for the rewriting of general financial advice laws to enable easier access to advice for Australians, including advice on life insurance. He commented that about 40% of advisers were providing advice on life insurance, yet less than 10% of those advisers were writing an overwhelming majority of life policies.

Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart said super fund members don’t distinguish between help, guidance and advice, so that as an industry, super funds could, through tech and digital, automating and digitising transactions, allow members to do things as seamlessly as possible. “[Members] want us to be as seamless and easy to deal with us as it is to deal with a bank or book an Uber.”

Several panelists at the summit welcomed the reduction in paperwork that is expected to come from implementing Quality of Advice Review (QAR) recommendations, with JBWere Australia CEO Maria Lykouras commenting that the current obligations were onerous even when serving wholesale clients.

Lykouras said she hoped the next round of regulations would “focus on clients and consumers rather than ensuring we’re controlling advice providers”. She saw opportunities to improve advice documents “to make them more engaging and communicate with clients what they need to know whether they were wholesale or retail clients”.

Key takeaway: Organisations have a real opportunity to use their own content and earned media to communicate with the under-advised Australians, including retirees seeking advice for the first time.


Investment banks moving back into retail advice

JBWere expects to consider moving into retail advice to support the intergenerational wealth transfer. “We will need to think more about retail advice in the future as education is going to be so important to the children of our clients,” she said.

UBS Asset Management Country Head, Australasia, Alison Telfer talked about UBS’s return to private banking in Australia, referring to the move as ‘rightsizing’ and bringing back “the good side of vertical integration”.

She commented that advisers who work with the top end of clients are demanding more of asset managers – including support on strategic asset allocation, tactical asset allocation, and seats at the table on investment committees. 

Key takeaway: The increasing wealth of Australians has created a new class of more sophisticated investors that can be targeted through the AFR’s dedicated family office coverage, and similar stories in other press.


Beyond retirement

The AFR’s summit highlighted other issues likely to remain a source of public debate too, including the use of super for nation building purposes and performance tests (which Assistant Treasurer Jones assured us will remain).

Former Federal Treasurer and CBUS Chair Wayne Swan later echoed remarks made by Mr Jones in relation to projects which are in the national interest – arguing “there’s nothing wrong with saying we’d like to see more super fund money in the energy transition. It would sure as hell be better it’s ours than a foreign pension fund”.

Super funds will however draw a line between projects that are in the national interest and projects that are in members’ best interests. While Hostplus Chief Investment Officer Sam Sicilia encouraged funds “to just invest” in real assets because those opportunities didn’t come often and were long-term plays, the investment still had to meet members’ interests – and this can be a determining factor when there’s competing interest from international pension funds.

While its attractive to invest in long-term lease agreements for air and seaports, QIC State Chief Investment Officer Allison Hill said super funds with different member demographics (QIC also manages Queensland government liabilities) couldn’t “hide money in real assets forever” because funds will need greater liquidity.

The top fears for a panel of chief investment officers included: US recession, short-term thinking on the energy transition, longer-term volatility in both listed and unlisted assets, and war.

Key takeaway: Issues will continue to arise that generate public debate, requiring sensitive media management and also creating a potential to participate in important national conversations – either though press activity or policy submissions.


ESG at an inflection point

The corporate regulator, ASIC, has had a clear focus on greenwashing in 2023 and Sarah Court, Deputy Chair, Australian Securities and Investments Commission made it clear this would continue.

Her key message for managers was to hold back on making ESG claims until they could be confident that any claims were backed up with plans and actions – including on strategies that rely on engaging with target companies, such as fossil fuel companies to improve their ESG performance. “Take the time to develop the plans and then put out the statements when you are good and ready,” she said.

Behind any plan should be a “verifiable, serious plan” with “appropriate resourcing, investment and timeframes” built into that plan.

Court added that managers could not outsource that responsibility. “There needs to be work done behind the scenes to ensure that things that are being told to investors effectively are true.”

The principles behind ESG investing and its overall performance and contribution to climate goals has been challenged more than ever in 2023. HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said now was not the time to give up on addressing what are very real climate risks with associated social impacts. She called for the industry show real leadership in addressing these issues.

Behind super and retirement issues, corporate Australia’s approach to addressing climate risk is a hot media topic. There’s an opportunity for Honner clients to lead the conversation through product and investment innovation.

But it’s not just institutional investors that are shaping the conversation. In a separate panel, Sharesies co-founder and co-chief executive Brooke Roberts said one in 10 investors on the platform invest in an ESG or sustainability related ETF. Investment Trends Head of Research Irene Guiamatsia pointed to research showing one in six new retail investors are under the age of 25 and the number of younger and women investors is increasing. Stockspot founder and chief executive Chris Brycki said Australians’ love for dividends and income has also seen many investors go to the sharemarket to speed up their deposit on a home.

Key takeaway: The transition to a net zero economy – and the wealth industry’s contribution to it – may generate more media interest than ESG itself.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact your account team or honner@honner.com.au to discuss further.

Discovering the creative side of Financial PR


As a QUT business and fashion design undergrad student, I leave and breathe creativity on a daily basis and believe it is a skill that can be applied to every role and career. During my two-week internship at Honner, I’ve discovered that financial PR is no different.

Sure, financial topics can be complicated and if the concepts aren’t clearly and cleverly explained, it can be easy to lose people’s attention. That’s why the ability to communicate creatively has so much significance in the financial PR world. While the worlds of fashion and finance may seem far apart, creativity is the thread that binds them together.

Over the June/July uni holidays, I had the privilege of experiencing first-hand what PR is, when I travelled to Sydney for a two-week internship at award-winning financial PR agency, Honner. Here are my key takeaways.


There’s more to PR than you might think

Public Relations (PR) is commonly misinterpreted; it’s often clumped together with marketing and advertising. Although they do indeed share some similarities (e.g. providing communications services), it is important to understand what makes these sectors different.

Unlike marketing and advertising, PR focuses primarily on earned media, as opposed to paid or sponsored media. This distinction was particularly important for me to understand, because as a marketing major, I had previously only worked with paid media content.

Over the two week internship, I was deeply immersed into the world of earned media, gaining incredible experience and insights. From media monitoring and press releases to content creation and account management; I was given a full 360-degree experience of the financial PR industry.

The ultimate goal in PR is to build a positive reputation and trust for clients in part through mentions in articles, stories and news published by reliable sources. At Honner, I was able to learn about the financial services media landscape and understand how to find the perfect publication for a client.

For companies to be mentioned in reputable media, the PR team needs to cultivate strong relationships with journalists and persuade them that their information is newsworthy. Honner has strong connections with leading financial journalists, and this is achieved by regular intel sharing and catch-ups with journalists. I learnt that nurturing a positive relationship can enhance the process of pitching stories to publications and understanding what type of content they need for stories to run.


Why is creativity important in Financial PR?

Creativity can emotionally touch people and build a connection that will influence and impact audiences in new and exciting ways. Original dialogue will gain more attention in the media, social shares and general day-to-day conversations. Just like in fashion, where designers who push the envelope and create never-seen-before garments end up on the cover of Vogue.

So, the ability to transform financial information into an interesting and captivating message is a powerful skill to wield in the PR industry. It will make your messages stand out in an industry where everything is about standing out.


How to be creative in Financial PR

Here are a few examples of how to be creative in the financial PR industry that I experienced during my internship:

Don’t hold back

I found that Honner’s accepting and friendly work environment made idea sharing easier and allowed me to feel a sense of safety.

Takeaway 1: No idea is a bad idea! Psychology behind why we choose not to share ideas indicates we are often held back by multi-faceted fear. What if my idea is no good? What if I’m judged? What if I fail? What most people fail to understand is that “bad” ideas create the foundation and act as building blocks for innovative and unique solutions. All kinds of ideas can open doors and break down the walls of possibility, opening your mind and creating unlimited potential.

Work with other people

I was extremely fortunate to work closely with a variety of different people at Honner and loved getting to witness how each person excelled in their own unique way. Honner is rich in diversity with highly intelligent industry professionals in marketing, journalism, asset management and content creation.

Takeaway 2: Working with the same people can pigeon-hole your creative thinking, and you may find yourself often pitching the same ideas from the past. Instead, seek out creative minds, enrich your innovative energy and do not be afraid to work with different personalities (they often expand your creative thinking the most).

See things from different perspectives

At Honner, all work is double and sometimes even triple checked. I was unconsciously looking back over my work to ensure that it made sense to whomever I was sending it to, which enriched my writing and ideas.

Takeaway 3: Curiosity breeds creativity! When taking on the perspective of others, you tend to elaborate more on your own ideas and create a clearer picture for multiple minds to comprehend. This in turn boosts creative performance and effective collaboration.

Reflect on your surroundings

Over my two weeks at Honner, I was invited out to multiple lunches and would always come back afterwards feeling refreshed and active. The Honner team can produce quality work and high-level results, while still having fun in the process.

Takeaway 4: Genius ideas do not grow in tired conditions. Taking quality breaks can do wonders for your creative thinking and mental health. If you get easily bored during your lunch breaks, how about having lunch with a coworker at a new restaurant or going for a walk? Even better, go for a run.


Final thoughts from the internship

Honner has given me valuable corporate experience along with crucial insights on different career paths I had not considered before the internship. Public relations and journalism are two industries that I’ve had little exposure to in the past, however, following this internship, I am financial PR convert.

Getting the chance to travel to a new city and work at an award-winning agency is an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. The office environment and comradery at Honner truly made this experience memorable.

I am excited to see what opportunities lay ahead for me and will continuously be seeking personal and professional growth.

If working at Honner sounds interesting to you, email recruitment@honner.com.au with your resume and get in touch!

How Threads is making Twitter twitch

Welcome to the world of Threads, a social media platform poised to challenge the dominance of Twitter. Developed by Meta, the parent company behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Threads has already amassed an impressive user base of 100 million individuals worldwide (and it continues to grow).

The Honner team has reviewed this exciting new platform to help you better understand its potential and weigh its pros and cons. Here are some of the key features and considerations of Threads, that will hopefully empower you to make informed decisions about its role in your social media strategy.

  1. Meta’s Brainchild: A standalone app linked to Instagram: Threads represents Meta’s latest brainchild, seamlessly integrated with Instagram. As a standalone app, Threads provides a feed that facilitates real-time conversations. Users can express themselves through text-based posts, while also sharing photos, videos, and status updates. This integration creates an interconnected experience across the Meta ecosystem.
  2. Disrupting Twitter: Addressing Twitter’s challenges: Threads emerges as a formidable disruptor to Twitter, capitalising on the challenges the platform has faced in recent times. Twitter’s staffing cuts and content moderation controversies have created an opportunity for Threads to position itself as an alternative. However, it’s important to note Threads currently lacks robust search capabilities, a potential drawback for users seeking extensive content discovery.
  3. A generous character limit of 500: Threads provides ample space for wordsmiths and storytellers to captivate their audience. Unlike Twitter’s restrictive character count, Threads gives users a 500-character count limit. Unverified Twitter users have a maximum of 280 characters, though verified Twitter users can increase their character limit to 25,000 for a fee of $8 a month.
  4. Privacy concerns and unavailability in the European Union:Threads has faced privacy concerns, particularly within the European Union, due to historical data sharing issues associated with Meta’s other platforms. As a result, the app is currently unavailable in the EU. It is crucial for users and businesses to understand the privacy implications and regulatory landscape associated with Threads, ensuring compliance and safeguarding personal information.
  5. Real-time updates and public conversations:Threads differentiates itself by offering a dedicated space for real-time updates and public conversations. This unique feature aims to foster a friendly environment where users can engage in discussions centred around text and sharing thoughts. The idea is that individuals and brands can create communities built on shared interests and passions.
  6. No hashtags: Unfortunately, on Threads, the absence of hashtags means that you cannot search for or track specific words, phrases, or trends like you can on Twitter. This limitation makes it more challenging to stay informed about new developments and trending topics. Unlike Twitter, Threads lacks the functionality of hashtags and a dedicated trending topics section. Although there is a possibility of improvements to the search feature in Threads in the future, the current absence of hashtags can be seen as a drawback.
  7. Threads does not support advertising at present:Nonetheless, it presents new possibilities for businesses to maintain their brand presence and engage their existing Instagram audience. By crafting compelling content that aligns with their brand’s identity and resonates with followers, businesses can potentially leverage Threads to strengthen their online presence and connect authentically with their target markets.
  8. Enhanced visual storytelling: Threads supports both photo and video uploads, enabling users to enhance their text-based posts with visual content. Videos are currently limited to 5 minutes in length. Businesses and individuals can leverage this multimedia capability to create a bigger impression on an audience.
  9. Sharing relevant content: Threads enables users to share links, including shortened URLs, within their posts. This functionality lets people share relevant articles, websites, or any other online content seamlessly. The idea is that users can enrich their conversations and provide additional context to their audience.
  10. Absence of DM feature:Although Threads bears resemblance to Twitter in its appearance and functionality, it notably lacks a direct messaging feature. Instagram has acknowledged the potential for future enhancements, raising the possibility that DMs may be introduced to Threads in due course.
  11. A joyful, rather than a spiteful realm? Twitter clearly has a reputation for lacking civil dialogues. Instagram claims to have developed Threads specifically to encourage constructive and positive discussions. This acknowledgment highlights the often combative nature of interactions on Twitter. Elon Musk, who advocates for unrestricted freedom of speech, implemented several modifications upon assuming control of Twitter. One of these changes involved the dismantling of Twitter’s independent Trust and Safety Council, which previously offered guidance on addressing harmful behaviour on the platform.

Threads, the “micro-blogging” social media platform developed by Meta, has rapidly gained traction, amassing 100 million sign-ups in 100 countries. Its potential to challenge Twitter, combined with its apparent early success, makes it an alluring option for those seeking to expand their online presence. However, it is crucial to remain mindful of privacy concerns, understand the limitations of the platform, and evaluate its fit within your broader social media strategy.

At Honner, we are dedicated to ensuring you stay informed about the latest social media trends that affect financial services firms. With our expertise in social media, we offer a valuable resource for clients seeking to integrate it into their communication strategies. We encourage you to connect with your account teams to explore how we can enhance your media coverage through social channels. Let’s have a conversation and amplify your online presence together.

Honner bolsters senior team

Honner bolsters senior team

  • Susie Bell appointed Managing Partner
  • Alison Kahler joins as Senior Consultant – Content
  • Rashmi Punjabi appointed Head of Business Development
  • New Senior Leadership Team to drive ongoing growth

SYDNEY, 3 April 2023: Honner today announced a range of senior team updates, reinforcing the agency’s position as one of Australia’s leading specialist corporate and financial communications firms.

Equity partner Susie Bell has been appointed Managing Partner, with a focus on leading Honner’s people and culture. Celebrating her 15th year with Honner, Susie works closely with Founder and CEO Philippa Honner to drive a range of management responsibilities in addition to leading Honner’s relationships with key clients including NAB, global asset manager Nuveen and global securities and derivatives exchange Cboe Australia.

Alison Kahler has joined the Honner team as Senior Consultant – Content, in response to ongoing demand for high quality, strategically driven content programs in the financial services sector.

Alison brings more than 25 years’ experience as a financial journalist and communications adviser for major publications and institutions. At Honner she will work across the firm’s financial services, corporate and technology clients offering content strategy development and delivery as well as strategic communications counsel.

She joins Honner from HSBC where she spent the past six years as a senior communications manager working across the spectrum of corporate communications, reputation management, issues and crisis management, content strategy and planning, and media relations. Prior to working at HSBC, Alison built a reputation as one of Australia’s leading writers on personal finance, investment and superannuation over more than a decade with The Australian Financial Review.

Rashmi Punjabi has been appointed to the newly created role of Head of Business Development. She will work closely with the CEO and Senior Leadership Team to drive new business efforts across traditional finance and new economy sectors, as well as leading on marketing initiatives for the Agency.

This month Honner also formalised its Senior Leadership Team, in recognition of the collective contribution the agency’s senior consultants make in managing a growing consultancy. The new Senior Leadership Team includes equity partners Philippa Honner and Susie Bell, as well as:

  • Judith Bence, Chief Operating Officer
  • Craig Morris, Head of Marketing Solutions
  • Samantha Rockliff, Senior Consultant
  • Fiona Parker, Chief Strategy Officer
  • Natasha Moldrich, Account Director
  • Rashmi Punjabi, Head of Business Development

CEO Philippa Honner said the appointments reflected the firm’s ambitions to continue broadening its offering across the Australian and APAC region.

“Each year we behave more like a traditional consultant – working with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver highly tailored, strategically driven programs that make a commercial impact,” Philippa said.

“We’re investing in our team, digital tools and infrastructure to support the next phase of growth – as clients continue to value specialist agencies that bring deep market insights and creative ideas to the table, operating as a dynamic and flexible extension of their in-house team.”

Managing Partner Susie Bell said continuous learning and global curiosity were strong contributors to the firm’s culture.

“The Honner team is our greatest strength, and we are extremely proud of our diverse range of talent. We’re committed to delivering relevant and future focused training and team experiences that add value and create a real impact. Through our deep global networks our team can access career-defining agency exchanges and virtual ‘next generation’ forums with their peers from across the globe, covering global best practice and the latest industry trends from ESG to generative AI. Having a global, and more rounded, perspective ultimately makes us all better and more informed practitioners,” she said.

An Aussie in Europe

Honner’s Jacqui Coleman shares some insights from her Global Placement with agency partners Lansons in London and Shan in Paris  

It’s crazy to think I started as a grad at Honner almost four years ago and today am writing a blog about my recent global placement in Europe (see here for my first ever blog post on being a grad!).

During that time, I’ve had so many amazing opportunities to develop my skills as a public relations consultant – ranging from getting exposure to issues and crisis management, strategy development, investor relations, managing a 24/7 press office, liaising with Australia’s top business and financial journalists, writing complex thought leadership pieces, media training top executives, social media management, supporting clients with owned events, just to name a few!

It’s been an incredible journey so far and my knowledge of PR and finance has deepened immensely. I’m a huge believer in experiential learning and continuously developing my skills, so I was honoured to be chosen as the recipient of Honner’s 2022 Global Placement where I had the privilege to visit our global agency partners Shan in Paris and Lansons in London.

Honner is a proud member of three prestigious global agency networks – GCP, PROI, and Global Fintech PR Network, which supports greater knowledge sharing among independent PR and communications agencies across the world.

I’m also part of the GCP’s ‘Next Generation’ group, which encourages emerging leaders in the agencies to practice leadership and presentation skills and discuss how we can help shape the future of our industry.

Being part of these networks also allows Honner to offer international experiences and professional development to its staff, with the aim of bringing back the latest best practice from an agency and client perspective.

In this blog, I share some key takeaways from my week in the UK and France, and how each agency has adapted to the future of integrated communications.

#Jacqueline in Paris

Yes, that heading is referencing the hit Netflix show ‘Emily in Paris’. Unlike some of the characters portrayed in the show, I found everyone extremely warm and welcoming – you heard it here first!

The French financial media landscape is just as vibrant as the coffee and croissant scene in Paris. Some publications were familiar such as the Financial Times, Citywire France, and other major finance and business titles include Les Echos, La Tribune, and Le Parisien which are similar to the Australian Financial Review, The Australian, and the Sydney Morning Herald back home.

At Honner, we like to say that media relations are our “bread and butter”. While this holds true, and Shan shares this same value, both agencies believe a well-rounded public relations program needs to be integrated to include other elements such as social and digital, community engagement, event support, content marketing, and strategic partnerships.

Shan recognises that clients and new business prospects are increasingly asking about their social and digital capabilities, so to meet this demand, social and digital is now a key part of their service offering. They can manage the end-to-end process of creating content for various social media channels and are also responsible for distribution on behalf of clients.

In Australia, we have also seen the demand for social and digital from clients increase, particularly across LinkedIn, and today we’re driving dedicated programs to support client profiling and engagement.

Some insights I was able to share with Shan was how Honner is leading the charge developing a dedicated communications practice in the digital assets and crypto space. The team at Shan were intrigued to hear how we support these clients with messaging, media relations, events and issues management to help them navigate an emerging and unpredictable market environment.

To round out my short visit to Shan, the team enjoyed listening to my presentation about the PR and economic land down under, but not so much the jar of vegemite I shared with them!

I also had the chance to explore the beautiful city of Paris where I visited iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Lourve Museum (where I saw the Mona Lisa in person!). I also consumed many croissants, pastries, and espressos along the way!

The bigger big smoke – London

The UK has one of the largest financial ecosystems in the world, and the dynamic financial media landscape reflects this. Some of the world’s most well-known and respected financial publications are headquartered in London, such as The Financial Times, Reuters, and The Economist.

But times for journalists are tough, and the UK faces the same issues we have in Australia – the closure of print magazines and papers, editorial teams shrinking by the day, and journalists being faced with more deadlines and less staff to file stories.

Yet there are still plenty of opportunities for clients to be featured across the UK’s extensive mainstream and trade media. We see this in practice when we’re pitching to titles like Investment & Pensions Europe on behalf of our global clients, which is a publication that has correspondents dedicated to covering the Australian institutional investment market. We take a coordinated approach to ensure we’re not doubling up on pitching efforts, which is achieved by working with the APAC and London client teams to achieve the best result.

Speaking of media powerhouses, Lansons is a founding partner of the BBC 50:50 Project which aims to achieve equal representation in all the content they produce, whether that’s gender, ethnicity, disability or age among others. Honner has been involved with a similar project in Australia, Bloomberg’s New Voices Program, which aims to provide media training to expert women in finance, empowering more women to be media spokespeople. It was enlightening to see that championing minority voices in financial media is also of great importance to our agency partners.

Lansons has dedicated consultants seconded to one of their biggest and most well-known clients, the London Stock Exchange, which involves sitting in the LSE most days of the week. This is an excellent way for Lansons to showcase how a consultant can become an extension of their clients’ PR and marketing teams to achieve their clients’ business goals. Honner has also participated in secondments with clients in Australia, which reflects our agency’s focus on large, long term client relationships – where Honner account teams become a seamless extension supporting a wide and flexible range of client work.

Safe to say our brilliant agency partners Lansons and Shan are paving the way for financial communications in the future, adapting to new mediums and executing on integrated campaigns, much like Honner is doing in Australia.

I’m immensely grateful to Shan and Lansons for hosting me, and to my Honner team for granting me this amazing opportunity.

This could be you! Send your CV to recruitment@honner.com.au and get in touch to find out what roles we are currently recruiting for.

How to break into the financial PR industry as an Undergrad

Everyone wants their friends and family to be up to date with their lives, be aware of their achievements and know how they’re handling problems. The stakeholders in our lives are our friends and family. They invest in us emotionally, physically, and financially (thanks Mum and Dad).

In the same way we prioritise preserving these relationships through communication and expressing gratitude, companies like to maintain their relationships with their customers, investors, and board members. Public relations is about managing the relationship of companies, their shareholders, and the public.

In the current technological age where information is transmitting at a million miles a minute, the need for PR has been streamlined. Here at Honner, they focus on PR for financial firms which is often described as corporate communications, financial PR, or investor relations.

Asset managers, financial institutions, and now crypto organisations need someone managing their public facing side to maintain integrity, run their socials, keep shareholders updated and communicate messages. The credibility good PR brings stems in authentic and informative coverage and is essential for the survival of any business.

But what do you actually do?

To work in financial PR, you need to be constantly across the media and know what’s going on for your client. This is not limited to announcements and changes within a firm but extends to shifts within the industry and any events, statements, or market changes that a financial firm should be aware of.

Within financial comms, you can stem into an in-house career or to agency work. In house means you are hired by the financial institution, and you do only their communications and PR. However, with agency work you are hired by a range of financial institutions, and you operate as an independent.

Honner is an agency and has a variety of influential clients such as NAB, crypto.com and Nano Digital Home Loans. You get to have a taste of every client and the work they require which could include:

  • media monitoring: dissecting publications to see if there are client mentions or articles of interest
  • press releases: writing up announcements (eg. If a bank has announced a new app)
  • media training: working with clients to prepare them for the public (eg. Interview training)
  • content creation: branching out to generate content relevant to a client (eg. Surveys)

My time at Honner

While interning at Honner, I had a chance to work with everyone’s teams. On face value, the upbeat atmosphere and team comradery gave me a breezy impression. While Honner staff have a lot of fun, they also work hard and produce very high-quality work. Honner is home to a diverse group of industry professionals with expertise in media, marketing, journalism, content creation and asset management.

I was able to get the inside scoop on how to know if financial PR is right for you and what ways to impress in a job interview. Interested in the industry but don’t know how to crack in? I’ve got some insight from Honner’s best and brightest.

  • Harrison emphasised the importance of a keen interest in finance and to be open to understanding the ins and outs of the financial sector. You have to know what’s going on in the AFR, The Australian and any other publications that include a popular financial section. If you don’t right now, don’t worry – there’s PLENTY of time to get well versed and you pick it up quick – you just have to want to do it.
  • Andrew has a pretty impressive background in financial journalism and moved to PR in 2019. His media experience has allowed him to curate relationships with a diverse group of journalists. He highlighted the lasting significance of newspapers despite the digital age evolving and how they are always the most accurate and reliable source of information. To thrive at Honner, you need to be outgoing and willing to reach out to form relationships with journalists.
  • Eleanor is a graduate and has been working at Honner for 6 months. She was surprised with the relentlessness of the news cycle and stressed the importance of organization and timelines. She explained that understanding general industry knowledge helps so much with knowing what your clients are talking about and what would be important to them. Having that information rehearsed and accessible pays off in the long run.

Check out the ‘Our People’ tab to put some faces to these names.

The bigger picture

While PR will always be necessary, financial PR is constantly evolving. Not only is the consistency of finance reassuring, but new facets of finance are always emerging to keep things exciting. The crypto space is booming at the moment and Honner is all over it.

During Sydney Fashion Week, a client of Honner’s partnered with a designer to create an NFT. Two Honner girls had the opportunity to check out the digital dress NFT and attend a few shows. Finance is always going to be relevant. And in turn, so will financial coms. Stagnant is not a word Honner staff are familiar with.

I was instantly drawn to the fast passed environment of financial communications. Being a PR major, I had always envisioned myself working with passionate clients and helping them to succeed in the limelight. Spending 2 weeks at Honner made me realise how rewarding a career in financial coms can be.

I am grateful not only to be given the opportunity to experience how this industry functions, but to have had time to learn from a diverse range of experienced and driven industry professionals (aka. Team Honner).

The QUT x Honner scholarship has settled my confusion about what career path to choose. I highly recommend to any QUT students to check out this opportunity or even have a browse of Honner’s website and socials.

If working at Honner sounds interesting to you, email recruitment@honner.com.au with your resume and get in touch.