Money Management women In Financial Services Awards 2015

Now in their third year, the awards recognise outstanding contributions, product innovation and stellar leadership skills among female financial services industry participants.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Anne Loveridge received the night’s top award of Woman of the Year for her pioneering efforts around establishing more flexible working conditions almost 20 years ago. PwC was also named Employer of the Year.

UniSuper scooped an impressive two awards on the night. The fund’s Executive Manager, Member and People Services, Lee Scales, took home the prestigious title of Superfund Executive of the Year and UniSuper’s Danielle Clarke won in the Marketing and Communications category.

Honner client, Suzanne White from Beazley, was also shortlisted for the Life Insurance category.

Other winners of the night included:

• The Industry Advocacy award went to Clare Payne – Founder/COO of The Banking and Finance Oath/Tobacco Free Portfolios

• The Rising Star award went to Lara Neate – Claims Consultant BT Financial Group

• The Financial Planner of the Year award went to Lisa Duggan – Financial planner/director Epona Financial Guidance

Honner congratulates all the winners and finalists.

The view from the Aged Care Summit

You might have heard – Australia’s population is ageing. And as those among us grapple with the realities of planning for retirement and caring for loved-ones in their elder years, financial advisers are also mapping out their role in this significant transition.

With this in mind, Financial Observer this week hosted the Aged Care Summit, providing insights and practical tips for advisers wanting to provide the best possible assistance for clients in their retirement years.

Honner attended the Sydney event. Here are a few takeaways:

• In 40 years almost 1 in 4 Australians will be aged over 65 years.

• In 2013-14, around 10 per cent of the Australian population accessed some form of aged care.

• Increasing rates of dementia mean that when many people reach the age where they need aged care, they don’t have the capacity to make important decisions. Educating clients and helping them plan for older age sooner is therefore critical.

• The growing need for advice aside, there are strategic reasons for advisers to move into the aged care space, including the opportunity to build out a more comprehensive advice proposition and act as a trusted ‘mentor’ and ‘project manager’ for families.

• Aged care advice isn’t just about the best financial outcomes for the client – it must consider complex family dynamics and preferences, for example, the best interests for mum and dad versus their children’s inheritance.

Video’s meteoric rise

If you think the rapid growth of video isn’t relevant in the financial and corporate world – think again. The fact is, from the C-Suite to person on the street, people would rather watch a short snappy video about a certain issue or product than read it in text format. If a picture paints 1000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million says Forrester’s researchers.

According to Cisco, by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. Video-on-demand traffic alone will have almost trebled. YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month watching more than 4 billion videos. Earlier this month, Facebook cemented the trend with the introduction of video profile pictures – a further sign of where things are headed online.

Nielsen claims 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future and it’s not hard to see why. According to Invodo, video in email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates by 65%. Stats from CodeFuel show the average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video than without.

So what’s the best way to tap into what is arguably one of the best tools in the kit for any social media campaign or SEO exercise?

I’d recommend applying some of the basic rules of communication:

• What is the purpose of the content – what gap does it fill?

• Consider the audience you are trying to reach – is the video is relevant to them? If not it will be a wasted effort

• Be creative – not only in the videos themselves but also in the campaign strategy you build around them

• Have a clear distribution strategy – to realise the full potential you need to make it easy for users to find and share it.  Promote the video across your social channels – if you don’t have any then we can help here too

• Be prepared to make an investment – while plenty of platforms such as and Periscope are free to use, not everything will go viral. You will need to build paid media spend into a campaign. These costs need to be planned out in your marketing and communication strategy

In an age of information overload it’s vital to offer content that is easy to digest, if not your customers will simply move on. Engage viewers and they will share the video with others. They will spend more time on your website and more time interacting with your brand.

2015 SuperRatings Fund of the Year Awards

Honner last night joined over 400 industry professionals at the 2015 SuperRatings Fund of the Year Awards.

QSuper took out the night’s major award – the SuperRatings Fund of the Year which recognises the sector’s best value end-to-end retirement solution, across both accumulation and pension products

Other winners of the night included:

  • One of our own clients – pengana saw the pengana emerging companies fund take home the prestigious lonsec icon award.
  • AustralianSuper won Pension of the Year, recognising the best value for money retirement product.
  • The Rising Star Award went to Local Government Super.
  • The Lonsec Innovation Award was awarded to the Triple 3 Volatility Advantage Fund.
  • The BTIM Retirement Innovation Award, was won by Mercer senior partner David Knox for his contributions to the industry.

Honner congratulates all the winners and finalists.

Media relations – Lessons from both sides of the fence

I did my tertiary training and my first four jobs out of university in journalism, so I still sometimes think of myself as a journalist in a PR consultant’s body. I like to think that perspective affords me a certain diplomacy when it comes to navigating the two intersecting worlds of PR – journalists and clients.

Like any diplomatic mission, both parties want the relationship to work in the best way possible. In order for this to happen, both sides need to take certain aspects on board to achieve harmony between what they need, and what the other side needs.

With that in mind, here are my top three take-outs from working both as a journalist and in PR.

What do PRs need to consider when dealing with journalists?   

1. Emails are often better than calls.

For most of the journalists I’ve worked with (and there will be exceptions), email pitches are a much less intrusive way to get someone’s attention. If the pitch is of interest, the journalist can flag it and get back to you at a less busy time in their day.

In most of the media offices I worked in, calls from a PR were often met with the same eye-rolls and sighing an average person might reserve for a telemarketer. When a call is necessary, I like to have a cheat sheet handy with each publication’s deadline, to ensure I’m not calling them at an inconvenient time.

2. When a journalist is interested, make it easy for them.

If a journalist is interested in interviewing your client, then doesn’t hear back from you for three days about a time, it doesn’t leave the best impression. Today’s journalists are usually working on several stories a day, and need to plan their time in advance.

Obviously there are situations where this can’t be helped, as spokespeople are often busy and it can be difficult to nail down availability. In this case, keep the journalist in the loop with regular updates so they don’t think you’ve gone silent on them.

3. Be available on interview day.

Agencies have different policies on their involvement in client interviews – some will facilitate in every instance, some on a case-by-case basis and some not at all. If you’re not facilitating an interview, make sure you’re available at the time it takes place, and give the journalist your contact details in case anything goes wrong.

Scheduling mistakes will happen and journalists are sympathetic if they understand the situation.  But if they’re left calling a number that’s ringing out, or sitting in a coffee shop for half an hour, it leaves a pretty poor impression of the PR they’re dealing with.

What do journalists need to consider when dealing with PRs?

1. Event RSVPs are more important than you realise. 

As a PR, there is nothing worse than standing at the door of an event, realising that half the journalists you reported to the client were attending are not going to show up.

I understand why this happens. As a journalist, I would RSVP to a PR’s event to guarantee myself a spot, then decide on the day whether I actually wanted to attend. I assumed no-one would notice my absence so didn’t feel the need to inform the PR that I was no longer attending.

I can tell you that the PR – and the client – certainly will notice if you don’t attend. If something comes up please do let us know – it’s not the non-attendance, but the not knowing that makes things especially awkward.

2. Going straight to the source isn’t always best

Some journalists avoid dealing with a spokesperson’s PR for interview requests if they can help it, thinking it will be quicker to cut out the middle man. More often than not if a journalist goes direct to the CEO of a company for comment, their request will either be lost among the hundreds of emails that CEO gets every day, or will be forwarded back to their PR department anyway.

Just as it makes sense to go to HR for a salary issue, or Accounts for an unpaid bill, if you contact the person whose main job is to get you your interview, there’s a better chance that request will be resolved as quickly as possible.

3. PRs and journalists are on the same team

As a journalist you sometimes feel like PR consultants are there to hinder rather than help you do your job. It’s important to remember we’re all trying to achieve the same outcome – a good story.

This can go both ways – don’t be afraid to give feedback if you feel a PR agency consistently pitches you content way out of left field. At the same time, if you want the best results from the PR and their client, give them the best chance to deliver for you. Giving advance notice of an interview, and exactly what you want to cover, will help us ensure the conversation is relevant and newsworthy.