Let me start by saying that it isn’t about us, it’s about you. Your goals, your life. But I understand that you want to know something about us; you want to know that you are dealing with professionals that understand what they are doing, that they have the required skills, knowledge and experience to do what they say they can do for you. So let me do that for you.
The guy to your left, that’s me, Chris Craggs. I started my finance career in 1995 working for Westpac. Back then you had to pass some product exams and they called you a financial planner. In the first month I met a gentleman who just changed jobs and needed to roll over his super fund. I was the sixth person he had seen, and on the surface my advice was going to be the same as everyone else’s. Now, at that time, I was living in Kalgoorlie and was waiting for my family to arrive. Not knowing anyone in town, and not wishing to visit the local establishments, I spent my night studying the Master Tax guide. For a newbie in finance I found it interesting. I also found answers for my client that the other six finance people didn’t pick up (two of which were qualified accountants). As a result my new client was able to save thousand’s of dollars in tax, every year, for the rest of his life.
Soon after I was introduced to a young gentleman who needed to invest some surplus business cash. I recommended a simple cash management trust which would give him an extra 5% over his business account. At the time cash management trusts were quite new to the market and they came with thick disclosure statements, so the young man asked his father to look over the documentation. The father agreed that the son should put his surplus money in the account and then asked whether I could help him. When I said yes he chuckled (there was a very large difference in our ages) and said of course I could help him, as so many other finance people had said they could help him. He then disclosed to me that he had 22 houses, $7million in shares and $3 million in cash, and that my advice to diversify was probably already achieved. I asked him to give me 1 week to see if I could come up with a strategy to help him. I hit the books and spoke to every experienced financial planner, accountant and tax lawyer I could. Allocated pensions are very well known today, but back then they were less than 12 months old. I presented my solution 7 days later and that gentlemen now had the opportunity to invest his cash and shares into a tax structure that would ensure he didn’t pay any tax on those profits for the rest of his life. I came away from that meeting knowing two things:
That experienced financial planners, accountants and tax lawyers don’t keep up to date with the latest strategies that could, and do, sav their clients tens of thousands of dollars.
If I am to provide the very best service to my clients, I had to have the very best knowledge.
So I commenced studying the various areas of finance: Tax, Centrelink, Investment Strategy, Cash Flow Management, the lot.
Since then I have completed two master’s degrees (Business Administration and Accounting), won national awards and have been listed in the Australian Financial Review Smart Investor MasterClass for 12 years. I have also been a senior lecturer in finance and have been invited by top accounting firms, the IPA, Centrelink and even ASIC to speak on finance and taxation strategies.
I am committed to understanding the law and finance so that I can provide the very best advice to my clients.
Peter joins the team
The Financial Planning Association works with Curtin University to help develop new financial planners. From one of these FPA events I was introduced to one particular student who stood out above all the rest. Pete was hired the next day and I haven’t looked back. Peter is an exceptional professional who has a desire to help people. In 2013 Peter received the Certified Financial Planning designation, the highest designation available to a financial planner.
Peter is the youngest Chairman of a Bendigo Bank branch in the country, a position he received after putting in years of service, and proving that he had the skills and commitment to carry out the role. Being on the board is a volunteer position, and whilst this may deter other people, Peter understood that community is important, and being part of a community means that we have a responsibility to help that community.