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Getting to Know: Rosemary Hassan

She can slice off a head at a canter, shoot pigs from her horse and has sailed half-way around the world...

Friday, March 24th 2017, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

​​Who are you and what do you do?
I am Rosemary Hassan an AFA and CFP practitioner.  I work at Hassan & Associates, a company established together with my husband, Simon Hassan, ​more than 21 years ago, and which is currently working through the implementation of our business succession plan.

​​How did you get into the industry?​
​My career (although I had no idea this would be my career then), began 40 years ago when I worked as a financial adviser in the UK.  This role, in comparison with today's adviser, was very "raw and unregulated".  Knocking on doors, completing a data collection booklet, and encouraging people to save into a market linked unit trust. I introduced many families to the concept of compound interest, encouraging long-term saving into the same market where we ourselves shop as well as introducing bank accounts so as to transfer regular savings directly to their long-term savings plan (unit trust).  My biggest competition in business at this time was "The man from the Pru".  He collected the premiums door-to-door and promised a very large sum after a certain period of time.  I found this an easy win, teaching clients to share in the market's growth as opposed to save a very little amount into a closed box endowment plan, losing the buying power of their pennies when it came time to access them.

​​If there is one thing you would like to change about the financial advice industry, what would it be?  ​
​Call me old-fashioned, but I still call upon my experiences of 40 years ago when it comes to sitting in front of clients (new or otherwise).  "Client first" goes without saying, and the change I would like to see is the financial advice industry thriving on a good reputation.  It seems this profession is always clambering over a misconception that financial advisers behave badly.  Listening to and reading our industry reporters, it seems that this is still largely how the general public perceives us.  It seems odd to think that currently so much effort and money is being spent on discussing and writing a "client first" code of conduct.  The regulator, our professional body, and our own actions and behaviours: (all of these) should be our advocate to the general public on this point.  With the current amount of compliance and required disclosures, clients by now, should be able to feel comfortable with their choice of adviser, whether from a large institution or small financial planning practice. I'd like the regulator to be more proactive in being an advocate of the NZ financial advice industry.

​​What’s the best advice you have ever received?​ 
​"Measure twice, think three times, and cut once."   I was 10 years old and it made perfect sense.  Thanks Dad.

​​​Are you a KiwiSaver member?​ 

What’s your investment strategy?

​​​Outside of work what do you do?
​Having helped raise seven children, I am an advocate for positive youth development.  Hassan & Associates over the last few years have helped and support the work of the Graeme Dingle Foundation.  Crazy that New Zealand is home to such awful high youth statistics!  The painful journey of some of our youth is not only a perpetual journey, but it is very costly which ever way you look at it.  The Graeme Dingle Foundation believes if we can get it right at the grass roots level, we can make incredible differences and life changes when it comes to our young ones becoming parents. I feel it would be one of the best investments as a country (if we thought of our country as a business), ​we could make.  No business in its right mind would leave up to a quarter (over 24%) of their workforce to chance, would they?  

​​What’s one thing people may be surprised to know about you?
​I love ​playing ​medieval games on horseback​ as well as the authentic dress up​!  I have a ​great sword and can slice off a Moor's head at a canter (mmmm, ​that's a ​cabbage!).  I have​ an authentic​ horseman's bow and ​arrows and ​like to shoot pigs at a canter off the back of my horse (bales of hay with a target​ attached​ - or my friend​'​s life​-​size plastic pig​!​)​. I​ love to aim at ​an ​opponent​'​s​​ throat with my spear ​as I canter toward them, (actually ​collecting rings ​at throat height on my spear!). I love to ​be part of ​bringing ​​​inner city Year 6 ​students' medieval ​studies modules to a spectacular close.  Kids are gobsmacked to see our horses, outfits​,​ including 14th  century amour and being able to touch and reinact. ​Creating positive lasting memories.
If you weren’t in this job what would you be doing?
​​​Easy! ​Whatever I did, I'd do it on horseback​ and be an ambassador for positive youth development.  I've only just really been interested in horses for just over a minute (putting it into context) and one of my aims is to do the BIG trip around NZ on horseback.  I would like to do such a journey as an ambassador for a good cause - I think now you might know what that is!

You sailed to New Zealand from Europe - what was that experience like?
I set sail in June 1987 on 27-foot Jaguar mono hull. ​ Took just under two years.  Great experience both personally and for my then young family.  I thought about, and put myself back in time, each time we made landfall.  Wondering what it would have been like back in the day for the sailors, and in particular the crew in the crows nest..... without chronometers or charts.  We knew that at certain times according to dead reckoning we would have to look out for landfall, as well as before noon so that we could see the reefs!  Those sailors didn't have a clue when and what they could expect!  All that could catch us out were whales, ships and submerged containers!  We could of course only try to mitigate these risks by holding a disciplined six-hour-on, six-hour-off watch.  After that we were in the lap of the Gods. But all that said, it was a calming experience, as well as an exciting one.  Spending sun-drenched days on islands, snorkeling, fishing for dinner, eating like the locals, sharing skills, learning traditional arts, speaking different languages (another of my loves), and making sure we were always in front of the hurricane season!  That sort of trip really teaches you to constantly think ahead, make tactical decisions based on the information in front of you, whether this was a weather pattern we could see or a report picked up on VHF radio, or the knowledge that we had to make landfall according to time, wind, and best direction. My listening skills - to the spoken and unspoken word - stepped up big time. Some 30 years later, I hear myself making analogies between sailing and investment journeys.

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Tags: Getting to Know Rosemary Hassan

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