Getting to Know: Trisha Edmonds

Trisha Edmonds has been in financial services almost 30 years and says advisers are her top priority.

Friday, June 2nd 2017, 11:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Who are you and what do you do?

I have been in the financial services industry for over 27 years, the last 18 in roles with Armstrong Jones, ING, OnePath and currently ANZ Investments. Since joining the company 17 years ago, I have continued to work with a number of the same colleagues in the company, including the majority of the ANZ Investments team throughout four ownership changes. I am the Head of Advisory Distribution Funds and with my team work closely with over 500 external Authorised Financial Advisers throughout New Zealand. We have a range of KiwiSaver, Multi Asset and Single Asset funds under our OneAnswer range, complemented by our wrap offering, OneAnswer Portfolio Service. I am very relationship-focused and have a long-term passion to help financial advisers exceed expectations and stay relevant for tomorrow. I am a firm believer that all New Zealanders should be able to access financial advice, particularly with the success of KiwiSaver over the past 10 years. We work with the best financial advisers in New Zealand and have honest and respected relationships with each of them. Life is busy and exciting and I would have it no other way. 

On the personal side, I am a proud one-eyed Cantabrian, born to parochial parents from the West Coast of the South Island and farming/racehorse breeding country in Gore, Southland. While I love to travel, NZ is the place for me and Canterbury in particular. Now Canterbury has come through its challenges, I’m excited  by the wonderful, diverse and modern city Christchurch is on track to become. I have one married daughter and a brand new adorable granddaughter who I am truly besotted with.

If there was one thing you would like to change about the financial advice industry, what would it be?

I get very concerned and disappointed when I see advisers constantly bad mouthing each other and putting the financial services industry in disrepute…… some more than others! After all, isn’t our primary focus to ensure that all New Zealanders should be receiving quality and sound financial advice, not to publicly debate and abuse each other’s rights to express opinions? We want the profession to be respected and we won’t achieve that if we are publicly bickering and fighting.

What's the best advice you have ever received?

One bit of advice that I received from a now ex-CEO was to always work closely on solutions with staff, peers and colleagues and where all else failed, ask this simple question - “What can I do to help you achieve the best end result?" I often ask myself that question in my daily role.

What's one thing you'd like advisers to understand about what you do?

That advisers come first in my world and that our business vision is closely aligned with advisers – namely, to do the best thing for our joint clients, so they have financially comfortable lives. Working within a banking environment brings significant levels of best practice in areas like compliance and processes, and our adviser partners benefit from this constant improvement.

What could be done to improve New Zealand's financial literacy levels?

The lifting of financial literacy in New Zealand is important to me and is high on the radar for ANZ. I’d love to see ‘financial literacy’ as part of the economics curriculum in high school so young people receive a good grounding from the start. While I wholeheartedly endorse “Money Week” on an annual basis, financial literacy deserves much more air time during any given year.

What do you think would get more women into financial advice?

It is discouraging that there are not more female financial advisers in NZ, although the majority of those who are AFA qualified are excellent role models. Over the years I have certainly seen more women entering the industry and I regularly advocate the benefits of being an adviser. I guess we need to be asking ourselves these questions: what are the barriers to women pursuing advice as a career?  Does it start in school and conditioning as children?  Do we need more visibility in media etc for women advisers, so girls see it as a potential career?

What do you expect the coming five years to be like for investors?

For those in KiwiSaver, there will be some lessons to be had and learnt. We’re bound to see market volatility and there is a risk that inexperienced investors – for example, KiwiSaver members – will be upset by this. My concern is that many of these people will not seek advice and may make mistakes – for example, changing funds for the wrong reasons and chasing returns.

What do you think is the biggest financial risk to New Zealanders at the moment?

Spending more than they can afford, at over inflated prices, to get on the property ladder. As Kiwis, we have a ‘love affair’ with property but it should not be at any cost! Thankfully, KiwiSaver is helping to change this, albeit slowly…very slowly. At least, we’re starting to see people building long-term savings habits.

What's been your own worst and best investments?

Best investment approach has been to annually review my investment portfolio and asset allocation by completing a risk profile questionnaire aligning with my age and changing circumstances, and worst decision was not taking up an opportunity to invest in an off-shore holiday property until five years after originally being invited. During the five years, the property value increased substantially and the dollar share value to participate increased by a big percentage. I am now pleased to say I have an interest in a property in Denerau, Fiji.
  
Are you a KiwiSaver member?

Absolutely. I was up there with the first joiners and at every given opportunity I do my utmost to ensure others who are not members are encouraged to join. On the birth of my granddaughter one of my first tasks was to get her enrolled.
  
If so, what's your strategy?  

I am a balanced investor who is very comfortable leaving the investment oversight and decision making to those who are experts and specialists in this field; in my case, the ANZ Investments team. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at my KiwiSaver balance or my investment portfolio, but as I do have a financial adviser, we work closely together at review time to ensure all my goals are on track.

What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you?

Gosh, I am pretty much an open book, but I am not a big meat eater, will turn down a Riesling every time, hate snakes (even looking at them on TV), relax by enjoying a lengthy mystery thriller book and I have just entered the wonderful world of grandparenting which is truly amazing!

Tags: Getting to Know

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