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Getting to Know: Bruce Cortesi

Bruce Cortesi is a familiar face in the advice industry - but did you know he used to be a personal trainer?

Friday, June 23rd 2017, 11:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Who are you and what do you do?

I am the Director of Planwise Limited which has been providing financial services in the Bay of Plenty for 20 years now. In my practice, my specialty area is business risk. I am especially passionate about youth and businesses. I have been in the industry for 21 years and served 14 of those on the board of the Professional Advisers Association and I am currently the Chairman. I live in the Bay of Plenty, on Papamoa Beach, with my wife Anne. My son is finishing the last year of his building apprenticeship and my daughter lives in New Plymouth, working as a PA for an adviser there. My family would describe me as competitive, always on the go and someone that can never sit still. However, I can be found sitting down with a very good Pinot Noir, enjoying music on a good piece of vinyl – a passion of mine. I really like to try and help young people evolve and add something positive to their lives, which is why I have been involved in many sports.

How did you get into the industry?

By accident, really. I was a personal trainer/manager for a major gym in Auckland, and my wife and I visited Tauranga and loved it, so we made the decision to move. I decided to take up any role on offer, which so happened to be a Sales Officer for NZI Life at the time. Little did I know how much I would come to love this industry and the value we provide New Zealanders.

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

Respect. I think, unfortunately, that as the industry has evolved, there is less respect for what each sector within the industry provides - from the humble adviser through to regulators. Many seem to feel that they own a patch or that others are a threat to doing business, when in reality we all need to respect each other and accept that we all have a role to play – no matter how big or small. Until this barrier is broken down, we will continue to have fragmentation and this will be our weakness and undermine the potential we can all achieve for consumers, for neither can survive without the other.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

The importance of how a successful person treats the person with little knowledge. To not judge someone’s choices without understanding their reasons. To never take anything for granted. To be humble and true to others and especially to the person in the mirror who you have to live with 24/7.

What could financial advisers learn from other industries?

To not be threatened by evolution and technology. To embrace it and accept that it is driven by consumers as an alternative means to engage with us, which they want to do. This should be embraced by advisers and not seen as being competitive to what we do – provide advice. Many other industries have already learned that by harnessing the potential of technology, you add value to the proposition you offer your clients. Banks have demonstrated this with developments in online banking tools, but it has not resulted in banks removing the 'people' element. Human beings like engaging with other human beings – it’s how we are wired.

What lessons did you take from your experience in other industries, before coming to financial advice?

Be humble, putting others first, before yourself. Be gracious and respectful. Have conviction in what you do; if it does not stir an ongoing passion in your life, then it is time to take another path. Don’t live a life of "what ifs". I have learned to look at life as a series of chapters, and each has a purpose at any given point in time. The key is to understand that when that chapter has been finished, when you have given all you have to give, then be bold enough to move on to the next chapter that takes you on another journey, with new learning experiences and new relationships. That is how to live life.

What role should professional bodies take under the new advice legislation?

They should take a proactive role in educating and walking with the people they serve, to help advisers position their businesses for the future, so that they can continue to thrive and grow in this profession. But, more importantly, be the cornerstone that builds the gap between the consumer and what advisers do – provide advice.

What could be done to improve young people's financial literacy?

I really like to try and help young people evolve and add something positive to their lives, which is why I set up our Financial Literacy for Youth program. It covers four programs from Level One through to Level Four and covers ages 12 through to 50+. It is my way of doing my bit to help people avoid mistakes that most financial advisers end up trying to fix or solve – especially for the baby boomers generation. All financial advisers should be actively involved in this space, as I believe they are the best qualified. Why? Because they see everything that can (and does) go wrong, based on the choices people make or don’t make. The variables that occur in respect of outcomes are broad.

What do you most hope to achieve in your time with the PAA?

To have left the industry in better shape than when I came into it. That my passion for the industry is reflected in the commitment to the tasks at hand, such as the establishment of a new Professional Body that will carve an exciting and rewarding future for advisers and better experiences and results for consumers.

Are you a KiwiSaver member?

No, I am not, I have other plans in place for my future. However, I have ensured my children have enrolled, as I see it as vital for their future.

Outside of work what do you do? 
Many things. I play piano, run up mountains, being a passionate runner. I play squash, go to the gym and also value the time out with my family and extended family. I am a passionate collector of music and the lives of the great performers from all genres.

What would you say if one of your kids told you they wanted to be a financial adviser?

I would say "great", and want to be part of their journey. It is a profession that is about to evolve in exciting ways.

What’s one thing people may be surprised to know about you?

That I used to teach aerobic and boot camp classes in the eighties – and yes, embarrassingly enough, on very rare occasions that involved wearing Lycra.

If you weren’t in this job what would you be doing?

That’s a difficult question, because right now I cannot think of another job I would be doing. I am sure there will be many more chapters in my life that I will write, and I look forward to them, but right now I am enjoying where I am, learning a great deal and meeting some amazing people – what more could I ask for?!

Tags: Getting to Know

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 3.19 3.19 3.49
AIA Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 ▼3.39
ANZ Special - ▼2.55 ▼2.69 ▼2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 3.19 3.19 3.49
ASB Bank Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
Bluestone ▼3.49 ▼3.49 ▼3.49 ▼3.49
BNZ - Classic - ▼2.55 2.69 2.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 3.25 3.29 3.59
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BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 3.35 3.85 -
Heartland 3.95 2.89 2.97 3.39
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 4.35 4.45 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.60 2.65 2.80
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 3.99 2.58 2.68 2.79
Kainga Ora 4.43 3.29 3.39 3.85
Kiwibank 3.40 3.40 3.54 4.00
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset - - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.65 2.79 3.25
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.45 3.49 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac 3.49 3.45 3.39 3.69
SBS Bank 4.54 3.29 3.19 3.49
SBS Bank Special - 2.79 2.69 2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 ▼2.69 ▼2.75 ▼2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 ▼3.19 ▼3.25 ▼3.49
TSB Bank 5.34 ▼3.35 3.49 3.79
TSB Special 4.54 ▼2.55 2.69 2.99
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.75 3.99 -
Westpac 4.59 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - ▼2.55 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 3.19 3.22 3.39

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