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Getting to Know: Mary Potter

ANZ Investments northern business development manager Mary Potter says the people she has worked with have been one of the highlights of her career.

Friday, January 19th 2018, 12:00PM

by Susan Edmunds

 

Who are you and what do you do?

I have been in the financial services industry for 25 years. Over the last 18 years, I’ve had many company name changes on my business cards, with the ownership changes from Armstrong Jones to ANZ Investments today. Many of the team I started with all those years ago are still with us today. My role has always been to work closely with the external authorised financial advisers who have a distribution agreement with us.

I’m a facilitator for Sorted. I also chair the Financial Markets and Investment Special Interest group for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

I am the oldest of four and was born in Whangarei, where my brothers and sister still live with their families.

How did you get into the industry?

Like many of us, I fell into it completely by accident. I decided to move back to Whangarei and applied for a job as an accountant in an accounting practice. I got offered the job, but decided not to take it. The accounting partner asked if I would consider financial planning, as his wife (Irene Durham) was looking for someone. I had no idea what they did! I couldn’t believe all the jargon that was used and for that reason I have always made a conscious decision when doing presentations to be aware of the language I use.

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

I would like to see more young people coming into our industry that could work with the clients of a similar age to them and guide them on their journey to a comfortable retirement.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

I can’t think of any advice that has stood out. What has made a difference to me is seeing the impact of bad financial decisions on families.

What could financial advisers learn from other industries?

I think for any industry to do well, they need to adapt to change, whether that be forced on them by regulation or by the threat of new technology.

What do you think the financial services sector is doing well?

The advisers I deal with are truly passionate about what they do. They work extremely hard to make a difference to the financial well-being of their clients.

What could be done to improve KiwiSaver?

We really need New Zealanders to start thinking about the type of retirement they envisage for themselves. We need to do more with the younger members of KiwiSaver, and really provide them with the financial education they need. We need to take the mystery out of where their funds are invested and stop focusing purely on fees.

What role do you see for adviser groups under the new rules?

We are yet to see where the new rules land. I would like to see the adviser groups doing more to promote the value of financial advice.

What have been the benefits of regulation?

To be honest, I don’t know if there’s been a huge benefit for those advisers who have always put their clients first. They continue to work just as hard, but are mindful of the extra regulatory requirements now placed on them to deliver financial advice.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

Working with advisers and colleagues (including other providers) who are all truly passionate and supportive of people around them. I remember back to the dark days of the GFC when life wasn’t easy for any of us. I certainly felt the support from those around me.

What’s the biggest threat to financial advisers?

To me, our industry is all about relationships, but there aren’t enough advisers to help New Zealanders achieve their goals. Technology and roboadvice shouldn’t be seen as a threat, but as another means of providing advice to those who need it.

What do you wish the public knew about financial advisers?

They genuinely care about the clients they deal with. Engaging the services of a financial adviser can make a huge difference to the lifestyle they and their families could enjoy in the future.

Are you a KiwiSaver member?

I joined KiwiSaver when it was first launched.

If so, what’s your investment strategy?

I’m in Growth.

Outside of work what do you do? 

If the sun is shining, you will see me outside. I’m not one to watch TV, as there’s always something that needs to be done. My weekends are either in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton or Whangamata. Toby, my Labrador, is a well-travelled dog. However, I need to keep an eye him to make sure he doesn’t eat gravel when he’s up north on the farm. Driving back in the car wasn’t much fun a few months ago when the two didn’t mix particularly well.

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

I have a niece who is still at high school and may go onto university to do a business degree. If she decided to become a financial adviser, I would certainly help her along the way. I can’t see any of the others looking for a career in the financial services sector. They’re all doing their trades, which I’m very happy about.

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

I don’t think there’s much people don’t know about me. I’ve always been an open book.

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

I have completed my AFA papers, so you never know what the future holds. I can’t see myself going back to accountancy.

Tags: ANZ financial advisers Getting to Know investment KiwiSaver regulation

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