The Coffs Harbour-based team (who also service the Kempsey and Grafton regions) now comprises five Financial Planners and three Relationship Managers with their fabulous new premises able to accommodate further growth such as additional business acquisitions and an expanding client base. Ben describes the Coffs team as a ‘fun, energetic, resilient and loyal family.’
Having been with Invest Blue for nearly 16 years, Ben has seen many changes. Of course, it was a much smaller business when he started out but the company’s culture and ability to attract great people remains unchanged.
Those elements have always been a big drawcard for Ben. His life also looks a little different these days given he commenced as a fresh-faced uni graduate and is now a proud dad to three daughters, Charlie (10), Poppy (8) and Lacie (6).
As a family man, Ben particularly enjoys helping fellow parents secure a future for their children and seeing families realize their dreams.
Gretel joined Invest Blue in 2017. For Gretel and her husband Nathan, the journey came full circle – having previously resided in Sydney and London, they opted to settle long-term in the town they had both grown up in.
Gretel was drawn to Invest Blue for a number of reasons. With a passion and commitment to her work matched with a need for flexibility due to her young family, Gretel knew that the company was a perfect fit for her. The importance placed on those different facets set the business apart from so many others, Gretel says. The people and the values of the company also greatly appealed.
Ben and Gretel have been working particularly closely for the past couple of years as Ben moves in a new direction within the business and Gretel takes on the management of the majority of his clients. Ben says it has been amazing bringing Gretel on board to share ideas with and to look after his clients as he takes on more of a development and coaching role.
Ben will be mentoring young planners in regional NSW as well as focussing on business growth. “I will be coaching the newer advisers and sharing what I have learnt over the years. I will impart what was worked well and share my many client experiences with them. By instilling some of these learnings, the view is to replicate the growth in other regional locations that the Coffs office has seen,” he says.
And given he’s all about staff development and that the Coffs Harbour office is kicking terrific goals, what does Ben believe makes a great team?
I believe a great team is a well aligned one. Alignment comes through many channels but primarily through communication and transparency. In my view, people perform better when they know what’s going on
We spend large chunks of our week “on” the business so that our three stakeholders (Clients, People & Shareholders) are at the forefront of all conversations.
Another important ingredient is being able to celebrate together.
Every quarter, at the very least, the team organises a different activity followed by a meal and a few quiet drinks to celebrate our hard work.”
And it sounds like the Coffs Harbour crew have plenty of options when it comes to raising a celebratory glass. “We have such a wonderful array of local cafes, restaurants and pubs here,” Ben says. And for him, the Coffs Coast is a wonderful place to call home. “I love this region for its climate, lifestyle and diversity. From the golden beaches of Sapphire, Emerald, Sawtell and beyond to the rolling dairy fields and the Great Dividing Range, we’re spoilt for choice.”
Gretel agrees wholeheartedly. “We’re so lucky to live is such a beautiful part of the world. We have accessibility to everything in Brisbane and Sydney to experience city life whilst having the space and beauty of the beaches and the forest behind us. The opportunity for my children to walk to and from school whilst I can walk to and from work is something most people don’t get to live every day.”
And it’s likely that Gretel cracks quite the pace on the pavement. She is after all, as fit as a fiddle, having taught aerobics and Pilates before moving into a career in Financial Planning. “Staying fit and healthy is extremely important to me. I still love to get out for a run and do Pilates daily. It helps keep me focussed at work and keeps my head screwed on!”
Something else Gretel is passionate about is helping women achieve financial independence. As a female adviser in a male-dominated industry, she is often specifically sought out by female clients.
“Finance has long been a very male-dominated industry, but we’re seeing a change which is great.
More and more women are upskilling and setting themselves up for success. There are some wonderful female planners within Invest Blue who are building amazing relationships and setting their clients on the path to lead their best possible lives.
Women bring a different skill set to the table and as a result, have different relationships with their clients and create interesting opportunities for them by utilising those skills.”
“In my few short years with Invest Blue, I have worked with some fantastic female clients and empowered them to make wise financial decisions that previously, they would not have had the confidence to do so. It’s often about helping them feel safe and secure. I find this aspect of my work extremely rewarding.”
In support of International Women’s Day, Gretel shares ways in which women can enhance their financial literacy, financial independence and financial security.
Collectively, it’s been two decades of helping Invest Blue clients reach their goals but what about Ben and Gretel’s goals? Ben’s one for setting himself exciting new challenges. He can tick off a marathon and a ride for charity from Melbourne to Adelaide. He’s even tackled the world-famous twists and turns of the Tour De France with some of his Invest Blue colleagues. Ben’s currently keeping his fitness up at F45 and looks forward to seeing his three daughters achieve some of their life goals. Like many of us, he’s also counting down the days where travel, be it interstate or overseas, becomes a regular part of our lives again.
Gretel’s excited about growing as a valued employee within the company, in understanding true leadership and in working with new employees to allow them a beautiful career trajectory.
As for family life, she looks forward to hitting the slopes with the tribe in 2022 and before long, taking the kids to Disneyland and having a white Christmas in New York. Personally, Gretel is also keen to compete in a half marathon. Surely, she would have a possible training buddy in her colleague Ben? After all, these two capable, bright, fit, dedicated, family-orientated Coffs Coast team members may just be peas in a pod….
The ‘right’ guidance can be life-changing! Learn how Ben helped his client Shane in putting the pieces back together after a workplace injury.
Featuring Financial Advisers,
Ben Warren and Gretel Chiswell
If you are interested in having a chat about your own situation, get in touch with the Coffs team and we will work out the best way to get you started.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Limited (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you.
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