Getting personal

Sweetspot Private Practice


printer icon Adobe PDF icon

By Gary Lembit, Senior Manager - Client Insights & Analytics

It’s called "Personal Financial Advice" for a reason.

That’s the view of Perpetual’s Head of Insights, Gary Lembit, who surveyed 3000 Australians as part of his What Do You Care About research, and found an elite group of them who were able to achieve a sort of nirvana on earth:

  • enough money to live the lifestyle they dreamed about
  • enough money and time to give to those they care about – to charity, community or family and friends.

Perpetual calls these people: Sweet Spotters.

Perpetual’s research revealed that Sweet Spotters have very distinct traits that may be of interest to financial advisers.

  • Sweet Spotters are three times more focused on planning for their future than ordinary Australians – a trait that makes them ideal clients for financial advisers.
  • They’re also three times (38% to 12%) more likely to trust advisers to make day to day investment decisions than are other Australians.
  • Perhaps most interestingly, 65% of Sweet Spotters – the happiest Australians – said “I am much better off from having an adviser”. For the average Australian that number was down to just 32%.

It seems Sweet Spotters and Independent Financial Advisers have met their perfect match in each other. They’re future focused people able to trust an expert to help them be more successful and more happy. And it works.

How to create more Sweet Spotters?

According to Gary Lembit the secret to creating more Sweet Spotters – more people who are both happy with their lifestyle and happy with their relationships – is listening. The What Do You Care About research suggests the most highly rated attributes any adviser can have is the ability to understand the financial and lifestyle goals of their clients.

Of those surveyed who had a financial adviser, 60% thought “understanding my situation” was the most important adviser trait. By contrast “can solve problems” was crucial to only 36% of clients and “extreme efficiency” was the main thing for just 26% of clients.

“Obviously, the practical and technical aspects of advice are important,” says Gary. “But what really matters for clients is an understanding of both their financial and personal goals. Our research suggests advisers need to build real expertise in uncovering emotional and personal goals as well as classic financial goals.

That might mean pressing them on areas they are reluctant to discuss (situations involving children, parents and divorce are classic examples). It might mean working out the decision-making balance between life partners. It might mean taking a number of meetings to go past the obvious answers to obvious questions,” says Gary.

“The bottom line is that everyone wins when advisers learn to listen and clients learn to talk.”


Perpetual Private advice and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo) ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This information has been prepared by PTCo. It contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider, with a financial or other adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. Any views expressed in this article are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act.