SoKo Designs… crafting the ideal retirement
Shirley O’Connor and her daughter Kathleen O’Connor-Lee started SoKo Designs over a decade ago. The bespoke baby linen venture has grown from its humble beginnings to have a dedicated regular client base and provide an extra source of income..
We talked to Kathleen about how the business has helped Shirley enjoy her retirement.
So many staff promotions
We’ve always been proud of our team… they are pretty awesome! And in recent months we’ve had so many internal staff promotions that we have been in a constant state of congratulations.
Learn something new with U3A
Retirement is the perfect time to start something new. You’ve worked hard for many years building your wealth and creating the foundations for a strong financial future… so it’s time to do the things you’ve always been interested in.
U3A offers an incredible selection of courses from hundreds of locations around the country.
Extending education for financial advisers
One of the key recommendations from the recent Royal Commission into the financial services industry was to raise the education standards required to become a financial adviser.
Major changes were proposed and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) has recently released the new requirements.
First Financial giving back
We know that many of our clients love to support their community and that they engage in different philanthropic activities. This is also true for the First Financial team!
Our wonderful staff have been actively involved in some fantastic incentives this financial year and today we want to revisit their successes.
Exciting times at First Financial
Over the past 12 months, we’ve had promotions, milestones, weddings, babies, seminars and conferences.
Plus, we are about to farewell Chris White as he retires and welcome Ben Rossi to his new position as Managing Director.
Sean Curran returns as Compliance Manager
Career development is very important to the team here at First Financial. We love to see our people grow and extend their skills as they build their career. Just over 12 months ago, Sean Curran made the decision to follow his aspirations and left First Financial to gain experience in a much larger financial organisation.
We are thrilled to welcome him back into the First Financial family as our Advice Team and Compliance Manager.
Murray Greys annual golf tour
First Financial is the proud sponsor of the Murray Greys, a group of avid golfers who meet annually for a social competition. Many members are husband and wife duos who enjoy playing golf together. They all belong to different clubs around the country, with most of them coming from Queensland.
This year’s tour ran from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd March, across four wonderful courses in the Yarrawonga Mulwala region.
Welcome to the world
We are delighted to celebrate the arrival of sweet baby girl, Isla Kydd.
Financial Adviser Brendan Smith and his wife, Miranda, welcomed her to the world on Friday 8th March at Francis Perry House.
Weighing 3.795kg (8lbs 6oz), she is adored by her mother, father and grandparents.
As the first new baby in the family we are sure she will always be surrounded by love!
She has her mother’s nose and her father’s love of sleep (for now).
Another First Financial Newly-Wed
Did we mention that there’s a lot of love at First Financial?
Earlier this year we featured three separate team members’ weddings… there were plenty of reasons for celebrating. Well it’s time to raise the glass again as we toast one more union!
On Saturday 26th January, Emily Still, Associate Adviser, married Sean Vincent in a fun-filled ceremony at Melbourne Docklands, surrounded by friends and family.
Aussie Butterflies basketball team – reaching their goals
Janice Crosswhite, Sue Pickering, Jenny Connolly and Faye Campbell are all First Financial clients and members of the Aussie Butterflies basketball team, an inspiring group of women who travel the country and the world, playing a sport they love. They are a highly skilled team that currently hold the World Masters gold medal.
First Financial’s Newly-Weds
Love can certainly be contagious and at First Financial we celebrated three separate weddings in late 2018.
There were smiles, laughter and even a few tears at each of the nuptials of Adam Ezerins, Stefanie Costa and William Hume. The three newly-weds kindly gave us some photos of their special days and a little insight into the love they share with their partners.
First Financial Adviser Nicole Costa shares her career journey
Nicole Costa has worked her way up through the ranks at First Financial to her current position of financial adviser.
She’s the perfect example of how we foster our in-house talent through our financial adviser training program that provides our staff with mentoring and opportunities to grow.
We asked Nicole to share her journey here at First Financial and talk about how our unique training program has helped her career progress.
“The culture here is great,” says Nicole. “The opportunities that we get here are great. The mentoring system that we have is amazing. I think it comes down to who you work with, and everyone here is like a big family.”
Providing a nurturing and rewarding workplace for our employees ensures that we can deliver the very best results and customer service for our clients.
Karen and Gary’s trip of a lifetime – A lesson in Retirement Planning
Karen and Gary’s shared love of animals is the daily inspiration behind their dream retirement.
They have just returned from the trip of a lifetime to South America where they encountered Galapagos tortoises, marine iguanas and Karen’s favourite, the Andean condors.
The couple are now enjoying the retired life they started planning twenty years ago.
Their wonderfully busy lives are a perfect example of how planning early can allow you to live the dream retirement you didn’t think was possible.
We spoke to Karen and Gary about their world travels, favourite animals, volunteering, veterans’ cricket and their gorgeous grandchildren.
First Financial training program promotes in-house talent
It gives us great pleasure to announce the recent promotion of two First Financial team members.
We chatted with Adela Ngai and Harley Leslie about their new roles and how First Financial’s unique in-house training program has advanced their careers.
Footy finals fever
The First Financial team got into the footy spirit for Grand Final long weekend!
And what a nail-biter of a game it turned out to be!
We had a great time at the office lunch on Thursday. There was a delicious spread of footy approved food, including meat pies and sangers, followed up by some fun games with the old Sherrin out on the terrace.
The Cold Frog Challenge - Ray and Jenny Pietsch
Giving generously to support others in our community is, without a doubt, one of the great privileges of being financially secure.
When clients Ray and Jenny Pietsch told First Financial Principal Ben Rossi about The Cold Frog Challenge, a charity sleep out they were organising to raise funds and awareness for homelessness in their local area, Ben didn’t hesitate with his support.
In fact, the team at First Financial have been so moved by Ray and Jenny’s dedication to help their community that we wanted to tell their story.
Welcome to the newest member of the First Financial family!
Welcome to the newest member of the First Financial family!
Beautiful little Mia was born last month, weighing 2.9 kg (6 lbs 7oz) to proud parents Honi and Chris Crough.
Chris, who is a principal at First Financial, tells us both Honi and Mia are doing really well and that so far everything has been much easier than they expected.
When ex-staffers come knocking!
POSTED AUGUST 2018
We know we’re doing something right when ex-staff members knock on our door again.
We recently welcomed two First Financial alumni, Adam Ezerins and Paul Seidl, back into the family after a few years testing the waters elsewhere. And who can blame them when our commitment to training, support and career progression are second to none!
Management Team Grows
POSTED AUGUST 2018
There’s no greater compliment to the business than when one of our own decides to put down roots with the firm.
James Wrigley has been with First Financial for over 10 years.
On 1 July we welcomed him into the management team as our newest principal.
No standing still for Emily!
POSTED APRIL 2018
If you’re one of Nick Thomas’s clients you’ll see a new face among his team, with the promotion of Emily Still to Associate Adviser.
Emily has been with First Financial since August 2016. She joined as client services manager so she knows exactly what is required to assist in the delivery of exceptional client service. It’s this experience which made her a perfect fit for her new role.
So it was with great pleasure that we announced her promotion to Associate Adviser on 20th April.
Biggest Morning Tea
POSTED JUNE 2018
We all love a good cuppa and chance to catch up at First Financial.
So we were very happy to support the Cancer Council with a Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser in the office last month.
Our delicious treats were kindly supplied by a dozen staff.
Entry was a minimum gold coin donation and we managed to raise $600 between us!
The funds go towards the Cancer Council’s vital research, prevention and support service programs. Well done everyone!
Double the promotions
POSTED MARCH 2018
It was double the excitement in our offices this month as Associate Advisor Stefanie Costa joined her twin sister Nicole in being promoted to an advisor role.
We are thrilled to announce Stefanie and Nicole’s promotions. Both share a passion for financial planning which began at university and doesn’t look like fading anytime soon.
There’s no better reward for hard work and professionalism than being promoted. Nicole and Stefanie have delivered both in spades.
They joined First Financial as graduates and they’ve learnt and grown in the business together. This promotion reflects the professionalism and commitment they both share.
Managing Director Chris White is absolutely delighted for Stef and Nic.
“They both started as vacation students six years ago and it was evident back then that they were of the highest quality. Stef and Nic have an amazing work ethic and an incredible aptitude to learn and this has given us the confidence that they will become outstanding advisors.”
You will find Nicole and Stefanie in our wealth management team. They’re looking forward to meeting new clients and adding a female balance to our team of advisors.
Our staff give back to the community
POSTED MARCH 2018
Some of our dedicated team are stepping out of the office and helping at Foodbank Victoria.
Foodbank rescues food from across the supply chain and in Victoria they distribute the equivalent of around 20 million meals a year. Their mission is to ensure that all Victorians have access to healthy food.
We’re passionate about helping this cause and we’re thrilled that our staff have embraced it so enthusiastically.
Our first group of nine staff packed an impressive 6,930kg of food orders and 500kgs of plums in record time.
These went out to 17 charities across the state and made approximately 13,400 meals. This is the equivalent of feeding a family of four with three meals a day for more than three years! We couldn’t be prouder.
We’ve donated a 40kg Food Drive made up of grocery items which get packed into mixed grocery hampers. These get distributed to the charities which Foodbank Victoria supports.
Another two groups of staff will be heading to Foodbank in April. We’re so proud to see the First Financial spirit in action!