Supporting Our Community

The team at Stratus Financial Group continue to support our wider community both here and overseas through the Fortnum Foundation. The mission of the Fortnum Foundation is to raise money for children in need by fostering their wellbeing, and providing education and protection for children in Australia and overseas.

The Stratus Financial Group team believe the personal involvement and support offered to children in need is compatible with Stratus’ overall philosophy and values. Continue reading “Supporting Our Community”

Stratus Financial Group Wins 2017 National Operation Excellence Award

Brisbane: Stratus Financial Group has been named “2017 Operational Excellence Award” Winner and Runner-Up “2017 Principal Practice of the Year” at this year’s Fortnum Financial Advisers National Conference held recently in New Zealand.

Left to right: Most Improved Practice (2013), Principal Practice of the Year (2016), Operational Excellence Award (2017)

The 2017 Fortnum Financial Advisers Operational Excellence Award recognises the Fortnum practice that demonstrates the highest level of commitment to implementing sound, proactive business management, while continually assessing and improving their delivery methods, reporting and outcomes for clients.

When accepting the award on behalf of Stratus Financial Group, Brett Cribb said the entire Stratus Financial Advice team was committed to operational excellence.

“As a team, we understand that quality business structures, a sound delivery framework and our genuine commitment to client care are the foundations of success.

“We embrace continual education, in all aspects of advice, compliance with legislation and systems that create positive client experiences.  I’m pleased to say that every day, everyone on the team at Stratus Financial Group strives to live up to our mantra of ‘Making it Happen’ for our clients and that in itself is testimony to our commitment to excellence,” Mr Cribb said.

But the accolades didn’t end there: Stratus Principal, Brett Cribb and Financial Planner, James Marshall were each recognised as award category finalists – respectively for the Chairman’s Award and Educational Excellence Award.

Brett Cribb and James Marshall

This year’s award follows on from last year’s success when Stratus Financial Group was named 2016 Principal Practice of the Year.

Further, Stratus Financial Group was also recognised as an Inaugural Member of the Fortnum Foundation 1000 Club (2011-2017).  Fortnum Foundation raising funds that are used in the protection, education and well-being of children in need within Australia and overseas. Among the charities supported by the Foundation are Aunties and Uncles (Qld); Music Industry College – The Ken Wood Scholarship Fund (Qld), Moira Kelly Creating Hope Foundation and Love Mercy (Uganda).

Stratus Financial Group delivers bespoke financial advice for singles and couples, families; business owners, executives & professionals; and people heading towards retirement and aged care.

L-R: Peter Beauchamp, Steve Nicholas, James Marshall, Brett Cribb & Ross Munro.

Brett Cribb holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and a Diploma of Financial Planning.  He is a Senior Associate with the Financial Services Institute of Australia and a Member of the Financial Planning Association.

Ross Munro is a Certified Financial Planner and holds a Bachelor of Commerce.  He is a Chartered Accountant and a Member of the Financial Planning Association.

Steve Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Graduate Diplomas in Applied Finance and Investment, Financial Planning, and Agricultural Economics.

Peter Beauchamp holds a Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) and is a member of AFA (Association of Financial Advisers).

James Marshall holds a Bachelor of Business (Distinction) and Masters of Applied Finance (Financial Planning).  James is an Associate Member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia and holds a CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®) from the Financial Planning Association of Australia. Recognised in 26 countries, the CFP® designation is the gold standard in financial planning.

Steve, Ross and Brett are also ASX Accredited Listed Product Advisers and hold SMSF Accreditation.

For more information about Stratus Financial Group and their award-winning approach to financial planning, please call 07 3007 2007.


Stratus Financial Group and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. Stratus Financial Group strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances.

Stratus Financial Group Wins ‘2016 Principal Practice of the Year Award’

Stratus Financial Group is the winner of the prestigious ‘2016 Principal Practice of the Year’, presented at the Fortnum Financial Advisers Awards held recently.  

The Fortnum Financial Advisers ‘Principal Practice of the Year’ Award recognises the Fortnum practice that demonstrates the highest level of financial performance, offers the best client value proposition, makes an outstanding contribution to its own community and engages deeply with the Fortnum dealer group in terms of participating in training, coaching and other business development, charitable and social events.

Fortnum Private Wealth Chairman Ray Miles said, “The ‘Principal Practice of the Year’ Award is a highly sought after prize as it recognises the Fortnum practice that is most committed to excellence not only in terms of technical knowledge and business development, but for its outstanding and genuine commitment to our client-first values”.

The Stratus Financial Group leadership team comprises Brett Cribb, Ross Munro, Steve Nicholas and Peter Beauchamp.

In accepting the award on behalf of Stratus Financial Group, Brett Cribb acknowledged that a whole-of-team commitment to fulfilling a pledge expressed simply as: ‘Making it happen’ is central to their success.

“As a team we are committed to ongoing education and remaining abreast of the continually changing landscape of financial advice. Collectively we are knowledgeable, experienced, well-coordinated and genuine in our endeavours and this enables us to offer the integrated and multi-layered services, that is reflected in our name, and that our clients value,” Mr Cribb said.

Stratus Financial Group delivers bespoke financial advice that is specific to their clients who include singles, couples and families; business owners, executives and professionals; and people heading towards retirement and aged care.

Mr Cribb says that while every individual’s circumstances are different, the common factor is complexity.

“Central to our theme of ‘Making it happen’ for our clients is to create clarity from complexity which enables confident, informed decision making,” Mr Cribb said.

Brett Cribb holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and a Diploma of Financial Planning. He is a Senior Associate with the Financial Services Institute of Australia and a Member of the Financial Planning Association.

Ross Munro is a Certified Financial Planner and holds a Bachelor of Commerce.  He is a Chartered Accountant and a Member of the Financial Planning Association.

Steve Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Graduate Diplomas in Applied Finance and Investment, Financial Planning, and Agricultural Economics. Steve is an ASX Accredited Listed Product Adviser and holds SMSF Accreditation.

Peter Beauchamp holds a Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) and is a member of AFA (Association of Financial Advisers).

For more information about Stratus Financial Group and their award-winning approach to financial planning, please contact us on 07 3007 2007.


Stratus Financial Group and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. Stratus Financial Group strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances.

Taxation outcomes are illustrative only. Always confirm your tax position with a registered tax agent.

Does Your Financial Plan Accommodate The Rising Costs Of Education?

By Brett Cribb, Financial Adviser

With governmental education funding set to fall, you could find yourself paying more for your children’s schooling. In fact, the Australian Scholarships Group[1] recently announced that Australian parents could soon be paying up to $65,829 to educate a child at a government primary and secondary school. For average families of two or three children this represents a significant financial commitment for many Australian families.

Here, we outline some of the likely costs you could encounter and we urge you to tailor a protection plan to shore up your children’s education in case your income stream suddenly ceased. What plans do you have in place to protect your offspring’s primary, secondary and tertiary learning?

Education is among the largest expenses faced by Australian families and one that is about to get even larger. It is critical that parents are prepared and that begins with awareness. For many people, they simply do not realise the significant cost of educating their children and of course, this cost increases dramatically if parents have desires for private school education.

The key is to begin planning early, considering a realistic savings strategy before children begin school and that continues throughout the schooling years. For parents whose children will go on to tertiary studies, there is little chance of the costs abating as they can expect to pay between $6,152 and $10,240 per child per year for the three or four years of an undergraduate degree, depending on location and discipline[2].

Australians would be unwise to rely on government loans to cover their children’s tertiary education expenses. Indeed, the 2015 Intergenerational Report[3] states that government spending per higher education student is projected to fall from $11,800 in 2014-15 to $9,400 in 2054-55.

Furthermore, government funding does not cover the additional costs of books, materials, union fees, participation in clubs and sports, transport or accommodation. Many parents will need assistance in first calculating the likely cost of education for their family and then setting out a financial strategy that will enable them to achieve their education goals for their children in relation to their other financial commitments.

Appropriate strategies may include savings accounts, term deposits and investing in shares and managed funds and implementing specifically designed education financial plans. However, according to our insurance specialist and financial adviser Peter Beauchamp, shoring up children’s education involves more than just savings as parents need to be realistic in terms of catering for the long term commitment of schooling, by anticipating the impacts of future unexpected events.

Peter Beauchamp of Protection Advice

“It is essential for parents to consider unforeseen events that could jeopardise their financial position, such as sudden loss of income through injury or illness or, in the worst case scenario, death or disability of one or both parents. While saving for the kids’ education may sound straightforward, in reality it involves many interrelated factors and this usually requires professional advice.

“Experienced financial planners will recommend strategies for parents to protect themselves and their family from unwanted events that could deprive them of their income and their family’s ongoing financial security, including funds earmarked for their children’s future education,” Peter said.

Indeed, having appropriate personal insurances in place for both parents is important and this needs to be approached in tandem with asset protection structuring and estate planning. In the event of a claim for the untimely death of one or both parents, it is important that financial matters are clearly documented so that the family may recover as quickly as possible and ultimately achieve all their financial goals, not only those for education.

We work with you to assist you to identify and articulate your needs, then – drawing upon a host of resources and tools – we use financial modelling to help illustrate your options as together we tailor a personalised savings strategy designed to sit comfortably within your overall financial plan.

Our team at Stratus and Protection Advice work together to offer an integrated approach to the complexities of your financial life. I invite you to find out more and to discuss education savings strategies within the context of your whole-of-life financial planning arrangements. Contact Stratus Financial Group on (07) 3007 2007.


1. ASICS MoneySmart website, accessed 17 June 2015 at https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/saving/saving-for-your-childrens-education
2. Indicative undergraduate fees for Australian students, University of Queensland website, accessed 18 June 2015 at http://www.uq.edu.au/study/indicative-fees.html?level=ugrd&nationality=australian&dual_degree=False
3. 2015 Intergenerational Report, Australia in 2055, accessed 17 June 2015 athttp://www.treasury.gov.au/~/media/Treasury/Publications%20and%20Media/Publications/2015/2015%20Intergenerational%20Report/Downloads/PDF/2015_IGR.ashx


Stratus Financial Group and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. Stratus Financial Group strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances.

Taxation outcomes are illustrative only. Always confirm your tax position with a registered tax agent.

 

The Misinsurance Phenomenon

By Peter Beauchamp, Financial Adviser

According to a White Paper completed by a leading insurance provider, a worrying trend is emerging around misunderstanding by Australians in regard to personal insurances. It’s an issue that could affect the financial health of the nation and, more specifically, leave everyday Australians significantly out of pocket.

The White Paper1 by Zurich Insurance highlights in the Australian context the serious and growing phenomenon of ‘misinsurance’ which exists whenever there is a mismatch between an individual’s personal insurance needs and their actual cover. This applies in particular to life insurance and income protection insurance.

Peter Beauchamp, Stratus Financial Group’s insurance specialist and an Authorised Representative of Fortnum Financial Advisers, believes the White Paper findings strongly reinforce the importance for individuals to seek expert financial advice about their personal insurances.

The White Paper reports upon Australians’ responses to questions about their general financial health and seeks to gauge their understanding of their life insurance cover, including cover that may be available within their super.

“The findings indicate that Australians generally don’t know the extent of cover in their policy and therefore, whether it suits their circumstances and risk priorities,” Mr Beauchamp said.

“In some circumstances, the consequences of having the wrong type of cover (‘misinsurance’) can be worse than having insufficient amounts of the type of cover (‘underinsurance’) which can result in policyholders not being paid their full entitlement at claim time, despite paying their full obligation of premiums,” Mr Beauchamp adds.

The survey further reveals a notable lack of knowledge among those asked about their superannuation-based life insurance, especially in terms of their level of cover. A significant proportion of respondents incorrectly believed their super fund life insurance covered them for trauma and other conditions which are usually catered for by health insurance. It doesn’t.

The White Paper also identifies a significant misalignment between an individual’s financial situation and their stated risk prioritisation.

“Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed indicated that if they were unable to work because of illness or injury, they could survive for no longer than three months before needing to sell assets. However, despite their stated reliance on income, when asked which of the risks to their financial health they were most concerned about, only 10% said they were worried about losing their income. This is obviously a cause for concern,” he said.

“It means that even though a person may know that they can’t survive for long without their income, they generally aren’t taking steps to protect it,” said Mr Beauchamp.

Mr Beauchamp encourages Australians to seek expert advice on all financial matters and, in particular, when it comes to the complexity of personal insurance.

“Your financial adviser can assist you to confirm appropriate levels of insurance cover for your circumstances, so that you can reasonably expect your full entitlements to be paid should you ever need to claim. Additionally, consulting with a financial adviser can provide you with a sense of confidence that you are paying neither more nor less than what you should for a level of cover that is suitable for your specific needs.”

For more information to help you analyse your personal insurance and related needs, contact Peter at Stratus Financial Group on (07) 3007 2007.


1 Zurich Insurance, Research Whitepaper, February 2014, ‘Australians and life insurance: misinformed, misinsured?’ Accessed 20 May 2015 at http://www.zurich.com.au/content/dam/australia/life_insurance/zurich-australia-whitepaper_australians-and-life-insurance_misinformed-misinsured.pdf


Stratus Financial Group and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. Stratus Financial Group strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances.

Taxation outcomes are illustrative only. Always confirm your tax position with a registered tax agent.