In 2018 The Australian newspaper and the US financial magazine Barron’s once again published the pre-eminent list of Australia’s top 50 financial advisors.

Once again, Quantum Financial is incredibly proud that it is the only independent financial planning firm in Australia to have two financial planners listed – Claire Mackay and Tim Mackay.

According to Barron’s and the Australian, “The Mackay family of Quantum Financial is well represented again with Claire and Tim Mackay making the list for the second year in a row.”

“In this our second year, it is the list not to miss. We have a remarkable 31 new entrants in the tables, with just 19 advisers holding a place in the rankings for the second year.”

Of the 19 Australian advisers who appeared in both the 2017 and 2018 Top advisor list, 2 were from Quantum Financial. In fact, of those 19 advisers, the 2 from Quantum Financial were the only advisors to improve their position up the list.

Claire Mackay Independent Financial Planner

Barrons Top Best financial Planners Australia

Claire Mackay Independent Financial Planner

We re-produce the text of the article in the Australian newspaper below.

Claire Mackay of Quantum Financial: advice a family affair

Claire Mackay is a financial planner and partner at the Sydney firm of Quantum Financial, which her father Bill established in 1994. Mackay also holds a law degree and is both a Certified Practising Accountant and chartered accountant. In her university days she was a lieutenant in the Army Reserves. Mackay directly services about 72 clients including self-funded retirees, medical specialists, families and finance professionals. Mackay was ranked 12th on Barron’s 2018 list of top 50 financial advisers.

What motivated you to become a financial planner and how did you get started?

I started at a young age around the dining table as my father Bill established Quantum Financial in 1994. He wouldn’t let either my (older) brother Tim or me join the business until we had proven ourselves professionally (Tim is also a partner of the firm).

My route was via the law, accounting and tax and included corporate tax roles with Price­waterhouseCoopers and at Macquarie Bank advising on Australian and global financial investment products.

My goal is to ensure our clients have enough money to do what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

What are the characteristics of your client base and what investments are they interested in?

Our clients are smart people facing complex financial problems. They want to work with a trusted planner who gives them a sense of control and direction and removes their concerns.

They are adventurous, inquisitive and live busy lives. They are not just counting their coins all day — they have varied interests and many travel extensively.

We provide them with investment and retirement advice that enables them to confidently live their dream lifestyle in retirement.

For many of our clients, exchange traded funds (ETF) are a low-cost investment tool perfect for their self-managed super fund and other structures. Low cost and liquid, they provide instant diversity and simplify paper work by ­reducing the number of investments.

We don’t require a minimum investment amount, but if we feel we can’t add more value than the charge we’ll politely say no and openly and honestly advise them on their best course of action.

What’s the nature of your advice?

Our advice is research-driven. This includes our own proprietary research report, which we publish every six months.

Our growth and investment income philosophy is underpinned by long-term asset allocation and also holding assets securely in the most tax-effective vehicles. We implement port­folios with a low-cost, diversified core, but also with “high conviction” satellite investments.

What would you advise clients not to invest in?

Never invest in something which you either don’t understand or feel pressured to purchase, or without a clear exit strategy. Dad cautioned against products advertised on daytime TV or on the side of a bus — and especially if it has a pretty girl on the prospectus.

Separately, we strongly believe that the blockchain technology underpinning bitcoins has significant potential for revolutionising many industries and one day will greatly benefit society.

We are just highly dubious of the speculative mania around digital currencies.

What do you make of the current blowtorch on the bank-aligned financial planning sector? Does this provide opportunities?

I think the banking royal commission is a wonderful opportunity. There’s no denying that those who criticise financial planning have just cause: Australians have seen recurring examples of rampant abuse of consumers and a lack of professionalism shown by the advisers they trusted.

Hopefully the commission shines a light on conflicted advice and practices and leads to increased professionalism and a renewed focus on ethical behaviour in finance. If the inquiry results in consumers having more transparency on the conflicts inherent in the bank-aligned sector, this can only be a good thing

How would you like the rules to be changed (if at all)?

I’d like governments of all colours to just stop tinkering with the super rules. My clients are making incredibly important, long-term decisions and when the rules are constantly shifting it erodes confidence in the whole super and retirement system.

What’s your view on the sharemarket, property and bond

The high concentration of the ­financial stocks in the Australian equity market worries me. Currently we prefer US equity over Australian equity. Interest rates remain at near record lows and bonds won’t prove as defensive as we want them to be if interest rates rise.

Earlier in the year we noted that the bull market had been running for almost a decade, but had been marked by fear and anxiety on the part of investors.

But then persistent doubt shifted to grudging acceptance that economic growth was above trend in most regions and wasn’t in danger of overheating.

Now we’re analysing whether it’s time to take money off the table.

If you had a single financial planning philosophy, what would it be?

Not everyone needs a financial planner, but everyone needs a ­financial plan. If you want to fund your dream retirement, then get organised and start planning your dream financial future.

If you do choose to employ a ­financial adviser, find one who is not afraid to give you fearlessly frank advice. Someone who will openly share with you the good, the bad and the ugly,

What do you do in your spare time?

My directorships keep me fairly busy. I was recently appointed by (Minister for Revenue and Financial Services) Kelly O’Dwyer as an inaugural director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

I’m also on the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board and ASIC’s External Advisory Panel.

In summer I’m a volunteer lifesaver at Manly beach.

I also love adventures including climbing Machu Picchu, backpacking in Africa and India, walking the Kokoda Track, visiting Antarctica and doing the annual Palm Beach to Whale Beach Big Swim.

Next up is Sri Lanka, the Kimberley region in WA and Alaska.


You can read the article online here (paywall $)

Claire Mackay

About Claire Mackay

I am a financial planner, SMSF expert and company director. I thrive on providing independent, expert financial advice to my wonderful clients. I was recognised as Financial Planner of the Year 2015 and Investment Adviser of the Year 2014. My website is here

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