Interview: FinaMetica’s Paul Resnik
According to his blog, Paul Resnik has been described as the “Michael Moore of Australian financial services”.
He may not have many hard-hitting documentaries to his name, but the co-founder of risk-profiling specialist FinaMetrica has certainly been making his voice heard in the UK in the past six months.
Mr Resnik recently finished a six-month “tour” of the UK at the beginning of June, and has been tweeting and blogging in an attempt to drum up advisers’ support not only for his company but also his strong belief that the world of financial advice is changing far more than even the proponents of the RDR are expecting – something he has previously referred to as “a once in a lifetime experiment”.
This year was far from his first venture into the UK. FinaMetrica first appeared in this country in 2004 and Mr Resnik has been visiting once a year at least since then. He is also a “passive” investor in wrap platform Transact, and has been since it expanded from Australia into the UK in 1999.
In Australia he has worked “up and down the supply chain” and chalked up quite a CV – something he is surprisingly reluctant to elaborate on. He set up Australia’s first institutionally owned financial planning business while working for Norwich Union in the 1980s, moving to Bankers Trust in 1989 to set up their life insurance business in Australia.
In 1992 after founding his own consultancy business, he began work as a consulting product manager at a leading Australian financial services company, which at the time was establishing its own investment platform. It was during his time in this role that he met Geoff Davey, founder of one of Australia’s first financial planning businesses, and set about creating FinaMetrica’s proposition.
“I got into FinaMetrica because I felt there was a very loose relationship between adviser, clients and their investments,” Mr Resnik says. “It crystallised in a meeting in 1994 with Geoff Davey. It took four years from there to get to the FinaMetrica proposition.”
Since then it has grown substantially, with the company gaining firm footholds in the US, Australian and UK advice markets. Other countries have been explored, but not everyone “gets” the FinaMetrica message – Mr Resnik smiles as he singles out Singapore as one market which did not take the bait.
Risk and the FSA
The concept of risk and how best to assess this has never been more central to advisers’ thinking – or that of the regulator – than in the build up to the RDR.
In March 2011 the FSA published a finalised guidance paper entitled ‘Assessing suitability: establishing the risk a customer is willing and able to take’, aimed primarily at intermediaries. It followed what the regulator described as a “high number of unsuitable investment selections” being made by advisers.