Barry O’Mahony, CFP®

Barry O’Mahony CFP®, Founder of Veritas Wealth Management

What inspired you to become a financial planner?

I had a job as a practice development manager, where I helped many independent financial planners improve the quality of advice that they provided and helped them to run their services like a business.

What prompts clients to come to you? Do you have a niche or distinctive value offering?

While training financial planners, I often helped financial planners manage client meetings more effectively. I came to realise that financial planning was a very natural fit for me.

We do not have a specific niche. I prefer to have a range of clients who are facing different issues in their lives.

What do you believe is the most important thing you do for clients?

I believe I give them a sense of understanding of their financial affairs and put them in control of their money. Importantly, I help them achieve their desired lifestyle by putting their hard-earned money to the best use possible.

What are the biggest mistakes that you see clients make?

Capitulation at the bottom of a market correction. I find it devastating, but thankfully it is rare because mostly we manage to steer people away from this type of emotional decision-making.

How do you charge for your services?

We charge a rand-based fee for a financial plan and then charge a percentage of assets under management which is based on a sliding scale.

What role does technology play in your practice?

We use technology to empower our people and allow them to get on with their work without being told what to do. We believe this helps develop a much healthier culture in our business, so that everyone knows they are trusted, valuable and respected. 

What do you enjoy most about being a financial planner?

Helping, educating, and empowering people is the best part of my job. I enjoy sharing wisdom in that vacuum that exists between life and money. Knowing that if someone dies, their finances are organised and that their family will be okay.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a financial planner?

Growing a business is a challenge but if you are committed to its growth, the business will keep growing and the results will follow. I love the fact that this line of work is constantly changing. How we envisioned our role 19 years ago when I set out in this business and what we do now, is very different.

What is the biggest change you have seen in financial planning during your career?

The shift in understanding that you were paid a fee to provide holistic advice by the client, the service provider just facilitated that payment. We represent the client, not the service providers.

What’s your one wish for the future of the financial planning profession?

Financial planners— and more specifically, CFP Professionals— to become more valued by the general public. This will not happen in my lifetime as too few financial planners and advisers do financial planning properly. This is not likely to happen in my lifetime, as unfortunately, too few financial planners and advisers are approaching financial planning properly, that is with the right intention and outcomes.

Concluding Remarks

Done properly, financial planning is one of the most honourable professions out there because it can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

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