of Fiscal Engineers
Shane Mullins is without a doubt one of the leaders in the financial planning profession. Fiscal Engineers is the business he founded many moons ago and it continues to be a leader and innovator in the industry. The business is built around a first rate team of people, with some real business heavyweights on Shane’s advisory board.
I can’t even remember exactly when I met Shane, but given I arrived here more than 11 years ago, it’s been a good while. In the time I’ve know him I’ve always enjoyed our discussions; Shane is always thinking about the next thing, which I admire. He’s a visionary in the truest sense of the word.
Over to Shane to answer our 10 Questions:
10 Questions For Shane
Q1. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
Bad news is always bad news, but no news is even worse. Good communication is central to our role as advisers, and getting on the front foot is something we’ve always tried to do in our firm. I was 16 years old when I heard this piece of advice, long before I ever went into business, but it has stayed with me as one of the many tips, anecdotes and stories from the many mentors I have been fortunate enough to engage with over my working life.
Q2. Who is your business role model?
I don’t have an individual role model as such, but one of my biggest influences has, without a doubt, been W. Edwards Deming. I also established an advisory board in 2010 made up of a number of professional and business heavyweights that acts as my strategic counsel. Each of them brings their own skills and wisdom in specific areas such as risk management, client experience, and marketing, so I draw upon that pool of talent when seeking support on business matters. I also work closely with a business coach on a one to one basis.
Q3. Have any other adviser/owners ever helped you with advice or support? (Who? What did they help you with?)
Terry O’Halloran would be one person who stands out as someone who taught me how to shape service, and encouraged me in my own professional development. He gave his time freely and was a source of inspiration to me in my early days. He later became a member of the IFP, having been persuaded of the benefits by myself and others. There have been many people within the profession with whom I’ve shared and received advice and wisdom on business and personal matters, and there are a good many advisers for whom I have immense respect who freely give their time in support of peers/professional colleagues and contemporaries.
Q4. Have you ever given up your time to help another adviser coming through?
As a firm we invest heavily in our own people, and to see people grow is one of the greatest rewards of my job. I’m immensely proud to work with a bright and intelligent team of engaged and committed people who never cease to amaze me by the level of care and attention they provide when it comes to serving clients. Outside of the firm, I have at various times acted as a sounding board to people often going through challenges or struggles with particular issues and helped to form our regional IFP group, led by my colleague Gini Bolton.
Q5. What was your most expensive or painful business mistake?
Occasionally taking on clients whom I’ve known deep down weren’t right for us as a firm and not dealing with them quickly enough.
Q6. Which person or business do you most admire in the profession?
Q7. What do you love about Financial Planning?
The solidity of the method and the collegiate nature of the profession. When I discovered financial planning many years ago, it helped shape the core of our thinking and service proposition to form a key part of what Fiscal Engineers is today.
Q8. If you could have your business career over again, what would you do differently?
I believe every experience in life helps to shape your thinking, both positive and negative. For that reason, I don’t like to look back and wish for something different. I’ve learned that a great deal of what you sometimes worry about never actually materialises. So I guess if there was just one thing it would be to worry less / live more.
Q9. Were you ever under severe financial pressure as you grew? If so, describe briefly what you did about it / how did you get out of it?
As we’ve always been content to grow slowly, this has never been an issue that we have faced as a firm. We started out with organic growth as a key strategy and continue to this day with that strategy.
Q10. What’s the secret to happiness in life?
Money. Life. Balance of course – our mantra as a firm.