The Value is Within
I reckon Shaftesbury Avenue was one of Australia’s greatest weight-for-age horses.

Although dominated in handicapped races of the early 1990s by another great horse, Super Impose, I have always believed Shaftesbury was a better horse.

I’m biased.

My Godfather – Jimmy McHugh, bred Shaftesbury Avenue.

I was at Randwick racecourse to watch Shaftesbury’s 1990 Doncaster (he came third), where I met my wife of now thirty years.

I’ve had my return from horse racing.


I’ve had other ‘Shaftesbury Avenue’ moments in my life.

The failure of my first small business led me to move out of Sydney for six great years in Armidale and a lifetime of great New England mates.

Twisting my ankle in 2010 forced me to park my running habit and start ocean swimming. Twelve years later, I’m still addicted to my early morning swim with Manly’s Pink Caps.

A call from one of the shrewdest practice managers I’d ever coached asking me for a reference had me offering her a job, and she still runs my business twenty years later.

A year five teacher marked my composition competition entry about a family picnic that went badly with a top mark and his prediction that I would someday become an author.

Those moments that sparked something that has subsequently generated a tremendous impact in my life have had less to do with hard work and planning and more with serendipity and luck.

Value is clear in retrospect, but when compared to their moment of creation, the tiny early glimpse of potentially something bigger is almost unrecognisable compared to the life-long impact and consequences.

There was, however, enough of a hint to spur something, a willingness to explore, test and see different perspectives.

That’s impact.

There was also something else essential.


Without the support and confidence provided by others, the first hints of value might fizzle out as the follow-up steps inevitably get tough.

My move to Armidale was supported by a family friend who was a resident professor at the University of New England. He opened doors for me, invited me to local gatherings, and kept checking in with me.

My two initial swimming buddies were more fearless, committed and dedicated than I. I would have easily stayed in bed some mornings if I didn’t know those two were expecting me to be outside the surf club on top of the ramp for the day’s 6:30 am swim.

The twenty-plus-year relationship with Roland Fishman and his transformative program at the Writer’s Studio has been central to controlling my ongoing love-hate battle with writing. After four published books and drafts for two or three more, his support has been significant in turning a hint from a 1971 primary school composition competition into something I’m still exploring.


Those valuable serendipitous moments provide clues as to where the value we seek resides.

Value is personal.

We recognise it when we glimpse it, experience it, anticipate it or are fearful of losing it.

Financial advisers, however, often misunderstand value.

Coming from deep product and technical origins, it is understandable that some advisers believe their products and services create the value their clients seek.

Fundamentally, financial value isn’t something that can be created or delivered by an adviser, as it is already there in the minds, heads, hearts or guts of clients.

The role of an advisory team is to help their clients realise their value.

While product and service expertise is crucial to all advice, the significant value is the client’s judgement on the improved progress they are making in their financial lives thanks to the advice and the advisory relationship.

Delivering real client value beyond product or service performance requires an industry skills revolution.

The industry is not ready, but who has ever been ready for their most valuable forward paths?

Bring it on.

What do you reckon?




Photo credit: 



For over 30 years, Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted advisory firms across Australia. His consulting firm, Certainty Advice Group coaches, trains, and builds advisory firms delivering comprehensive, unconflicted advice, with fees priced purely on value. He is growing a strong and collaborative community of advisory firms aligned on Australia’s only Certification Mark advice standard for comprehensive, unconflicted advice – Certainty Advice. He has authored four books regarding financial advice, with his latest What Price Value available now since March 2022.


Certainty Growth Day

A one-day workshop that aims to help support
and accelerate the growth of financial advisory teams seeking to advance the value for their clients and returns for their advisory businesses. 

Early Bird Fee: $380+GST/seat

Thursday, September 15th 2022
Manly Pacific Hotel
9:00 am – 4:30 pm

WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin