In conversation with Donelle Parkin | WA Genxt Chair

Hi Donelle, thank you for joining me and welcome to your new role as state chair for our Genxt Community of Practice!

It’s an absolute pleasure to be involved!

After 6 years of membership with the AFA, what made you want to get involved with one of our Communities of Practice?

Well, this is actually my second time being a part of the AFA GenXt committee in WA. The first was in 2019 after a fellow colleague approached me to say they needed some more members, so I was happy to put up my hand and get involved. It was actually very out of my comfort zone, to be honest, and really helped to build my confidence with networking. Unfortunately, like many advisers, I spent the last few years juggling studies, digesting the influx of regulatory / compliance changes and taking on more responsibilities in our practice that I needed to take a temporary step back. It was only recently when the previous chair had elected to step down that I was approached to take on the position, so here I am again.

That’s awesome to hear, what attracted you to Genxt in particular?

To be honest, I love getting involved with several of the AFA communities including Inspire and Foundation, however, I feel that the GenXt group here in WA doesn’t quite have the momentum and participation it deserves. For me, the idea of being able to provide guidance and support to aspiring advisers and business owners at the earlier stage of their journey is beneficial. A lot of our demographic are employees working in various roles in the industry (client services, paraplanning, associates) and may not necessarily have the opportunities to get out there and meet other individuals with similar ambitions in the broader financial planning community outside the four walls of an office. I think it’s advantageous for people to have the opportunity to meet a wider network of people to discuss the triumphs, challenges, what’s working, what’s not – there’s a lot of power in finding a group of people that you can freely communicate with to make you feel like you aren’t alone with the current challenges and stress I am sure we’ve all been feeling. It can be incredibly therapeutic to just open up and talk about things.

There certainly is a lot of power when you can find like-minded individuals. Tell us, Donelle, how did you get into financial advice and what drew you to the industry?

I’ll be honest, I fell into it. At 19 years old, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and coming from a working-class family, I knew nothing better than diving headfirst into a full-time job. I started in Client Services before furthering my education in financial advice (with great support from my employer I must add). From there, my roles continued to evolve through paraplanning, management and eventually advising. That was back in 2006, and I am actually still working with the same practice today.

15 years, that’s impressive! And as for the future of financial advice, what would you love to see change or evolve in the coming years?

I’m very vocal and passionate when it comes to my concerns around the cost to deliver advice and the ultimate result that people who really need it are and will continue to be blocked out of the market. My hopes are that some of the unnecessary, overbearing, and onerous requirements are simplified or unwound so we can keep it affordable as we move towards a true profession. Hopefully, the Better Advice Bill to be introduced in 2022 is a step in the right direction, but in the end, we know how supply and demand works, and with the continual adviser exits forecast over the next few years, it is only going to emphasise the issue.

This, with the continual evolution of technology, is going to be key in creating efficiencies moving forward and critical to ensure the broader public can still access our services. Licensees are going to have to be more open to concepts like plugins and software that integrates with their preferred programs, because there just hasn’t been a silver bullet to date, and we need to leverage off tech where we can.

And talking of the future, it’s nearly the end of 2021, and what a year it has been! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2022?

In 2022, my resolution is just to find this thing called ‘work/life’ balance I hear of. But don’t worry, I’m working on it!

You’re not the first financial adviser to tell me that! But you’re very lucky, with Perth on your doorstep! We loved it when we visited a couple of years ago and would love to get back next year. What’s your go-to tourist recommendation? We’ve done the obligatory Quokka selfie on Rottnest but what else is not to be missed?

The Margaret River region is spectacular and worth a few days on its own – the wine, food, atmosphere and landscape are worth the 3-hour drive south!

Sounds perfect to me! And the last question I have for you, from a social media lover… Facebook or Instagram?

Instagram… a picture is worth a thousand words after all!


Donelle Parkin, interviewed by Will Pascoe, Membership & Marketing Manager at AFA HQ.