To win, don't lose

I recently presented to a large number of financial advisers. I was speaking as a lawyer who has worked extensively with advisers and is passionate about good quality financial advice.

As I was preparing the presentation, I reflected on why I'm so passionate about financial advice. And something occurred to me. 

I've seen a lot of good advice that has put clients in a much better position than they would otherwise have been.

But what has been most profound is seeing, first hand, the effect of bad advice. And the effect of no advice at all.

As a lawyer, there was often a reason that an advice file was on my desk. It may have been prompted by a dispute or regulator scrutiny. But ultimately, the reason was often because the advice was terrible. 

Years later, I still think of some of the advice I've seen and it breaks my heart.

I've also seen people who have not sought advice, and made decisions that they regret.

If these people had a quality relationship with an adviser, who could have acted as a north star and asked them the hard questions, I suspect they might have made different decisions and be much better off.

It's one thing to be focus on growth and significant returns. It can be important - a couple of percentage points can make a huge difference when compounded over time.

But at the same time, you need to manage risks. Because one of the keys to winning is not losing.

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.