Growth as Bridges celebrates third birthday

Growth as Bridges Lake Macquarie turns three!

Our business is celebrating our third birthday! We put much of our success over the three years down to a relentless passion for delivering tailored, quality financial advice to clients and a commitment to our core values.

We are so proud to have assisted even more individuals and families over the past 12 months, who have now taken positive steps towards improving their financial circumstances. Seeing our clients proactively working to better their lives is at the heart of why we love what we do.

2019 wrapped up

Our team hit some significant milestones this year.  We hope to continue our phenomenal growth as the business enters its fourth year. Here’s just a taste of some of the fantastic things that have happened in 2019:

  • Team education and upskilling.

Our commitment to education, professional development and raising the bar has continued this year. Blair and Craig were amongst the first in Australia to study, sit and pass the FASEA exams. David and I won’t be far behind, with plans to sit the exams in December. All our financial advisers are actively enrolled in further studies, as they continue to grow their education and commitment to the standard of quality we strive to uphold at Bridges Lake Macquarie.

  • Lake Macquarie branch services proves beyond expectations.

One of our financial planners, Craig Orbell, received high praise this year for his excellent service. He was named number three in the Bridges top 10 at the 2019 National Conference. This was a recognition made by peers and continues to be a testament to the calibre of Craig’s knowledge and skill.

  • Community support.

Over the past 12 months we have supported a number of initiatives in the Hunter. Some of these include Carrie’s Place, Thornton Junior Soccer Club, The Smith Family and just recently the Ronald McDonald House #12DaysOfRMHChristmas. We know how important it is to give back, and the Bridges team is passionate about a number of local causes that make a positive impact on our community.

  • Branch audit.

The team recently participated in a number of external audits conducted by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). We’re pleased to share that our practice passed with flying colours! The findings confirmed that all advice we deliver to clients is appropriate, in the client’s best interest, delivered by highly competent advisers, relevant to their goals and, most importantly, improved both their financial and personal circumstances. As PwC said, “while many of the rules of business have changed, the fundamentals haven’t”. Bridges Lake Macquarie has continued to offer solutions motivated by strong moral values.

  • Expanding in Maitland.

We spent a lot of time listening to our clients’ needs this year and, as a result, have expanded our presence in the Maitland region.. We established dedicated meeting rooms in East Maitland to cater to a growing number of clients based in Maitland and the surrounding region. For those living in this area, it means you no longer need to travel to our Boolaroo office for appointments, or to drop off documents and records. This move has been so successful, we’re already planning to triple our capacity to help Maitland locals early in the new year.

  • Financial markets.

2019 proved to be anything but boring, predictable or even sensible when it comes to financial markets. Trade disputes and geopolitical frictions became significant key drivers of the global economy and financial markets. Patient investors watched both the global decline and rapid recovery in risk assets this year, delivering solid returns in equities, infrastructure and listed property assets.

Meanwhile, interest rates continued their long-term decline on the back of the Reserve Bank’s decision to lower the cash rate multiple times throughout the year. This caused both delight for mortgage holders and frustration for many self-funded retirees hoping to earn a positive return on their cash, one that exceeds the rate of inflation. Many macroeconomic themes and geopolitical events that unfolded during the year may well yet continue into 2020.

This should serve as a reminder to maintain a flexible investment strategy and to diversity amongst sectors and asset classes. Engrossed in the financial world, our team was very aware of all the economic trends, and were able to relay this important information to our clients.


The secret to success

We have a great team and great clients – that really is the secret to our success and our continued growth! Many thanks to the incredible team at Bridges Lake Macquarie and our amazing clients for their unwavering support as we strive to become Lake Macquarie’s most trusted and respected financial advisers.

Without our fantastic team, the high standard of service we provide just wouldn’t be possible. I thank them for going above and beyond in their work.

In the same regard, our achievements wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful clients. It’s their trust, and their raving reviews, that motivate us to keep doing what we do. It’s thanks to some amazing feedback and recommendations that our client base has continued to grow in 2019.

Talking about us to your friends, sibling, cousins or workmates has made for some excellent referrals and has caused the business to grow significantly.

We look forward to welcoming more appointments to the team in 2020!

We can’t wait to see you in 2020 – have a wonderful break, we’ll be back in early January.




Daniel Irving and the Bridges Lake Macquarie team


Blair and Craig take on the national FASEA exam

Bridges Lake Macquarie team members Blair Powell and Craig Orbell are among the first cohort to sit and successfully pass the new national Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam.

Bridges Lake Macquarie Director Daniel Irving said the introduction of the exam is a significant step forward for the financial services industry in terms of probity.

“The exam is an important test of professional skills in terms of financial advice, ethics and critical thinking,” Daniel said.

“Blair and Craig have demonstrated their commitment to providing our clients with advice that’s of the highest standard in terms of knowledge and ethical practice.”

“On behalf of the Bridges Lake Macquarie team I congratulate them both for embracing these positive reforms that will add further credibility to the financial planning industry.”

The FASEA exam is now a legal requirement for all new entrants and all existing financial advisers and is a result of  the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Act 2017  which aims to set a new benchmark for professional standards in the finance industry.

The new professional education standards require advisers supplying financial advice on Tier 1 financial products (such as managed investments, superannuation, derivatives, and life insurance) to retail clients to satisfy new requirements, including:

  • Compulsory education requirements for new and existing advisers
  • Supervision requirements for new advisers
  • A code of ethics for the industry
  • An exam representing a common benchmark for the industry
  • Ongoing professional development

The exam assesses the practical application of advisers’ knowledge and competency of:

  • Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal Requirements
  • Financial Advice Construction
  • Applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication

Existing professionals within the industry must register for, sit and pass the exam before 1 January 2021 in order to continue practicing, while new financial advisers must pass the exam after completing an approved degree and prior to quarter 3 in their professional year.

Blair Powell is our resident tax, estate planning and business succession specialist on the team. He provides advice to individuals and business owners on pre-and-post retirement planning matters, estate planning and inter-generational wealth transfer.

Craig Orbell leads our investment committee and advises clients on a range of matters such as asset allocation, risk management, debt reduction and investment strategies that lead clients to financial freedom.


Craig Orbell

High praise for Hunter-based Financial Planner

Bridges Lake Macquarie Financial Planner Craig Orbell has been recognised for his commitment to service excellence, being named No.3 in the Bridges Top 10 at its recent National Conference.

He secured the position within a network of over 170 financial planners across the Bridges Financial Services’ network and is the latest in a string of accolades Craig has received during his time with the nation-wide financial planning and stockbroking firm.

Bridges & Associates CEO Nathan Stanton said the Top 10 was a recognition by peers and testament to the calibre of Craig’s knowledge and skill.

“The Bridges Top 10 is considered by our financial planners to be the aspirational benchmark in terms of peer recognition and Craig is deserving of it,” Nathan said.

“We are proud to support Craig in his vision to help individuals and families achieve financial security and peace of mind through sound financial advice.”

“At Bridges, we believe that financial advice makes a difference and this award acknowledges Craig as a high calibre financial planner with a strong, innovative approach to business and a whole-hearted commitment to providing quality financial advice.”

The Bridges Lake Macquarie team has been consistently recognised for outstanding achievement since establishing its office in late 2016. Honours include being named Bridges Branch of the Year in 2017 for the high level of service and support the practice provides to their clients.

On an individual level, in addition to being named No.3 Craig was awarded the Excellence in Advice Award and Risk Writer of the Year in 2018.

“Receiving this award is a great honour and I thank the entire team at Bridges Lake Macquarie who have contributed to the outstanding success we have experienced over the past years,” Craig said.

“Our practice is committed to delivering professional financial advice that helps our clients in achieving their financial and lifestyle goals and this award is recognition of our passion for what we do and the way we go about it.”

Bridges Lake Macquarie specialises in providing investment and retirement planning advice, superannuation selection and management, wealth building strategies, personal insurance, aged care advice, estate planning, retrenchment advice and business succession planning.