The Hall of Finance – 12 May 2009

Roy Hall may have come from humble beginnings but his trophy cabinet now twinkles with the fruits of labour. From catching a Brisbane-bound train every morning to trekking to TAFE on his motorbike at night, the young gun started as a junior at Westpac filling up voucher holders and ATM machines. The arduous days at the banks allowed Hall to work his way through the ranks all while gaining valuable experience. But the banks proved too testing as Hall craved more personalised financial advice for his clients.

By Cezanne Laidlaw
BY starting up his own business, Hall Finance and Insurance Solutions, Hall has been able to put his unique business model into practice. The model, which focuses on a holistic view on financial advice, has been Hall’s key to success and his company’s piggy bank boasted a turnover of more than $2 million in 2008.
For Hall, the saying rings true: Actions speak louder than words.

He explains: “I am really personalising (the client’s) situation so that I can get the right facility that will suit what (they) want to do. The majority of our clients are time poor, they are good at what they do and we’re good at what we do. There is a magnitude of products a client might need but they don’t need to, or don’t want to go and source all these products. It’s not their forte. That’s basically what I built my business model around – to really go out there and achieve the right solutions for my clients.”

The Southport-based business was established almost six years ago and targets mainly the SME market. When Hall started the company he had no more than a drawer full of clients. He now boasts a client filing cabinet that spans half the office wall, holding more than 7000 clients.
But the road to success has not come without hurdles.

“The biggest challenge was making sure our phone rang and building that rapport with clients. One of the hardest things was working out general things about starting up a business such as business plans, moving into a business premises, getting some capital that was available to us at the time and from there seeing the vision and driving the vision,” says Hall.
The economic downturn has not greatly effected Hall’s business and he resolves the banks are facing tougher times with trends not casting favourable light on their otherwise competitive products. The company’s clients have a ‘business as usual’ attitude, some seeing even more value in Hall’s services, for example life insurance.

Hall is also at the helm of the Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT), sitting as the association’s Queensland chair. The association provides its members with resources to improve their technical knowledge while maintaining a high culture of ethical standards. It reports 6 per cent of Australians have the right cover of life insurance – a big selling point for Hall.
“We know that from what has happened in Victoria. Half the people didn’t have their houses insured and half didn’t have their lives insured. People are starting to understand that insurance is a critical part. Unless you can afford to replace your income, or your house with cash, you need to pay that insurance premium. Okay it might be one-in-a-million chance, but there is a risk there,” Hall rationalises.

But how does a 33-year-old leader with 7000 clients manage a team of 19? Training, admits Hall, is the key to much of the team’s success.
“I am willing to invest in my team to take them to that next level. I have a fairly young team and that might come off the back of me as well but I believe if your give them a chance and they grab it with two hands, they will be a member of my team for a long time,” he says.

“Everyone here is motivated and (they) enjoy what they do. I make sure that I invest time with them – we’re always innovative, they come up with ideas I will imply those ideas, we’ll discuss them, we’ll whiteboard them. It’s not a come in at nine, clock off at five and go home place. It’s a total different environment.”

Having already established an office in Bundaberg, Hall now plans to expand into Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in the next two to three years. In terms of the market, he isn’t concerned. Instead he attests the mortgage market will stay stagnant while there will be growth in life insurance, commercial and general services. Hall Finance is expected to grow by 17 per cent this year.

As for the most satisfying aspect, Hall gleefully explains the business is a well oiled machine.
“One of the major rewarding parts is that we have systems in place for the business to continue without me sitting in that chair. It’s a massive reward to know that you can walk out that door and it keeps moving forward,” he says