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What 2020 holds for low cost funds

As it goes, 2020 is unlikely to bring a period of prolonged stability that investors are hoping for.


While there are a range of views on what this year's market conditions and economic growth rate might be, it is safe to say that the plethora of voices are largely in agreement that investors should brace themselves for a lower returns for a much longer period global growth scenario.

This should come as no surprise to most, given the circumstances where trade tensions and unpredictable policymaking have weighed negatively on global demand and supply.

Amid this new age of heightened global tension and market uncertainty, we are all understandably looking for some portfolio R&R: rebalance and returns.

In such a time, the best strategy is to focus on the long-term, follow the tried and true path of diversification and minimise costs where possible. The latter, in particular, is at the heart of Vanguard's investment philosophy; simply put, the less you pay for investments, the more you keep in your pocket.

So what are the trends we are likely to see in 2020 in low-cost funds that advisers and investors alike may want to consider?

Shift from high-cost products to low-cost products

While cost is not the only factor to consider when investing, it certainly is an important one. As we believe at Vanguard, you can't control the markets but you can control the costs of your investments.

With this in mind, index investing has become a globally accepted investment approach over the last decade, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In more recent times, the focus has also shifted to lower-cost active and factor investments in the market. The traditionally high costs of active investing (be that management fees, administrative costs, commissions and the like) have significant impacts on net returns – the return that really matters to investors. Add to this the considerable evidence that traditional active products underperform the market on average after fees, it builds a compelling argument to focus on minimising costs in your investment portfolio.

Greater cost transparency may favour low-cost products

Scrutiny of the financial advice industry continues in 2020, with the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA)'s Code of Ethics now in full effect since 1 January. The code comprises a set of principles that all financial advisers must adhere to, including a standard of client care that states clients must be advised and understanding of product cost structures and any associated fees.

This standard elaborates on the principle that advisers must act in the best interests of their clients.

While for most advisers this is nothing new, for some it may mean clients asking for more justification of higher-cost products than they previously did. This might stimulate a shift towards lower-cost investment products as investors become more cost-conscious and seek greater transparency on their potential investments.

Moreover, in the wake of the Hayne royal commission and the subsequent media coverage on practices that fail to meet client and community expectations in the adviser space, financial regulators and investors alike will probably be watching closely for any misbehaviour, particularly regarding high or dubious fees.

However, for many advisers, this is an opportune time to define a unique value proposition, demonstrate their value and strengthen client relationships, reminding clients that the value of financial advice can be more than a number on an investment statement that is higher than market benchmarks.

In times of market shocks an adviser's experience and stewardship can be particularly valuable to clients because left alone investors can make choices that impair their returns and put at risk their ability to achieve their long-term objectives.

Consistent research, including that done by Vanguard, highlight that the value of good financial advice is much broader than investment selection.

Ethical investing gaining momentum

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are unsurprisingly at the forefront of investors' minds.

We know from our global experience that there are a variety of humanitarian, ethical and social concerns many people want to factor into their decision‐making process when it comes to selecting investment funds and, in recent years, we have seen an increasingly diverse set of Australian investors adopt ESG products from those who are seeking to achieve their investment objectives while also investing in line with their values. Especially with the country still reeling from the bushfire crisis, many investors both new and experienced have a wide variety of humanitarian, ethical, environmental, and social concerns that they want to see reflected in their investments.

In addition, key signals are emerging that indicate the market is becoming more conducive to ESG investing. The recent focus on the economic health of companies based on sustainable practices, especially after the global financial crisis, has further aided momentum around screened ESG investing. Regulatory change is also driving increased adoption of screened ESG products by institutional investors in some regions of the world.

It is important to note that costs can vary widely among ESG products. There are a number of low-cost indexed products available, along with some products, often active management strategies, that carry higher expense ratios. The cost of a product is often largely dependent on the firm offering the product, its agreement with the benchmark provider that constructs the index, management expenses etc. Because ESG products are predominantly actively managed, they typically involve a higher cost. ESG funds also tend to be smaller in scale and as a result, may come with a cost drag. As with conventional funds, Vanguard's advice is to always seek out low-cost, high-quality ESG products.

The stability of fixed income in a period of instability

The world has been in a stretch of geopolitical uncertainty for a while now and slowing economic growth is the new mantra. It is not surprising to see this reflected in investor sentiment – despite a booming 2019 for the Australian equity market. The tempered sentiment was best reflected in last year's boom in fixed income funds as investors sought to rebalance their portfolios in a bid to weather increasing market volatility.

With Vanguard's 2020 market and economic outlook predicting lower returns for longer, it is likely that we will continue to see an increase in the number of investors throwing their weight behind fixed income products, as a way of rebalancing and or de-risking portfolios. With the continued growth in this specific asset class it is expected that more inflows will move into globally focused fixed income products as investors look for greater diversification and possibly higher yields by tapping into the much larger pool of bond issues in the US, Europe and elsewhere.

Alternative investments

A growing number of investors are seeking diversification and returns from alternative investment options outside of the usual asset classes of shares and bonds.

While alternative investments are not a new concept, the current low-return environment is pushing investors and asset managers towards funds that have a low correlation with the stock market. Non-traditional assets include, for example, private equity, real estate and infrastructure.

Private equity is a large and growing proportion of the overall equity market as it offers investors diversification through access to a broader and uncorrelated investment universe.

It is worth noting that alternatives should not be a considered option for all investors. While many alternatives may have lower exposure to market risk, they do introduce other factors to consider when constructing a portfolio such a liquidity risk, less transparency and regulatory risk.

Generating returns from alternative investments also relies heavily on the skill of the investor or asset manager, and places an even greater focus on choosing the right investment manager to maximise after fee returns.

Developments in retirement income product design

The Australian government has been developing the Retirement Income Framework since 2016 with the intention of improving the currently under-developed retirement phase of superannuation. This framework will require superannuation funds to develop a strategy for their members that would substitute or supplement the Age Pension and ensure that they have sufficient funds to cover their life span. This could mean the creation or employment of more low-fee investment products that can provide retirees with a steady income for life while still remaining cost-effective.

In summary

Heading into 2020, financial markets most likely will remain decidedly jittery. Asset class returns will vary, as they always do, depending on many market and geopolitical factors.

Spreading your money across a range of investments is one of the best ways to reduce your exposure to market risk. This way you are not relying on the returns of a single asset class.

The right mix of asset classes or investments for you will depend on your goals, time frame and tolerance for risk.

Seeking the assistance of a professional financial adviser to help you determine the optimal asset allocation for your individual needs, combined with a low-cost investment portfolio is certainly one path towards meeting your financial goals.



Evan Reedman
Head of Product, Vanguard Investments
18 February 2020



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Retirement Planning

Retiring on your own terms is not always easy to achieve, however it is evident that those who plan for retirement are more likely to do so. Results also show that obtaining professional help during the pre-retirement years further improves the probability of attaining your retirement objectives.

The earlier you start implementing a plan the better the outcomes.

During one’s working life there is always an income to make ends meet when raising children, paying off a mortgage, etc.

Retirement planning is about the lifestyle you will have after you stop work and receiving employment income.  Planning focuses on issues such as how much superannuation is enough, taking a super pension, claiming the Age Pension, making superannuation contributions while receiving a pension from a super fund, estate planning and looking after your family.

Planning properly is becoming even more important now we are expected to live longer.  This greater need means that professional help has never been more important.

At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best pre-retirement plan possible.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together on: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Building Wealth

Investing your hard earned savings can be a complex task.  There are many issues such as levels of risk, market timing, asset classes, and your own goals, objectives and preferences that need to be considered. It can often seem a daunting task. At Wybenga Financial we have the expertise to assist you in taking control of your finances and making sure you are generating the wealth you need both now and in the future.

The first step is to create a plan. At Wybenga Financial we take great care in getting to know our clients and their future goals and objectives. We combine our knowledge of your personal goals together with an analysis of your current situation, to create a detailed, personalised plan that will help you meet your objectives. This plan will become your road map which outlines how we are going to meet your goals, whilst aligning all investment decisions to your specific risk tolerance.

After we have created your personal plan, we move to implementation. This is where we action the immediate changes set out in your plan, and put in place reminders for anything that is to occur in the future. As your professional advisers, we can action many steps on your behalf making the implementation of changes as painless for our clients as possible. We aim to make the process smooth and seamless, providing a holistic service that can be executed with ease.

The final and most important phase of the relationship with Wybenga Financial is the ongoing management and monitoring of your wealth. This ensures you are sticking to your plan and that your portfolio is aligned to your needs and attitude toward risk. An ongoing relationship ensures that we know when your circumstances change and that these can be recognised and reflected in changes to your investment approach.

While we are monitoring your portfolio from the perspective of your personal goals and situation, we also take into account the wider economic landscape and changes to legislation. We continually review and analyse our preferred investments in a structured and objective way. The benefit to our clients is that we are unemotional. This can be significantly beneficial over the long term.

At Wybenga Financial we can provide the time and expertise that will help you invest intelligently and prudently.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Personal Insurance

Life insurance isn’t just a cost, though it often feels like it.  You buy peace-of-mind that should a serious issue effect you then the consequences won’t unduly affect your family.  Insurance provides you with the ability to manage the financial and emotional impact of some of the more drastic events, whether personally or in your small business.

Insurance can’t replace a loved one but it can help reduce the financial burden by providing the capital to ensure your family has choices.

Many Australians are underinsured and the consequences can be very serious for families should there be a death or serious injury. A yes to any of the following questions means you may have a need for insurance coverage:

  1. Do you have a mortgage?
  2. Do you have school fees?
  3. Do you have any personal loans?
  4. Do you have any credit card debt?
  5. Do you have dependents?
  6. Would your financial position be affected if you were to suffer from an illness or injury?
  7. Do you want to have enough capital to look after your dependents if you were unable to care for them for an extended period of time or perhaps indefinitely?

We understand that it can be difficult determining the type and level of cover you might need, let alone choosing an insurer. We can assist by helping you determine your needs and recommend an insurer that is right for you.

At Wybenga Financial we know how to protect your wealth and will recommend solutions that best suit your needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .


Superannuation is mandatory but taking an early and active interest in your retirement planning is critical to ensuring your benefits are maximised by the time you retire.  Many will have a superannuation scheme through employment but increasing numbers are starting their own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

For many, simply relying on employer contributions may not be enough to provide the lifestyle you desire at retirement. We can assist in building strategies to ensure your retirement goals are met and your required lifestyle is maintained throughout retirement.

It is always best to start saving and planning for your retirement as early as you can. 

At Wybenga Financial we know our job is to help you meet your retirement needs and we have the skills and experience to do this for you.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Self Managed Super Funds

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) offer a good strategy option for many individuals, families and small business owners to build tax effective wealth and to protect assets over time. SMSFs are becoming popular for those who are ready to take control of their own super investments as they give you ultimate control and flexibility to manage your retirement benefits.

It must be noted though, that you will have increased responsibilities as a trustee of the fund. As a SMSF Trustee you need to keep up to date with all required regulations and keep up with the fast paced financial markets.

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Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help maximise your opportunities to grow your wealth through a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF).  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Estate Planning

Your estate is made up of everything you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.

Having an estate plan is extremely important.  Having a will is just the first step in your estate plan. It is critical to consider what outcomes you would like for your estate and to ensure a plan is in place to achieve those outcomes, both including and beyond the terms of your will.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help ensure your estate is organised to ensure your plans are implemented as you wish.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .


Loans and loan management are central to overall financial management.  Obtaining the best loans for your needs is crucial and Wybenga Financial can help you with solutions that meet your short and long term needs.

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We have partnerships with many respected property agents and research firms. This enables us to source suitable properties for individuals, couples and families looking to make an investment into property.

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Strategic Planning

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Secure File Transfer

Secure File Transfer is a facility that allows the safe and secure exchange of confidential files or documents between you and us.

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Tess Uncle

B.Sc, M.Com, CA, DipFP

Tess has over 22-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last seven-years, Tess has turned her attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Tess’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of her Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

As a woman in a male dominated field, Tess is active in promoting gender equality in the industry through various programs and mentoring opportunities.

Using her depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Tess is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2001 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2004 – Graduated Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales
  • 2005 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2007 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Schedule a Meeting with Tess

Adam Roberts

B.Bus, B.Sc, CA, DipFP

Adam has over 18-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last seven-years, Adam has turned his attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Adam’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of his Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

Combining traditional accounting and financial services has been a welcome move for Adam, allowing him to operate and advise in the financial sector that has been a long time personal passion.

Using his depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Adam is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2005 – Graduated Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2005 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2007 – Graduated Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2010 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2010 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Schedule a Meeting with Adam

Advisory Cadetships

What is an Advisory Cadetship?
An Advisory Cadetship enables you to commence your career whilst attaining the necessary university qualifications by studying part-time.

How does it work?
Generally, our cadets complete a relevant business or accounting degree at the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, or the University of Western Sydney.

The Firm provides 3-hours paid study leave per week to attend university. This can either be taken at the one time or broken between days depending on the individual’s requirements. In addition, the Firm provides paid study leave for both mid-semester and end-of-year exams.

We take the work life balance very seriously at Wybenga Financial and our cadets are encouraged to have a fulfilling life outside the office. A typical day will have you arriving at the office at around 8.30am with most days concluding at 5.30pm.

What are the benefits of an Advisory Cadetship with Wybenga Financial?
Our cadets benefit from the following:

  • Career path – on completion of their degree our cadets have significant practical experience which will assist them in advancing their careers
  • Work helps your studies – by working full-time our cadets are able to apply their practical knowledge in the university subjects
  • Camaraderie with other cadets – the Firm has a number of cadets at various stages of their career
  • Mentoring – cadets are paired with a senior staff member who oversees their progress and training both at work and with their studies
  • Communication and feedback – the Firm has an open door policy which enables all cadets to interact with all members of staff including Directors
  • Culture – the Firm promotes a friendly social culture with a number of functions throughout the year
  • Modern environment – including ‘socialising’ areas such as pool table and break out area
  • Training – ongoing support and technical training. We also provide internal and external training on a monthly basis
  • Remuneration – working full-time provides a market salary and independence with salaries being reviewed every 6-months

What happens when I complete my degree?
The completion of your degree is the first step of what we hope to be a long and successful career with us. The next step is the commencement of a Diploma of Financial Planning followed by completing the requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

There are always progression opportunities for the right cadets and we are dedicated to the long term development of our staff.

Who should apply?
Current Year 12 students or first/second year University Students who:

  • want to commence their career in financial advisory;
  • are due to commence or are currently completing a part-time business or commerce degree at university with an advisory major;
  • want to gain valuable hands-on experience while completing their qualifications;
  • are looking for a friendly working environment;
  • are team players who display initiative;
  • have a commitment to self-development;
  • possess excellent personal presentation and communication skills; and
  • are motivated and mature minded.

How do I apply for an Advisory Cadetship?
To apply for a Cadetship position at Wybenga Financial send us your details. Please also include in your covering letter why you wish to do a cadetship, include relevant qualities you possess, main interests / achievements, and any previous employment.

Interested candidates should initially forward a resume/covering letter of no more than 3-pages. Please provide full details of contact information (telephone or e-mail).

What if I have more questions?
For further information about our Cadetship program, please send your enquiry to .