Sydney Business Awards Finalists Come Out In Support Of Same-Sex Couples

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Finalists in the 2011 City of Sydney Business Awards INKOM Wealth Management have come out and announced their commitment to serving same-sex couples, helping GLBT community achieve financial freedom and equality, navigating in the debris of ever changing legislatory environment. INKOM’s dedication to providing same-sex fee-for-service expert financial advice was restated on 11 November 2011 as the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA) celebrated its 30th Anniversary.

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INKOM is a local GLBT friendly fee-for-service financial planning partner helping to grow and protect wealth, retire early and leave legacy

Having spent a decade with Westpac Business Advice, BT and Credit Suisse Private Banking, Sydney financial planner Dr Greg Nazvanov CFP® started INKOM Wealth Management, a fee for service financial advice firm that specialises in financial planning for same-sex couples and the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] consumer segment. “In America the LGBT market is $700 billion. US research found 92% of GLBT consumers are likely to try a brand known to provide equality at workplace including gays and lesbians and 64% are more likely to buy a product or service that is marketed directly to GLBT population. For many years we’ve felt that the Australian LGBT consumer is a huge developing market, but banks refused to acknowledge this or focus on it,” says Dr Nazvanov.

Financial advisors now have the opportunity to really differentiate themselves from the market by understanding the financial needs of same-sex couples regarding family, superannuation and legacy issues that are unique to LGBT community. Research found 30 per cent of LGBT businesses seek adopt secrecy and 80 per cent lacked specialist advice, especially when it involves business financial planning, funding, or dealing with SMSF superannuation and estate matters.

Same-sex families growing in numbers

The number of gay families is rapidly growing. In 2001, the census reported there being 19,594 same-sex couples. In 2006, this number had shot up to 27,000 and about 30,000 in 2009. Since 2011 same-sex couples will be counted in the CENSUS coding. "ABS will make available a count of opposite-sex and same-sex couples who marked their relationship as 'husband or wife' or 'de facto," said David Nauenberg, Census Director. Stephen Page who runs the Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog thinks it’s weird that the ABS will give numbers of same-sex married couples while the government doesn’t recognise them.

Same-sex couples are also known to be very affluent, largely due to the fact that the majority of couples do not have children, have university degrees and earn higher salaries. Because less than 20% of GLBT households have children, GLBT consumers have more discretionary income to spend than a typical Aussie family – giving them more per capita buying power, while they demand premium services.

It is no wonder that banks and financial organisations now want to target the gay and lesbian market.

Tolerance resulting in change for the better

In 2008, the Same-Sex Reforms were announced, seeing the amendment of 84 Australian Commonwealth laws. Most of these amendments came into effect on 1st July 2009.

The main changes that effected financial planning services for same-sex gay and lesbian couples included the following:

  •     If a partner were to die in a same sex couple, the surviving member, along with any children, would be recognised as dependants of superannuation death benefits.
  •     The same tax concessions offered to married couples were made available to same-sex couples.
  •     Child Support Act changes - same-sex couples with children became recognised as parents. This meant that if they were to separate, they would be eligible for child support.
  •     Same-sex couples, along with any children, became recognised for Centrelink and family assistance purposes.
  •     Members of same-sex relationships became recognised for pensions, including pensions made available to war widow’s.

Following the changes, same-sex relationships were then treated more equally to heterosexual relationships according to Australian law.

In August 2009 the government was asked by the Australian Greens to pass legislation for same-sex marriages but after a review by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, this was rejected.

Then in February 2010, it was announced that the government would introduce legislation for a Relationships Register to be introduced. This would mean that same-sex couples would be able to enter into a “registered relationship”, which would prove the existence of their relationship and thus enable same-sex couples to be eligible to the same full rights as offered to heterosexual couples under state and federal law. This essentially became the equivalent of a registered partnership or a civil union, as recognised in other parts of the world.

INKOM welcomes new same-sex couples

Same-sex couples looking to obtain financial planning advice can speak to INKOM Wealth Management and arrange a free initial consultation.

Gay and lesbian couples can also download a free eBook called the Same Sex Marriage Financial Power Guide which was written specifically for same-sex couples to help them understand the financial planning issues that affect them.

INKOM Wealth Management is a fee for service financial planning firm in Sydney that provides clients with advice on how to retire early, invest and reduce debt, how to grow and protect wealth, and leave legacy.

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Dr Greg Nazvanov
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