Scholarship builds on strong ties at Griffith

The 2016 Stonehouse Group Scholarship recipient James Van Zyl-Cunningham

Stonehouse Group has bolstered its strong connections with Griffith Business School through the support of a scholarship that aims to nurture talent in the expanding field of financial planning.

The $10,000 Stonehouse Group Scholarship, now in its second year, has been awarded this year to Griffith Business School undergraduate James Van Zyl-Cunningham.

The scholarship carries with it an internship with the Brisbane-based financial planning and funds management group, which counts four Griffith University graduates among its partners.

According to Stonehouse Senior Partner Ben Hancock, the ties with Griffith Business School have never been more important for his company.

“We wanted to develop a link with Stonehouse and what we regard as Queensland’s pre-eminent provider of financial planning education,” said Mr Hancock.

“Not only does it benefit the profession, but it also allows us to leverage that relationship to employ Griffith candidates. As a firm, we’ve held a bachelor as a minimum requirement for our financial planners for many years.

“Overall, it’s been a very positive experience from our perspective.”

Stonehouse Scholarship
Griffith Business School Professor Mark Brimble (from left), Stonehouse Group Senior Partner Ben Hancock, scholarship recipient James Van Zyl-Cunningham, Stonehouse Group Senior Partner Andrew Stewart, Stonehouse Group Partner Kane Livingstone and Griffith Business School Pro Vice Chancellor Professor David Grant

Professor Mark Brimble, the Griffith Business School’s Discipline Head of Finance and Financial Planning, said relationships such as those with Stonehouse Groupwere integral to improving standards across the financial planning industry.

“It’s an emerging profession that requires a deeper pool of candidates,” he said.

“Form a macro perspective, businesses need the talent and the Griffith Business School wants to produce that talent. We want to form partnerships to encourage and support students however we can and articulate those opportunities for them.”

Professor David Grant, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Griffith Business School, said he was thrilled that Stonehouse Grouphad chosen to support the scholarship for a second year.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Stonehouse in this way,” said Professor Grant.

“The Scholarship opens up significant opportunities for our students and graduates and is indicative of our standing among Australian financial planning firms. This is another wonderful example of the deep levels of engagement the Griffith Business School enjoys with this very important industry sector.”

James Van Zyl-Cunningham said the scholarship would enable him to broaden his professional experience in the field.

He said that, through his current position as a financial advice analyst with Financial Rescue, he saw first-hand the personal impact of bad financial advice on clients. His role involved negotiating the recovery of lost funds through the Financial Ombudsman Service.

“A lot of these people are nearing retirement and have been advised to borrow against their house to buy into derivatives, which are unsuitable for their risk profile,” said James.

Now in his final year studying a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Finance and Financial Planning, James said the Stonehouse Group Scholarship was a major stepping stone to broaden his experience in financial planning.

He said it would take him closer to his aim of becoming a para-planner, a role that focused on financial strategies and financial modelling.