13/07/2004 - 22:00

Former AFL players find feet in finance

13/07/2004 - 22:00


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Former AFL players find feet in finance

Former Fremantle Docker Brad Wira has more insight into the linkages between elite sport and finance than most other retired players.

Through his financial planning firm, Gannon Growden Schonnel, Mr Wira runs a financial education program for all AFL draft recruits and ‘rookies’ in Perth.

At Gannon Growden Schonnel, Mr Wira also has plenty of contact with top-line sports-men.

Directors Sam Gannon and Craig Serjeant played test cricket for Australia, and Michael Lee played league football for Subiaco in the 1980s.

Mr Wira’s former Dockers team-mate Matthew ‘Spider’ Burton, who completed his AFL career with the Kangaroos, runs the financial education program in Melbourne through his firm Cameron Walshe.

The program, backed by the AFL Players’ Association, is now in its second year in Western Australia.

Mr Wira said the average salary for AFL players was about $130,000, so it was important to provide some guidance to young recruits about saving and investing.

“History has shown that current players will listen to past players,” said Mr Wira, who is a para planner and working towards being a fully certified financial adviser.

“I’ve always been one who pushed for outside interests.”

Mr Wira was either studying or working full time through most of his AFL career.

He completed a master of finance at Curtin University and was part of the graduate management program during three years at Bank of Melbourne (1996 to 1998).

However, the increasing demands of the game, including training and team meetings during the day, forced him to give up work towards the end of his career.

He said a majority of AFL players were now involved in some form of study.

This is helped by a handy financial incentive from the AFL Players Association, which pays tuition fees for AFL players, including for up to three years after they retire.

Several other prominent footballers have moved into financial planning and stockbroking.

Former West Coast Eagles star Ashley McIntosh recently joined West Perth financial planning firm, Concept Financial.

One of his Eagles team-mates, Paul Peos, is with Ascare Financial Services.

Mr Peos’ finance career has travelled a rocky path, including a run in with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2000 when he was with broking firm D.J. Carmichael.

He subsequently reached a settlement with ASIC, which included completing further education, and is now able to practice without any restrictions.

Former Eagles player Mark Hepburn is another in the finance game, currently employed as an adviser with stockbroker Euroz Securities.


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