Independent financial advisers and planners in Australia

TAMIKA SEETO
Looking for help with your finances? If you want to receive impartial advice, you might want to consider choosing an independent financial adviser. This article features a list of independent financial advisers around Australia, as well as some factors you might like to consider before engaging one.

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What does a financial adviser do?

A financial adviser, or financial planner, is someone who can help you set your financial goals and make a plan to help you achieve them. Financial advisers can typically provide advice on areas such as investing, superannuation, retirement planning, estate planning, risk management and insurance. Some financial advisers may also be licensed to offer tax advice. Advice can range from one-off advice on a single issue to ongoing advice.

What is an independent financial adviser?

Financial advisers can only legally describe themselves as being ‘independent’ if they do not receive any commissions (unless rebated in full to their clients), volume-based payments (i.e. payments based on how much business they send to a financial product issuer) or other gifts or benefits from a financial product issuer. These requirements are set out in the Corporations Act. Due to these rules, a relatively small number of financial advisers in Australia are considered ‘independent’.

It’s worth noting that all financial advisers must have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence from ASIC, the body that regulates financial services. Following the Royal Commission, financial advisers are also now required to meet some additional professional standards. This includes having an approved bachelor’s degree as a minimum, sitting an exam set by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) and complying with a Code of Ethics that requires them to, for example, act in the best interests of clients and avoid conflicts of interest.

Independent financial adviser
Source: fauxels (Pexels).

Advisers can also choose to become members of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers (PIFA), if they meet certain criteria.

To be a Practising Member, PIFA says that advisers must meet the following three criteria. Specifically, they must:

  1. Have no ownership links or affiliations with product manufacturers
  2. Receive no commissions or incentive payments from product manufacturers
  3. Receive no asset-based fees (fees based on the total value of assets in a client’s portfolio).

To be an Associate Member, PIFA says advisers must comply with the legal definition of independence, or be “actively transitioning their practice to become independent”.

How much does a financial adviser cost?

The cost of receiving financial advice can vary depending on the complexity of the advice, as well as the fee structure the financial adviser uses. On average, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) found that planners charge an initial fee of $3,300 to set up a plan and then about $4,300 annually for ongoing advice.

In addition to fixed fees, ASIC’s Moneysmart notes that advisers may charge percentage-based fees, such as asset-based fees or fees based on the performance of your investments. However, independent financial advisers who are Practising Members of PIFA are not allowed to charge asset-based fees.


Potential benefits of using an independent financial adviser

One benefit of choosing an independent financial adviser could be the reassurance that the advice given should be impartial and not based on sales incentives.

There are also a number of potential benefits to using a financial adviser in general. For example, they could help you:

  • Identify short-, medium- and long-term goals
  • Create practical strategies to achieve these goals
  • Feel more in control of your finances
  • Develop an investment plan
  • Protect your assets
  • Plan for retirement

A financial adviser may be particularly useful during big life events, such as if you are buying a home, starting a family, inheriting money or approaching retirement. When you reach your preservation age, for example, and decide to access your super, you may like to speak to an independent financial adviser to support you with planning for your future financially.


Potential disadvantages of using an independent financial adviser

One potential disadvantage of using an independent financial adviser is their relative scarcity. At the time of writing, there are fewer than 70 independent financial advisers in Australia who are members of PIFA. This may mean you need to travel for a consultation or have over-the-phone or online consultations in some cases. It could also mean fewer advisers that you can compare.

More generally, seeing a financial adviser can be expensive. Not every situation will necessarily call for a financial adviser, so you might want to think about what kind of financial help you need before committing to an adviser. For example, if you’re after financial information rather than advice, it might be useful to talk to your bank, super fund, insurer or other financial institution. If you want advice on your superannuation, you could also consider getting advice through your super fund. You may be able to get simple advice at no additional cost; however, there is typically a fee for more comprehensive advice.

If you need help with debt or other money problems, you may be better-suited to seeing a financial counsellor. Financial counselling is a free, independent and confidential service. You can speak to a financial counsellor by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

List of independent financial advisers in Australia

Below is a list of independent financial advisers in Australia, sorted by state and territory. This list is based on PIFA Practising Members and Associate Members across Australia, according to the PIFA website at the time of writing.

Ben Liddicoat

BBK Financial Planning

Sydney

Mr Liddicoat says he has over 16 years of  experience providing advice on super, investing, tax, debt and budget management to his clients.
Bill Raffle

Bennelong Private Wealth

Sydney

Bennelong Private Wealth says it is a specialist tax structuring and financial planning practice.
Chris Rae

Allied Wealth

Sydney

Allied Wealth says its services include investment portfolio management, superannuation and retirement planning, structuring and tax-effective planning, cashflow management and personal insurance advice.
Daniel McGregor

Wealth Train

Orange

Wealth Train says it is a personal financial advice and wealth coaching business that is designed to get people ‘financially fit’.
Dave Harper

Naked Wealth

Sydney

Naked Wealth says it focuses on reducing your financial costs, and that it also provides advice on superannuation, life insurance, cash flow, investing, estate planning and retirement planning.
Debbie Lin

Liquidity Financial Advisers

Sydney

Liquidity Financial Advisers says its services include retirement planning, advice on moving into aged care and property advice.
Fergus Hardingham

FM Financial Solutions

Sydney

FM Financial Solutions says its services include providing advice on cash management, contingency planning, family wealth succession, strategy, portfolio construction and management, aged care advice and investment entities.
Howard Pitts

Arc Financial Solutions

Sydney

Mr Pitts says he has over 30 years of  experience advising on superannuation, insurance and investment issues.
James Williamson

Millhaven Financial Services

Sydney

Millhaven says it offers holistic financial planning, including advice on insurance, asset management, retirement planning and SMSF advice and management.
Jo-Anne Nelson

Arc Financial Solutions

Neutral Bay

Ms Nelson says she has 20 years of  experience in superannuation, life insurance and investment management.
Kyle Frost

Millennial Independent Advice

Sydney and Newcastle

Mr Frost says that he primarily provides financial advice around cash flow, investing, superannuation, debt, property, personal insurances, tax and estate planning.
Michael Morrison

M Financial Planning

Sydney and Wollongong

M Financial Planning says that it specialises in providing financial planning advice in the areas of: retirement planning, superannuation advice, estate planning, investing and wealth creation.
Michael Radalj

Your Private Advisers

Sydney

Your Private Advisers says it typically provides advice around investing, superannuation, retirement planning, ancillary tax advice and insurance.
Peter Surtenich

Suetonius Wealth Management

Sydney

Suetonius Wealth Management says its services include advice on superannuation and SMSFs, corporate advice, wealth creation and investments and retirement planning.
Phil Harvey

Construct Wealth

Bungendore

Construct Wealth says it offers a ‘Live Your Best Life’ program that will help you clarify your goals, develop a strategy to implement them and find appropriate super, investment and insurance products.
Richard Barber

Liquidity Financial Advisers

Shellharbour

Liquidity Financial Advisers says its services include retirement planning, advice on moving into aged care and property advice.
Ron Geffin

Core Private Wealth

Sydney

Core Private Wealth says it offers holistic wealth and financial planning, including wealth management, superannuation, insurance and bespoke services.
Stephanie O’Connor

Custom Accounting

Sydney and Cootamundra

Custom Accounting says its services include superannuation and retirement, insurance, retirement and succession planning. It also says it provides advice to farmers, businesses and family companies.
Trevor Geffin

Core Private Wealth

Sydney

Core Private Wealth says it offers holistic wealth and financial planning, including wealth management, superannuation, insurance and bespoke services.
Vince Lam

Plutus Financial Guidance

Sydney

Plutus Financial Guidance says its services include retirement, superannuation, aged care, estate planning, wealth protection, budgeting and saving, investment strategy and debt management advice.

Adriano Donato

Roskow Independent Advisory

Melbourne

Roskow Independent Advisory says it works with clients to provide strategy analysis, advice and implementation and an ongoing partnership.
Berivan Dubier

Curve Accountants

Moorabbin

Curve Accountants provides tax and accounting services and independent financial planning and advice. Curve says it is dedicated to supporting small businesses and those who work within the medical, dental, allied health and veterinary industries.
Chris Thoms

Super-Focus

Geelong

Mr Thoms says he specialises in SMSFs, superannuation, investment, direct shares, property investment and estate planning.
Corin Jacka

Priority1 Wealth Management Group

Melbourne

Priority1 says its services include investment planning, retirement and pre-retirement planning, estate planning, government benefit advice, mortgage and debt reduction and capital gains tax planning.
Daniel Twentyman

Surf Coast Wealth Management

Torquay

Mr Twentyman says his specialties include financial planning, budgeting, cash flow and debt management, superannuation, investment planning and wealth management, equities and portfolio advice, personal risk policies and wealth protection, retirement planning, small business advice, business insurance and salary packaging.
Dennis Maddern

Maddern Financial Advisers

Melbourne

Maddern Financial Advisers says most of its clients are small to medium business owners or successful career professionals, with a focus on the sporting, aviation and health industries.
James Stephan

Stephan Independent Advisory

Melbourne

Stephan Independent Advisory says it typically works with successful family business owners and self-funded retirees who want to preserve, protect and transfer their wealth.
Jason Smith

Think Independent

Melbourne

Think Independent says it can provide advice for people during various life stages, including young people, families and those who are pre- and post- retirement.
Joe Stephan

Stephan Independent Advisory

Melbourne

Stephan Independent Advisory says it typically works with successful family business owners and self-funded retirees to preserve, protect and transfer their wealth.
Mat Horvat

Horvat Financial Advisors

Melbourne

Horvat Financial Advisors says it works with individuals and families who are financially independent and want to maximise their wealth.
Matthew Ross

Roskow Independent Advisory

Melbourne

Roskow Independent Advisory says it works with clients to provide strategy analysis, advice and implementation and an ongoing partnership.
Nikki Hill

Enrich Investing

Melbourne

Enrich Investing says its core service is personal financial coaching for individuals and families with a focus on wealth generation, wealth preservation and transfer of wealth.
Rick Horvat

Horvat Financial Advisors

Melbourne

Horvat Financial Advisors says it works with individuals and families who are financially independent and want to maximise their wealth.
Sean Dwyer

Curve Accountants

Moorabbin

Curve Accountants provides tax and accounting services and independent financial planning and advice. Curve says it is dedicated to supporting small businesses and those who work within the medical, dental, allied health and veterinary industries.
Trent Alexander

Financial Planning Expert

Melbourne

Financial Planning Expert states it specialises in SMSF advice for retirees and pre-retirees.

Aaron Crosthwaite

Curve Accountants

Brisbane

Curve Accountants provides tax and accounting services and independent financial planning and advice. Curve says it is dedicated to supporting small businesses and those who work within the medical, dental, allied health and veterinary industries.
Neil Salkow 

Roskow Independent Advisory

Brisbane

Roskow Independent Advisory says it works with clients to provide strategy analysis, advice and implementation and an ongoing partnership.
Samuel Turrisi 

Roskow Independent Advisory

Brisbane

Roskow Independent Advisory says  it works with clients to provide strategy analysis, advice and implementation and an ongoing partnership.