Independent financial advisers in Australia

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.

The coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for financial advice. According to Adviser Ratings, many financial advisers have “never been busier” due to the impact COVID-19 has had on asset values and employment. Australians have reportedly been turning to advisers for advice on areas such as cash-flow and whether they should withdraw super early.

The uptick in demand comes as many advisers continue to exit the industry, perhaps in part due to the additional scrutiny the industry has undergone following the Banking Royal Commission and its aftermath.

If you’re looking for a financial adviser who is not affiliated with any product provider and who doesn’t receive commissions for selling particular products, then you might want to consider an independent financial adviser.


In this article:


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, and operate without any conflicts of interest. 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’.

All financial advisers must have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 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: mentatdgt (Shutterstock).

Independent financial 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 three criteria. Specifically, they must not:

  1. Have any ownership links or affiliations with product manufacturers
  2. Receive any commissions or incentive payments from product manufacturers
  3. Receive any asset-based fees (fees based on the total value of assets in a client’s portfolio).

To be an Associate Member, PIFA says you must be a financial planner who complies with the legal definition of independence, or who is “actively transitioning their practice to become independent”.

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 these goals. 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 question, to more comprehensive advice or ongoing advice.


How much does a financial adviser cost?

The cost of receiving financial advice can vary depending on the fee structure the financial adviser uses and the type and complexity of the advice. According to Moneysmart, financial advisers may charge fixed fees, percentage-based fees (such as asset-based fees or investment management fees) and/or they may earn commissions.

According to the Financial Planning Association (FPA), many financial planners offer a complimentary introductory meeting. During this meeting you can make sure you are comfortable with the financial adviser and their experience. After that, the FPA says there will typically be an initial fee to cover identifying your needs, developing a strategy and implementing the recommendations. There could also be administration and ongoing fees for regular reviews of your plan.

Due to restrictions under the Corporations Act, independent financial advisers cannot receive commissions or volume-based payments. Additionally, if an adviser is a Practising Member of PIFA, they cannot charge asset-based fees based on the size of your investing portfolio.

Potential benefits of using an independent financial adviser

For some people, a benefit of choosing an independent financial adviser specifically may 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, are made redundant, inheriting money or approaching retirement.

Independent financial adviser
Source: fauxels (Pexels).

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 a long distance for a consultation or have over-the-phone or online consultations in some cases. It could also mean fewer advisers to shop around based on fees and other factors.

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. The Canstar website is also a source of general financial information that could help you in some situations.

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

The list below displays PIFA Practising Members and Associate Members across Australia, sorted by city and suburb, according to the PIFA website at the time of writing.

Ben Liddicoat

BBK Financial Planning

Dulwich Hill

Mr Liddicoat says he has over 16 years’ experience providing advice on super, investing, tax, debt and budget management to 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 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’.
David Harper

Naked Wealth

Newport

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.
Deborah Lin

Liquidity Financial Advisers

Oatley

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

FM Financial Solutions

Pyrmont

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

Arc Financial Solutions

Neutral Bay

Mr Pitts says he has over 30 years’ experience advising on superannuation, insurance and investment issues.
Jo-Anne Nelson

Arc Financial Solutions

Neutral Bay

Arc Financial Solutions says its services are tailored to individuals who are looking for clear direction and management of their whole financial situation.
Kyle Frost

Millennial Independent Advice

Newcastle and Sydney

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

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, Brookvale, North 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’s website indicates that its services include superannuation and SMSFs, corporate advice, wealth creation and investments and retirement planning.
Philip Davies

Liquidity Financial Advisers

Sutherland

Liquidity Financial Advisers says its services include retirement planning, superannuation and advice on moving a loved one into aged care.
Phil Harvey

Construct Wealth

Bungendore

Construct Wealth says it typically provides advice to clients who are aged between 35 and 65, have a household income of more than $200,000 and/or have assets to invest (including super) of more than $500,000.
Richard Barber

Liquidity Financial Advisers

Shellharbour

Liquidity Financial Advisers says its services include retirement planning, superannuation and advice on moving a loved one into aged care.
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

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

Chatswood

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

Hawthorn

Roskow Independent Advisory says it is focused on working with ‘high achievers’ to help them realise their financial potential.
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

Ringwood North

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 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.
Dominic Alafaci

Collins House

Melbourne

Collins House says it provides services including financial and investment advice, taxation and accounting advice, superannuation advice and UK pension transfers.
Dennis J. Maddern

Maddern Financial Advisers

Malvern

Maddern Financial Advisers says it provides a range of services including financial advice, accounting, business services, taxation and SMSF advice. It 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.
Fortuna Alexandrow 

Interwealth Financial Advice

Shepparton

Interwealth says it can help you with life events such as saving for a deposit, starting a family, starting a business and retirement.
James Stephan

Stephan Independent Advisory

Kew

Stephan Independent Advisory states 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 various life stages including young people, families and those who are pre- and post- retirement.
Joe Stephan

Stephan Independent Advisory

Kew

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

Horvat Financial Advisors

Essendon North

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

Roskow Independent Advisory

Hawthorn

Roskow Independent Advisory says it is focused on working with ‘high achievers’ to help them realise their financial potential.
Rick Horvat

Horvat Financial Advisors

Essendon

Horvat Financial Advisors states 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

Mornington

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

Aaron Crosthwaite

Curve Accountants

Fortitude Valley

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.
David Harper

Naked Wealth

Noosaville

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.
Keith Henderson

Malibu Wealth Advisory

Noosaville

Malibu Wealth Advisory says it specialises in pre-retirees, retirees, over-45s, time-poor business owners and executives and medical and other professionals.
Neil Salkow 

Roskow Independent Advisory

Stones Corner

Roskow Independent Advisory says it is focused on working with ‘high achievers’ to help them realise their financial potential.
Samuel Turrisi 

Roskow Independent Advisory

Stones Corner

Roskow Independent Advisory says it is focused on working with ‘high achievers’ to help them realise their financial potential.

Cameron Foster

Horizon Advisory

Port Lincoln

Mr Foster says his expertise and experience lies in personal money management, investment, retirement planning and superannuation.
Craig Meathrel

Strategiq Wealth

Eastwood

Strategiq Wealth says it provides ‘life-centred’ advice which is focussed on your personal goals and life issues that require financial and investment strategies.
Jacie Taylor

Periapt Advisory

Kent Town

Periapt Advisory says its services include advice about investments, insurance, cash flow, government benefits, salary sacrifice and salary packaging, retirement planning, superannuation and SMSFs, aged care and estate planning.

Naomi Horobin

Clover Financial Group

Braddon

Ms Horobin says she provides advice to assist with: cashflow management and budgeting, wealth creation, superannuation, retirement planning and income streams, Centrelink and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) payments, estate planning, and asset and lifestyle protection.
Phil Harvey

Construct Wealth

Dickson

Construct Wealth says it typically provides advice to clients who are aged between 35 and 65, have a household income of more than $200,000 and/or have assets to invest (including super) of more than $500,000.
Phil Thompson

Rise Financial

Monash

Mr Thompson says his areas of expertise include advice relating to superannuation, investment, borrowed funds, personal insurance, salary packaging, budgeting and cashflow management and estate planning.
Susannah Kulincevic

Brocktons Independent Advisory

Phillip

Brocktons states it offers a “no strings attached” advice consultation and a comprehensive planning service. Some of the services it says it may be able to provide include advice on wealth creation, self-managed super funds (SMSFs), transition-to-retirement pensions and succession planning arrangements.

Simon Duigan

Core Independent Financial Advice

Kingston

Core says it provides the following advice services: financial coaching, superannuation and pension, insurance, retirement funding, legal/estate planning, Centrelink and aged care, investments, and finance and debt management.

Annette Sinclair

Jarrah Bridge

Midland

Benjamin Coombe

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.
Bradley Clarke 

CY Financial Advice

South Perth

CY Financial Advice says its typical clients are retirees or those close to retirement who are over the age of 50 and want to put a retirement plan in place.
Christopher Pritchard

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.
Christopher Young

CY Financial Advice

South Perth

CY Financial Advice says its typical clients are retirees or those close to retirement who are over 50 with investment assets exceeding $1 million.
Cristina Simpson

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.
David McGregor 

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.
James Robinson

Jarrah Bridge

Midland

Mick Steffan

Independent Advisers WA

Bluff Point

Independent Advisers WA says it offers specialised independent financial advice for clients working largely in the farming, fishing and resources industries. It also serves small business clients and clients active in the resource and medical industries.
Nick Bruining

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.
Peter Humble

Rise Wealth Group

Eaton

Rise Wealth Group says its services include retirement and estate planning and mortgage and debt management advice.
Peter Webster

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.
Stephanie Tang-Bowman

Bruining Partners

West Leederville

Bruining Partners says its expertise includes pre-retirees, retirees, public sector retirement advice, wealth building, Age Pension and Centrelink and UK State Pension.

How to find a financial adviser based on your needs

If you are looking for an independent financial adviser, the list above may help you find an adviser who practices without incentives or conflicts (as verified by PIFA). You can also find a financial adviser through professional associations such as the FPA and the Association of Financial Advisers’ (AFA) consumer website Your Best Interests. Both websites offer a ‘find a financial adviser/planner’ tool where you can narrow down advisers by location. The Your Best Interests tool also allows you to select advisers who are “non institutionally aligned”. Bear in mind that the advisers available via these tools may not be classified as ‘independent’ by PIFA.

When you meet a financial adviser, Moneysmart says it’s a good idea to ask them questions such as:

  • What their qualifications and specialty areas are
  • Who their typical client is
  • How they charge (i.e. what fees they charge and how much these are)
  • How they choose which products to recommend and whether they receive any commissions or incentives

This article was reviewed by our Sub Editor Tom Letts and Finance Editor Sean Callery before it was published as part of our fact-checking process.

Main image Source: crazystocker (Shutterstock).

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