All the other planners I rang were talking about what I want to do with the money we've saved -- put it in shares or whatever... it was all product-related, there was no talk about real planning.

Tim R, Garran

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Phone: (02) 6162 2670

Brocktons Co-Director, Daniel Brammall on The ABC's 7:30 Report pushing for financial planning industry reforms.
ABC Interview

You have given me a confidence and assurance to put me in a position where I can stretch my goals and turn them into a reality.

Ailsa W, Griffith

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Why Independent?

What is the value of getting some input from an experienced campaigner -- in any field of endeavour, but particularly when it comes to money?

Actually, not very much value at all, when the adviser can't be trusted because of conflicts of interest.

Solving your problems requires clear thinking and perspective. Only a truly independent adviser can deliver these to you. Without this professional objectivity you're not really getting impartial advice, you're getting a sales pitch masquerading as advice.


The 'big end of town' is being savaged by the banks, insurance companies and big accounting & financial planning companies. If you're a high paid professional, successful business owner, or partner of a professional firm, then you're the #1 target for financial planners with a conflicted 'value proposition'.

What conflicts? When your financial planner/accountant is charging you a percentage of your assets to give you advice on them, that's a pay packet built on an incentive.


Tired off them skimming a percentage off the top of your wealth, whether they make good for you or not?

Don't take a leap of faith on some conflicted adviser: ensure they are structured like a professional, not like a business.

By hiring a genuine independent adviser you pay a fee for an advisory service which, if it has no value to you or if they fail to deliver it in the way you thought, you fire them. Simple. Isn't that what you'd expect from your financial adviser anyway?

So what does a genuine independent financial adviser look like? Same as your doctor or your lawyer ...

Does your planner pass the 'Gold Standard of Independence' Test?

For genuinely impartial advice, look for these three things in your adviser:

  • Does not have any ownership links or affiliations with any product manufacturers.
  • Does not receive commissions or incentive payments from product manufacturers.  If they do, they rebate them back to you in full.  Disclosure of these fees is simply not good enough.
  • Does not charge a percentage of your assets.

Percentages (whether you call them 'commissions' or 'asset fees') are incentives. An adviser who is incentivised isn't impartial.

What would independent advice have been worth to these people ...

Think about the value of an independent, professional perspective in the hands of ...

  • A busy, high-paid exec contemplating a change in her career. A mistake here could cost her dearly.
  • A time-poor business owner wondering whether the DIY fund being pitched to him is really worth it. A wrong decision here could set him backwards by years and cost him countless hours and frustration.
  • A middle-aged couple with three kids, trying to finance their kids education and fund retirement. Getting this wrong could mean their children miss out on the best start available.
  • A retiree considering a secure, property-backed investment called "Westpoint". Getting this wrong means a retirement in a caravan park.

Dramatic? Nope, all real life stories.

If you're interested in learning more about what independence looks like and how to tell if your adviser has any conflicts, go to The Independent Financial Advisers Association website, a not-for-profit public company, for more information.