Similar to the Heart Foundation’s “Tick” which guides Australians on healthier eating choices, the IFAAA Gold Standard of Independence™ guides Australians on how to find financial advisers who practice without incentive and without conflicts. For the public, this symbol is a beacon for genuinely independent financial advice. For Practising Members, this symbol is evidence they have satisfied the most stringent standard of independence in the profession.
To qualify as an IFAAA Practising Member, advisers must satisfy these three criteria:
- No ownership links or affiliations with product manufacturers. Impartiality is impossible where an adviser has links to a product manufacturer. Ownership links create an environment where the adviser resembles, at best, a well-intentioned salesperson.
- No commissions or incentive payments from product manufacturers. Commissions are payments made by product manufacturers to their distribution network. They create a conflict of interest between advisers and their clients.
- No asset-based fees. Asset fees, although authorised by the client, are calculated precisely the same way a commission is calculated. Asset fees are incentives that prevent an adviser from being impartial and therefore create a conflict of interest between adviser and client.
The three stars in the symbol represent the three criteria of the IFAAA Gold Standard Independence™ – no links to products manufacturers, no commissions, and no asset based fees. This is a Gold Standard for financial advice and the symbol represents trust and professionalism.