BECOME A MEMBER OF THE PROFESSION OF INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ADVISERS, AND discover how to reposition your practiCe to be more valuable and more personally satisfying into 2022/23.


Transition to the Gold Standard of Independence

For well over a decade now the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers has been coaching advisers on what it takes to become independent and the benefits of going down that path for both the adviser and the client.

Some of the coaching points are structural (the nuts and bolts of actually being independent) and some are behavioural (the sort of mindset that works).

Over the last 12 months we’ve been methodically distilling those years of experience into an online coaching program for financial planners. This self-paced program is now available to new members of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers.

Its purpose is to equip them with everything they need to transition from wherever they are today into Gold Standard of Independence so they can promote themselves as such.

Already independent? Click here to visit the “What if I already qualify as independent’ section of our FAQs.

What the public wants in a financial adviser

Immediately after the 2019 Royal Commission into Misconduct in Financial Services, the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers (PIFA) launched an Australia-wide survey into public attitudes towards financial planning.

Dialling 75,000 people aged 40-55, this survey is many times larger than the polls used by political media to analyse election outcomes.

Although the majority of respondents said there is value in financial advice, they also said…

  • They want their adviser to be independent
  • They’d prefer to pay their adviser transparently and directly, and
  • They’d be more likely to enter into a long term relationship with an adviser who worked this way.

Furthermore, with the new ‘disclosure of independence’ laws introduced by the Royal Commission, all advisers are required to basically provide a warning to the public if they’re not independent.

However most financial advisers are not set up this way, mainly due to myths about the viability of an independent model, plus the lack of a clear pathway to become independent.

No longer…

As an Associate of the Profession you will master a whole new value paradigm for the consumer…

Learn how to charge for insurance advice in a way that make sense even for young families

Discover why turning off commissions and asset fees will make your practice more valuable

See how to price and position your fees, even if there aren’t any products involved

Develop and communicate the extra value of the services you will offer as an independent adviser

What our members say:
“what made you decide to become independent?”


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Why did you become an independent financial adviser?

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What are the benefits of being a PIFA member?

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How does it feel to be certified a Gold Standard Independent financial adviser?

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How does being independent change how you work with clients?

the path to professionalism

That’s the name of a new online, self-paced certification program that guides and supports you through every step of the process to become a registered member of a Profession in financial advice that practises the Gold Standard of Independence™.

The full program is only available to Associate members of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers, the Profession’s entry membership which coaches advisers through the transition to independence.

Benefits of becoming an Associate of the Profession include:

Think about the extra trust, respect, and recognition you’ll receive from your clients

You will be living and breathing the brand synonymous with trust in financial planning

Become Gold Standard Independent

Create more value by sitting on your client’s side of the table

Learn how to charge more for the extra value you provide as an independent

Take the unnecessary conversations off the table about who your AFSL is associated with and why your client should still trust you

Become part of a community of trusted and respected advisers



Instant access: Your unique username and password to the member site

ASIC recognition: Confirmation notice to your AFSL for updating your entry on ASIC’s financial adviser register

Membership Kit shipped to you: Your membership kit will be shipped to you straightaway, containing your Associate membership medallion and membership certificate for display in your client meeting room

Logo Kit: Logo kit with details on how to use your membership to promote your services, stickers and promotional material, signature block, on your website, etc.

Live Webinar invite: An invitation to the next live, monthly, members-only ‘Q&A’ webinar where you can get tips for getting the most out of being an Associate of the Profession plus answers to any questions you have

CPD: Participation in the Profession’s member events generates CPD points and your CPD certificates are issued to you directly through your member portal

Support: Get support on any and all of the member site’s content via the member’s forum

Networking: Exchange ideas and network with new members and seasoned veterans alike, via the member’s social site

Public recognition: Your membership is published on and linked back to your own website

Promotion: Your membership is promoted on associated sites of the Profession, such as

Value adds: Regularly posted value-adds exclusively for members including member bulletins, technical briefs, marketing collateral, templates and scripts, plus a range of other member resources that are published to the member’s site

Event discounts: Receive member-discounted registration for the annual national Symposium and participation in all member special events

Prospect referrals: Unsolicited leads through the Profession’s social media channels and website,, which is reliably ranked highly in Google searches for independent financial advice and independent financial adviser

What our members say:
“What advice would you give to advisers
considering making the transition?”




Operating a profitable practiCe, including...

Obligations of membership, including...

Each module within the program has assessment pieces and set exercises that must be completed before a member can advance to the next module. Participants have a dashboard on their home screen which shows their progress in the course, and the course administrator is also able to monitor the progress of individual participants.

Many of the program’s resources count towards the member’s Continuing Professional Development requirements, verified CPD certificates that are automatically generated by the program once the resource assessment is complete.

Overview of the
“Path to Professionalism” eCourse

There are 7 sequential modules in the eCourse that take you through every aspect of structuring yourself as a genuine independent, learning the codes of conduct of the Profession, through to completion whereupon your advice is certified to meet the Gold Standard of Independence™

This self-paced course takes between 30 days to 12 months to work through – the adviser’s pace-to-completion is pretty much commensurate with their motivation to get results. On completion the Associate member is now a full, practising member of a recognised profession.

(By the way, this term, ‘recognised profession’, is no misnomer nor trite throw-away one-liner… the Profession has an application for a Professional Standards Scheme in progress with the Professional Standards Council.

You’ll be guided each step of the way with:

  • recorded presentations
  • homework exercises
  • additional multimedia
  • resources to assist with your understanding and implementation
  • support through the member forum
  • contact with seasoned practitioners through the Members Social Network
  • monthly live webinars to address your Q&A
  • a growing library of FAQ accessible through member resources

PLUS you’ll attain CPD points for each element you complete.

curriculum overview


What it means to be a practising member of a recognised profession


Turning off asset fees and commissions … profitably


How to charge and collect fees as a genuinely independent financial adviser


Setting sail for the New World


Establishing what services you will provide as an independent financial adviser


Becoming a member of a recognised profession


Connecting Purpose and Process to Outcomes


Preparing for the New World


Setting sail for the New World


Client Acquisition Strategies


Becoming a member of a recognised profession


What it means to be a practising member of a recognised profession.

In this module you’re going to explore the crucial concepts of what it means to be a member of a recognised profession, and how this hinges on an essential ingredient – genuine independence of the adviser.

You’re going to really dig into what independence means, both from a legal perspective as well as what it means in the minds of your clients.

You’re going to examine specific examples taken straight ‘from the trenches’ and untangle where the problems can come from, what you can do about it, and the benefits to you and to your client.

In the process you’ll clear away any confusion that might exist about independence and what it takes to achieve it so that you can make quick and satisfying progress towards your career as a Practising Member of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

Understand the crucial distinction between regarding yourself as a professional … and being a member of a recognised profession

Appreciate how the two essential ingredients -- expertise and independence -- work together in this notion of a profession

Ultimately, have the knowledge to speak with confidence and conviction about the importance of being a member of a recognised Profession

Be able to spot possible conflicts of interest in common situations of day-to-day practice

Have clarity on what independence means, both legally to the regulator and emotionally to the public


How to charge and collect fees as a genuinely independent financial adviser.

The purpose of Module 2, Monetising Independence, is to explore how you earn your fees as a genuinely independent financial adviser, free of any links to transactions or products.

In this Module you’re going to make a practical examination of the various options for structuring independent remuneration, a critical element of being a practising member of a recognised Profession.

This module dispels two myths about being independent:

  • Myth 1 – being independent means you have to charge by the hour, and
  • Myth 2 – being independent means you will have to ‘tighten your belt’ and work for less

You’re going to look at the various methods of charging and take a ‘deep dive’ into the pros and cons of each, and learn how to implement the right one for you.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

Evaluate different ways to calculate your fees

Understand the adviser-client ‘value gap’ and how to bridge that gap

Discover the sources of ‘fee tension’ when it comes to charging for your service, and how to resolve that fee tension

Learn the various independent fee models, their advantages and limitations, and develop your own

Decide how and when to collect fees and renew them for ongoing relationships, all the while protecting your independence, and therefore your client in the process


Establishing what services you will provide as an independent financial adviser.

Module 3 builds on the last session and uncovers additional opportunities for service that arise for Independent Financial advisers as they set professional service standards.

In the new world you won’t be concentrating so hard on product. You’ll therefore consider what services you can provide that add value but don’t involve transactions necessarily.

We’re going to start by answering the question “what’s your Independent Financial Adviser DNA?”. Your IFA DNA is that unique set of decisions that you make about how you want to practise your profession, and this gives voice to the combination of choices you’ll make about your service that is uniquely yours. Having a succinct and compelling answer to this question not only helps your prospective clients but provides clarity for you too.

In the process we’re going to unpack the different types of service structures, from transactional through to modular through to ongoing, and you’ll establish minimum standards that safeguard your independence and professionalism, in a way that avoids any risk of being accused you’re not earning your fees plus any risk your client is not crystal clear on what to expect.

And we’ll look at the opportunities that exist to add value as a genuinely independent adviser and how this frees you from any product-centricity that might exist on some level in your service offering.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

Examine your own ‘IFA DNA’ and make decisions about the genetics of your practice

Separating the different types of service structure

Recognise the importance of your staff’s engagement with your standards

Make decisions about key service standards

Develop your own Terms of Engagement that enshrines those standards


Redefining Value’ takes a look with fresh eyes at the services you provide to reconnect with financial planning’s real purpose and its value to the client.

This is a very significant module because you’re going to redefine the value you provide as a genuinely independent financial adviser. You’re going to do that by taking a walk through your service … in your client’s shoes. You’re going to rediscover financial planning as just that – planning: an iterative, engaging, collaborative process.

The process of planning creates clarity, making it possible to formulate advice. Advice gives your client the direction so essential to making progress, which builds the motivation to keep working with you towards their desired results. And results? That’s where the value is.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

Earning fees for insurance advice … that even young clients value

Develop your ‘opportunities matrix’ to add extra value

Delivering value – clarity, direction, results

The value of progress – planning as a product


Preparing for the New World.

The purpose of module 5, ‘Repositioning the Relationship’, is to put into place the final pieces of the puzzle so that you have all the necessary tools to start transitioning your clients into the New World.

You’ll evaluate your licensing options so you can get the clarity you need to make smart decisions about how your practice should be positioned for the future you want. You will use the ‘variable income flowchart’ to establish key milestones and develop the last remaining tools you will need to move forward, equipped with a transition plan, prioritised to build your revenue as you make the transition.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

The ‘variable income’ flowchart

Converting unstable revenue that is dependent on markets and product issuers into reliable and predictable revenue that increases the value of your business

Look with fresh eyes at your licensing options and develop a clear path for your New World

Move forward with confidence


Making it happen.

It’s now time to put all you’ve been doing into motion. The purpose of Module 6, ‘Transitioning to Independence, is to start implementing your plan – because that’s what’s going to get you the results you’ve been planning for.

This module contains all the tools you’ll need to develop your own agendas and positioning statements to ensure a successful transition to the New World.

Using the prioritised ‘opportunities matrix’ you created in the previous module you will reconnect with your clients to position your services in a way they can see how these changes are so important and beneficial to them.

The logical outcome is that you will move forward with the clients who place a high value on their relationship with you, which ultimately impacts positively on your bottom line.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

Develop the tools to articulate your value proposition with confidence

Explain your service in outcomes-centric terms that resonate with the right client

Lay out the ground rules for a successful relationship with ‘the expectations conversation’

Recognise the ‘pivot points’ so you can determine which direction to lead the relationship


Becoming a member of a recognised profession.

It’s been a journey but you’ve done it! By working through the materials and exercises in the seven modules leading up to this point, so far you have …

  • come to recognise the mindset required to be certified as a recognised professional in financial services,
  • comprehensively inspected every important aspect of your practice to remove conflicts of interest and conflicts of duty,
  • reviewed your fee structure and service offering to develop client-centric, outcome-oriented processes where the value is in the service deliverables, not the financial products,
  • progressively transitioned your existing clientele into this ‘New World’, and
  • created a repeatable process for meeting with potential clients in a way that sets the scene for a professional relationship to flourish with the ‘value and trust currency’

The purpose of this module is for you to gain the recognition you now deserve, by applying successfully to become a certified member of the first recognised profession solely for Independent Financial Advisers.

Benefits & Takeaways include:

Understand how the Profession’s Constitution and By-Laws interact not as rulebooks full of ‘do’s and don’ts’, but rather practical guidebooks on professionalism

Gain a clear understanding of the differences between ‘commercial interests’, which is the currency of industry, and ‘the public interest’, the currency of the recognised professions, and how this sets you miles apart in the eyes of your clients

See how being a member of a recognised profession raises you above the ‘regulatory noise’ that applies to industry at large

The operation of the Profession’s ‘Professional Standards Scheme’ and what it means in practical, day-to-day terms for about your obligations of membership


The Royal Commission into Financial Services concluded that the practise of giving financial advice is far from being a profession.

‘Fees for no service’, entrenched conflicts of interest, and no accountability for dishonourable conduct were paraded publicly during the hearings around the country.

Shortly after the Royal Commission we conducted an Australia-wide survey into the public’s attitudes towards financial advice and financial planners. We dialled over 75,000 phone numbers owned by 40-55 year olds and amassed a sample over three times the size of the polls the political media relies on to predict election swings. The survey found that although the majority of Australians value financial advice, they aren’t receiving it.


The survey found that the public wants advice that is independent and they want to work with a financial adviser who is a certified professional. Furthermore, the laws now require advisers to warn clients if they are not independent, with a prescribed warning in the adviser’s Financial Services Guide.

The Profession of Independent Financial Advisers is committed to becoming a recognised profession in financial advice.

I invite you to join us – become a member today to start your journey to the Gold Standard of Independence™ and be recognised as a certified professional.


Daniel Brammall
President PIFA

the application process


Any fully qualified financial planner can apply, whether independent or not, to become an Associate member provided they are prepared to make the commitment to become Gold Standard IndependentTM. The final module in the eCourse, “Recognition”, includes the last step to become an Independent Financial Adviser member with PIFA. On successfully completing this step, membership fees are payable, refer to the FAQ below


1) Pay a fee to gain access to “The Path to Professionalism” eCourse and full access to the members-only site. 

2) Once you have completed the eCourse you will be an Independent Financial Adviser member. Refer to the FAQ section below for more information on this.

Pay In Full

up-front payment
$ 1750 + GST
Best value

3 Month Plan

3 x instalments
$ 650 + GST per month


  1. After clicking ‘Apply Now’ you’ll be redirected to the Application Page.
  2. Your application consists of ten steps and can be completed in about 5 mins. You can save and resume your application at the end of each step.
  3. The last step is to print the application, sign the declaration and have it witnessed
  4. Then upload to your portal before proceeding to the payment options page.
  5. Once payment is made you will create your username and password for immediate access to the Members site.


We are passionate about empowering you, as an Associate Member of the Profession, with all the information you need to reposition your practice to be more valuable and more personally satisfying into 2020.

You will confidently learn how to answer the following typical questions we hear from advisers.

Questions about conflicts of interests:

As an Associate of the Profession, how can I promote myself?

Is getting paid at all a conflict of interests?

Is conflicted advice better than no advice?

Can I offset commissions towards my fees?

Approaching my client – what if they complain I’ve been under-serving them?

If I turn off commissions and asset fees will I lose revenue?

Adverse client responses – what if they don’t see the bright side?

Do I have to change my AFSL or get my own AFSL to be independent?

Do I have to have a meeting with every single client or can I do them in bunches?

Is it ok to have agreements with product providers who, in exchange for inflow volume or FUM volume, will extend fee discounts to your clients on platform?

How to price your service as a true independent

Eliminate dependence on product sales and platform

WHY become independent – myths & mindset:

Is the independent model viable – can I actually make money?

Isn’t FASEA enough?

Isn’t all this going to blow over?

Do I have to have my own AFSL?

Will opt-in be necessary for independent advisers?

Do conflicts actually matter?

Where is it written that I can no longer do what I’m currently doing?

WHAT will I be doing and what will I be charging?

What will I actually be doing if I’m divorced from product?

If I give up commissions, how do I make more money/replace the lost income?

Value-added services you can offer as an independent

How can I convince someone to pay me a fee when there’s no product involved?

How do I charge for insurance advice?

Do I have to approach financial planning differently as an independent – a different mindset?

Are insurance commissions going to be turned off – is it inevitable? (i.e. don’t wait for this to happen to you, take control of your destiny now)

How do I price my service?

What services must I deliver as a minimum? (e.g. annual review and TofE)

How can I get ahead of the game and actually come through this process with a better, more profitable business

How does this tie in with the rest of my bigger service offering?

How do I make the transition?

What does my client engagement piece look like when I’m independent?

What do I tell clients?

Will I have to sell off clients and start over?

What do I tell my staff?

How do I retrain my staff?

Where do I start?

Do I have to talk/meet all of my clients?

How do I overcome client objections?

What new processes and systems will I need to put in place?

Are there coaching calls/scripting/training staff to help me each step of the way?

Given what’s happening with FASEA and the Royal Commission’s recommendations?

How do I let go of unprofitable clients to become more profitable?

Communicating your value


Regardless of an adviser’s experience in the industry or how far along the independence journey an adviser might be, there is one entry point to the Profession: the Associate class of membership. The reason why has to do with the Professional Standards Scheme’s requirement that PIFA provide evidence of membership quality standards.

To provide certainty around membership quality standards, the Professional Standards Scheme is restricted only to the Independent Financial Adviser class of membership. The Profession is burdened by the Professional Standards Authority with onerous and stringent requirements to provide evidence about the bona fides of scheme members. Applications for the Scheme are only available, therefore, to Associate members who have been through the online program “The Path to Professionalism” and are ready to apply as a full practising member.

For Associates of the Profession who are already practising as Gold Standard of Independence™ advisers their progression through the program will be much quicker than those who are starting to transition to independence.

Independent Financial Adviser membership fees are currently set at $2,750+GST and payable in July each year. For new members the fee is pro-rated depending on when during the year they were admitted.

There is no intention to increase fees at this time. In fact, as the company is a not-for-profit, the Board’s preference is to reduce fees for the benefit of members where the company’s membership achieves some scale into the future.

The time to completion for ‘The Path to Professionalism’ depends on two factors:

  • how far along the journey to independence the member is at commencement, and
  • how motivated the member is to complete the eCourse.

While we acknowledge that members embark on this journey with the intention being to reach the destination, rushing is counter-productive. The more care a member invests in the materials of the eCourse, the more he or she will get out of it in terms of …

  • perfecting an ideal service offering,
    formulating deliverables that have real impact,
  • getting the pricing just right for the target market, and
  • communicating the client value in a compelling way using the right positioning.

Remember that one of the benefits of the eCourse is to improve the effectiveness and value of your professional practice.

The last module in the eCourse, called ‘Recognition’, includes the documentation to become an Independent Financial Adviser and participate in the proposed Professional Standards Scheme, as an independently recognised professional.

There is no deadline however annual renewal of Associate membership is approved by the Board at its complete discretion, and requires demonstrating to the Board that the Associate is making real progress towards becoming a Gold Standard of Independence member.

Members can request special consideration by the Board depending on their particular circumstances.

No, the 18 month expiry on Associate membership is a maximum period, not a required period. It will be a very rare event for a member to take anything like the full 18 months to work through the materials. 

There is no deadline on completing the eCourse however progress towards the ultimate goal does need to be made. The Board may consider special circumstances (e.g. sickness, personal tragedy, etc) however complete discretion rests with the Board as a condition members agree to in their application.

The program consists of 8 sequential modules — each module and its associated assessments must be completed correctly before the next module in the sequence is ‘unlocked’. It is theoretically possible that an eCourse participant who is struggling with the material will run out of time (i.e. his or her membership will expire before the program is completed), however there are numerous support resources within the members-only site to assist progress.

There are no arrangements to pause membership however the Board may consider special circumstances.

Associates renew their membership each year subject to Board approval and payment of the Associate membership renewal fee. Independent Financial Adviser members pay annual membership fees in July each year, or a pro-rata thereof in the case of new members, depending on what month they are admitted into full practising membership.

No. Members are bound to abide by the company’s Constitution and By-Laws which provide that there are no refunds payable whatsoever. A cancelling member is not entitled to any type of refund nor credit.

There is no provision in the By-Laws to provide credit between membership classes. 

Both the Associate class of membership and the Independent Financial Adviser class of membership renew annually in July, and successfully renewing members are issued a new practising certificate shortly afterwards .

Yes, the membership fees are pro-rated on a quarterly basis towards July renewal.

These are posted out to you within 48 hours of your application being accepted. You are encouraged to display them where clients can easily see them, such as the foyer, meeting room or other client space.

Members are promoted on PIFA’s public website and through other online platforms that are interested in promoting independent advice (for instance, Members may also be eligible to participate in special adviser registers that are run by large organisations (such as the Australian Defence Force, for example,

PIFA is also active in social media, trade press and mainstream media and this activity generally results in PIFA appearing very high in online searches for independent advice or adviser. Most members report a very big uptick in the number of unsolicited online enquiries they receive by comparison to their experience prior to becoming a member.

There is also a ‘featured member’ section on PIFA’s home page which cycles weekly through the members. Once all members have been featured the rotation starts again.

There is a logo use policy published on PIFA’s public website HERE

Non members can use the ‘contact us’ facility on the public website whereas members can make use of the ‘support’ functionality through the members forum.

PIFA has reporting obligations to a number of industry stakeholders including, but not limited to, the public, regulators, professional associations and complaints resolution schemes. There is a register of all members (proposed, current and former) published on the website including their membership status:

Applicant, under assessment
Applicant, expired
Applicant, withdrawn
Applicant, declined
Current, financial
Current, indebted
Under review
Terminated by member

PIFA is not set up with call centres or sales consultants. If you have a question that doesn’t appear above then please go to the ‘contact us’ page of the public website and send us the question. We will update the FAQ section and send you the link.