Who Is an Independent Financial Advisor?

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Who Is an Independent Financial Advisor?

Who Is an Independent Financial Advisor?

An independent financial advisor can be either a financial advice firm or an individual. While independent advisors’ services are often identical to those of any other advisor, they are not affiliated with any larger financial organizations. 

As a result, they are not constrained by particular interests and can recommend a wide range of financial goods and services. If you need assistance locating an australian financial advisor, Omura Wealth Advisers’s services might help.

What Makes a Financial Advisor “Independent?”

A financial advisor assists clients with a wide range of personal financial planning and investment needs. In many situations, they collaborate with customers to create investment policy statements that define a client’s risk tolerance, financial status, time horizon, and other information that might assist the advisor work with the client appropriately and efficiently. 

These services are widely regarded as the gold standard for all financial advisors, whether independent or not. To tell an independent advisor from a non-independent one, look at who owns the firm and whether they’re directly associated with other (usually larger) firms. 

A firm’s independence is directly tied to these attributes, as affiliation with another firm might change how an advisor works with a client. Independent consultants and firms operate entirely on their own, which typically allows them greater flexibility in how they work.

Related: Financial Advisors Vs Financial Planners: How Do They Differ?

Who Is an Independent Financial Advisor?

How to Determine Whether a Financial Advisor Is Independent

Asking your financial advisor or their firm if they are independent is the easiest method to find out. However, it is not difficult to determine on your own. Because independent firms and advisors are not associated with larger institutions, large, well-known advisors are unlikely to be independent. Even registered representatives of larger corporations are not truly autonomous.

When looking for an advisor to work with, be aware of those who only provide a restricted selection of investment products. If you see this, it’s a red flag that your advisor isn’t truly independent.

Non-independent advisors frequently provide products linked to their parent organization, such as investment funds and insurance coverage. While this isn’t always a bad thing, an independent advisor may have a more comprehensive range of services.

It’s also worth noting that independent advisors might be either individuals or businesses. Independent advising firms, like parent corporations, are not subject to any particular interests. Independent advisors might work for oneself or for firms of independent advisors.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Independent Financial Advisors

While working with an independent financial advisor usually offers more benefits than negatives, it’s vital to understand how they compare. To begin with, independent advising businesses are often owned by their in-house advisers, allowing them to develop personal ties with customers. A large, non-independent firm, on the other hand, may have a less personable vibe.

Another advantage of working with an independent advisor is that you will receive advice that is truly personalized to you and is not affected by any outside pressures. Non-independent advisors may be restricted in how they can invest your assets, with investment ideas sometimes being predetermined. Independent advisors should be able to create your portfolio with more customization and this makes them the best financial advisors.

Independent advisors typically use third-party custodians to secure your funds. This is frequently advantageous because there is no conflict of interest if your advisor holds your assets at his or her own firm. Working with a non-independent advisor who owns your assets at the same financial institution may appeal to some.

Another disadvantage of working with an independent financial advisor is that you may have fewer options for financial specialists with specific skills. Larger, non-independent businesses, for example, may have a multitude of advisors that specialize in estate planning, ETFs, or other specific needs.

Who Is an Independent Financial Advisor?

Financial Advisors: Independent vs. Non-Independent

The ability to operate totally independently, without influence, oversight, or rules from a larger institution, distinguishes an independent financial advisor from a non-independent advisor.

Non-independent financial advisors are frequently obligated to offer securities and other financial products through a certain firm. This restricts the recommendations they can make to clients.

On the other hand, advisors at non-independent firms will likely have access to more research resources than those at smaller independent firms. Although this does not always imply superior investment performance, having the support of a large corporation has its advantages.

Fee schedules are another area where independent and non-independent firms may differ. Many independent advisors are fee-only, which means they are paid only by client advice fees and do not receive commissions from other companies for selling their investment or insurance products.

Fee-based advisors, on the other hand, do earn the aforementioned commissions. Because of their affiliation with a larger firm, a non-independent advisor may be more likely to collect such rewards and hence be incentivized to advocate such transactions.

With that said, there are fee-based independent advisors and fee-only non-independent advisors who do not accept commissions and are thus fee-only. If this distinction is essential to you, ask the advisor with whom you are considering working.


When it comes to hiring someone to assist manage your money and prepare for your financial future, an independent financial advisor is frequently the best option. While independent and non-independent advisory services may be functionally comparable, the quality and breadth of counsel you’re likely to receive from an independent advisor may put you ahead. With no outside forces pressing an independent advisor to sell specific goods or operate in a certain way, you can be confident that any RIA is acting in your best interests.