Congratulations to the recently announced Top 100 Financial Advisers for 2020.

After exhaustive research and analysis by The Australian and Barrons, this list of talent represent the best in Australia.

They deserve their accolades as do all high achievers and leaders in any industry who have worked hard to gain their credentials, build successful teams and have created a loyal and strong client base.  Well done.

However, there are aspects of these awards similar to shallow beauty pageants that would make many financial advice professionals wince.


A serious re-think is required.

It is almost farcical at a time when millions of Australians are facing some of their most uncertain of financial times to be judging Australia’s best financial advisers on the amount of funds under management required to become one of their clients.

The role of our industry is to provide valued financial certainty to as many Australians as possible.  The overwhelming focus on investment performance as a means of awarding our ‘best financial adviser’ shows how little the organisers of this award understand our industry’s culture and commentary has progressed after eight inquiries over the past decade.

The organisers of these awards continue to stoke the insidious and invisible power of financial product by labelling these awards ‘best financial adviser’.

In fact, considering their readership and coverage, they are missing the leadership opportunity in these most uncertain of times to be raising the consciousness of what Australians really need right now – non-product based financial advice.

Growing Consciousness

The organisers don’t need to look far for evidence of this growing consciousness seeking alternatives to an industry which has only catered for a minority of wealthy Australians due to a pattern of entrenched product-based thinking.

A review of the findings of Ripoll in 2009, Cooper in 2010, Murray in 2014, Trowbridge in 2015, Sedgewick in 2017 and of course Justice Hayne in 2019 might be a good place to start. But, most importantly, before next year’s awards, the organisers hopefully reflect upon the fact that the vast majority of the people needing real financial advice at the moment are not investors – they are average Australians.

Australians are tired of being fed financial advice solutions where eligibility is only open to the big end of town, or based upon a high-performing asset class, or where remuneration is tied to amount of money under management as opposed to quality of the advice provided.

Again, the award-winners deserve their congratulations. They have performed well against the rigorous standards for these awards. But these standards are not dissimilar to those of the beauty parades bias towards one aspect – good looks.

Enough is enough. Financial advice has to evolve to be valuable for the many, not just a few. More Australians need access to valuable advice more than ever before.

What do you reckon?



Photo Credit: Shutterstock_160130804


For over 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. His firm, Certainty Advice Group specialises in building advice firms charge flat fees for comprehensive, unconflicted advice, priced on value provided to each client. He is growing a community of advisory firms who align with Australia’s highest and only ACCC/IP Australia Certification Mark standard of comprehensive, unconflicted advice – Certainty Advice. He is also an author, blogger, and keynote speaker.

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