Consumers google 'independent advice'

Australians are turning to internet search engines to track down non-conflicted advisers, providing those able to use the term "independent" with a free marketing kick, members of the IFAAA have reported.

IFAAA president Daniel Brammall – who is also a director of ACT boutique Brocktons Independent Advisory – said clients were increasingly googling the term "independent financial advice".

“Commercially, independence is a subject that is worth solid gold,” Mr Brammall told delegates to the recent IFAAA symposium in Sydney.

Mr Brammall suggested the IFAAA’s website – which lists members compliant with the Corporations Act definition of independence – receives a huge amount of traffic as a result of such searches, with an increase in recent months due to parliamentary and media attention to financial advice licensing issues. 

“We don't have the time to advertise or market, but I know that several hundred leads a year are coming through the website which are just from Google searches,” he said.

IFAAA member and fellow Brocktons director Susannah Kulincevic suggested her business is regularly approached by the public with questions around independence.

“The two most common questions are ‘How can I tell if my adviser is truly independent?’ and ‘Where can I find the truly independent adviser?’” she said.

Another IFAAA member, Fergus Hardingham from FM Financial Solutions, has also received traffic via internet searches and said his clients chose an 'independent' because they were scared of being swindled.

“They are using the words, ‘We don't want to be ripped off, we've read bad news about you guys’,” he said.

Meanwhile, Roskow Independent Advisory principal Matthew Ross suggested that while consumers who specifically target independent advisers may not be widespread, they tend to be ideal clients.

“People who google 'independent financial advice' are smarter than the average bear,” he said.

“The clients who come through our door get it and they see the problem with the alternative.”

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