What is a financial adviser?

  • A financial adviser is a professional person, expert in helping you design your financial plan and providing you with financial advice.
  • Financial advisers must either be licensed or an authorised representative of a licensee.
  • Financial planners and financial advisers are the same, and the terms can be used interchangeably. In this guide, we will generally call them financial advisers.

A financial adviser is a highly trained professional with the necessary expertise to help you develop your financial plan and provide you with financial advice.

what is a financial adviser


Financial advisers are sometimes referred to as "financial planners". In this guide, we will use the term "financial adviser".

You can seek the services of a financial adviser who works for a financial institution and is paid a salary, or you may seek advice from a self-employed adviser or advice firm that may or may not have connections with certain financial product providers.


It's important to ask your financial adviser if they have any associations with financial product providers and the nature of their fee structure.

Financial adviser boundaries

It's important to know what financial advisers can and cannot do, and how they fit into the financial planning process.

Note: A financial adviser must hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence or be an authorised representative of a licensee. That is, operate under a licensee's umbrella, in order to practise. They may also have other credentials depending on the types of services they provide.

For more information, see the Are financial advisers required to be licensed? section of this guide.

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