Meet the team


Meet the team

Being a small team means we’re able to provide a truly agile, independent service.

But it’s not just our professional expertise that you can count on. Each of us brings a wealth of personal experience to the table, which provides you with holistic financial advice that’s built on our shared values and goals.

Joe Stephan


Joe is passionate about providing our clients with exceptional financial advice, ensuring that Stephan Independent Advisory are able to guide you through your unique and complex wealth management issues, and avoid the challenges often involved with handing the baton over to the next generation.

A Certified Financial PlannerTM with a Bachelor Business (Financial Planning) (with distinction), Joe has been providing financial advice to family business for over 10 years. Joe’s role is to make sure that you completely understand your financial plan so you can make smarter, more informed decisions for your wealth; his focus is on your education and ongoing guidance in all financial matters relating to your family.

Joe’s experience seeing clients transition from working life to retirement has ensured that he keeps up his passions outside of work, too. A keen guitarist, Joe loves to travel, cook for friends, and watch the Bombers play.

James Stephan


Every team needs a stats man and for us, it’s James. He has the patience to undertake extensive research and the skill to use it wisely. 

To James, wealth management isn’t just about managing money; it’s about helping families to navigate the complexities of their affairs and ensuring they achieve the life they envisage for themselves, now and into retirement—and for their children.

With more than 10 years’ experience in the financial world, James’ focus is on the technical advisory side of the business. A Certified Financial PlannerTM with a Bachelor Business (Financial Planning) (with distinction), there’s nothing he loves more than fine-tuning the in-depth details of your financial strategy. From complex superannuation strategies to long-term tax planning, James’s aim is to navigate our clients through the intricacies of their individual situations and help you to achieve the goals that are most important to you. 

Leading a balanced life is important for James. Outside of work, family is the most important thing to him, and he loves spending time with his wife, Ilona, and three young children, Julian, Jacob & Sofia. When not spending time with his family he has a passion for staying fit and healthy, and is actively involved in regular outdoor exercise circuits and resistance-based training. 

Sandra Phillips


Every operation needs a professional who ensures the all wheels are turning in the same direction. For Stephan Independent Advisory, Sandra is that driving force. Across the business she ensures everything is in order—from her desk, to our plans.

When important information is required, Sandra ensures it’s received. She creates the necessary structure for every task to make sure that every step of your plan is completed on time, and to your exact needs.

Sandra is passionate about her role and vows to never stop learning better and more efficient ways to perform her role and work with our clients.

Outside of the office she loves spending time with her husband, two children, and her extended family. She keeps busy watching her kids play sport, taking yoga and massage classes with her friends, and walking her dog, Digger. She’s also a passionate AFL supporter, attending as many games as possible with her family to watch the North Melbourne Kangaroos.

Dr Steve Garth


Steve is the Principal of Principia Investment Consultants and an independent member of the Stephan Independent Advisory Investment Committee.

Steve’s expertise and experience will contribute to the formulation and ongoing review of asset allocation and investment strategies and assist with the assessment of investment managers.

For nearly twenty years, Steve helped grow the Australian arm of global asset manager Dimensional Fund Advisors. During his career he has managed Australian and global equity portfolios, managed the Asia Pacific trading team and oversaw the introduction of direct market access trading, and for the last 10 years Steve specialized in managing the firm’s fixed interest strategies.


Whether you have significant financial resources and question the meaning of success, or you’re wondering whether being that little bit wealthier will make you happier, this is the podcast for you. The It’s Never About Money site is also a hub for money related blogs and education.


Joe & James’ professional practice is to be admired. They are always there for his clients when needed. They freely pass on their expert knowledge without hard product selling techniques



Clear, timely and direct responses in all areas of communications are outstanding. Meetings are planned and run efficiently to deliver on all our expectations. The firm’s values align to our own so that trust is readily established.


Self funded retirees

Meet the team