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About us

We are a Brisbane based practice with over 40 years combined experience in financial planning.  Specialising in retirement planning, and renowned for our dedication towards doing things the right way, our service attracts clients from across the nation.

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Garth Collingwood

Financial Planner

Authorised Representative No: 1001684

Garth is a specialist retirement planner who has been advising clients since 2004.


He has built his career in South East Queensland, helping thousands of local people plan for their retirement.


Garth has extensive experience on advising on the complexities of defined benefits super, especially the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS), the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS), and QSuper.


But it is not what he knows, it is how he serves clients that makes Garth unique.


Garth’s approach is honest, collaborative, kind and respectful.  He believes in straight-talk, not spin.  He is thorough in his work and takes care to diagnose the real issues his clients face.  He is clear on what they can and what they can’t achieve.


Clients are like family to Garth.  He takes the time to get things right.  There is no clock watching.  It means he is always prepared to go the extra mile if that is what it takes.


Garth combines his background in science, and technical financial expertise, with the ability to explain complicated concepts to his clients clearly and logically.  It provides clarity for his clients and builds their confidence as they plan for their retirement.


Garth’s approach is comprehensive, but he doesn’t overcomplicate things.  He takes the straightest, most efficient path to achieving the outcomes his clients are seeking.


Garth holds a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor in Behavioural Science, and a Diploma in Financial Planning.  He is a member of Mensa and the Financial Advice Association Australia (FAAA).


Cassandra Pearson 

Financial Planner

Authorised Representative No: 1242823

Cassandra is a Certified Financial Planner® professional who has worked in the industry since 2010.  She has extensive experience in defined benefits super especially the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS), the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS) and Military Super. 


Cassandra cuts through the complexity and provides clients with the information they need to know to make the right financial decisions.


Cassandra started her financial planning career in Canberra where she developed her strong technical expertise in defined benefits super, retirement planning and estate planning.  She brings a global perspective to her advice as well, having recently worked as a financial planner serving expats in the United Arab Emirates.


Cassandra holds a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Financial Planning and Banking and Financial Services. She is a member of the Financial Advice Association Australia (FAAA). 

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Melanie Carlisle

Practice Manager 


Mel is the Practice Manager at River City Financial Planning and has worked in financial planning since 2006.  She is a Queenslander and has built her career in South East Queensland.


Mel has worked directly with Garth Collingwood for more than a decade.  Together they provide a unique service to their clients.


Mel is passionate about client service.  Retirement is a major life event and can be a cause of significant stress for clients and their families.  Mel takes pride in making things easier for clients not only at retirement, but on an ongoing basis.  She takes the time to help clients navigate the steps required to implement advice, and provides continual support as circumstances change and problems arise.


Testament to her passion for going the extra mile is Mel’s academic background.  Mel studied Human Services at university.  She holds a Bachelor of Social Science from QUT and a Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning).

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Shane Russell



Shane’s career in financial services started with the completion of a Bachelor’s degree with Financial Planning and Banking (Funds Management) majors. Initially starting as an associate adviser in an independently owned firm, Shane developed a strong technical foundation and saw him move to a major bank and into a paraplanning role. After several years working within the fast-paced banking sector, Shane decided to pursue his career as a boutique adviser and paraplanner with a range of small and medium sized firms.

Shane is a member of the Financial Advice Association of Australia (FAAA) since 2013, and along with his Bachelor’s degree, holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation since 2017 and the SMSF Specialist Accreditation (Kaplan) since 2015.

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Lachlan Cullen-Ward 

Client Services Officer


Lachlan is a client Services Officer and joined River City in 2022. Lachlan is studying his Bachelor of Business & Commerce at Grifith University, majoring in Finance. Through study and work, he is  continuing to grow his skills in the finance sector.


Lachlan’s strong empathy and genuine enthusiasm for helping people makes him a valued member of the team which he supports in all aspects of the advice process.


Away from work Lachlan likes to keep fit outdoors, and has a particular interest in water sports.


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