What can a financial advisor do for you?
Financial advisers can specialise in investment, KiwiSaver and planning. An adviser is a qualified expert who can:
- Advise you on investment products like KiwiSaver and managed funds
- Draw up a savings and investment plan for you to reach your goals in life, like a home deposit or long-term goals like retirement.
A financial adviser will be qualified to advise you on specific things – they will tell you what they can and can’t advise you about. For example, an expert on life insurance can’t give you advice on KiwiSaver. Some will specialise in more than one area, which can be helpful.
It’s okay to work with different advisers for different things, such as an adviser for your mortgage, one for your investments, and another for your long-term planning.
What to expect from a financial adviser
Not just anyone can call themselves a financial adviser. They have to meet a certain standard of competence and treat you ethically. They need to put your interests first and:
- Treat you fairly
- Act with integrity
- Give you financial advice that is suitable for you and your situation
- Ensure you understand their financial advice
- Protect your information
- Keep their competence, knowledge and skills up to date.
Finding a financial adviser
It helps to shop around for the right financial adviser for you before you decide which one to work with. We recommend you talk to at least three. Look for the right fit. This includes the way they communicate, relate and understand your situation.
Anyone providing financial advice professionally needs to be licensed by the Financial Markets Authority.
All financial advisers must either hold a licence themselves or work for someone else with one. They need to be registered as a financial adviser and tell you the name of the licence holder they work for.
You can check whether a financial adviser is registered and who they work for by searching them up on the Financial Service Providers Register. If they’re not on it, they are not a financial adviser.
It's important to shop around to find a financial adviser you feel confident in and comfortable with.
The FMA website has some some good tips to consider when choosing an adviser and more about knowing your investments.
Ask how your financial adviser is paid
Most financial advisers are paid by a company (like a KiwiSaver provider) to sell their products, which is common practice. Financial advisers are required to tell you about any commissions or bonuses they get. Feel free to ask.
When they are paid by a company to sell, the adviser has a conflict of interest. They might, for example, be more focused on selling and less on whether what they’re selling is right for you. When there is a conflict though, financial advisers are required to tell you up front and put your interests above theirs.
If anything goes wrong with your adviser
Financial advisers are accountable for their actions. If for some reason you have concerns about an adviser and how they treated you, you have the right to make a complaint.
Every financial adviser belongs to a dispute resolution scheme – a service that can look into whatever went wrong at no cost to you. The scheme makes sure you’re treated fairly.
If you feel an adviser is not behaving professionally or not putting your interests first, you can also complain directly to the FMA.