Financial advisers

A financial adviser can help guide your choices about insurance, money, investing, borrowing and other financial products. They include financial planners, mortgage and insurance brokers, and employees of insurance companies, banks and building societies who give advice.

  1. Provide full, accurate information to your adviser

    Advisers make recommendations about insurance, money, investments or borrowing from the information you provide. If you don’t provide all the information the adviser asks for, even if you don’t think its relevant, they won’t be able to give you the best advice.

  2. Keep and read all documents from your adviser

    Before you sign a contract or application for a policy, make sure you read and understand them. The documents the adviser gives you will help you make decisions about financial products and services.

  3. Ask your adviser about fees or charges

    Financial advisers are either paid directly by a fee from their client, or by commission from a product provider (i.e. insurance company, fund manager or bank). Ask your adviser to explain how their fees work. Sometimes, fees apply if you stop working with an adviser, or change or cancel a product, e.g. paying off a loan early.

  4. Ask your adviser to explain how each product works before making decisions

    It is your adviser’s job to give you all the advice and information you need to make informed decisions. Your adviser will set out the reasons for his or her advice to you in writing. Make sure you read it and ask any questions if you don’t understand anything.

  5. Keep asking questions until you fully understand

    Advisers specialise in the products or services. They should be able to answer your questions or find out the information for you. Your choices are your own, but you need to understand enough about the products and services to be confident to make the right choices.

Request to reduce life cover image
Insurers and financial advisers must act with reasonable care and skill.
Shortly before he died, Sam asked his financial adviser to reduce his life insurance cover from $268,000 to $100,000.
See the case summary
$189K romance scam image
Financial Advisers must exercise reasonable care and skill.
When Andre, a quadriplegic, requested 5 withdrawals from the family investment, his adviser followed instructions.
See the case summary
Homeloan refinance ended up costing image
Read contracts before you sign. If you repay or refinance your loan early, you may be charged a fee.
When Matiu paid off his home loan, his adviser charged him an a fee of $1,351 which he wasn’t expecting.
See the case summary
Miscommunication costs image
Check changes to insurance documents are understood and recorded correctly
A company asked its financial adviser to changes its truck insurance policy to cover a temporary rental truck.
See the case summary
Adviser completes insurance application image
Best practice is to complete insurance application forms yourself. Make sure your insurer has all the information.
Mr Brown’s trauma insurance claim was declined as the insurer didn’t have important medical information.
See the case summary
Reduced investment values image
Advisers are not responsible for financial markets or investment returns. Ask questions.
When Leo asked his adviser to cash in his investments, he receive $6,000 less than his adviser had previously indicated.
See the case summary

How do I find a financial adviser?

You could ask for a recommendation from family, friends, colleagues or other professionals. You can also find searchable lists of advisers on professional adviser association websites such as FANZ website

How do I choose an adviser?

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) recommends you think about: what type of advice you want, what the adviser’s qualifications are, if the adviser belongs to a professional body, the adviser’s experience, how you get information from your adviser, and how your adviser is paid.

Who should complete the insurance application form?

Your adviser may help you to complete the application form, but it is your responsibility to make sure all the information is correct. If it isn’t correct, when you make a claim it could be declined or your insurance policy cancelled. If your adviser is completing the application form for you, take the form away and re-read it to make sure you have provided all the required information. If you are not happy with it, add more information or complete a new form yourself. We recommend you complete the application form yourself and have a chance to double-check all your answers before it is sent to the insurer. If you’ve told the adviser about a health issue that isn’t on the application, make sure you include it. Ask the adviser why s/he didn’t.

What do I do if I have a problem or issue with my adviser?

Start by raising the issue with your adviser. Your adviser should do their best to sort the problem out. If you need help to do this or this didn’t resolve the issue then contact us: 0800 888 202 or complain online.