1. Compliance
  2. Authorised Financial Advisers
  3. Who needs to comply
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Authorised Financial Advisers

Page last updated: 18 Mar 2019

Who needs to comply

Authorised Financial Advisers (AFAs) are individual advisers who are permitted to provide personalised financial adviser services to retail clients, for category 1 and category 2 products, depending on the scope of their licence. They can also provide class services and wholesale services. Category 1 and 2 products are described in s5 of the Financial Advisers Act 2008.

You need to become an AFA if you provide any of the following financial adviser services to retail clients

  • give personalised financial advice on category 1 products. Financial advice covers any recommendation or opinion about buying, selling (or refraining from buying or selling) a financial product.
  • provide a personalised discretionary investment management service (DIMS).
  • provide an investment planning service, that is, if you design or offer to design a plan for an individual that:
      • is based on an analysis of an individual's current and future overall financial situation;
      • identifies their investment needs and goals, and
      • includes recommendations or opinions to realise those goals.

The focus is on the nature of the service, rather than the product recommendations. A service that identifies the financial situation and goals of a group of people the individual belongs to can also be an investment planning service.

You do not need to be authorised if

  • you only give financial advice for category 2 products. 
  • you only provide a financial adviser service to wholesale clients. See section 5C and D of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 for the full definition of wholesale clients.
  • you only provide a class service to retail clients, e.g. generic product brochures and online resources. These services target a wide class of people rather than being specifically tailored to meet an individual's needs or situation.
  • you only provide a financial service which is incidental to another non-financial service, e.g. a sales assistant advising a customer on a hire purchase contract.
  • you are a member of certain professions providing a relevant financial service in the ordinary course of your professional business. This exemption applies to chartered accountants, lawyers, real estate agents and others.
  • you are a not-for-profit organisation providing a relevant financial service without charge.
  • you are an employer providing relevant service to an employee in connection with a financial product made available through the workplace.

For a complete list of exemptions see s13 and s14 of the Act.

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