Page last updated: 15 March 2021

Working with a financial adviser

All advisers must follow the new Code of professional conduct for Financial Advice Services. The code says an adviser must:

  • treat clients fairly
  • act with integrity
  • have competence, knowledge, and skill,
  • give suitable advice, and ensure it’s understood properly. They must also protect client information.

What to expect from an adviser

Former Financial Markets Authority NZ Investor Capability Manager Gillian Boyes discusses what to expect from a financial adviser.

When providing advice, you should expect the adviser to:

  • ask what your needs are
  • ask about your goals
  • talk through their recommendations, explaining why they think these are right for you
  • explain how they’re paid
  • explain how their complaints process works and tell you who their dispute resolution service provider is.

To get the best advice tailored to your needs, an adviser may request information from you about your:

  • personal situation, age, employment, family, and relationships
  • assets, such as your home, savings, KiwiSaver, car, shares, or other investments
  • debts, including mortgages, loans, and credit card debt
  • income from all sources, including pay, investments, and benefits
  • expenses (every week or month)
  • insurance policies and how much you're insured for
  • estate plans, such as a will or power of attorney
  • details of lawyers or accountants

You should expect financial advice to be explained to you in plain language, and advisers should be happy to answer your questions so you fully understand your options.

All advisers should outline the scope of service they’re providing, a record of your wishes, and explain how you will pay for the service.

You can receive financial advice from your Financial Adviser (FA) when you are overseas, however the usual protections of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMCA) may not apply to that advice.

The financial advice provisions in Part 6 of the FMCA only apply to financial advice received by a client in New Zealand.  Duties under Part 6 of the FMCA relating to persons giving regulated financial advice do not apply when the financial advice is provided to clients who are overseas at the time the advice is to be provided (overseas clients). However, some of the fair dealing provisions in Part 2 of the FMCA may apply to conduct relating to financial advice provided to overseas clients, in particular where the relevant conduct relates to financial advice services provided (in part or otherwise) within New Zealand.

The FMCA does not prohibit financial advice being given to clients residing outside of New Zealand.  However, if a FA wishes to provide advice to an overseas client, the FA will have to comply with the applicable laws of the relevant overseas jurisdiction. Product providers may also restrict the financial advice providers they work with from the sale or supply of the financial advice service to overseas clients.

Notwithstanding the above, if you are travelling overseas, proactively advising your FA of your travel plans will allow your FA to inform you of the implications of being abroad and plan ahead with respect to any financial advice required.