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FMA releases AFA information report

Page last updated: 27 Mar 2017

Media release
MR No. 2017 – 11
27 March 2017


The Financial Markets Authority today published its third statistical report on Authorised Financial Advisers (AFAs) in New Zealand. The FMA requires AFAs to submit an annual information return each year.

The report uses the data from that questionnaire to provide a snapshot of the sector for the 12 month period ending June 30th 2016.

It has been published in Tableau to enable the industry, media and interested members of the public to engage and interact with the data.

The majority of AFAs can give personalised financial advice on all categories of financial products. AFAs are different from:

  • Registered Financial Advisers (RFAs), who are not licensed, or regulated by the FMA to the same extend as AFAs.
    RFAs can give class advice on all financial products, as well as personalised advice on non-investment financial products (such as mortgages); and
  • Qualifying Financial Entity (QFEs) advisers, who do not need to register individually. They can give personalised advice only about products issued by the financial services firm that employs them; and the firm takes responsibility for the advice given.  As well as QFE advisers, around one third of AFAs work for QFEs.

Key themes

As at 30 June 2016, there are approximately 1800 AFAs in New Zealand, steady on 2015 figures.
 In a reversal of 2015’s figures, there are now more AFAs joining the industry than leaving; 120 people became AFAs, while 80 left the industry. In 2015, 90 AFAs joined the industry, but 110 left.

AFAs are now less likely to have large client bases of more than 300 clients than they were in 2014, the first year of this report.

Over the past three years, the number of advisers with total client assets of between $1million and $5million has decreased. However, the number of advisers with total client assets of over $100million has risen since 2015.

For AFAs who do not work for a QFE, over half receive commission for their services and one in five get more than half of their commission and bonuses from one product provider.

Only one fifth of AFAs who work for a QFE are paid commission, with 14% of them generating over half of their commission and bonuses through the sale of products from one provider.

KiwiSaver trends

Over half of AFAs provide advice to their clients about joining or transferring to just one KiwiSaver scheme. This has risen from 47% of AFAs in 2014 to 52% in 2016. The percentage of advisers offering advice on between 2 to 4 KiwiSaver schemes fell from 41% in 2014 to 35% in 2016.

Insurance advice

Most AFAs provide advice on insurance policies with around half providing financial advice on the replacement of insurance products to between 1 to 10 clients a year. The small proportion of AFAs offering insurance replacement advice to more than 25 clients has fallen since 2014.

Overall, there are about 4 AFAs per every 10,000 New Zealanders. The report shows that Wellington has the highest number of AFAs per 10,000 people, followed by Otago, Auckland and Canterbury. The West Coast has the fewest number of AFAs, followed by the Gisborne region.

Read AFA information report here.

Edwin Mitson
Ph.  021 702 036
Email: Edwin.mitson@fma.govt.nz

Notes :
Figures in the release and the report are rounded based on responses to the survey. Totals from other sources may differ.

The law governing financial advisers is currently being reviewed by MBiE with the objective of improving access to quality financial advice. More information here

MBiE says it is “currently consulting on the exposure draft for an amendment bill to the current Financial Advisers Act 2008, consultation closes on 31 March 2017.

In 2016 the Government agreed to amend the regulatory regime that oversees the provision of financial advice in New Zealand.

These changes will improve access to high quality financial advice for New Zealanders and represent a shift away from the current regime which sought to professionalise a subset of advisers, towards a regime which establishes a level playing field of regulation for all who are providing advice.”