Seven questions to ask a financial adviser


​”After a 4 year legal battle to secure a matrimonial settlement …. of the reputable firms spoken to with a promise of information to be sent, I was most impressed with the speed and professional service provided by Lyfords.  From my first meeting with Alison Renfrew I felt I would be taken seriously and would not be just another number.

The financial plan was presented within a very short time frame and I continue to be impressed by the professionalism and precision of its content.  Richard and Alison Renfrew are to be applauded on their attention to detail, their availability to clients (there is no chain of command) and their ongoing willingness to inform, educate and advise in a non-judgmental manner.”

Janine Hickson

When selecting a financial adviser here are seven key questions to ask

Do you receive research from an independent recognised research company?

Research should be an important facet in the offering of financial advice. Internationally, research is compulsory, this is not the case in New Zealand. 

Does the investment adviser follow an approved asset allocation model and do they document deviations from this procedure?

Does the Financial Adviser use independent research and can back up their advice for insurances that they recommend?

How experienced and qualified is the adviser?

You have the right to request from any investment adviser a written disclosure statement stating his, or her experience and qualifications to give advice. We recommend you ask for the secondary disclosure statement which needs to list all areas of income. That document will tell you;

  • Whether the adviser gives advice only about particular types of investments; and
  • Whether the advice is limited to the investments offered by one or more particular financial organisations; and
  • Whether the adviser will receive a commission or other benefit from advising you.
  • The maximum brokerages, commissions and trail commissions that could be received.

You are strongly encouraged to request that statement. In accordance with the Financial Market Conduct (Regulated Financial Advice Disclosure) Amendment Regulations 2020, regulation 229C, a financial adviser must make disclosure before providing a personalised service to a retail client.

In addition it must state:

  • If an investment adviser has any conviction for dishonesty, or been adjudged bankrupt, he or she must tell you this in writing; and
  • If an investment adviser receives any money or assets on your behalf, he or she must tell you in writing the methods employed for this purpose.

Tell the adviser what the purpose of your investment is. This is important because different investments are suitable for different purposes.

What organisations do they belong to?

Do they belong to industry recognised organisations such as the Financial Advice New Zealand. A requirement for continuing to belong to an organisation such as this is continuing education requirements, complying with their code of ethics and professional conduct. Our advisers Richard and Alison Renfrew are members of Financial Advice New Zealand and have been awarded the “Trusted Adviser” mark.

Are their practices and procedures independently audited?

Don’t just go on the adviser’s say so. Can they show that their advice is independently audited against “industry best practice standards”.

Can you view your investment at any time online through an independently audited web site?

Do they use a trust account?
Your money should go directly from your bank account to the bank, financial institution, or fund manager you are saving or investing with. If an adviser tells you that your money needs to be paid to him/her, or their company, ask why. There should be few cases where an financial adviser needs to take custody of your money.

What range of services can the adviser cover?

Do they give comprehensive advice covering investments, insurance, retirement, asset protection and estate planning, and taxation advice?

How do they get paid?

Are they fees based or commission based?

Do they have an on-going client care program?

How will you get, and how often will you get, on-going advice after your initial investment?

Can you look at your investment online any time from an independent custodial account?

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