1. Consumers
  2. Getting financial advice
  3. Types of advice

Types of advice

Financial advisers give advice about a range of financial products. There are three types of advisers to choose from. The one that’s right for you will depend on the level of advice you need and the type of products you’re interested in. It’s also possible to get advice from other professionals, such as lawyers, accountants and teachers, alongside the other services they provide. 

They aren’t always called ‘financial advisers’ though. Sometimes they are named by what they do; such as a mortgage adviser, investment adviser or financial planner. You may also have heard them referred to as brokers, particularly when dealing with products like home and car insurance, mortgages or investments like shares.

The one thing all financial advisers in New Zealand do have in common, is that they have a legal responsibility to act with care, diligence and skill, and not act in a way that is misleading, deceptive or confusing.

Types of advisers

There are three main types of advisers to choose from:

  • Authorised Financial Advisers (AFAs)
  • Registered Financial Advisers (RFAs)
  • Qualifying Financial Entity advisers (QFE advisers)

Who to talk to

For advice on....

Who to talk to...

What type of advice can they give you?

Investments like KiwiSaver, managed funds, shares, bonds, or investment planning services. You need to talk to an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA).

AFAs have met minimum qualification and professional standards and are authorised by us. They can give personal advice on complex investment products and can also offer investment planning services.

Their licence will set out the types of products and services they are authorised to provide.

Insurance, mortgages or very simple investments such as bank term deposits. You can talk to a Registered Financial Adviser (RFA). RFAs can give personal advice on insurance, mortgages or more simple investments, such as bank term deposits. They’re not qualified to provide advice on complex investment products.
Products provided by a company such as a bank, including their own KiwiSaver, mortgages, term deposits (a Qualifying Financial Entity or QFE). You can talk to a Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) adviser.

QFE advisers are linked to an organisation, for example a bank. They can give personal advice only about products they sell. This usually includes more simple products like insurance, bank term deposits or mortgages.

They can also offer advice on their own investment products, including KiwiSaver. What they cannot do, is provide you with advice about products offered by other organisations. QFE advisers must ensure they closely follow a set of professional standards as set out by the organisations they work for.  We oversee how QFEs manage their QFE advisers.

Advice from other professionals

Sometimes lawyers and accountants offer financial advice alongside the other services they provide. They’re allowed to do this, as long as they don’t just give you financial advice.

Journalists, lecturers and teachers can also give advice as part of their jobs.

But generally speaking, if someone is providing a recommendation or opinion on buying or selling a financial product, or providing financial planning services, they have to be an authorised or legally registered financial adviser. If you’re not sure, or if you think someone is providing a financial advice service when they shouldn’t be, you can contact us for more information.

Personalised and class advice

When discussing the level of advice you need, your adviser may talk about ‘personalised’ or ‘class advice’.

Personalised advice is tailored to your personal circumstances. This means your adviser can help you weigh up whether to invest in a product and whether that product is suitable for you. As you’ll be receiving personalised financial advice, you can expect your adviser has taken your personal situation and goals into account. Your adviser will give you an opinion about whether a particular product is right for you. You should then consider this advice.

Throughout this website, we refer to personalised advice as ‘personal’ advice.

Class advice is where the adviser will be able to advise you about what is usually suitable for people in your group or 'class'. It does not take into account your individual needs and your personal situation.

You can use the generic advice to form your own opinion about whether a product is right for you personally.

Learn more about:

How to find an adviser