Frequently Asked Questions

*Information for Overseas Advisers - View PDF*  

Q. I have feedback on the IFA website

A. Contact the National Office by emailing or phoning toll free 0800 404 422. Please also refer compliments to the Compliments and Complaints : Compliments section of this website.

Q. What should I expect from a financial adviser?

A. You should expect your financial adviser to deal with you and your affairs in an open, honest and professional manner. The role of a financial adviser is to recommend financial products and strategies that best suit your needs and personal circumstances from a myriad of options.

Q. Can I expect immediate results from my investments?

A. Too many clients approach financial advisers believing they will become instantly rich by taking their advice. This is not a practical or viable objective. A good adviser will maximize your financial security given the resources you have. They should also provide a level of discipline which many people lack in their financial affairs.

Q. How do I select a financial adviser?

A. It is essential to select carefully. Choose someone you personally like. You will have to be open and honest with them about intimate aspects of your life, so having an adviser you are comfortable and at ease with is very important.

It is a good idea to shop around and compare two or three different advisers before making your decision. Asking plenty of questions will assist with your decision-making.

For a list of IFA members see the section of this website.  

Q. What questions should I ask a financial adviser to assess their competence and ability?

A. Ask a prospective adviser

  1. Do you subscribe to and are you bound by Code of Ethics and/or Practice Standards.
  2. What relevant education programmes have you completed and what qualifications do you hold.
  3. What relevant and practical experience do you have in your field of financial advice. 

Call us toll free on 0800 404 422 to find out if a prospective adviser is a current and paid up member of the IFA - or check the section of this website.

Q. How can I feel confident that my financial adviser is managing my funds competently?

A. The adviser should have a clear agreement from you before proceeding with investments.

Get a good plan - don't invest large sums of money without a written plan that you feel comfortable with.

Check for the danger signs - specifically inflated promises, returns that seem too good to be true (they probably are), putting all your eggs in one basket, an unbalanced plan, high fees, no prospectus ... and anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable!

Keep an eye on your investments or policy - watch for changes that might affect you. And when you are comfortable with the advice, act on it - otherwise what's the point in having sought it?

Q. How can I tell if I am getting truly impartial advice?

A. IFA members adhere to Code of Ethics and Practice Standards that require them to provide a written disclosure statement to you. The disclosure statement must disclose any conflict of interest that could impair the members' independence and objectivity as an adviser. The IFA believes in complete transparency to clients.  

Q. What is a CFPCM Practitioner?

A. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER CM or CFPCM mark is the financial planning designation recognised internationally as the highest credential for financial planning worldwide. CFPCM practitioners have complied with a stringent set of eligibility criteria laid down and regularly tested by the international body that controls the CFPCM mark. CFPCM practitioners are required to pursue a broad based continuing education programme which ensures their ability to continue to meet their clients' needs.  

Q. What is a CLUCM?

A. Certified Life Underwriter or CLUCM is a professional designation internationally recognised as one of the most credible credentials for insurance advisers. CLUCM practitioners are required to pursue a broad based education programme which ensures their ability to continue to meet their clients' needs.  

Q. Can I get free advice from a financial adviser?

A. Sometimes advisers provide a free introductory consultation, but you do need to clarify this when you make your first appointment. Generally there are two ways financial advisers are paid:

  •  Fees in payment of service offered
  •  Commissions for products purchased.

Q. Do I have to start paying fees at my first meeting with a financial adviser?

A. Sometimes advisers provide a free introductory consultation, but you do need to clarify this when you make your initial appointment. Thereafter your adviser will explain and agree with you in writing how they will be paid for the services they will provide for you.  

Q. How can I find an IFA member?

A. Click on the section of this website.  From here you can narrow your search to a Region, or from a Region to a City. Alternatively you can contact our National Office on 0800 404 422 and request an appropriate list of members in your area.  

Q. How can I make a complaint against my adviser?

A. In the first instance you need to find out if the adviser is a current member of the IFA by phoning 0800 404 422 or checking on the section of this website. If the adviser is a member of the IFA, the National Office can provide you with a copy of the Code of Ethics and Practice Standards documents so that you can ascertain whether a rule or rules have been breached. The National Office will also provide you with a copy of the Complaints Procedure and Complaints Form.  Alternatively these documents and forms can be downloaded from the Compliments and Complaints : Complaints Procedure section of this website.

Please note:
- The IFA's complaints process does NOT provide for monetary compensation as it is a disciplinary process only.
- The IFA is unable to process complaints against advisers who are not current members of the IFA.

You may be able to get assistance elsewhere from one of the following organisations:

  • Insurance and Savings Ombudsman:
    Phone (04) 499 7612 / (0800) 888 202
    The Ombudsman considers complaints about insurance and savings services provided by life, medical or personal insurance or savings organisations who are members of ISI.
  • Insurance Council of New Zealand
    Phone (04) 472 5230
    An industry organisation which represents fire and general insurers in New Zealand.
  • Life Brokers Association (LBA)
    Phone 0800 LIFEBROKER (0800 543 327)
  • Professional Advisers Association (PAA)
    Phone 0800 ASK PAA (0800 275 722)

Q. I am interested in becoming a member of the IFA. How do I join?  

  • If you are involved in the process of financial advice such investment advice, insurance advice and/or financial planning you can apply for either Associate or Practitioner Membership. (See below for information required to accompany your application form)
  • If you are not involved in the process of providing financial advice, but are employed in the industry, you can join as an Affiliate Member (non-practitioner). 

All membership application forms can be obtained from the Become a Member : Application Forms section of this website.

Q. What information do I need to provide when I apply for Associate or Practitioner Membership?

  • Application form
  • Credit Report from Veda Advantage
  • Provide Referees  

Q. What information do I need to provide when I apply for Affiliate Membership?

A. Application form for Affiliate Membership

Q. What are the membership fees?

A.  The following fees apply from 1 July 2014

Annual membership subscription $750 incl GST Affiliate Members
Annual membership subscription $500 incl GST Associate Members
Annual membership subscription $975 incl GST Practitioner Members
Annual CFPCM License fee Approx $65.00 GST exempt CFPCM practitioners (fee may vary due to exchange rate)

Q. What are the steps to becoming a CFPCM Practitioner or CLUCM?

A. Please refer to the Professional Development Pathway located under the Become a Member: Professional Development Pathway section of the website.  

Q. What are the benefits of belonging to the IFA?

A. The IFA aims to be the pre-eminent body for financial advisers.

The IFA has eleven local branches offering members professional development programmes and networking opportunities.

The IFA provides a wide range of services to members to help you achieve professional success.

The IFA:

  • builds public awareness  
  • provides member education, training and information
  • develops and enforces high ethical standards for members
  • represents Institute views to Government, media and key stakeholders
  • offers professional development and social activities
  • offers member discounts on Institute activities
  • provides on-line access to the Institute's website
  • offers the public a referral service to members through the website

For more detailed information refer to the Become A Member : Benefits of Membership section of this website.

Q. I am a student and I need statistical information about the financial advisory sector.

A. Check out the Kiwi Career web site for industry overviews.  The Statistics Department also has relevant data on their website  

Q. I am a financial adviser overseas. If I come to New Zealand will my qualifications count for anything?

A. Yes, this may be possible. The IFA considers each such application on an individual basis. For further information please see our document General Information for Overseas Advisers (PDF).