Financial service providers are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Part of the FMA’s role is to educate consumers of financial services and for that reason they have released a checklist of things you can expect from your financial services provider. Providers include financial advisers as well as KiwiSaver providers, fund managers and superannuation schemes. When dealing with a licensed provider, the FMA believes you are entitled to:
Competence. Your adviser should have the skills and experience to offer you the right product or service for your needs and should tell you if there are any limits to what they can provide and why.
Be treated honestly and fairly. Your adviser should balance their business with yours and tell you about any conflicts of interest, such as being paid a commission by a third party.
Be informed. Your adviser should help you understand your options and weigh up the pros and cons before you make a decision. They should keep in touch with you and help sort out any problems.
Know how much you are paying. Your adviser should tell you how much you will be paying now and in the future for their products and services.
Have problems and complaints dealt with properly. Your adviser should tell you how to make a complaint and be able to respond constructively. They also need to give you contact details for their dispute resolution scheme.
As a consumer of financial services, you need to make sure you ask the right questions to ensure you are receiving the information and treatment that you are entitled to. If you don’t get the right answers, walk away. If you are an existing customer and feel your entitlements have been breached, you can make a complaint to the provider or to their dispute resolution scheme.