Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Good investment advice not always easy to find

Licensing of the industry has resulted in fewer financial advisers, meaning mum and dad investors might struggle to find help over where to put their nest-egg.

Advisers do not always work with smaller clients, leaving a big gap in the market. Photo / Getty Images
Advisers do not always work with smaller clients, leaving a big gap in the market. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealanders with less than $100,000 to invest will struggle to get personalised professional investment advice unless the Government steps in, a top financial adviser says.

Liz Koh, a chartered accountant and certified financial planner, said licensing of the industry meant there were now fewer than 2000 authorised financial advisers allowed to give personalised investment advice.

"It just raises the whole issue about access to good financial advice."

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan said banks also wanted people to have several hundred thousand dollars before they gave specialised advice.

"That leaves a huge gap for the average Kiwi wanting advice."

Crossan said in Britain the Government had established a free money advice service offering online, face to face and telephone advice but it was struggling because of the economic climate.

"In New Zealand we have been waiting for new adviser licensing to settle in before making any recommendations on what can be done to help the situation here."

Koh believes believes the solution could be advice sold on an hourly rate that is affordable to the average person.

That is happening a little now but Koh said no one had found a way to make it lucrative or market it enough.

"It's a real structural problem that needs some policy change."

Commerce Minister Craig Foss said the Government was balancing the need to improve New Zealanders' confidence in the quality of financial advice against the need to ensure the availability of affordable financial advice. "The Government has created different categories of financial advisers, with different requirements depending on the complexity of the financial products being advised on," he said.

Foss said New Zealanders should look to the Financial Markets Authority's website to find information on how to choose an appropriate financial adviser and those with smaller amounts of money could turn to the sorted website.

ADVICE GAP

* All financial advisers must now be registered on www.fspr.govt.nz
* Specialist investment advisers called authorised financial advisers must have a license from the Financial Markets Authority
* The sorted website has free information on investing.

- NZ Herald

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