Are there going to be changes to financial advice laws?

Bird ornament reading up on law

We're happy to admit it: financial advice can be pretty confusing. Just because you're dealing with a professional mortgage broker or other kind of adviser doesn't mean you are free from a tsunami of information about whatever decision you're making.

Interest rates, self-employed home loans, credit scores, consumer guarantees, negative gearing - it can all add up to quite a confusing cocktail, and it turns out some financial advisers aren't actually helping things. But a new law aims to change that, giving you clear and concise information when you need it.

Conflict resolution

In a November 25 media release, Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith said people are often confused about whether they're getting real professional advice, or are being sold a particular product. It's a bit like sponsored articles on your favourite news site: Is that article about a brand of car really objective, or does it have an ulterior motive?

"We hope to make improvements to this regime so that all New Zealanders, including those with simple questions and without large sums to invest, have access to trusted financial advice should they want it," said Mr Goldsmith.However, Mr Goldsmith said they were working on legal changes that mean financial advisers have to be more up-front with their conflicts of interest, which gives you more peace of mind when getting advice.

That being said, any changes won't be unveiled properly until midway through next year. So what do you do in the meantime?

Always do your homework

We know, we know, homework should be left behind in your schooling days. But unfortunately, it's often just the ticket for making sure you are getting the right mortgage advice. When you're dealing with someone that will help you shape your first home planning, get all the information you can:

  • What kind of qualifications does the adviser have?
  • Talk about your goals - how will the adviser help you reach them?
  • How is the adviser going to be paid? What's their vested interest?
  • What are the fees and limitations of the adviser's service?

The Financial Markets Authority also regulates the financial advice industry, but to make sure you're getting tailored help that suits your exact situation, make sure to dig below the surface of what makes an adviser tick. After all, you wouldn't buy a new dress or suit without seeing if it measures up to you nicely - don't do the same with your family home or property investment.

Want to get a head start on that homework? We're happy to field any questions you might have.