Investing can be a good way of building your personal wealth, however it is not without risk. Like any financial transaction, it is important to plan, research and understand your investment/s before you get started.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) provides lots of information on investing, risk, financial advice and scams. Its Money Smart website also has an Investor Toolkit to help you.
Financial advisers must be licensed. Before using an adviser, you should check their credentials on the ASIC financial advisers register.
Advisers should have a license and be a member of the Financial Planning Association. You can ask to see documentation to prove their status. If an adviser is not licensed to provide the type of advice you want, do not use them.
Advisers who hold an advanced diploma or degree qualification in a relevant discipline, like finance, economics, accounting or financial planning, are better qualified to give advice than someone who has only met minimum training requirements.
From 1 January 2019, new advisers must have a relevant bachelor's degree or higher, pass an exam, have completed a professional year and meet ongoing continued professional development requirements. For more information, refer to the ASIC website.
Have a problem?
Fair Trading doesn’t deal with investment and financial advice issues. If you have a problem or query about investment and/or financial advice, follow the steps below:
- Contact your adviser if you're unhappy with the financial advice, service you received or fees you are being charged.
- If you’re unable to resolve the matter with your adviser, you can make a complaint through their internal dispute resolution process. Once you submit your complaint, the business has 14 days to send an acknowledgement letter to you, and 45 days to give you a final response.
- If you're unhappy with the response, you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
- You can also contact the adviser's industry association and/or professional body regarding your issue. Check ASIC's financial advisers register to see which associations or professional bodies the adviser belongs to.
Be a savvy consumer
Protect yourself and your investments
Protect yourself and your investments by following these tips:
- don’t give your financial adviser power of attorney - reputable advisers won’t ask you to do this
- never sign a blank document given to you by anyone
- if you give your adviser authority to buy and sell investments on your behalf, put a time-limit on it rather than leaving things open-ended
- keep receipts and other documents in one place so it’s easier to keep track of your investments
- never write cheques or transfer money to your advisor if the money is to be used for investments, make payment to the product provider instead
- always double-check the account or B-Pay number and reference details for any electronic payments you make
- if something doesn’t add up, contact your adviser immediately. If the matter remains unresolved, make a formal complaint.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Call us on 13 32 20 or submit an online enquiry.
Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?
The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- NSW Fair Trading, and
- other State and Territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.