Problems with a financial adviser
What to do if things go wrong with an
The right kind of financial advice can help you achieve your
financial goals. However, sometimes things can go wrong, so it's
important to know what to do.
Here we explain how to protect yourself from fraud and other
potential misconduct by a financial adviser, what to do if your
adviser has been banned, and how to complain about a financial
Even if you trust your adviser, it's not a good idea to give
them control over your money.
Some tips to keep control over your finances and avoid potential
- Power of attorney - Don't give your adviser
power of attorney. Reputable advisers won't ask you to do
- Don't sign blank documents - Never sign a
blank document given to you by anyone.
- Set boundaries - If you have given your
adviser authority to buy and sell investments on your behalf, put a
time limit on this, rather than leaving it open-ended.
- Keep your paperwork and track investments -
Keep receipts and other documents in one place, so it's easier to
keep track of your money. Most people get investment statements and
reports twice a year. Make sure you receive all mail or emails
about your investments (even if your adviser also gets a copy), and
check statements for mistakes. For more tips, see tracking your
- Cheques and electronic transfers - Never write
cheques payable to your adviser, or transfer money to your adviser
electronically, if the money will be used for investments. Make the
cheque payable, or transfer, to the product provider instead.
- Electronic payments - Always double check the
account number or BPay number and reference details for any
electronic payments you make.
Protect yourself from fraud
Act immediately if something doesn't add up or look right.
Contact your adviser and, if the matter is not sorted out quickly,
make a formal complaint. If you suspect fraud or dishonesty,
contact your local police and ASIC. For more information see how to
Unhappy with the advice you
If you're unhappy with any aspect of the advice or service you
receive, try to talk it over with the adviser. If you're not happy
with the fees you are being charged, see if they are willing to
renegotiate their fees.
If you are still not satisfied (or your adviser won't meet with
you), make a complaint through the adviser's internal dispute
resolution system. Their financial services guide will tell you
how to do this.
You should receive an acknowledgement letter of internal dispute
within 14 days. The advice provider has 45 days to give you a final
If you're unhappy with the response, you can contact the Australian
Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
You can also complain to the adviser's industry association
and/or professional body. Check ASIC's financial advisers register
to see which associations or professional bodies the adviser
If the advice has left you in a worse financial position than
before you received it, you can ask to have your advice reviewed.
You may be entitled to a remediation payment if the advice is found
to be inappropriate for your circumstances or you suffered a loss
as a result of a criminal act by your adviser.
What to do if your financial
adviser has been banned
There are a number of reasons why a financial adviser may be
banned from providing financial advice, including:
- failing to act in the best interests of their client
- charging for services they have not provided
- providing false or misleading information
- giving inappropriate advice
- acting dishonestly.
If your financial adviser has been banned from providing advice,
they can no longer give you advice on financial products or
services; however, they can offer you the services of another
adviser working under the same Australian financial services (AFS)
licence, or to reassure you their advice was sound.
If your adviser is also your tax agent or mortgage broker, they
may still be able to provide you with those services, if those
services are not part of ASIC's banning order.
If your banned adviser contacts you about providing financial
advice, ask them to stop calling you and make a complaint to ASIC.
You can also let your new adviser know, if you have one.
Find out why the adviser has been banned
If your adviser was banned from providing financial advice, read
ASIC's media release about the
banning to find out why. This may help you work out whether the
advice you received was appropriate.
Cancel any authorities you have given
If your adviser has been banned, cancel any authorities you have
given them, such as a power of attorney, access to online accounts
or authorities to transact on your behalf. Make sure all
correspondence regarding your investments comes to you and not the
Review the advice you've been given
If you are concerned about the advice provided by the banned
adviser, you can ask the advice firm to review it. If you don't
have your Statement
of Advice (SOA), request a copy from your adviser or their
If your advice has been part of a review process, you can ask
the advice firm what they found and how they plan to rectify any
inappropriate advice. If you're not happy with the company's
response, contact their external dispute resolution scheme.
When reviewing the advice you received, consider whether it:
- accurately describes your financial situation, goals and
attitude towards risk
- offers more than one option and explains the pros and cons of
- explains how recommended products fit your overall
- sets out all the fees you will pay (in dollars), and when they
Check the ongoing advice fees you are paying
If you pay an ongoing advice fee to the adviser, you may be
allocated another adviser within the advice firm. If you're not
happy with this arrangement, you can opt out of paying ongoing
advice fees and perhaps consider choosing another adviser.
Choosing a new financial
If you want to continue getting advice from the same advice
firm, you can allow them to allocate a new adviser to you. You
don't have to accept the new adviser; you can do your own research
and interview the new adviser to make sure they are the right fit
You may choose to start fresh with a new financial adviser from
a different advice firm. To find a new adviser see our tips on choosing an adviser.
If you're unhappy about the service you've
received from a financial adviser, don't be afraid to complain. Put
steps in place to protect your investments, after all, it's your
Last updated: 04 Dec 2018