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Problems with a financial adviser

Steps to take if you're unhappy with your adviser or their advice

Page reading time: 3 minutes

The right financial advice can help you achieve your financial goals. However, it's important to know what to do if something goes wrong.

Signs you may have a problem

You may have problems with a financial adviser if they:

Anyone who gives financial advice must have an Australian financial services (AFS) licence or work for a company that has a licence.

If you've lost money because your adviser acted illegally or gave you advice that was not suitable, you may get a refund.

What to do if you have a problem

If you're unhappy with financial advice you've received or fees you've paid, there are steps you can take.

Act quickly if the advice doesn't look right, or if you've paid for services that you didn't receive.

Talk to your adviser

The first step is to talk to your adviser. If it's about fees, ask them to explain their fees and what the fees are for. If you think the fees are too high, ask if they're willing to reduce them.

See our tips for working with a financial adviser.

Make a complaint

Internal dispute resolution

If you're not happy with your adviser's response, you can make a complaint through internal dispute resolution. Their Financial Services Guide tells you how to do this. It should be on their website, or you can ask them for a copy.

They must acknowledge the dispute within 14 days. They must respond to the dispute within 45 days. For more information, see internal dispute resolution tips from the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

Your adviser should work with you to sort out the problem.

Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)

If you're not satisfied with how your adviser has handled your complaint, you can contact AFCA.

AFCA is a free, independent service that helps resolve complaints from consumers and small businesses about financial service providers.

Industry association

You should also complain to the adviser's industry association or professional body. To find out which one they belong to, see our financial advisers register.

Police and ASIC

If you suspect fraud or dishonesty, you should also contact your local police and report the misconduct to ASIC. An example would be your financial adviser has spent your money on their own expenses.

If your adviser is banned

ASIC can ban a financial adviser if they have done the wrong thing, such as:

Once an adviser is banned, they can no longer give you advice. They should contact you straight away to explain what will happen with your portfolio. They can allocate another adviser or you can choose someone else in the company. You can choose if you want to continue or end the relationship.

Ending your relationship

If you end your relationship with your adviser, make sure you:

If you decide to transfer to a new adviser, see choosing a financial adviser for what to look for.