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+ How to find a Financial Adviser?

Though one might be referred to a financial adviser in a number of ways — a personal or professional referral, via the internet, for example — the decision to engage a financial adviser is best made by making personal contact, accepting a free consultation, considering the professional qualifications and experiences of the adviser, and then trusting your intuition to choose someone in whom you trust. A good financial adviser will become part of the family, someone who wants to be included in all the important decisions you make in life and the important events that happen along the way.

+ What is fianncial planning?

It can help to think of Financial Planning as “Financial Life Planning”, in that it is the process of planning for the financial aspects of the needs and consequences of the major events in our life— working, saving, buying a home, marriage, having children, paying for you children’s education, saving for retirement, earning an income when retired, and passing one’s wealth on to family upon death. Good planning will also consider unexpected events such as illness, job loss or an untimely death.

+ Do I need a financial adviser?

The more complex your life becomes the more likely it will be that you’ll benefit from a personal relationship with a financial adviser. Once you’ve begun your profession, start paying taxes, have needs to save and grow assets to provide for retirement, have a home or want to own a home, get married, have children and so on, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having a financial plan created by a qualified financial adviser. Ideally, the financial adviser would also be an experienced investment manager.

+ What is a fee-only Financial adviser?

A fee-only (sometimes called “fee-based”) financial adviser receives compensation directly from you verses being paid commissions from products they sell. This means they represent you and your interests when giving advice and are not tempted to make frequent and unnecessary trades and transactions to increase their personal income. This fee may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, it could be a flat annual fee, or an hourly rate.

+ What is AFA and Why is it important?

Authorised financial advisers (AFAs) AFAs can provide the same services as an RFA, but can also provide services for category 1 products, and can provide an investment planning service.

Authorised Financial Advisers (AFAs) are individual advisers who are permitted to provide personalised financial adviser services to retail clients, for category 1 and category 2 products, depending on the scope of their licence. They can also provide class services and wholesale services. Category 1 and 2 products are described in s5 of the Financial Advisers Act 2008.

Category 1 and 2 products are described in s5 of the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Some category 1 and category 2 products are defined further in regulations. Additional products may be added to each category in the future, by regulations.

One has to be an AFA if he/she provides any of the following financial adviser services to retail clients:

  • give personalised financial advice on category 1 products. Financial advice covers any recommendation or opinion about buying, selling (or refraining from buying or selling) a financial product
  • provide a personalised discretionary investment management service (DIMS).
  • provide an investment planning service, that is, if you design or offer to design a plan for an individual that:
  • is based on an analysis of an individual's current and future overall financial situation
  • identifies their investment needs and goals, and
  • includes recommendations or opinions to realise those goals.

The focus is on the nature of the service, rather than the product recommendations. A service that identifies the financial situation and goals of a group of people the individual belongs to can also be an investment planning service.

Only AFAs and QFE advisers can give personalised advice to retail clients on category 1 products. QFE advisers are limited to advice on category 1 products promoted or issued by their QFE.

Personalised advice on category 2 products can be given by RFAs and QFE Advisers. However, if advice on category 2 products is given as part of providing an investment planning service, then the adviser must be authorised as well as registered.

+ what is QFA & RFA?

Registered Financial Advisers (RFAs)

RFAs are individuals and they can give financial advice for a category 2 product. They can also provide class advice and investment planning services to retail clients and financial adviser services to wholesale clients. Find out more about registering and your obligations

Qualifying Financial Entity Advisers (QFEs)

A QFE Adviser is an employee or a nominated representative of a qualifying financial entity. Find out more about QFE advisers and what they can sell

Other businesses providing financial adviser services

Other (non-QFE) businesses providing financial adviser services have to be registered as a financial service provider. They may only provide personalised services to retail clients through an individual who is appropriately authorised or registered.


A broker is an individual or a company that receives, holds, pays or transfers client money or property acting as an intermediary for a client. All brokers need to be registered and must also comply with the brokers' conduct and disclosure obligations in the FA Act. These provisions apply to anyone providing broking services, whether they are a financial adviser or not.

+ what is "accredited investment fiduciary" and why is it important?

Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) training empowers investment professionals with the fiduciary knowledge and tools they need to serve their clients’ best interests while successfully growing their business. Advisers who earn the AIF® Designation are immediately able to demonstrate the added value they bring to prospective and existing clients.

Our wealth advisers are trained and designated by Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF). To maintain the designation; AIF designees must complete continuing education training to keep up to date with changes in the financial industry and the ongoing evolution of legal requirements under the fiduciary standard.

+ What is CEFEX and why is it important?

The Center for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) serves as an independent auditor to verify that an investment advisory firm conforms to all practices and criteria that comprise the Global Standard of Fiduciary Excellence. To date, just over 100 firms across the globe have achieved this certification. There are only Eight CEFEX certified firms in New Zealand and Stewart Group is one of the two CEFEX Certified Firm in Hawke's Bay.

+ Why is “Independence” Important?

The terms “unbiased”, “impartial” bring with them the obligation to manage any potential conflicts of interest which may come from obligations to or payment from a party other than a client.

Stewart Group is not just unbiased and not just impartial. We are independent. We have no obligations to or payment from any party other than our client. This means we have no conflict of interest to be managed.

The recent changes to the legislation and regulation of Financial Advisers place a high standard on the use of the term “independent”. Stewart Group has reviewed all its practices to ensure they meet this new standard. This is the goal Stewart Group has been working towards for many years and applaud the market changes that allow this.

+ Do you specialise in particular clientele?

We can work with anyone who is committed to meeting financial goals. We have a particular affinity for business owners, farmers, doctors, lawyers and other busy professionals. However, anyone who has the desire to reach their financial goals will be a good client. Our clients tend to share the following attributes:

THEY ARE FINANCIAL DELEGATORS: Our clients are willing to allow a Trusted Adviser help them make smart decisions about their money so they can do all the things they can’t delegate to someone else: quiet time with family, having fun with friends, exercising, traveling, volunteering…

THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR GOALS: All of our clients are willing to take action about their desire to accomplish their goals. They realize that achieving those goals requires both money and planning.

THEY WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT THEIR MONEY: Our select clientele want the freedom and peace of mind knowing all their financial assets are under the watchful eye of one Trusted Adviser.

THEY VALUE OUR WORK TOGETHER: Our community of clients is comfortable with our fee-based schedule. We charge a percentage of assets under our management.

THEY WANT TO FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT: Our clients value our relationship and are ready to simplify life so they can spend their time and energy on those things in life that are most important to them.

+ How often you meet with me?

We will meet with you either in person or over the phone whenever you need us to. We meet formally twice per year when we provide you a comprehensive report that shows your portfolio’s performance and analysis.

+ How often will I get reports from you?

Your assets’ custodian (the outside firm that independently accounts for your investments) will send bi-annual reports with transactions and other information. Stewart Group will send quarterly and annual reports. We can provide comprehensive customised reports at anytime subject to your request.

+ What year-end tax reports are provided?

Your assets’ custodian (the outside firm that independently accounts for your investments) will send reports with transactions and other information on a monthly or quarterly basis. We can provide comprehensive customised reports at anytime subject to your request.

+ Can I meet with you at no obligation?

Yes. We would like to offer you a FREE first consultation (in person, if possible) – at absolutely no obligation to you. We’ll begin with a brief phone conversation to understand your current situation and objectives, and share with you our thoughts about the meeting.

+ What do I bring to the first meeting?

When you come in for your consultation, we’ll ask you to bring your latest financial statements (banking, investments, employer provided retirement plans, etc.) and a current tax return. We’ll review this information and discuss income sources, retirement plan contributions and balances, financial and real estate assets, insurance coverage, mortgages, other debts, and estate planning documents.

+ Do you work with our lawyer/accountant?

With a client’s permission, we will always work with their other advisers. In fact, we strongly advise we work as a team on their behalf. Allowing us to speak with them and provide or receive information directly assists us in connecting all our clients’ financial professionals efficiently.

+ How do you protect my privacy?

Stewart Group adheres to a strict information Privacy Policy.

Your investments are “held” at independent party custodians who report to us on your investments and activity and we will report to clients using secure computer links that connects Stewart Group to custodians and clients. This provides secure, immediate access to clients' investments. This enables us to electronically submit your withdrawls/deposits and monitor all activity within your account.

+ What is your Fee Structure? How are you compensated?

Our fees is depending upon the size of the portfolio and the work we do. We charge a percentage for the assets under our management according to a schedule outlined in our Investment Advisory Agreement. We are not compensated through commissions nor are we reimbursed from the implementation of any of our recommendations. We build a lifetime comprehensive plan from your goals, not with a particular investment model or product. Please see our disclosure statement for detailed information.

+ Do you have a portfolio minimum?

Yes we do, but the minimum can be waived for portfolios slightly below the minimum, for special circumstances such as pre-existing relationship, or at our discretion.

+ How often are my investments changed?

We do have a carefully constructed rebalance procedure, and will rebalance our clients’ accounts accordingly. We may change the portfolios because of market circumstances, a change in your personal circumstances, or due to market changes.

+ Will you consult me when making trades?

Not generally. Occasionally, it will be necessary to react quickly to management changes or other situations we may encounter. Of course, we will discuss any changes as soon as possible. The asset custodians immediately provide trade confirmations and the trades will be reflected on the next periodic report from the custodian.