Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Financial Advisers

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for financial advisers are generally good as many workers in this occupation are likely to retire over the next decade.

Financial advisers who provide more complex advice are required to be authorised by the Financial Markets Authority This makes entry more difficult, but there are more opportunities for those who are authorised. Income for financial advisers is high.

How to become a financial adviser

What they do

Financial advisers provide advice about financial planning, insurance, investing and other financial services and products. The occupation ‘financial adviser’ includes the likes of financial planners, mortgage and insurance brokers; as well as people working for insurance companies, banks and building societies that provide advice about money, financial products and investing.

There are three different types of financial advisers, and the services they provide vary. Registered financial advisers (RFAs) are typically mortgage brokers or insurance brokers. Authorised financial advisers (AFAs) are allowed to provide more complex and personalised investment advice. QFE advisers work in a qualifying financial entity (QFE) and are covered by the entity’s authorisation. See the website of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) for more details on the different types of advisers.

Financial advisers need a thorough understanding of how financial markets work so they can give good advice to clients. Having qualifications at Level 5 or above is preferable for all jobs in this occupation.

FMA, types of financial advisers:

Skills employers look for

According to the latest information from the New Zealand and Australian online job ads, some of the top skills employers look for include:

  • financial industry experience, with knowledge of financial planning and analysis
  • skills in accountancy, business and asset management, business development, invoicing and budgeting
  • skills in building relationships and customer service
  • ability to use Microsoft Excel.

 Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool

Qualifications needed

A variety of certificate and degree qualifications are available. At a minimum, you would require a National Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) to become an Authorised Financial Adviser. There is a Diploma in Personal Financial Planning. For more information about the skills framework needed to enter financial services work, see the Skills Organisation website.

Many financial advisers also have a degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (for example, finance, business or accounting).

Skills Organisation, financial services: 
Skills Organisation, Certificate in Financial Services:

Cost of study

Bachelor of Commerce in FinanceGraduate Diploma in Business Studies (Personal Financial Planning)
$19,500 over three years $6,600 over one year


Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for  fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

Relevant qualifications are available across New Zealand, at polytechnics, private training organisations (PTOs) and universities.


The legislative regime for financial advisers is currently under review and changes are expected to be made in the coming years.

RFAs currently need to be registered on the Financial Service Providers Register.

Advisers working in a qualifying financial entity do not need to be individually registered.

Under the Financial Advisers Act (2008) authorisation is required for authorised financial advisers. To do this, they need to:

  • complete the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Financial Advice) – NZQA Level 5, or equivalent qualification
  • get authorisation to practise from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA)
  • be registered on the Financial Service Providers Register
  • belong to one of four approved dispute resolution schemes.

For more detail on licensing, see the FMA website.

FMA, licensing:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing relevant qualifications remained steady for the last several years.

Completed qualifications chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2017, the average annual income for financial advisers was estimated to be around $95,400.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index.

Employment and skill shortages

Financial advisers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
10,377 10,473 11,127 11,015
  0.1% 1.0% -0.2%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Financial Brokers and Dealers, and Investment Advisers”.

Employment numbers for financial advisers were stable from 2006 to 2013. Employment is expected to grow by about 1.0% per year up to 2021, and remain flat (down by 0.2%) from 2021 to 2026. However, demand for new financial advisers could be quite high, as many financial advisers are expected to retire in the next 10 to 15 years.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
13% 1% 0% 81% $54,000


Source: Tertiary Education Commission *Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Accountancy.

A large majority of graduates were in employment three years after completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some were overseas or in further study. The median salary was around $54,000 three years after graduation.

A large majority of graduates were in employment two years after completing a bachelor’s degree in accountancy. Some were overseas, but relatively few were in further study. Almost none were receiving a benefit. The median salary was estimated to be around $46,600 two years after graduation.

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job vacancies for financial investment advisers and managers has grown since 2014.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Most financial advisers need to establish a list of clients, which takes time. Many financial advisers begin their careers in junior positions within financial firms or banks and work their way up from there.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level financial advisers.

  • Financial Planner
  • Investment Planner
  • Investment Adviser
  • Investment Manager
  • Mortgage Broker
  • Insurance Broker
  • Share Broker

Other information


More information about financial advisers is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of financial advisers has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

222 – Financial Brokers and Dealers, and Investment Advisers