Does an adviser need to recommend one course of action to a client, or can the adviser propose options?

An adviser doesn't need to restrict his or her advice to one course of action. An adviser can recommend options for the client to consider, and make the ultimate decision regarding how they wish to proceed.

In fact, ASIC's Report 279: Shadow shopping study of retirement advice states that one of the characteristics of "Good quality advice" is that it "presents options (where relevant)".

There are many aspects relating to financial advice which are decisions that don't require a great deal of expertise, which clients may be in a better position to decide than an adviser.

For example, is an adviser the best person to make a decision regarding whether a client should choose a 30, 60, or 90 day waiting period for an insurance product? A client is likely to be in a better position to decide how to balance affordability for level of cover.


Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.