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'Investment adviser' is a broad term. In Hong Kong, it generally refers to intermediaries selling or advising on financial products. Depending on the products they sell, and the particular activities they conduct, the investment advisers are subject to different regulatory regimes under the Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority or the Insurance Authority.

The relationship that you have with an investment adviser should be documented in a comprehensive written agreement. A good investment adviser will collect and record sufficient information about you before giving any advice.  Your adviser should make recommendations that are suitable based on your profile and personal objectives. They should have a thorough understanding of the nature and risks of the investment products, and provide you with sufficient information and a full explanation to help you make an informed investment decision.

As the client, you have a responsibility to be clear about your investment objectives, know your adviser and understand the product. Make sure you obtain the full details of the fees, charges and penalties (e.g. early termination) applicable to any recommended investment product before you commit.

As a rule of thumb, don't sign any document or agreement if there is anything in it that you don't understand despite any pressure you may feel.  Pay special attention if you are recommended a product that is not authorized in Hong Kong, or one that you feel is too complex for you to understand.