How to spot a rogue financial adviser?
Finding the right financial advice as an expat can be a minefield. One of the worst and most costly mistakes an expat can make is to take poor savings, investment and retirement advice. Surely you deserve better.
Expats often assume that because they are speaking to a British or English speaking adviser they are speaking to someone who is governed by the same rules and regulations as a UK based IFA but just because he has good manners and speaks English does not mean he is governed by British law or is operating ethically.
The obvious signs of a rogue adviser are those who do not have a business card with a relevant address, those who attempt to sell business on the first meeting and those who are not prepared to provide illustrations or any form of written report on their recommendations and the reasons why a client should accept their advice. Then of course there are the advisers who work for a regulated company but offer bad advice as they have no experience or no qualifications in the financial sector.
Expats are likely to be victims of bad advice not because they are looking to avoid tax but because they are looking for the best way to manage their money abroad and because they don’t necessarily know the best way to go about getting advice.
You need to do some due diligence and look into the legitimacy of the organisation they are representing and into the qualifications and experience of the individual. Ask to see proof of qualifications and regulation and check the information that is being offered. Anyone who says they are FSA registered, firm or individual will be on the FSA register www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
Check that the firm holds professional indemnity cover and visit them at their offices to better understand their background.
Find out what the advisers will do after the transaction has been completed. How will they manage your investments, will this be outsourced to a third party or will they accept ongoing responsibility and maintain regular contact with you?
The same applies with UK advisers offering their services in Spain. Do they really understand the rules and regulations that apply to pensions and investments here?
You may be familiar with some of these scenarios that we have come across over the last six months.
Client moving to Spain sold a UK offshore bond and told to ignore tax liability in Spain when there is a legitimate and compliant Spanish alternative.
A 90 year old sold a
sham retirement plan with the sole intention of avoiding UK inheritance tax.
An investor sold a QROPS by a QFA (a designatory title which supposedly means Qualified Financial Adviser but which has no legal standing) and paying £60,000 commission for bad advice.
An investor giving a firm £250,000 to place in low risk funds and seeing their capital depleted by 50% within the first two years.
If you are unhappy with the advice you have received or want a second opinion why not speak to Fiduciary Wealth. We care about our clients and our reputation - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 956 796 911.