Rogue financial advisers are plaguing ex pats with too good to be true investments schemes that fail to deliver.
Financial regulators are reporting a large increase in boiler room share, pension and land scams
Many target retired ex pats with false hopes of increasing their income from risky investments.
Spotting a rogue advisor for someone unfamiliar with the intricacies of financial regulation can be hard, so here are some tips for ex pats:
- Check out the individual – if they say they are regulated, grab a business card or letterhead and call the regulator or check their online database to make sure what they are saying is true.
- Ask to see proof of qualification – most international IFAs working for a reputable firm will at least have passed a CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment) exam.
Contact CISI through the web site [LINK: https://www.cisi.org] or call +44 20 7645 0600.
Many scammers may sound plausible and may have been regulated at some point. A favourite ploy is to obtain documentation to pass off as current after it has really expired.
- Ask about compensation before handing over any cash. Most bona fide investment opportunities are protected by official financial compensation schemes and offer redress schemes for complaints.
Again, don’t take anyone’s word, but check out the details yourself.
Recently, a number of retired expats protested outside the Hacienda in Malaga who allege financial advisers offered deals from mainly Icelandic banks that bypassed Spanish inheritance tax and paid out enhanced incomes from investments in offshore financial centres.
Around 600 ex pats reckon they have lost their homes, worth around 250 millions by singing up to the schemes.
At the same time, the UK government closed a £8.2 million bio-fuel investment con that sold shares in Ghana and Togo plantations that never existed. The crooks offered high short-term returns to investors.