Popular business link expat forum swamped by offshore FAs

Published:  1 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: UAE
A successful social networking group aimed at expat Brits worldwide has been forced to create a financial services sub-group after it was taken over by offshore financial advisors.

The LinkedIn forum was a popular place for expat business people to exchange views and network for over five years until it was overwhelmed by offshore-based financial advisors offering their services. As a result, its moderators were forced to create a sub-group dedicated to financial advice and investment services.

However, three months after the sub-group was introduced, a good number of the offending FAs seem unwilling to give up their membership of the British Expatriate Networking Group and are still posting on the original site. Moderator Rebekah Sunders, one of two on the original site as well as sole owner of the British Expat Financial Subgroup, is unhappy about the continuing problem.

The second moderator on the original site is, unsurprisingly, Simon Pitkin, a senior FA based in the United Arab Emirates. Again unsurprisingly, Pitkin stresses that the main group is a useful vehicle for persuading potential clients to consider using his services.

The subgroup now has 60 members as against the main group’s 3,200 and more although, oddly enough, some 460 claim to be working for the same company as does Pitkin, and another 100 work for another major IFA company aimed at expats. More than half of the 3,200 members work as FAs, with 12 per cent based in the UAE.

According to another of the site’s moderators, prior to its discovery as a free advertising tool for the offshore financial services sector, a variety of lively discussions was the norm. Beginning in January last year, the IFA sector moved in and quickly took over, with almost every post a self-promotion or other spam and a swiftly falling number of posters on other subjects.
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