UK expat in Spain gets justice over bad investment advice

Published:  3 Mar at 6 PM
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Following an investigation on a UK expat saver’s behalf by This is,
a financial intermediary has admitted advice to the saver in Alicante was wrong and has re-established his lost pension pot.

The unnamed expat had been persuaded in 2010 by a representative of financial intermediary deVere to invest 80 per cent of his pension pot in a single fund, the Strategic Growth Fund (SGF). His county council final salary scheme had netted him £150,000 and he had requested a medium risk investment following his transferring of his pension pot to a QROPS.

After taking a tax-free lump sum, he was advised to place the remainder into a drawdown product which allowed his wife, should he predecease her, to continue making annual withdrawals of £3,000. Of the total amount, 80 per cent was invested in the SGF through a financial advisor working for United Asset Management, owned by deVere CEO Nigel Green.

The fund was suspended early in 2013, with administrators brought in, and is still frozen. To his horror, the expat investor found his fund was only worth £20,063, and withdrawal charges would reduce it to £11,000.

After This is became involved at the investor’s request, deVere admitted that he should have been given more diversification within his portfolio, but denied involvement in the allocation of the fund, saying that the fund manager was acting independently of either the company or United Asset Management. Nevertheless, deVere has reinstated the client’s fund to its former position of £89,000.

According to the client, he initially queried the investment as he was unhappy about ‘putting all his eggs in one basket’, but was assured that the sum was spread across a number of investments, thus giving more protection and security. It’s a happy ending for one expat, but it’s likely that many thousands in Spain and elsewhere are finding themselves in similar positions.
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