Rogue IFAs now illegally targeting British expats in Cyprus

Published:  13 Jun at 6 PM
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In spite of the seemingly unending official and unofficial warnings against dodgy IFAs, rogue financial advisers are now swarming around Cyprus’s expat community.

Most British expatriates living in Cyprus fall into two categories – retirees and small business owners. Both groups see the need to invest their pension pots or capital in order to get a reasonable return whilst keeping the cash safe in case of emergencies. Sadly, a good number are financially naive, and are falling for every trick in the unregistered, unregulated independent financial advisors’ book. Promising high returns for risky or even non-existing investments, these operatives forget to mention that, as they’re not working within local laws, investors stand to lose everything when the inevitable occurs.

Rogue IFAs target new arrivals with very little or no investment experience, luring them into high risk investments whilst claiming the products are safe as houses. Some claim they’re registered with the Cypriot financial authority, or even with the UK’s Financial Conduct Agency, but they never mention the products being pushed aren’t covered by licenses, even if they had one in the first place. One glaring example is the so-called ‘insurance bond’, sold as an investment with no mention of life insurance, no information on the actual investment funds, no details of the high charges and, worst still, nothing about the huge penalties for pulling out at an earlier date than agreed.

For those who’ve already lost part of their original investment and who wish to withdraw from the term agreed in order to prevent further losses, it shouldn’t be assumed that contacting the offshore insurance company involved will result in a successful outcome. Insurers based in the Isle of Man are the worst offenders, and will do anything to keep their claws firmly stuck in victims’ life savings. Companies such as Friends Provident IOM are fully aware of the illegal practices of the ‘independent’ financial advisors, as they keep the funds flowing into their coffers and there’s little or nothing those mis-sold an investment can do about it.
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