Bad news gets worse for scammed expat investors

Published:  15 Jan at 6 PM
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A further 100,000 pension savers are expected to have lost around £10 billion due to scams, with few realising they’re bereft of all or most of their retirement cash until it’s too late.

At the present time, it’s believed over 100,000 pension savers have lost all or most of their investments after falling for smooth-talking IFAs, and it’s not just those resident in the UK who’re suffering. For several decades, British expats either working or in retirement in destinations ranging from European member states to as far away as Asia have been ripped off by illegally working fraudsters marketing so-called investments in dodgy, high-risk funds such as plantations, rare metals, storage pods and property.

Another trick favoured by these scammers is to move the cash between investments in order to grab high commissions until the entire fund is drained. IFAs using this method favour offshore insurance companies who’re in it with them, with commissions often shared between the two entities. According to the UK’s Pension Scams Industry Group, the total of losses is likely to amount to £10 billion, with many savers as yet unaware as they don’t check their funds’ performances.

Campaigners for financial transparency are calling for more openness from IFA firms, referring to the present situation as ‘systematic, industrial-scale scamming’, adding pensions have been a worldwide paradise for crooks ever since the registration changes were made. For victims living in the UK, reparation via the financial authority is possible, but for expat Brits across the world there’s no hope of ever recovering lost savings, as the crooks responsible are usually working illegally and are known to leave in a hurry when their scams are discovered.

At the same time, property funds in general are taking a hit after M&G suspended withdrawals from its popular offering. Property funds are popular with expat investors, but the sector as a whole is seeing increased withdrawals on demand as the firm’s suspension continues. According to a company representative, moves to raise cash levels are under way with fund managers and other associated teams. However, no predictions were given as to when levels will be sufficiently restored, with comparative funds now taking a hit from indiscriminate selling due to fears of trapped capital.
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