UK FCA sets up website to help investors identify financial scams

Published:  15 Oct at 10 AM
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As part of yet another warning against financial scammers, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has set up their Scamsmart website in order to help unwary investors identify cold-calling fraudsters
The website was developed using monies recovered from the criminal element operating within the financial advice sector, and concentrates mainly on cold-calling by fraudulent FAs. Online redirections send investors to the authority’s scam alert list of dodgy operators of cloned companies and unregistered advisors with a murky history.

Consumers will be encouraged to check the type of investment they’ve been offered, thus identifying any possible pitfalls. Several financial websites reported last August that, of 100 unauthorised firms named by the regulator, at least 30 were still actively operating online.

The FCA receives around 6,000 calls every year from consumers who’ve been scammed by rogue FAs operating in the UK. Unfortunately, there’s no reference to the massive number of UK expat savers and investors scammed by illegally working, unqualified FAs in retirement destinations overseas.

The UK authority has no jurisdiction over any British FAs working offshore, leaving many thousands of duped expats with nowhere to turn for help. Advice given by the authority as regards only investing with FCA-registered firms is sensible, but is useless to expats as UK-registered financial advisory firms are disallowed from advising overseas clients.

It’s a no-win situation, especially for expat retirees on meager UK frozen pensions looking to increase their monthly stipend by investing their life savings. The majority of rogue salesmen located in favourite expat havens deal almost exclusively with the Isle of Man and Channel Islands insurance companies, and mis-selling comes as standard due to the high commissions paid.

Returns from such investments are eaten up by high charges, and early redemption charges put paid to any small profits made. The collapse of so-called investments including the LMIM Australia property bond cause £ millions in losses and affect thousands of expats, and the salesmen are nowhere to be found after the bad news breaks.
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