Can digital specialists protect expat investors from scamming salesmen

Published:  17 Mar at 6 PM
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The recent news about a Brit expat in Spain's loss of almost all his investment through an FA’s recommendation of a sub-standard fund has persuaded the UK financial watchdog to employ digital specialists to protect investors.

The unfortunate Briton managed with the help of ‘This is Money’ to get most of his savings back from deVere, the financial intermediary working with the fraudulent FA, although the company did not admit any responsibility. However, particularly since the LM disaster, a large number of expats across the world now find themselves in similar situations for the same reasons.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), are tasked with the protection of unsuspecting victims who’ve fallen foul of substandard products and often illegally-working FAs, but that protection doesn’t extend across all expat destinations. Experts in the sector are again stressing the importance of making sure you’re dealing with a reputable company with qualified, experienced advisors – both of which seem to be as rare as hens’ teeth in the majority of popular expat locations.

Comments such as ‘only using funds with proveable client portfolio track records’ or ‘stopping to consider the possibly disastrous effect of poor advice’ don’t help when you’re thousands of miles away from a regulator. Personal recommendations can easily be provided by anyone setting up as an FA, and may not be worth the words spoken or the paper they’re written on.

HMRC’s new employees, it’s hoped, will be able to spare a good few British-based investors the fate of the many outside its jurisdiction. However, from reports worldwide, the expat destinations’ legal systems will need to do a great deal more before expat investors can feel confident in any proposal made to them by an expat financial advisor.
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