Action group for Costa del Sol expats ripped off by FAs

Published:  18 Jun at 6 PM
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Expat investors living in Spain’s popular Costa del Sol started their own action group in 2008 after losing millions to unregistered, unregulated financial advisors targeting the mostly retirement communities.

Six years later, the main aim of the group remains the same: the outing of unlicensed, unpricipled FAs mis-selling unsuitable products to the unwary and backed up by the offshore product providers themselves. The group’s online magazine, entitled ‘The Sharks Exposed’, details the total lack of protection for expat investors which has become the norm in most overseas destinations.

Over the years, the group has exposed not only unlicensed, fraudulent FAs but also the offshore product providers whose tactics as regards complaints are to refer the complainant back to the FA, thus avoiding any responsibility. Public losses over the expat world amount to at least £100 million, with product providers continuing to knowingly encourage what amounts to fraud in order to make even more money from elderly expat pensioners.

The group is happy to expose regulators in offshore financial jurisdictions, the vast majority of whom seem more concerned with protecting the product providers than their mis-sold victims. The Isle of Man regulatory body’s reputation is amongst the worst, with many complaints simply ignored, and insurers based in the jurisdiction are accused on many online consumer sites by desperate customers.

Another focus for the group is the proliferation of boiler room scams involving aggressive cold-calling, mostly to retired expats. Fraudulent off-plan property investments are high on the group’s hit list, and the organisation has been invited to contribute to major media outlets such as the BBC, ITV, The Times, The Guardian and even the Washington Post and New York Times.

Sadly, illegal FAs continue to work in the region, although the group’s online magazine regularly exposes the latest scammers thus ensuring minimal damage to expats. Spain isn’t the only country allowing financial fraudsters to flourish, with the Middle East and Southeast Asia including Thailand acting as free-for-all hubs for these scammers.
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