A few months ago, a newspaper reporter visited Spain and interviewed a number of people in our local area, who had been the targets of seemingly unscrupulous and greedy financial/pension “consultants”.
I am now writing this short article to warn people to take extra special care when it comes to investing, what is often large amounts of their savings, upon which they will depend in later life.
Several years ago, I saw first hand, with a friend of mine, how these crooks can completely ruin lives. I do not profess to know everything about the way these companies work and trying to find out who you can and cannot trust, I thought, would be a difficult task… but it is not, just read on and see the notes below.
So, for those who are thinking of consulting a financial or pension advisor, either locally here in Spain, or in the UK, I am firstly going to add the link to the newspaper article in August written by Laura Shannon. It is lengthy and tells some sad stories.
But if you just wish to find out how to check that your money will be safe, before making any investments, here is what to do….
Check you are dealing with a proper firm
- Ask for details – and proof – of adviser qualifications and company authorisations. Ask also for photo ID and references. Then cross-check those details with the relevant national regulator, for example the FCA in the UK at register.fca.org.uk.
- Remember that cold calls about pensions are illegal in the UK.
- Treat all firms with scepticism until you have confirmed independently that they are regulated – and what specifically they are permitted to do. Some of those involved in the Spanish debacle were regulated, but not to deal with investments or pensions.
- Be wary of transferring pension money out of UK schemes where they are strictly governed and into ‘flexible’ arrangements such as Qrops and Sipps.
- Visit websites pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk and fca.org.uk/scamsmart for more information about protecting your pension.
- Get free guidance about your pension options if you’re over 50. Visit pensionwise.gov.uk or call 0800 138 3944 to book an appointment.
I am told that you can speak to the right people in the UK via Skype now so that option makes things so much easier.