Beware Bad Pension Advice as an Expat

With there having been so many pension scams and scandals in the latter half of the 1980s, additional regulation was brought in soon after and has been intensified several times since. However, all such regulation applies only to those offering financial advice with regard to pensions in the United Kingdom itself, with overseas advisers not falling under the same legislation. As such, it is considerably more likely that any individual or couple heading toward retirement will receive counterproductive or wholly harmful financial advice when speaking to a financial adviser based outside the UK.

One of the most common tactics employed by such individuals is the attachment of large upfront commissions which are demanded regardless of the outcome – in many cases up to 7% or even more. More often than not, those involved in these kinds of unscrupulous practices are interested in making immediate lump sum profits for themselves with no real regard for the benefit of their clients.

All of the above breeds the obvious and important question – what can a person do to better protect themselves against these kinds of advisers and the advice they are offering?

Warning Signs

Well, the easiest and most effective solution of all when it comes to avoiding dodgy international pension advice is to speak to an adviser based in the UK. If they are based in and operate from the United Kingdom, then they must follow all applicable regulations and legislation which as mentioned have been continually tightened over the last 20 years or so. This isn’t to say that miss-selling in the United Kingdom no longer happens, but at the same time you are statistically less likely to be given misleading pension advice if you work with a UK-based adviser.

If however you choose to work with an adviser based overseas, it is up to you to make all necessary checks and verifications as to their status and stature before going ahead.

For example, and as already mentioned, when and where you find yourself dealing with an adviser who insists on charging heavy fees and commissions up front prior actually doing anything positive for you, chances are you are looking down the barrel of a dodgy deal. The simple fact of the matter is that once they have their own interests covered by cornering you with heavy fees and charges, it is inconsequential as far as they’re concerned whether or not your own financial future is secure.

It is also important not to take anything for granted when it comes to the kinds of deals and pension plans you may be offered which are brought to your attention as exclusive deals for expats. There will always be certain opportunities and avenues to explore, but at the same time you cannot take things for granted without first looking into them as deeply as necessary

And of course on the subject of looking into things, it is always in your best interests to do more than a little homework on the adviser itself to see what is being said by those who already used their services. If in any doubt, speak to a UK-based financial adviser and see what they have to say on the subject.