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  • FIRST POST
    robs12
    Expat Investment Advice - DeVere Group
    • #1
    • 5th Nov 14, 6:32 AM
    Expat Investment Advice - DeVere Group 5th Nov 14 at 6:32 AM
    Hello everyone,

    I'm a British expat in my mid-twenties, working in the Middle East. I have a little debt left back in the UK, but I'm looking to start investing the majority of my wage so I have a nice amount to go back to the UK on. Before meeting any advisers, my plans for this saving was basically to put it all in a spread of mutual funds, some low risk, some medium, some high.

    I met with an adviser from the DeVere group last night, based on a friends recommendation, to discuss my options. I got a good vibe from the guy and his advice was basically to:

    1. Pay off my debts in the UK first.
    2. Save up a "cash buffer" of 3 months wages, so I have some cash to fall back on if something unexpected happens.
    3. Then meet with him again to discuss savings.

    Once steps 1 and 2 are completed, based on me saying I wanted to save 4000 pounds a month, he recommended that we put 500 a month into a retirement plan for both me and my wife, which I could access when I turn 50, and the other 3500 I send to their "offshore investment platform". From there, I can either ask their advice, or I can choose myself which of the funds I would like to invest in.

    As his advice was "free", I asked the obligatory question of how they get paid. His answer was that there is no commission from my money. Instead, "the companies which run the funds I buy will pay their group a fee, as they prefer to work with an agent than with individual investors."

    So I left the meeting quite happy... It was basically what I had planned that I would like, I wasn't being forced into any specific products, and I seemed to be offered the freedom to control where my money was to be invested.

    This morning, I've been on Google, and browsing this forum, and I have found lots of horrendous articles about the DeVere group. Due to the sheer number of these articles, I'm quite scared about going ahead with the plan now.

    What's everyone's advice here? Are there some obvious pitfalls that I've missed? I'm very new to investing/saving, which I am fully aware makes me an easy target to be ripped off. I'm always reading up on funds and feel quite confident I could make some reasonable investments on my own, and they are offering me the ability to do this in an off-shore, tax free environment. Where's the catch?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Page 1
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 5th Nov 14, 9:07 AM
    • 89,606 Posts
    • 56,105 Thanks
    dunstonh
    • #2
    • 5th Nov 14, 9:07 AM
    • #2
    • 5th Nov 14, 9:07 AM
    As his advice was "free", I asked the obligatory question of how they get paid. His answer was that there is no commission from my money. Instead, "the companies which run the funds I buy will pay their group a fee, as they prefer to work with an agent than with individual investors."
    In the UK, that method is banned. However, it is allowed overseas. It is effectively a commission though and factored into the product/fund charges that you pay. So, it is costing you. Just not explicitly.

    This morning, I've been on Google, and browsing this forum, and I have found lots of horrendous articles about the DeVere group. Due to the sheer number of these articles, I'm quite scared about going ahead with the plan now.
    They do have an awful reputation. A lot of it is historical.

    I'm very new to investing/saving, which I am fully aware makes me an easy target to be ripped off.
    Look at the charges on the products and the terms of the products. That is where you can tell these things.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • Linton
    • By Linton 5th Nov 14, 9:14 AM
    • 8,502 Posts
    • 8,450 Thanks
    Linton
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 14, 9:14 AM
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 14, 9:14 AM
    The free advice looks good. You will need to look carefully at the individual funds offered.
  • mattfrostuk2000
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 14, 3:14 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 14, 3:14 PM
    The problem with Overseas investment is that there is no regulation on advice as there is in the UK. A lot of the advisers can give advice without any kind of qualification which make it a really risky business. Some of the advisers have no interest in best advice rather highest payment available, and this can be to your detriment!

    There are companies out there that have their core business in the UK, and conduct their International business in the same manner as you would expect to receive in the UK, albeit without the UK regulation. They use the framework set by the UK regulators the FCA, and these companies tend to have MIFID licenses.

    I would suggest taking the time to fully investigate all options available, whilst also speaking to several advisers to enable you to make an informed choice.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by mattfrostuk2000; 05-11-2014 at 3:29 PM. Reason: Additional information, and rewording.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 5th Nov 14, 8:15 PM
    • 12,194 Posts
    • 10,711 Thanks
    jimjames
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 14, 8:15 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 14, 8:15 PM
    Are you back in the UK at all?

    Could you arrange an appointment with an IFA here that would give you the protection of the UK system?
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
  • robs12
    • #6
    • 6th Nov 14, 4:01 AM
    • #6
    • 6th Nov 14, 4:01 AM
    That's for all the advice everyone.

    I'm due to meet them again once I've done the first two steps, so in that time I will have been back to the UK. So I think I'll take jimjames' advice and check in with an IFA in the UK, I've found one on unbiased.co.uk based near me, and the website indicates they specialise in offshore things.

    Thanks again for all the advice. I'd kind of come to the same conclusion that dunstonh mentioned, which is that the bad reputation DeVere have is historical, and one of the people who works in the same place has me slated DeVere for "losing loads of my money a few years ago, then making up some excuse about a crash or a recession, or some nonsense"... I guess with everything you do financial, there is an inherent risk involved.
    • KNJ
    • By KNJ 6th Nov 14, 7:54 AM
    • 41 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    KNJ
    • #7
    • 6th Nov 14, 7:54 AM
    • #7
    • 6th Nov 14, 7:54 AM
    Ask them to give a projection and publish here. After the advice I received I would not touch them with a bargepole.
    There upfront charges made them look more like !!!! turpin.
    Advice for "Free" come on who are they trying to kid.
    Their corner shop cashiers, sorry I meant high pressure sales team, sorry independent financial advisors ( please ask for and check that qualification ) are motivated by selling products with VERY HIGH up front fees
    "Warning will Robinson, WARNING"
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 6th Nov 14, 10:16 AM
    • 89,606 Posts
    • 56,105 Thanks
    dunstonh
    • #8
    • 6th Nov 14, 10:16 AM
    • #8
    • 6th Nov 14, 10:16 AM
    and one of the people who works in the same place has me slated DeVere for "losing loads of my money a few years ago, then making up some excuse about a crash or a recession, or some nonsense"... I guess with everything you do financial, there is an inherent risk involved.
    When the markets fall, your value drops. When they go up, the value goes up. Devere have no control over that. During the credit crunch the markets fell by over 40%. They quickly recovered much of that and we have been move back up (in the usual zig zag) since. A loss on paper is not bad advice. I suspect your work colleague lacks understanding. It is possible he invested above his risk profile.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • TonyRover
    • #9
    • 2nd Dec 14, 9:28 PM
    • #9
    • 2nd Dec 14, 9:28 PM
    Media reports you might want to Google (would post the links, but unable to do so as new user):

    From "This Is Money" (part of the Daily Mail):
    • "Investment giant deVere Group buys angry reader's silence"
    • "Financial advice made my pension dive from £89k to £20k"
    • "Pensioners put £285,000 in woeful 'low-risk' funds"
    • "'Publish at your peril' warns financial giant deVere Group"

    From South China Morning Post:
    • "Ex-clients quizzed in probe of deVere"
    • "CEO's stake risked conflict of interest"
    • "DeVere faces down bad practice claims"

    From BBC Panorama:
    YouTube: "Pension Plans - BBC Panorama P1- Who Took My Pension?"

    Further articles can be found by Googling:
    devere site:international-adviser.com
    • TheTracker
    • By TheTracker 2nd Dec 14, 9:44 PM
    • 1,125 Posts
    • 1,116 Thanks
    TheTracker
    Whilst that method is banned in the UK, it was only banned a couple of years ago. Prior to that most IFAs, and I imagine most IFAs on this forum would have been on the take. I wouldn't take the method as a deal breaker.

    Looks like sound advice to me. Word of mouth recommendation is worth something. Inter-country money affairs can be a minefield and advice is usually key.
    Last edited by TheTracker; 02-12-2014 at 9:48 PM.
    • Jonbvn
    • By Jonbvn 3rd Dec 14, 11:21 AM
    • 5,300 Posts
    • 5,574 Thanks
    Jonbvn
    When working as an expat, I was cold-called by this outfit. I advised them to go forth & procreate.

    I would you suggest you consider alternatives, such as the offshore banks, Fry Group or TD Direct Investing in Luxembourg.
    In case you hadn't already worked it out - the entire global financial system is predicated on the assumption that you're an idiot
  • IdleRabbit
    De
    Do not Do It
    If I were somebody wishing to invest I would not talk to DeVere especially in Bangkok, Malta, Spain and Russia. If you are dealing with an office in Australia, USA or Britain that may provide better options.
    De Vres did not realize that 2 of my acconts were linked so when 1 was suspended so was the other.
    The person I dealt with was a Ian Mc Intyre in the Bangkok office. I beleive he is now working in Mailla
    You also need to be aware of the companies they deal with such as Skandia?Old Mutual International. This company have had many problems in the past they used such as Kaupthing Singer& Friedlander, a number of the the other banks they trade with have been udergoing investigation by government agencies.
    I wish you the best.
  • IdleRabbit
    Carefully, check the charges on your account. I was paying about $799.87 every 3 months plus an administration of $177.70. I therefore dumped it. If you are dealing with Skandia/ Old Mutual International and are in debt to them you can reduce your interest on your debt.
    Drop your account at once. Donít worry about exit fees, just bail.
    You will find that some of the staff are helpful and some need some help.
    Talk straight call them when the office has been open for an hour.
    They are people that work there, we are other people so be polite, please.
    I know that the Royal Bank of Scotland has been under investigation in the last couple of years. And if my memory is correct so have Lloyds Bank. Both of these banks they deal with.
    The other option is we have to talk to the police. The police may have little power in the region that your investment is placed. But if in the Isle of Man it may come under the address of the British Isles, so therefore there might be some power that can applied by the British Government/Police
    Remember that Government or the Police donít care about you (you are just a number). They have their lives as you do.
    I hate to be blunt but they are government-cops.
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