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Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

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Old 4th Jan 2017, 06:27   #21 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 14
Excellent thread!


I work in the broad area financial services - have done for 35 years. I have two degrees in financial disciplines and professional qualifications in banking and insurance.


I mention these not to boast but merely to show that industry insiders are also well aware of the appalling value (and advice) given by so-called financial advisers in the Middle East.


Most of these advisers hold no professional qualifications, and even if they do it is rarely more than the equivalent of an A level. They may have been selling double glazing last year, and perhaps time-shares next year - they are salesmen, pure and simple.


They sell insurance policies (disguised as investment products) issued by the likes of Zurich, Generali, Friends Provident, RL360 etc. that are "manufactured" in the Isle of Man or Channel Islands. Interestingly, these products cannot be sold in those jurisdictions (or in the UK generally). This crap is for export only!


An earlier poster said that you shouldn't invest in anything you don't understand - this is wise advice. Remember too that there is nothing wrong with having money in the bank (probably a bank in your home country). An investment property in an area that you know, in a country with a well understood legal system, is also always likely to be sound.


If you want to make plans for retirement, or children's education, or whatever, do by all means get financial advice, but here are my three tips:
1 Use an adviser in your home country. Ask them to show that they are properly authorized/regulated, that they have appropriate (at least degree-level) qualifications, that they are members of an Ombudsman (or complaints-handling) scheme and that they have professional indemnity insurance;
2 Pay them a fee for the advice. Clarify in advance how much the advice will cost and how the cost is calculated. This means you will have to write a personal cheque to them, but it will be cheap in the long-run. Insist that this fee is the only remuneration that they may receive and that they do not accept any commissions (or other soft-dollars e.g. "training" conferences in Las Vegas) from the promoters of the products they recommend; and
3 Watch all other costs like a hawk. Pay particular attention to investment management fees. Pilots are expert at flying planes, not at stock-picking. Pilots should never invest in anything other than passive or index-tracking funds. These kinds of funds are available with investment management fees of 1% per annum (or even less). Stick to these.

Last edited by johnjonesnine; 4th Jan 2017 at 07:09. Reason: grammar/spelling
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 08:46   #22 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: UAE
Age: 97
Posts: 104
DeVere Acuma (PIC) are Insurance Brokers only and are NOT registered or authorised by the DIFC or DFSA here in Dubai.

They hold a license with the Insurance Authority in Dubai to sell insurance not financial investments. You can file a complaint with them through their website www.ia.gov.ae

Here is the surrender charge table for Zurich Vista - based on a 20 year plan - 25 year plan is worse. The percentage value is what THEY keep if you stop payments for a period of time or close the policy. They need to charge this because they gave away all your contribution payments made in the first 18 to 30 months to the salesperson who sold you the product!


Year
1 - 100%
2 - 97%
3 - 92%
4 - 87%
5 - 81%
6 - 76%
7 - 70%
8 - 65%
9 - 60%
10 - 54%
11 - 49%
12 - 43%
13 - 38%
14 - 32%
15 - 27%
16 - 22%
17 - 16%
18 - 11%
19 - 6%
20 - 0%

At the end of year 10 they would keep a fee 162,000 USD assuming a 2500 USD pcm policy and no growth (which is to be expected with this product due to high fees). This is very different to the encashment value in the personal illustration which is not a NET figure.

Due to all the high upfront fees and commission the policy will only break even at year 10, assuming you will then pay to maturity.

Remember if you stop or even reduce your payments (left employment or changed jobs) they will continue to making charges as if you're still making the full payments. This will eventually wipe out your account. After a period of no payments, the account will automatically be surrendered and subject to the above fees anyway.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 12:52   #23 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 14
One further addition to Yorkshire Pudding's post is that these policies are often sold on the basis that you can reduce the monthly contribution at any time. This part is true, but the bit that you are not told (except perhaps in very small print) is that the charges will continue to be calculated on the basis of the original contribution.


So if for example you take out a 20-year plan saving $2000 per month, and subsequently drop down to $1000 per month, the charges will continue to be levied as if you were still saving $2000 per month.


Appalling stuff really.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 03:57   #24 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Dubai
Posts: 82
We should really name & shame the 'advisors' that took advantage of us all.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 08:51   #25 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The Sharp End.
Posts: 368
Erm... All of them. Just pick any DXB based advisor.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 12:36   #26 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: UAE
Age: 97
Posts: 104
The problem is they are only Senior Wealth Advisors in Dubai for 12 months or so, collect as much upfront commission as possible and move on to selling something. You have paid him/her for 20 years consultation fees upfront and they leave to sell luxury boats and the like.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 07:26   #27 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 14
Do also bear in mind that all of these guys have grand titles - at a minimum they are "Senior Wealth Advisers" or Senior Wealth Managers", even though some of them are just straight out of school!


I have never met a "Junior Wealth Manager" or a plain "Wealth Manager".
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 07:44   #28 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: >FL310
Posts: 386
Simple. If I get a random call, about anything, and the first words I hear on answering are along the lines of, "Good morning Mr. Xxxxx, how are you today?".....end of call.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 08:02   #29 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 14
I think the random calls are something they do when things are quiet, they don't have a high success rate, but if you have nothing better to do, or if you are using lowly paid staff....


Most people who fall in to the spiders web that these guys weave meet them initially in a social situation (e.g. at the golf/rugby club etc.) or through school activities.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 12:36   #30 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: London
Posts: 145
Utter scam - I was quite cheesed off to find that my name was given to one of these sharks when I joined Emirates, by a friend! The usual MO is that they sign someone up and then start hassling them for names of friends and colleagues that would also like to avail themselves of the same ripoff services.
Next thing you know some sharp suited DB who can't get a job in a real financial hub is round your place trying to sign you up to Zurich or whatever. I actually fell for it but luckily found a way out and got all my cash back (even plus a little bit of interest..). Luckily I realised what was happening fast - others are not so lucky.
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 08:33   #31 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 14
I have looked over the website of this guy, Andrew Hallam, who is visiting the Gulf region in the coming days to give a series of seminars, mainly at schools, about investments:
https://andrewhallam.com/2016/12/mil...ebruary-march/

As far as I can tell he is the real deal, i.e. gives good solid advice on how to create a low cost investment portfolio, as opposed to being an insurance salesman.

It looks as if he may have a couple of books for sale, which I imagine you can take or leave.

If your kids attend one of the listed schools, and if you are free, it might be worth attending.


Disclaimer: I don't know and have never met Andrew Hallam.
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 18:31   #32 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Blandings
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If you do nothing else, buy his book "Global Expatriates Guide to Investing". It has chapters which specify what you should do with your money depending what country you plan to call home.

Follow his precepts (which essentially cut investment costs to the bone) and you will leave the region at least $250,000 wealthier than if you hire a "professional" to sell you things.

Hallam has nothing to sell but books - he is absolutely unexcelled for straight advice.
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