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

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Old 17th Nov 2016, 10:13   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: UAE
Age: 97
Posts: 108
Global Eye / PIC / DeVere / Acuma et al - Zurich Vista UAE

Every so often we see posts referring to the above organisations but no real detailed information on what they are selling to us and how to avoid getting trapped by them. I would like to fill the void and warn others of the experience. Every EK/FZ pilot I know have been contacted by these guys at some stage so I’m sure a lot of folk are sadly already trapped in the scheme (and maybe unaware of its pitfalls).


The fact is these companies along with a host of other one man band salesmen are pushing ONE product and one product only: - Zurich Vista (combined insurance and investment policy). Zurich sounds like a trusted household name so why they trash their brand by pushing this product and using local non-FA qualified (in any country) sale people is beyond me. Anyway, heres how this product works in reality;

———-
Supposedly high return off shore saving plan ideal for the expat pilot. Plans start from 5 years but they will push you into 20 or 25 year plans.

Premium contributions start from 300 USD pm but they will push you to sign up for 2000 USD pm minimum achieve your long term financial goals and receive the maximum bonus on offer.

Your first 18 months of contributions (Initial Contribution Period - ICP) are locked in until close to product maturity after typically 20 years. You will be awarded bonuses against these contributions but this part of your investment is subject to 4% account fees pA for the entire policy term. If you took this product for 25 years, 4 % x 25 years is 100% of all your payments GONE in fees.


So effectively after the ICP your account balance is still ZERO but this is initially masked by the bonuses you have received (which are then eroded over time by the high account fees). Where have all your payments gone? Well apparently equality between the three parties involved… Zurich, the UAE broker and your salesman. These commissions are paid upfront and you are unlikely too see much of your conman for another 12 months (was that one consultation really worth paying him over 12,000 USD?)

12 months in, out of the blue you hear from your "IFA". Great news! Zurich are offering a one time promotion! If you can increase your monthly contributions we can add up to 45% value to your account! If you agree, they have just reset your 18 month ICP again. Again, contributions during this new 18 month period go to the 3 parties and at the end of this 2.5 year period, your redemption charge is still 100% (they keep ALL your money if you close the account, not one dollar back). Everything masked by the bonus they give.

By this stage you might start to dig a little as your balance grows. Why is nobody else talking about this amazing investment opportunity? Finally the penny drops that you are deep in a trap! You consider all your options… cash in and loose all your “investment”, continue as normal or reduce your payments to the minimum amount (300 USD) and ride it out. Unfortunately, they are well ahead of you again. All charges on your account are based on the maximum monthly premium you have ever made (even if this was just for one month) and will be charged for the entire term of your policy, regardless of what you pay in each month. They are charging you on a virtual fund which will eventually also wipe you out.

You can over the term of the policy cash in the funds you have paid in, but there is a huge redemption charge. At year 10 of a 20 year policy, they will keep 54% of your savings!! For someone contributing 2500 USD a month, thats a 162,000 USD fee PLUS all the charges they made over the preceding years.

I have not even touched on the very complex and high charges they make on your account after the ICP period. But in reality after all these deductions, I cannot see how your account can grow more than about 1.2% pA, which, funnily enough, is the figure you need to achieve to get back all of your investment payments you have made over 20 years! If the NET growth after fees is less, you're out of pocket. Why go through all the stress for that? The main point is this will be sold to you as a flexible savings plan, which it certainly is not!

————
I hope this helps any new joiner avoid just one of the many financial pitfalls out here in Dubai. If you get a phone call hang up and block the number! LinkedIN request from anyone in Finance or Investment in the UAE - block them!! a business card - burn it!!! Invest back home if anywhere and not in a seemingly totally unregulated market like the UAE.
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 10:56   #2 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Got burned by them. Pulled the ripcord after five years due to issues every month. Was lucky to get 70% of my total contributions out. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 11:15   #3 (permalink)
 
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It should be a sticky 👍🏻
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 11:17   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMachfivepointfive View Post
Got burned by them. Pulled the ripcord after five years due to issues every month. Was lucky to get 70% of my total contributions out. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!
The simple answer is:

Don't invest in the Middle East. The main reason not to invest in the Middle East, is because it's in the Middle East.

Same your investments for your home country protected by your own financial regulators.
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 12:49   #5 (permalink)
 
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Yorkshire_Pudding,

Thanks for the post.

I'm one of the victims of Zurich as well; my broker seems to Nexus. Had him come to my place and collect the cheques every 6 months; 2000USD per month. After about 10 years the total in the fund is still less than what I put in.

A few months ago I went down to 500USD; should have gone to 300USD straight. Guess what... since that moment the gentleman was all of a sudden not interested to come to my place anymore; a courier was sent to pick up the cheques; tell enough right?

I would like to pull out, but to be honest I'm not sure what would be the best way.

Feel free to PM me if somebody is in a similar case or has more info. Also looking in maybe moving the plan abroad (to ZRH?), however once again not sure what the cost etc... would be involved.

STAY AWAY FROM THEM; put your money under your mattrass and you'll be better off!
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 13:08   #6 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: KUL
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Quote:
A few months ago I went down to 500USD; should have gone to 300USD straight. Guess what... since that moment the gentleman was all of a sudden not interested to come to my place anymore; a courier was sent to pick up the cheques; tell enough right?
Same happened to me. Then I was told that my cheques bounced (they didn't). I had to do all the run around with the banks to proof that they didn't. Then my account went into constant lock down due to my contributions supposedly being a dollar or two short each month. They never were, but once again, I was forced to run around and provide proof. No apology ever and as stated the Acuma gentleman became very uninterested once I reduced the monthly contributions. Eventually I baled. Mr. JN is now very eager to get me to rejoin and recover my losses. Unbelievable.
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 13:08   #7 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Mate of mine who resigned this time last year after 8 years had been involved with this mob.

Same as the above. Complete BS and left with less money than he had started/contributed with.

Be careful.

halas
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 15:04   #8 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Doctor's waiting room
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I signed up for this but stopped paying after the first month, based on advice from a friend back in the UK who is a Chartered Financial Planner. He told me to drop it faster than a hot potato as he felt it is 'ridiculously expensive and restrictive'
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 15:39   #9 (permalink)
 
Join Date: May 2016
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You should be able to smell a rat a mile away. When someone randomly gives you a phone call and it's a guy on the phone and he is sweet talking you like he is your best friend for 10 minutes before delivering the punch line, you ought to know he is after one thing. And that's your money. Don't get greedy. You should get a decent payout from the company when you leave. What more do you want? Put whatever you can save (if you can save) into your account back home every month and be happy with that.
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 16:55   #10 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UAE
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Partly right xhamster. The company payout may well not be very "decent" and certainly won't be enough to finance a comfortable retirement on its own. You have to do more than just pay the minimum contributions into that or you will be sleepwalking into years of misery when you do leave.

People must take responsibility for their own money and not expect sweet talking financial con-men (sorry, advisors) to do it for them. The best piece of financial advice I ever received was never to invest in something I didn't fully understand. People won't look after your money for nothing so where is their cut coming from? How is the money invested? What are the ongoing charges? How do I get my money out? All basic stuff but it does appear some people are quite happy to sign up for a 20 year(!) plan without really understanding it.
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 03:47   #11 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Quote:
The simple answer is:

Don't invest in the Middle East. The main reason not to invest in the Middle East, is because it's in the Middle East.

Same your investments for your home country protected by your own financial regulators.
Not much to do with the Middle East other than these schemes target expats and there are many in the desert. But they go after them all over the world.

Zurich International and Friends Provident… Should You Invest With Them?

That's an article from 2011. And these scams were around for a long time before that.

And this recent one. Unfortunately, education is sometime expensive.

Zurich Vista Policy Holder Asks If He Should Sell It All
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 03:57   #12 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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The best thing you can do is educate yourself. Do yourselves a favour, read the book, Money Maste the Game by Tony Robbins. It will open a few eyes... trust me.
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 21:42   #13 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: not in Dubai anymore
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whenever they called me I made an appointment with them on a friday 7AM, because I know its their day off, when they said its too early I just told them that I meet a competitor at 9AM, I gave them a wrong address, usually in jebel ali so they have to drive for a while, with one guy I actually booked a 2nd appointment, that was too funny because he was a bit upset.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 12:34   #14 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Asia
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Gore Tex, brilliant!
Similar scam from Hansard International, years ago. Peddled by a slime bag named David L. I got in and out within a year.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 20:03   #15 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: UK
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I'm glad I didn't invest as the advice I was getting during a consultation from their child adviser (seriously, I don't think he'd started shaving yet) was clear bollocks. What was most disappointing is that a neighbour had given him my contact details and "recommendation" without asking me first. The rep pestered me for others' details, just like most gardeners, water filter fitters and such do here, who all get quite angry when you refuse. It is appalling that so many of our colleagues feel free to hand out our phone numbers to scammers.
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Old 20th Nov 2016, 01:56   #16 (permalink)
 
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Zurich-Nexus and other mobsters!!!!!

Hi all,
This was my first "investment" in the UAE and was lucky to get my contributions value out after 10 years, that's 0% growth, actually -ve growth if you consider a nominal ROI or if I had invested back in my home country.

The only learning from this was to be very careful with what you do with your money, " A fool and his money is quickly parted" was very true in my case. If there's a higher power, universe , karma whatever watching all this, I want that flashy smiling SOB "advisor" to feel some of the pain we duped "customers" felt.

Luckily, I'm in my home country for the past 12 years and I'm much better off and the govt. takes a keen eye on how companies manage funds and things like commissions, deductions , etc., are well regulated here.

All the best folks and stay away from anything that promises unrealistic returns etc. and don't invest in countries where the legal recourses are not well defined.

masalama
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Old 20th Nov 2016, 08:00   #17 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: spain
Posts: 36
Anyone have any good/bad experience with DeVere? Over a reasonable length of time?
Thanks.
WNP
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Old 20th Nov 2016, 17:57   #18 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The Sharp End.
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Run, keep running, and don't look back. They're one of the worst.
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Old 21st Nov 2016, 02:53   #19 (permalink)
The Cooler King
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Brent Mayhew was the DeVere guy I remember from Oman.

Local blogger covered him a few years back.

http://tinyurl.com/hstxg6r

Last edited by Farrell; 21st Nov 2016 at 07:49.
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Old 21st Nov 2016, 07:02   #20 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Guys
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