Police in Thailand are cracking down on financial advisers who have steered expats into some dodgy investments.
Following complaints from British expats, a number of firms have been raided and several people are under investigation pending trials for allegedly giving bad investment advice.
If you are an expat with a valuable pension fund, you need to trust that the person giving you advice about major investments knows what they are talking about.
The problem is not confined to Thailand.
Expats around the world sometimes do not realise until some years have passed that their investments evaporated into the bank accounts of fraudsters who have long since moved on.
Stopping the flow of money
One of the biggest investments an expat can make is switching their pension from the UK into an offshore QROPS.
Reputable pension providers could easily whisk away the ability of dubious advisers by requiring them to prove they are regulated and licensed to give investment and pension advice to their client.
After all, reputable advisers will have certificate of qualification and a license from a regulator detailing what advice they can give to consumers.
This simple measure would halt dodgy financial adviser immediately.
All the provider has to say is no commission will be paid until satisfactory proof is provided and the expat client should follow suit by not handing over any fees until the IFA gives a copy of their credentials to the expat.
Firms turn a blind eye
In some countries, such as the USA, Australia, the UK and most of Europe, advisers have an obligation to hand over reams of regulatory warnings and information to their clients, so adding a couple more sheets of paper to the pile would not really be a hardship.
Regulated and licensed IFAs with have no problem proving that they are bona fide advisers, but simply requiring financial institutions to stop turning a blind eye to the suitability of the people they do business with could make a big difference to consumers.
Currently, the onus is on expats to check out their advisers, but cutting off the cash would soon sort out the good from the tricksters making a quick buck out of their trusting expat customers.