British expats who have lost millions in an offshore investment scandal are demanding official travel guides include a warning about taking unregulated financial advice.
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The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regular travel warnings for expats, tourists and visitors going overseas, but does not alert them to local rules about taking investment advice from IFAs.
The LM Thailand Investor Group has urged the British ambassador in Bangkok and his Australian counterpart to take up the issue with their governments, which they have promised to do.
The protest group started after the collapse of Australian based LM Investment Management in 2013.
The company crashed leaving around 4,500 investors worldwide owed an estimated almost £150 million.
British expat advisors blamed for LMIM losses
More than half of the investors were British expats based around the world.
The Thailand investors blame unregulated financial advisors in Thailand for their losses.
They says some British expats were selling unregulated LMIM products claiming they were licensed and authorised to give investment advice in Thailand.
The expats also suggest that some Guernsey and Isle of Man financial firms were also involved in giving unregulated advice that added credibility to the rogue IFAs in Thailand.
Out of the £150 million lost, more than £20 million is believed to be invested in Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).
Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has already filed criminal charges against one advice firm linked to the scandal, which has denied any wrongdoing.
Regulators put IFAs on LMIM watch-list
Around a dozen other IFA firms are thought to be on a Thai SEC watch-list due to their involvement in offering unregulated investment advice.
Some of the companies say that the SEC told them they did not need a licence for working in Thailand.
Investors who lost money to LMIM have formed a victim group to lobby for action to recover their cash.
The group has more than 700 members.
“Our aim is to find a fair and final resolution for the thousands of investors who have lost money to this scheme,” says the LMIM web site.
“Two years after the firm collapsed, the authorities do not seem to know where a lot of the money has gone and cannot find some of the key people involved.”
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