What We Cannot Measure

What We Cannot Measure

Financial scams are sadly all too common, we cannot measure how much we save clients by helping them to avoid the many thieves, scammers and general loathsome low-lifes that are keen to part you from your money. Yet that is arguably one of the most significant aspects of my work – helping clients to avoid making mistakes, or at the very least, making fewer of them.

I had to admit to living in a bit of bubble within my sector. When I started as an adviser (1991) I thought most of them were crooks and little of my early experience of helping people get out of rubbish rip-off arrangements altered my opinion. Admittedly for a more complex set of reasons, I was acutely aware that when I turned up to events, my car was one of the “worst” in the car park. Others were doing much better… and frankly I thought I knew why.

Skip forward quite a few years and my opinion changed dramatically as a result of being part of the institute of Financial Planning (IFP) who are now the CISI. The people I met there were open, genuinely keen to help each other do a better job for our clients and were adamant that clients must be put first. This is the bubble that I have been in for quite a long time now. I forget, (because I tend not to come across them) that there are still a lot of horrid individuals who would raffle their family.

The Ark Scam

I have followed the Ark scam with some exasperation, these scams impact our regulatory fees (which rise as a result). In many senses they feel like rewarding failure, but I do appreciate that it’s not an easy job to stop every scam. However this morning I saw a tweet from a decent-minded adviser I know about a post from another. It is the very shocking and desperately disappointing story of Sue Flood’s experience with Ark and her pension. She has been failed miserably.

I would encourage you to read the item on Henry Tapper’s blog page. It is a verbatim script of her account of things from a meeting yesterday. I wish it were very different.

All I can say is that it is about time that some justice was provided to these 500 or so victims. The authorities responsible should wake up and get on with resolutions and bringing the crooks into the safety of prison.

It is this sort of stuff that we help clients avoid. There is a lot of it out there. Frankly Bitcoin is another and most of the rubbish that is covered in the press is decidedly bad for your wealth. Sue did just about as much as anyone could be reasonably expected to do, she checked out her adviser and everything seemed fine. As an industry (we still are) we have collectively failed many, many people like this.

Here is the link to the article.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

What We Cannot Measure2023-12-01T12:18:06+00:00

Help Stop the Pension Scam

Help Stop the Pension Scam

Can I ask you to help me to stop the pension scam? The new pension freedoms that the previous Chancellor introduced are largely welcome; however as ever, freedom brings responsibility. The main challenge of the new freedoms is that the money in your pension has to last… or if not, you will certainly need other resources. Making your money last a little longer than you is essentially what financial planning is all about.

Daylight Robbery

The days of holding a bank up at gun point are largely gone, cyber crime or financial fraud are the obvious choices for any career thief. Your pension fund will hopefully be one of your largest financial assets and thus something of a honeypot.

movie poster the Sting starring Newman and Redford

Sounds familiar?

We live in a time of very low interest rates and low investment returns, so it is often tempting to look for alternatives to reality, which in practice is anything that offers high guaranteed returns or perhaps even high returns. Invariably these are non-mainstream investments but invariably sound familiar – car parks, investment property, storage rental, film funding, hotels and casinos. Nothing you haven’t heard of… but that’s part of the deception.

If you aren’t really that familiar with investing, it can all seem rather like the same thing – its just risky stuff right? Wrong. So anyone can be tempted into giving other forms of investing a go – particularly if you believe that pensions are “rubbish” or that bankers are all evil. The perfect storm for thieves to play upon understandable concerns and a lack of knowledge.

Arming themselves with a telephone or email, they lure investors into moving their pension (generally) in exchange for high returns. They use classic cold calling pressure techniques or simply wear you down with emails and “examples” of how it works.

Many have lost their entire pensions through this.

Hence another adviser (Darren Cooke) has started a petition to ban cold calling and I’m supporting it. We are not naïve enough to believe that a ban stops thieves, but a petition can certainly inform debate at Government policy making level and hopefully result in some changes which make it far harder for people to be ripped off, it seems that relying on the regulator to do this is delusional. So can I ask you to join me in supporting the campaign.

Click here to sign the petition.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Help Stop the Pension Scam2023-12-01T12:19:04+00:00

Empty Box – Part 2

Empty Box – part 2

As an update to the post “Pension Scams – The Empty Box” in December, you may wish to catch up with the Radio 4 show “You and Yours” of Wednesday 20th January 2016 which exposes the “problems” with investments into storage pods by Store First.

As if things were not bad enough, it transpires that many of the pods aren’t useable due to the shape, design and construction of the “pod”. Not only that but, the cost of renting a pod is largely made up of compulsory hugely inflated insurance, the rental income is a very small proportion of the overall cost and it is only this that “investors” are entitled to…. And according to the programme, many of the investors are even receiving this. The “occupancy rate” was also brought into question with the suggestion that rather than being 80% let, the real figures are closer to 14%.

Have a listen for yourself. It’s all rather sad and whilst I really do understand that many people are fed up with the volatility of the stock market, or loathe investment people, any sort of alternative investment must always be properly understood. This isn’t even a case of jumping from a frying pan into a fire, but more like not coping with the heat of a kitchen and deciding to burn the house down

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Empty Box – Part 22023-12-01T12:19:32+00:00
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