Included in this edition of our e-newsletter …
No sooner have I noted that the New Year is looking ‘interesting’ that we have some concerns from the Iranian escalation. It is a concern for many reasons though from a financial perspective it is yet another factor facing the investment manager too and I suppose for many clients, hopefully they have the reassurance that they know that is our responsibility and not theirs about which to worry. Indeed, interestingly, my son Felix noted that the latest Fintech financial service offering to hit the market bars access to online valuations when things are down as they have researched psychological data and have found that whilst people like seeing reports when things are going well (though that can make them feel too confident too and over-commit to buying things when they are too expensive) when things look adverse they can sell-out at very much the wrong times. So, that helps protect themselves from doing the wrong thing at the wrong time… we’d like to think that as a reactive investment manager, that because we relate to our clients we are a gentle barrier (or an endorser) of our clients’ thought processes so we help in both scenarios rather than simply ‘executing’ an instruction which could be the worst possible thing for the client at that time.
We don’t often do this in these missives but perhaps we are being dilatory as we have a wide and varied readership! In a nutshell, we may have an opening for a qualified adviser to join our team. This adviser could either come with no existing client connections or with their existing client bank which could equitably be incorporated into the Firm’s processes, etc to start to benefit from our systems and investment management abilities. We have always had a progressive outlook and never wish to rest on our laurels but if you know someone who may be interested, even in relocating to our beautiful North Devon if they live somewhere else in the Country, then please ask them to drop me a line for further details.
FRAUD DRESSED-UP AS LAMB
It was good to see the Serious Fraud Office freezing £12million of property in the LCF Bond fund in May but do the authorities act as quickly as they should?
Recently I have been chatting to a lady who worked for one of the companies in the Organic debacle where 1,600 investors were encouraged to acquire dubious investments in things related to rooms in Hotel developments, owning holiday companies’ bonds to proportional ownership of hotel rooms, etc and all, of course, with the promise of excellent returns.
We have unravelled a colossal amount of material relating to all of this as a consequence of our assimilation of some of the dubious investments acquired by the now defunct Organic Investment Management Plc but the web of connections is vast and yet, at the moment, the Regulator is still slow to act and I am not aware that the Police have become involved to strip-back the intriguing links of companies, directors, staff and so it goes on. I wonder what it will take but, in the meantime, these people continue their misleading promotions and trying to entice innocent and naïve people to transfer-over their pensions or to invest an inheritance or other capital that has come their way. Please DO NOT TOUCH THESE THINGS WITH BARGE POLES.
What is the most disturbing is that at the end of the day, many of the people behind these types of things, from the salesmen to the organisers, dressed-up sometimes as regulated financial advisers, chartered accountants, respectable brokers and company directors are simply fraudsters who have so far not been caught. They are out to scam people and what money they can extract from you is all that interests them. They don’t care how they get it nor the amounts they cream-off from your money and they live an opulent life in fast cars, grand holidays and big houses from having stolen your hard-earned funds. It is not work, it is not ‘earnings’ it is simply deceitfully-gained money peddling duff things to unsuspecting investors.
The plot hasn’t stopped there however, Claims Management companies have joined the fray – the fraudulent advisory firms for some of the scams which have happened have spawned the very claims management companies themselves! So, they took the original money, saw their limited company go bust owing millions after claims started and are now offering to act for investors in securing recompense and taking up to 40% of the compensation when it arrives! There is no shame. There has also been plenty of evidence that the client lists have been sold around other CMCs as well, all for reward on the misfortune of investors who should never have had what was sold to them in the first place.
HAVE YOU LOST YOUR PENSION YOU DIDN’T EVEN REALISE YOU HAD?
Unbelievably it is reckoned that as much as £37billion stands unclaimed from pensions which have become disconnected from their owners. A recent survey suggested as many as one-quarter of interviewees may have lost track of some early pension benefits from an old occupation or personal pension they cannot remember. We have a pension consolidation service which can reconnect you to the true value of your pension arrangements and rather than a mish-mash of different pots, none of which are working together and indeed not effectively managed for your benefit and needs, why not contact us? Some old plans will be suffering very high maintenance charges too so you’d stop all of those – our scheme has no ingoing charge and no maintenance charges at all – just effectively a simple annual management fee just like you are paying them already. Indeed, these old plans may still be paying the original salesman a commission of up to 1%pa based on the value of your account yet you are not receiving any service! https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2020/01/06/missing-pensions-could-cost-savers-37bn/?page=1
THE RESORT GROUP INTERNATIONAL PLC
Gibraltar registered ‘The Resort Group’, where hundreds of thousands of pension holders and other investors have been encouraged to send their money and their pension funds, is having a very hard time and investors could lose all their money. The stories which have been doing the rounds for how funds were accumulated and then sent-through to the development project are legend. The Company was featured on BBC Panorama in 2016 and also Radio 4 and has attracted much criticism and ire from investors over the short number of years it has existed. It is hidden behind a web of official-sounding companies which all lead the same way it seems. Whatever, it is not good and those investors who subscribed considerable money cannot access their funds and most are not covered by any form of compensation scheme either.
I have said before that financial regulation is a great thing but sadly, the excessive concentration on warnings about the risks which investors could face from such excellent mainstream investments as shares and bonds, may inadvertently frighten people away from buying what at the end of the day is best for them. Just because they could lose 10% of their capital for example sounds ‘bad’ so they end-up buying into some sunny hotel scam from which they can never escape and they lose all their money instead, or they believe the Facebook adverts that suggest Ralph Fiennes is endorsing ‘crypto currency’ investments so that £100,000 they have just received from the solicitor winding-up their parent’s estate is clicked-through within seconds and well, that is it – gone for ever and do they contact a respected independent financial adviser? No, because they think there might be a cost involved in some advice and that well, they could end-up with some investments which could fall in value (despite the mutual goal, of course, being that they rise in time).
And so you don’t think that this could happen, that people would be so daft as to send big sums of money to evident clear scammers? But of course, they sound so nice, so plausible, so accommodating and helpful (and they even call to your home sometimes too) – with glossy promises of the sunny returns you will receive, the lack of any risks, platitudes like ‘it’s invested in bricks and mortar property’ and so it goes on. Well it does happen and in the past even respected professional investors have given money to scammers – for example, once-renowned fund manager Nicola Horlick sent millions to Bernard Madoff! She wasn’t alone.
Stock market investments can offer income through the payment of dividends and interest and good opportunities for capital appreciation over the longer term. By this, generally we mean periods in excess of five years, preferably much longer. However, we can never promise you particular returns, especially in the short-term. At any point in time but especially in the short term, your capital could be worth less than the original amount invested as some of the selected holdings may fall in value, regardless of expectations at the time of acquisition. We may also invest in funds that hold overseas securities. The value of these investments may increase or decrease as a result of changes in currency exchange rates. Returns achieved in the past cannot be relied upon to be repeated.
To remind you, why do I send out occasional emails? Because everyone can save money. We have no connection with any companies mentioned and you have to make your own contacts and satisfy your own enquiries. What is in it for us? If we can prove that we are knowledgeable and that our service and advice have good value, then you might contact us for professional financial planning and investment help. You don’t have to do that though and there’s no charge for emails. If simply they save you money, then accept them with our compliments! However, you’ll know where we are!
If you have any queries of any form or indeed any subjects you think I could include, please contact me. I also refer you to our website www.miltonpj.net. We celebrated our thirtieth anniversary in 2015 and have been publishing a well-respected independent column in the local Paper for most of that time and free client newsletters as well.
Do not forget however the usual caveats – this is not ‘advice’ and you are encouraged to seek that before embarking upon any financial route involving investments, etc.
My best wishes
Philip J Milton DipFS CFPCM Chartered MCSI FPFS FCIB
Chartered Wealth Manager
Fellow Of The Personal Finance Society, Fellow Of The Chartered Institute Of Bankers