Managing Director, Private Capital
"I’ve volunteered to be part of the Secretariat Committee for the APPG on Pension Scams because having worked offshore for 25 years I have seen the steady decline of accessible help and qualified advice with often basic communication not being available to UK citizens who just happen to be working overseas, often on short term contracts but also permanently.
UK IFA’s in the main cannot help a none resident UK citizen even when they have a UK pension. At the same time an overseas based IFA is not allowed to give help or guidance to a none UK resident citizen on a UK pension. UK life companies blankly refuse to even allow an overseas IFA information on pension contracts, though of course this is very easily circumvented.
This whole situation has played into the hands of the more unscrupulous ‘’IFA’’ very often not qualified in any jurisdiction but able to exploit this huge void. In addition to this self-created problem it is difficult for the average person to understand just who is and who isn’t qualified to give advice.
It is very clear to me there are UK IFA firms in collusion with overseas ‘’advisors’’ and are then able to transfer huge sums into inappropriate contracts with huge fees and commissions generated.
My firm was established in Hong Kong in 1998. We established a UK AR firm in 2018, we had hoped this would enable us to offer joined up advice and enable us to help clients with a more meaningful approach to quality advice, particularly on pensions because this is a significant area of abuse, though sadly not only pensions. The reality is we cannot, we are faced with much of the same in terms of not being able to offer the level of service we feel is warranted. UK compliance restricts what we are able to offer in terms of advice, both initial and ongoing.
In summary the lack of cohesion and possibly mistrust (more often than not justified) of overseas advisors has created a situation that has been easily exploited for personal gain and at the expense of average UK citizens living and working abroad. This is NOT something I see changing anytime soon."