Be Careful out There

careful - warning signI have had a number of reasons during the last month to talk people out of making highly speculative investments.

I’ve just read an article in Citywire about two men who won’t be going anywhere for a while. They are boiler room fraudsters from Kent who were sentenced at the Old Bailey to 4 years and 8 months each in jail and disqualified from being company directors for 10 years.

Despite first been arrested in 2010 and released on bail, the pair extracted more than £10 million from victims who were sold plots of land in the belief that they would be redeveloped for housing, but which in reality had no planning permission.

The Retired Community is at Risk

James&Tricia photosThese boiler room scams are a real concern for me as they target the retired community. Now, clients of MFP are a pretty astute bunch, but these boiler room telephone sales operations are very adept at convincing people that they have a dead-certain way of making money.

Often the callers have bought a list of investors who have already put money into companies, perhaps from a corrupt stock broker or a data company that sells personal information, and then contact them to offer tempting investment returns.

If you’re ever interested in a suggestion someone else has about investments, why not run it past us first. It would take two minutes over the telephone to run the proposal through my software systems and confirm whether it was genuine. And it may well protect your wealth. I would also like to extend this offer to any members of your family or friends who are thinking of making investments and would like their idea checked out by someone independent.

What Should You Do?

There are three pieces of advice we can offer which will hopefully see you avoid any potential losses:

  • If something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is too good to be true
  • If you don’t understand something then you probably shouldn’t do it – irrespective of how persuasive the nice young man across the desk is. Have you or your adviser really done due diligence on the investment that is being proposed? Can you really tell if that car park investment in Dubai yielding 7.5% is not built on sand?
  • Talk to us.  We’re always here to answer your questions: let us give you a second opinion, it may be worth a lot!
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