Alternative pensions

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  17th Apr 2012 - 11:09 17th Apr 2012
Gareth Harris
e-Development

Alternative pensions

I was speaking to someone a few days ago at a networking event about alternative pensions and he mentioned Harlequin.

No plans to do anything with my pension at the moment, just wondered if anyone has heard of this or has any thoughts on it.

Many thanks

  17th Apr 2012 - 11:33 17th Apr 2012
Phillip Bray
Investment Sense

Hi

Harlequin is an interesting proposition and one I personally would avoid to be honest, hard to say too much in an open forum. Take a look at these to sites, clearly just one side of the story, and draw your own conclusions:

http://www.harlequin-warning.co.uk/ 

http://harlecon.net/#comment-180 

Phil

  17th Apr 2012 - 11:58 17th Apr 2012
Andy Mackellar
Authorised Distribut...

Hi Gareth.. its not everyones cup of tea, but I wholeheartedly recommend Utilty Warehouse for your pension... where else can you , for an hour of your time effectively add around £1,000 to your " pension pot ". Surely worth investigating ?

Feel free to ring

Andy

07957 884 143

  17th Apr 2012 - 15:56 17th Apr 2012
Howard Schaverien
Capital Solutions

There are a number of, I believe, unregulated groups in the network right now touting alternative invetments for 'frozen' pensions etc. Firstly, there's no such thing as a frozen pension. If you're worried about your fund's performance talk to a financial adviser. Secondly, as a regulated adviser the sort of thing they are taling about is usually for investors who really know what they are doing and appreciate the downside risk (ie how much you could lose).

  17th Apr 2012 - 16:59 17th Apr 2012
Phillip Bray
Investment Sense

Frankly the rise of these unregulated brokers scares me and needs some action if unsuspecting investors are not to lose significant amounts of capital.

The old saying, "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is" has never been more apt at the moment as people disenfranchised with pension planning and more traditional investments get lured in by slick sales patter and the words "guaranteed" and "SIPp approved".

If someone offers you a "guaranteed" investment, usually followed by a double digit return be very wary, check out whether they are FSA regulated (if not be very very careful), look at who is providing the guarantees, what happens if the investment provider fails, etc etc.

The words "SIPp approved" really annoy me, these investments are often presented in a way that makes it sound as though there is some authority which "approves" SIPP investments, there isn't, never has been, it is down to each individual SIPP provider to determine whether the investment is allowable under HMRC rules, and just because it still doesn't make it a good idea, ref Arch Cru, Lehman Brothers, Harlequin, Connaught, the list goes on and on.

Over the past year we have been asked to promote some weird and wonderful schemes, from cemetary plots, to car parks in dubai, bamboo, chateaux's in France, non of them have passed our due diligence process.

If you are offered these things be careful.

Rant over!

Phil

  17th Apr 2012 - 20:15 17th Apr 2012
Michelle Dalley
Creating Media
Hello Gareth
Hope you are well?
I can recommend a chat with Brian Croucher who is The Property Expert, he has a portfolio over over 50 buy to let properties and is very experienced in this area. He is a lovely man and I am sure would be happy to have a chat.
See you soon
Michelle
  18th Apr 2012 - 13:58 18th Apr 2012
Brian Croucher
Fast Pass Driving Sc...

hi gareth,

I moved my own personal pension pot out of the stock market 3 years ago. I was fed up with its lack of growth and so I moved it into property. It's done very well since

Please PM me if you'd like some further info. happy to help

>> brian

  18th Apr 2012 - 14:08 18th Apr 2012
Gareth Harris
e-Development

Thank you all for your comments so far, Phil, your rant was particularly informative so rant away!

Gareth

  19th Apr 2012 - 15:13 19th Apr 2012
David Cole
Aquila Financial Ser...
Quote:

Frankly the rise of these unregulated brokers scares me and needs some action if unsuspecting investors are not to lose significant amounts of capital.

The old saying, "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is" has never been more apt at the moment as people disenfranchised with pension planning and more traditional investments get lured in by slick sales patter and the words "guaranteed" and "SIPp approved".

If someone offers you a "guaranteed" investment, usually followed by a double digit return be very wary, check out whether they are FSA regulated (if not be very very careful), look at who is providing the guarantees, what happens if the investment provider fails, etc etc.

The words "SIPp approved" really annoy me, these investments are often presented in a way that makes it sound as though there is some authority which "approves" SIPP investments, there isn't, never has been, it is down to each individual SIPP provider to determine whether the investment is allowable under HMRC rules, and just because it still doesn't make it a good idea, ref Arch Cru, Lehman Brothers, Harlequin, Connaught, the list goes on and on.

Over the past year we have been asked to promote some weird and wonderful schemes, from cemetary plots, to car parks in dubai, bamboo, chateaux's in France, non of them have passed our due diligence process.

If you are offered these things be careful.

Rant over!

Phil

Phil, based on that post your company seems very aptly named.

Direct property investments are not necessarily a 'bad' idea per se, but the wrong choice could be disastrous and it is highly unlikely you will be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if it does go wrong.

 

 

  19th Apr 2012 - 17:27 19th Apr 2012
Tim Cockram
Chetwood Wealth Mana...

Great post. You are spot on Phillip.  I have also become increasingly frustrated over the last year at some of the  irresponsible & dangerous information put out on this forum with regard to pensions generally and particularly claims around some of these unregulated 'alternative' investments.   

A good investment story can be compelling but please exercise caution with anything that appears to good to be true.

  19th Apr 2012 - 21:07 19th Apr 2012
David Lee
Marketing for Lawyers
Quote:

hi gareth,

I moved my own personal pension pot out of the stock market 3 years ago.

>> brian

Hi Brian, I remember you saying that you invested it in Harlequin St Lucia or was that St Vincent? Is it working out alright for you? Nothing like the unhappy investors in the links of Phillip Brays' post I hope. Would be interesting to hear of your own experience.

 

 

 http://www.harlequin-warning.co.uk/

http://harlecon.net/#comment-180 

Philli 

 

  20th Apr 2012 - 06:05 20th Apr 2012
Phillip Bray
Investment Sense

Hi all

Glad the rant was well received, it's a topic I feel passionate about, and I'm glad to see other IFAs feel equally as frustrated by unregulated brokers effectively trying to give financial advice based on little more than a glossy sales brochure.

The sooner the FSA gets a grip on this market the better....I won't hold my breath though!

Phil

  20th Apr 2012 - 07:02 20th Apr 2012
Nigel Gilroy
Nigel Gilroy & Co

Clients of professionals have a right to know what is available. It is the professionals duty to do due diligence on behalf of their client and ensure they understand the risks. Every investment whether regulated or unregulated carries risk, just as in my field every tax strategy no matter how benign. It is the responsible professionals duty to accurately spell out the risks and by all means offer a point of view but not to make decisions for the client.

  20th Apr 2012 - 09:44 20th Apr 2012
Phillip Bray
Investment Sense

Agree 100% Nigel.

We had a client come to us with the brochures for two investments, one cemetary plots and one for storage units, she paid one of our advisers to critique the investments and offer alternatives, which we were happy to do. For the record she didn't invest in either.

The problem I was highlighting is that unregulated sales people are pushing these products in the same way a car salesman might sell a 2nd hand car (apologies to any car salesmen reading this, I'm sure you are lovely!). These sales people are in my experience not highlighting the pros and cons of the investment, which by definition must be unregulated otherwise they couldn't sell it.

Some alternative investments work well, others do not, and IFA can fully appraise each 'opportunity' and also compare with regulated investments, which may or may not be more appropriate.

I guess what I'm saying is always seek independent advice, from a regulated individual, who has the necessary qualifications and experience, from what I have seen there are many people in the 4N network who meet this criteria.

Phil

 

  20th Apr 2012 - 14:28 20th Apr 2012
Tim Cockram
Chetwood Wealth Mana...

Just wondered if those that appear to be positive on these things if you have any comments on the content of the earlier links posted by Phillip Bray?  I have just read them for the first time and although i am sure there are two sides to every story it is not pleasant reading. 

It does worry me that 4N members could get caught up in this type of situation.

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