- Unregulated financial consultants providing services without a proper licence
- Fears more ex-pats may unwittingly lose their savings in high-risk investments
- ‘Protect yourself – ask all the right questions’ – Woodbrook Group CEO warns
Cyprus’ large expatriate community is continuing to be targeted by several unlicensed and unregulated international financial advisory companies, the CEO of a leading local wealth management company has warned.
Woodbrook Group Chief Executive Michael Doherty spoke out amid fears more expatriates may unwittingly be risking their savings because they are receiving advice from unregulated consultants.
Thousands of ex-pats in Cyprus, mainly British nationals, have been badly burned in the past by unregulated and unlicensed operators who sank their savings and pensions into high-risk investments without their clients’ knowledge. Despite this, several international financial advisory firms on the island are continuing to target expatriates without having a proper license. Many of these companies are regulated by the Cyprus Insurance Company Control Service (ICCS) but are offering services that are not covered by their license, including advising on underlying investments on insurance bonds.
Mr Doherty urged expatriates to be extra-vigilant and to ask their financial consultants some basic but extremely important questions to ensure they are dealing with a fully regulated and compliant company. These include: Do you deal with regulated providers? Where can I find your license details? Where can I find your company’s details on the regulator’s website? What are your qualifications and professional background? What are your company’s qualification requirements? Do you have a complaints policy in place? Can I access your company’s policies and procedures online?
Woodbrook Group is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and by the ICCS. CySEC recently approved the company’s merger with the Felicitas Management Group. The merger is a key part of the Woodbrook Group’s international expansion plan and is the harvest of months of effort to make the merged company a dynamic force in the provision of investment advice and opportunities, with a more diverse and enlarged range of services delivered through the enlarged network.
Woodbrook safeguards clients’ investments through its innovative approach of adopting Model Portfolios, where the combined expert knowledge of a series of trusted fund managers is harnessed to provide a much greater layer of protection to individual investments.
Woodbrook CEO Michael Doherty explained: “All our clients, whether they are large corporate investors or retired teachers, know their hard-earned investments are in safe hands. There are still many unregulated companies operating without the correct licensing, and we have heard many stories involving clients who have not seen or heard from their consultant after they placed their initial investment.
“This is what sets Woodbrook apart from the rest. All our clients are reviewed every three months and are given regular updates on how their investments are performing. We have helped many people who have been let down to get back on their feet. We will only allow our clients to invest in solid and regulated investments that have been agreed by our investment board of qualified financial professionals, accountants and compliance personnel. You will not see our clients in funds that promise ridiculously high returns. When it comes to financial planning it is all about a solid return and managed risk, but more important is managing the downturn. We are living in volatile times, so prudent and trusted management is vital.”
Woodbrook has three offices on the island that are open to anyone who requires fully regulated expert financial advice or assistance. The company is also hosting an open Q&A session for existing and new clients in Paphos on Wednesday, September 5, with a similar event planned for Limassol soon.
Woodbrook Group, regulated by CySEC also has expertise in Investment and Wealth Planning, QROPS, SIPPS, Trust and Trustee Services, Taxation, Accounting, Audit and Legal services, Company Formation and Administration, Cross-Border Structuring, Domiciliation and Corporate Services among many others.