1. Quals
    June 26, 2018 @ 9:02 am

    Would it not be better to contact the various exam bodies themselves and let them know this is going on? It probably never occurs to anyone to check that claims of exams on profiles may not be true.

    What exams should we be looking for within an individual or organization? Could someone in the financial industry comment, rather than relying on a blog on here to come to a conclusion?


    • Angie
      June 26, 2018 @ 1:57 pm

      You are absolutely right Mr. Rprday (how do you pronounce that?). I would love for someone within the financial services industry (preferably with a pronounceable name). Strange that hundreds haven’t rushed forward…..


  2. John Rogers
    June 26, 2018 @ 9:01 pm

    You would accept the word of someone from the financial services industry Mr.Rprday?
    Perhaps if we labelled the qualified ones as FAs and the unqualified as Sweet FAs it might be easier. I’ll get the branding irons ready.


    • Angie
      June 27, 2018 @ 8:10 am

      A lovely chuckle for a Wednesday morning! I think I might do a blog on that 🙂


  3. Kev Ducky
    June 27, 2018 @ 10:46 am

    You can have the exams but not be registered as this is not a prerequisite(sp?) in Spain. So it is possible that these advisers have attained the qualifications but as they are not UK based feel no need to be on the FCA register.
    Not saying it is right, but there are heavy costs involved when being part of the FCA


    • FCA regd
      July 18, 2018 @ 7:02 am

      There may be costs being FCA regulated, but here is an example of where that cost may be worth it.


      This article is full of mistakes. Being charitable, I would suggest that this is a result of poor knowledge rather than an attempt to mislead.

      “UK-based pensions have specific tax liabilities and obligations such as a 45% lump sum death charge” No, they don’t, there is a bit more to it than that.

      “Under the current rules established in 2006, all types of approved schemes have the same tax treatment as registered pension schemes”. The rules from 2006 removed the approval regime, wrong again.

      Any payment from a pension that is taxed after the death of the pension member over 75 has nothing to do with Inheritance Tax. If that were the case, then the estate would be able to apply the nil-rate band to exempt part of the tax. You are mixing up tax laws here.

      Struggling to find this rule- “If the dependant is 75 years of age or older, lump sums will be taxed at 45%.” Astonishing!

      “A new UK/Spain DTA took effect in 2015. Under this agreement, pension funds are only taxable in the country where the recipient has tax residency. Spanish residents with UK pensions are now only subject to Spanish income tax”. Yet, in the same article;

      “Even if you are not a UK resident, you will be taxed on income that originates in the UK, such as a UK-based pension. UK pension payments are taxed at the individual’s UK marginal tax rate. Currently UK income is taxed up to 45% at the top rate.” Which one is it then?

      The 45% tax rate applies to income over 150,000 pounds a year. What is that, a 5 million pound fund? Lots of expats in Spain have pensions this big.

      I would be interested to see how a transfer to a QROPS protects the pension from Inheritance Tax as Inheritance Tax is not applied to the payment from a pension fund in the UK or from a QROPS “In order to better protect your pension payments from income tax as well as inheritance tax, you may decide to take advantage of QROPS”

      What relevance the comment “No Inheritance Tax in Malta”? This is about residents in Spain, who are probably UK domicile. You then state “Spanish residents are subject to inheritance and gift taxes at rates from 7.65% to 34%”. Do you have no compliance department that checks these blatant irregularities? An FCA regd company will ensure that all public advertising is agreed by the compliance officer first. I realise that is a cost, as Kev refers to, but it ensures compliant advertising to the public that meets set standards.

      “Transferring your UK pension to Malta or Gibraltar will protect your pension from the 45% tax on lump sum payments” You conveniently forgot to mention the circumstances that would lead to that, and a half decent adviser will ensure that would not happen with a UK pension.

      I would recommend that your compliance officer reviews all the QROPS undertaken by residents in Spain to ensure the transfers were made based on the correct information.


  4. Stephen
    June 28, 2018 @ 8:21 am

    I have commented before on twitter (maybe here also, can’t remember) that qualifications are not worth the paper they are written on IF the holder is NOT authorised by the regulator to offer the services they are offering!

    Unauthorised advice regardless of how qualified the person is, bars you from the FCA compensation scheme and Ombudsman services! I discovered this the hard way!

    Trustees and dodgy QROPS in particular, in Mickey Mouse jurisdictions, claim to do Due Diligence on “advisers” (euphemism for scammers) they hand the management of your pension over to, and when you ask what DD was carried out, they only produce the “adviser’s” qualifications and you discover the “adviser” wasn’t regulated or licensed to give that advice. Generally they turn out to be nothing more than insurance salesmen – pond life! They generally have the bare minimum qualification – ie they can spell “investment advice” but this is usually below the minimum a regulator would accept to authorise the provision of investment advice to retail clients.

    Quals are a smokescreen! Regulatory status is a better measure. At least you then have a modicum of reparation when things go wrong.


  5. Patrick Macdonald
    October 19, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

    Hello there.

    Could you kindly alter your information on this page regarding myself. I am an associate member of the CISI. You can test it here https://www.cisi.org/cisiweb2/cisi-website/join-us/cisi-member-directory
    Thank you.
    Patrick Macdonald
    Blacktower Financial Management (International) Ltd


  6. Qrupted
    October 23, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

    Blacktower’s advisor, David Rogers, got me into QROPS. Almost immediately one of the “investments” collapsed, but I was assured it would be only temporary. A few years later, he left to work on his own. Blacktower failed to inform of this, so when David Rogers turned up on my doorstep to find me in shock from the recent death of my wife, I believed everything he said. Without understanding anything, I agreed to move what was left of my pension into some Australian fund. Three weeks later, the fund collapsed and has remained so ever since. Thank you Blacktower and the kind of people you employ.


    • Angie
      October 24, 2018 @ 7:43 am

      Was that the LM fund?


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