British and Irish expatriates living in Cyprus are being targeted by several unlicensed and unregulated international financial advisory companies, the CEO of an international wealth management company has warned.
Woodbrook Group’s chief executive, Michael Doherty, spoke out today amid fears more expatriates may unwittingly be risking their savings because they are receiving advice from unregulated consultants.
Thousands of expats in Cyprus 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.
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.