Rogue financial advisers are swarming around British expats in Cyprus despite endless warnings by media and authorities alike.
The majority of UK expats living in Cyprus are retirees or owners of small businesses looking to invest their pension pots and savings to get a reasonable return.
Unregistered, unregulated independent financial advisers in the mediterranean island are tempting expats with promises of high returns from risky investments. However, since the firms are operating without a licence, expats risk losing everything.
Rogue IFAs usually target expats that have just arrived and have no investment experience, offering high-risk investments that they claim is safe.
Some advisers claim they are registered with the Cyprus Insurance Company Control Service, but do not mention the financial products they are pushing are not covered by their licenses. Insurance bonds are one example, sold as investments with no information being giving on the underlying funds contained, nor on their usurious charges and huge penalties for pulling out before the agreed term.
The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission is the island's main regulator. The CySec web site list warnings about unregulated advice firms.
Basic and important questions need to be asked of any financial adviser who attempts to sell a product, with the first being a sight of the license, if any. If it's not forthcoming for any reason, the regulator say it is best to walk away.