Before you think about moving you pension look at the Scams. 1st Scam
Some Agents in Thailand have no license to sell or give Advise on pensions.
And Employ people are Head hunters that have no qualifications to give advise or sell pensions to you.
When the Sale agents call say No
My problem started with Acorn partners in Bangkok called and said i could
get much larger Returns on my pension money from Bangkok. So i asked for information. They said Momentum Of Malta and Capital platforms from Singapore Could get me better Returns on my Investment’s.
The Maltese authorities are considering 50 complaints about the Momentum Malta Retirement Trust,
Now the scam begins. Mark Steel Bought 4 Funds that i never ordered or agreed to buy. He invested in High Risk Shares.
2nd Mark Asked me to sign an Agreement for 1% Commission from Trading with Capital Platforms.
So mark Steel Brought High Risk that got him the Highest Commission. I have a Fight with Him over it and he Done Nothing.
So i contacted Momentum who Sorted Fraud No1
Fraud no 2 he Changed the 1% to 10% Fees
Now i am Cashing in my pension i loose 5000 pounds Capital platforms has the Forged Document i agreed to 10%
Now my pension Fund is Sent back to ENGLAND As Momentum lost its License and Acorn got Kicked out of Thailand .
So More problems I pension Group take over my money without my permission.
Now i am landed with More problems They pay 25% Of my pension to the Tax Collectors in England without Claiming my Allowance and getting a proper Tax amount.
So be careful and trust no one with your pension fund.
If you have any information on More Scams with Acorn in Bangkok please advise
How to Avoid Investment Scams in Thailand
Nothing brings out more animosity among expats in Thailand than investing and financial advisors. Independent financial advisors in Thailand have the shameful reputation of being some of the most immoral in the world, and that reputation is often well-deserved. Many expats and Thai people have lost their life savings in what seems to be a never-ending supply of scams and get-rich-quick schemes.
Let’s look at why people fall for investment scams and then figure out how to avoid them by analyzing some of the largest and most recent ones.
Why Do People Fall for Investment Scams?
There’s a saying some expats leave their brains at the airport when they come to Thailand because they engage in behaviors they would never back home. A common example is riding a motorcycle without a helmet, license, or insurance. Others buy property illegally. Many buy a bar or restaurant and expect it to do well even though they have no experience running a business in any country, especially one where they don’t understand the culture. Even more common is giving all your money to your Thai girlfriend or wife. Agreeing to various contracts without fully understanding the conditions is common.
As heart-breaking as those examples are to read about, no one is shocked anymore. They’re so widespread that there is now a culture of victim blaming on internet forums, which isn’t surprising given many of the stories are a result of a series of foolish decisions.
While it seems many expats are their own worst enemy as soon as they enter the country, many investment scams are well-thought-out and sophisticated, so it’s easier to be sympathetic when people lose money. Most people trust financial advisors with their money like they trust doctors with their health. Investing isn’t usually taught in high schools or universities so people rely on professionals to make decisions for them. Money is a private issue that’s not talked about among friends and family. Understandably, most people are unaware of basic investing concepts.
Scammers come across as very professional and convincing with well-polished sales pitches. They even use the intricacies of Thai culture to take advantage of both expats and Thai’s. For example, if you are relying on your Thai partner to translate but you have a lot of pressing questions, your partner may end the conversation as quickly as possible to avoid offending the scammer, which leaves you with incomplete information to make a decision.
It’s no secret many Thai people have trouble saying no and avoid uncomfortable interactions at all costs. Not losing face and always showing respect to someone who is older or higher up on the social ladder can be more important than fully understanding an issue or losing money, and scammers know this. Many Thai people are also susceptible to the herding effect, and will blindly follow the leader to the latest fad or scam.
Before going any further, I have a lot of sympathy for anyone who has been a victim of an investment scam and in particular any of the scams I am going to talk about. I realize it could have dramatically changed your life and it may be impossible to recover from. Hindsight is always 20/20, and I’m not writing this as an ‘I-told-you-so’ piece, but rather to learn from what happened so others are not victims in the future.
International pensions company Momentum has been told to pay compensation by Malta’s Arbiter for Financial Services for its part in losses incurred by clients of the now folded Continental Wealth Management (CWM).
MAFS has concluded that Momentum Pensions Malta, as the trustee and retirement scheme administrator of the CWM schemes, was “partly responsible” for the the losses of clients of CWM – which closed its doors in 2017 – publishing a document that outlined the grievances of the 55 complainants and the rebuttals from Momentum.
Common Investment Scam Tactics
- High return
- Low risk
- Investments in currencies, gold or other metals, commodities, property, new technologies, loans/mortgages, sales of products
- Advertising or cold-calling
- Difficult to understand
- Must invest quickly
- Everyone is doing it
- Paid memberships
- Celebrity endorsements
It’s important to understand there is no free lunch when it comes to investing – the higher the return, the higher your chances are of losing money. In the investment world, the risk-free rate of return is the US government 10-year bond, which is currently yielding about 3%. This means you could invest your money at 3% per year with the US government with zero risk (in theory anyway). If you want a higher return than 3%, you have to take on some risk.
We now know the stock market returns an average of 10% per year, but it doesn’t go up in a straight line. What is the risk of investing in stocks?
To avoid using statistics, a simple way of looking at risk is how much you can lose in any year. The financial crisis of 2008-2009 saw global markets collapse and lose 50-60% of their value. The first 10 years of the 21st century are often called the ‘lost decade’ since US markets returned almost nothing. In 1929, stocks lost almost 90% and took 16 years to recover if dividends were re-invested.
Therefore, investing in the US stock market for a 10% average return per year comes with the risk of losing between half and almost all of your investment in a single year. Any investment that returns higher than 10% comes with the risk of losing all of your money.
We can conclude for any investment in today’s market, you can get 3% per year risk-free, and once the average return rises to 10% per year, you may lose at least half of what you invested. Any return higher than 10% per year should set off alarm bells since you may lose all of your investment at any time.
The difference between a 3% and a 10% return may not seem large, but just fractions of a percent have a huge effect when compounded for decades. Anything even a bit higher than 10% per year comes with an increased risk of losing everything.
I will talk about the other common investment scam tactics a bit later when we look at specific scams in detail. Next, let’s talk about how to protect yourself.
How to Protect Yourself
The easiest and best way not to lose a lot of money investing is to only put a small percentage of your total net worth in any single investment. By spreading your hard-earned money among multiple investments, you can limit your loss if anything happens to a specific company, fund manager, or even country (look at Venezuela).
By diversifying with different asset classes, such as stocks, real estate, and bonds, in developed, emerging, and international markets and re-balancing regularly, it is possible to increase your rate of return per amount of risk. I won’t go into detail here about the efficient frontier, but if you are interested in learning the technical details behind the benefits of diversification, I recommend reading ‘All About Asset Allocation’ by Richard Ferri.
As a rule, I never invest in individual stocks since any company can fail at any time for any reason. I only invest in mutual funds, index funds, and investment trusts, (and a bit of crypto on the side) with no more than 5% of my total assets in any fund. Each fund holds dozens or hundreds of stocks, and while there is some overlap between funds, my exposure to any single company is very small. I have even diversified my investments in Thailand by using more than one asset management company, just in case.
Diversifying is often called the only free lunch with investing, but in reality, the more you diversify the higher your transaction costs and the more time you will spend re-balancing your portfolio. Even though diversifying isn’t perfect, there is no better way to protect yourself against scams or the unexpected.
Let’s take a look at the largest and most recent scams that have affected investors in Thailand to see what we can learn from them.