The ever changing panorama – how do we keep up?

Plenty of news to read currently, some not so good … The loss of life following the German airline going down is extremely distressing; then you have the press going mad over the likes of Jeremy ‘Top Gear’ Clarkson being sacked and even Zayne leaving One Direction – not so interesting or important on the scale of things.

What many of my peers have been commenting on recently is all around the subject of pensions and the pension reforms coming into the UK from April 6.

Pension freedom…

Ever since the UK chancellor announced he was going to allow pension freedom on UK private pensions from April 2015, the papers have run a multitude of articles on what you can spend your money on. Hurrah, some say! I will take my cash and buy the very thing I have always dreamed of!

… or pension nightmare?

Then some started to focus on the fact that there was a nasty sting in the tail for many people who cash in their pension … the tax man. Take your pension pot if you will – but please leave a large chunk in HMRC’s coffers before you close the door.

April 6 is now upon us, and the main message coming out from the powers above is ‘beware’. Why? Because the number of scammers and fraudsters that are after your money will be unrelenting.

Pension freedom provides opportunity but it also increases the danger of being hoodwinked by fraudsters eager to get their hands on your lifetime savings.

Financial regulators have issued what they consider essential fraud prevention advice for retirees ahead of sweeping pension reforms next month.

They should reject cold calls, hang up immediately, don’t get drawn into a conversation – the people calling you are professional cold callers who know how to entice you into their schemes.

The UK FCA highlights the following signs that should put people on the alert:
▪ People offering high-risk investments or scams will often cold call
▪ Fraudsters might make contact unexpectedly about an investment opportunity but pretend they aren’t cold calling you, by referring to a brochure or an email that they have sent you. They might make a cold call, email, or follow up call after you receive a promotional brochure out of the blue.
▪ Another warning signal is if someone applies pressure to invest in a time-limited offer, for example by offering a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date, or by saying that the opportunity is only available for a short period.
▪ A firm might downplay the risks to your money, for example by talking about how you will own actual assets you may sell yourself if the investment doesn’t work as expected, or by using legal jargon to suggest the investment is very safe.
▪ Beware of promises of tempting returns that sound too good to be true, for example by offering much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere.
▪ Fraudsters might call you repeatedly and stay on the phone a long time. They could say that they are only making the offer available to you, or even ask you to not tell anyone else about the opportunity.

The FCA offers a warning list of companies running scams or operating without authorisation.
As always, we cannot state strongly enough how important it is to seek independent, impartial advice before making any decision on your hard-earned pension savings.

Blacktower has been a part of the Algarve community for over 16 years now. We have worked tirelessly to bring pension and investment solutions to the market to help grow and preserve your wealth. We are merely a phone call away to assist you.

Blacktower – changing the face of investing in Portugal.

I am now off to continue reading the many articles available online – I wonder what the Kardashians are up to now…

By Robert Mancera

Robert Mancera is a Director and General Manager of the Blacktower Group | Quinta do Lago : 289 355 685 | Cascais : 214 648 220 | www.blacktowerfm.com | [email protected]. Blacktower Financial Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. The registered office is 89 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1DA Registered in England. Registration No: 3500648. Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited is licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Licence Number 00805B.