Monday, 3 September 2012

Why go to Seminars?

'Free cheese is just a mousetrap'

All of the seminars I see advertised in the Expat Press might be better described as ‘Starting up the Sausage Machine’ It’s time to be aware – the big, impersonal firms call this ‘Seminar Season’.

Let me explain;

The primary purpose for holding the seminar is to maximise on telephone numbers, email and addresses. The more the better! It’s just the start of a predictable process.

The seminar is ‘informative’ but the commencement of a product sale. Imparting knowledge is completely dedicated to the aim of selling a specific product.

You are encouraged, whilst you drink their coffee or eat their cakes to see their ‘local expert’. His title (I’m not sexist but they are) could be all manner of exaggerations like Director, Partner, Regional Manager or Financial Planning Consultant. The only title he won’t have is actually what he really is – Salesman. He’s not an adviser, he doesn’t act as an agent, he represents the company as a salesman.

You complete a Fact Find. Most likely called Financial Planning Questionnaire or something equally pretentious but it comes to the same thing. The salesman will come back to you with a Report, just for you, within two to three weeks.

Remember that the salesman won’t tell you he is giving advice because if it all goes wrong later, somebody else is responsible!

Your Report, the one especially for you, is produced in what can best described as a Factory. It has pre-produced products called reports, which have six or seven changes added to match your circumstances. That’s why you completed the Fact Find, not to give you advice or plan your future requirements but for the Factory to produce your Report.

Most Reports you get will not disclose the commission being paid. This may come as a surprise, as in the UK, mandatory disclosure of commission has existed since 1993. Even if the company is FSA registered, they rarely disclose commission!

The Report may seem very professional but you were part of THEIR PROCESS not YOUR NEEDS.

I regularly recommend advisers and if you want individual financial planning please email me

The advisers I recommend will give you all of the following;
  • An individual and appropriate process to establish your needs and an individual recommendation
  • Always disclose commission and fully explain the charges associated with their advice
  • Give you a NAMED individual who will be your adviser and who is ultimately RESPONSIBLE for the advice given
  • Assess your attitude to investment risk and match that to any advice given
  • Not charge an up front fee

Give me a few brief details of what you seek and I’ll be happy to make the appropriate recommendation to a Professional, Regulated and Qualified Financial Adviser. Just email me

You may wish to look at some other Posts from my Blog

Getting Professional Advice

Getting a Second Opinion (important if you’ve had a ‘Report’)

Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion

If there is just one major element of the 'Seminar' process it is this - FSA regulated firms who REFUSE to openly disclose commissions & charges - it's YOUR cash. Ask up front if they will declare all the commissions, in their Report. 

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain