The sharks using Brexit to prey on DB pensions.


What it’s like offshore (no sharks pictured)


You don’t have to go to Spain or Dubai to get poor advice on managing your retirement finances – try France. In this article, Des Cooney from Axis Consultants in Paris offers British expats  this advice

In the mean-time expats should consider taking back control of their UK pensions whilst the window of opportunity exists. This can be done by transferring to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). Under existing legislation expats can transfer to a QROPS and benefit from the choice of currency along with a much wider range of investment funds on offer from providers.

I hope I don’t have to convince anyone reading this blog of the utter imbecility of these statements. Were this to appear in a British publication,  I would expect local regulators to be beating their path to Axis Consultants door, to find out just how money progresses from a DB plan to an Axis QROPS. Clues can be found on the Axis website

Project fear

All roads lead to QROPs in Axis’ dystopian view of the future. We are told that Brexit is likely to drive UK DB schemes further into deficit as a result of falling gilt yields, yet further into the article, investors are warned that a run on transfer values might cause schemes to freeze their payment.

In this analysis, the triple lock becomes a double lock, the PPF is seen as lacking capacity to absorb fall out from the 5000 schemes in deficit , residential and commercial property lose their lustre and even the banking sector “cools”.

This analysis of the UK economy , its pension schemes and the options available to expats leads inexorably to a Qualifying Overseas Retirement Plan that can give the ex-pat access to any kind of unregulated investment in any type of currency.

There are several blogs produced by Axis, but they all point to the same conclusion, UK DB pensions are unsafe post brexit and the sooner they are shipped off to a Maltese Qrops – the better.

Axis is not the only organisation poisoning pensions with a Brexit toxin, if you want a repeat performance try Belgravia Wealth Management’s advertorial in the same publication.

No need for cold calling

Des Cooney has a PHD – he has it from the International School of Management, an organisation that seems to specialise in giving business people qualifications. You can judge for yourself the validity of this PHD, I can make nothing of this

“The ISM Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is designed for two types of candidates: experienced business executives who would like “to give something back” and assist in the development of future business leaders by becoming effective educators; and innovative teachers and/or researchers determined to make an impact by contributing to the body of knowledge in their chosen disciplines”

But if this PHD allows Des to spout total poppycock to French expats with the authority of a genuine academic. As such, it has a certain commercial value –  though “value” detached from any moral compass.

It can render plausible for instance – this financial nonsense

Annuity – 13 times rule: To secure a consistent level of income payments on the purchase of an annuity, you will need to accumulate an amount approximately equal to 13 times the annual income you would like to have upon retirement. Annuity example: In order to receive €50,000 per year in lifetime income payments from an annuity, you will need a pension fund of €650,000…. to create a pension fund of €650,000 it is necessary to save circa €750 per month at 8% interest for 25 years.

Alternatively, you may prefer to click on our pension calculator to determine the size of your future retirement fund.

On this reassurance, European based ex-pats become click bait to the guile of Axis , who – under the guise of a balanced approach, present QROPS as an obvious answer – provided advice is taken from someone as experienced and competent as Des or his colleague Phil. Loughton

Phil is seen here providing more dire warnings following the collapse of Carillion.

Carillion demise it would seem – is down to the FCA – pick the nuts out of that!

A willing market ?

While Phil and Des criticise the PPF, DB pensions and the FCA from the other side of the channel. it would seem that the solutions to all ex-pat problems lie in Maltese QROPS.

Angie Brooks was in London this week – sorting out the mess that happens when these kind of structures go wrong. We spent an evening discussing how to help those who have invested in now worthless StorePods, get some of their money back. Angie has over 1000 clients looking to get their pensions back after shipping them off to places like Malta. Most of the money comes from UK defined benefit pension schemes.

Ironically we met at an event run by KAS Bank, where we heard how custodians in Holland are offering simple disintermediated solutions for large collective pensions with high security and very little cost.

Sadly, the market for simple transparent disintermediated pension investments is limited in the UK at the moment. I wonder why?

Let’s finish with Belgravia’s explanation of DB and DC transfers,  remember there is no charge for their service “you have nothing to lose”.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, Brexit, pensions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The sharks using Brexit to prey on DB pensions.

  1. Christopher Lean says:

    Utterly astonishing comment about the FCA on the video, clearly has no idea who regulates what!


  2. Gerry Flynn says:

    Just one of many that need exposing and closing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. says:

    But how on earth do we educate people about things like this, Henry? The trouble is, why would they believe you/us versus Axis? OK I do have a PhD that I spent 4 years obtaining, but it is in mechanical engineering so not necessarily relevant! Usually people only find out when it is too late that some people are not trustworthy.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. henry tapper says:

    You ask a good question , one answer is that it’s your money and more fool you if you waste it. I’m not the Regulator. But that’s not a good answer. A good answer is that the Pensions Regulator and the FCA are trying to educate people against scams and are supposed to be issuing people with the tools to spot them. TPAS are the best people to speak to if you think you may be scammed.

    But bottom line is that scammers are more motivated , more agile and cleverer than the Regulators, so force majeure may needs be applied.


  5. Tom Morton says:

    Thank you for continuing to shine a light on scammers.


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