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Jersey Consumer Council

Consumer News

Looking to make an investment? Taking Financial Advice?

July 10, 2018 Banking, Budget No Comments

Remember it’s your money.

Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions or complain.

Don’t be too trusting, be wary of promises of a high rate of return with apparently little or no risk. All investments carry some degree of risk. Greater returns mean greater risk i.e. potential to lose some or all of the money you have invested.

  1. Double check everything, and don’t feel pressured into making an investment. Ensure you are given enough time to read through the product documentation and consider your options.
  2. Ask the independent financial adviser IFA [who should be registered with the Jersey Financial Services Commission {JFSC}] to explain in your language about their investment options and the risks. Licensed advisers are required to fully assess your attitude to risk, capacity for loss and ensure solutions are suitable. Ask for evidence of these key points.
  3. Do not sign any investment/product agreements that you do not fully understand. Always read the small print and any supplementary documentation. There may be hidden terms and conditions. Take the paperwork away and read it in your own time. If you don’t understand something ask for help.
  4. Consider spreading the risk between investments; Avoid ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ – splitting your money between a few investments could help to reduce potential losses
  5. Know exactly what you want; duration of investment, do you need access to any of the money during the lifetime of the investment. How could this be changed by an unexpected change in your circumstances? Are there any penalties for withdrawing your money early?
  6.  Ask the IFA to explain how their recommendations meet your purpose; if what they say doesn’t match what they have provided in writing, be wary.
  7. Challenge the information, ask lots of questions. Make sure you fully understand the proposed investment and how much you could potentially lose. Only invest if you are completely informed, know the risks and how returns are generated.
  8. Do your research. Is the IFA licenced by the JFSC? What’s their feedback like – can anyone recommend them? Always research the person and the company selling you the investment, even if you know them personally and believe them to be trustworthy. You may have developed a good relationship but regard this as a business transaction and always ask yourself whether they are acting in your best interests – not their own
  9. Beware of putting money into “can’t miss”, “once in a lifetime” and “guaranteed return” opportunities or investments in which your adviser claims to have already invested their own money.
  10. Is there a choice of investments on offer or is your adviser just proposing a single product? And be wary if you are you being invited to cash in an existing investment such as your pension.
  11. Consider what compensation may or may not be available should the investment fail or the company selling it become insolvent. Jersey does not have an investor compensation scheme. What would a total loss scenario mean for you?
  12. Never be rushed; always be aware of pushy sales tactics. A professional adviser should never pressure you into making an immediate decision. If you are not given enough time, steer clear.
  13. Reflect, research and take advice. Consider talking to family or a third-party expert before you proceed. Perhaps have someone present when you meet with your adviser, particularly if you do not consider yourself an experienced investor
  14. Do not be fooled by cleverly worded marketing material on websites and in brochures – it could be misleading.
  15. When considering ‘alternative investments’ (e.g. wine, coins, stamps) rather than traditional financial services products, always do your research and understand the associated risks. These products, and usually the companies that sell or advise on them, are not regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission
  16. If you do invest, make sure you monitor the investment and ask for regular updates

You are the client – ask questions and make sure you get the answers so you are fully comfortable with your decision; how long will you be tied in for? Could you lose all your money?


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