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  • Writer's pictureBespoke Financial Advice

The Puppet Master: Revealing the Truth about Your Trusted Advisor

In the world of finance, finding a trusted advisor is crucial for making informed decisions and securing your financial future. However, not all advisors are what they seem. Some may employ deceptive tactics to manipulate and exploit unsuspecting individuals. In this article, we will delve into the dark side of the financial industry and expose the truth behind these cunning advisors.

Unmasking the Master Deceiver

The Art of Manipulation

Many salespeople excel at asking the right questions and listening attentively. They go the extra mile to build a personal connection, remembering important details about your life, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Gifts, dinners, and extravagant outings are frequently part of this charm offensive. However, behind this facade of charisma lies a darker truth. Some salespeople possess psychopathic traits, including superficial charm, an inflated sense of self-worth, pathological lying, cunning, and a lack of remorse.

One area where deception thrives is in offshore investment schemes. These schemes often promise lucrative returns and tax advantages, enticing expats looking to grow their wealth. The salespeople behind these schemes employ psychological manipulation techniques to convince you to part with your hard-earned money. They rarely disclose the full truth about the products they are selling, leaving unsuspecting investors vulnerable to financial loss.

The Culprits Behind the Schemes

Who are the individuals responsible for selling these deceptive schemes? There are two main categories: those with a lack of financial education and psychopaths or Machiavellians. The former group may not fully understand the products they are selling, while the latter group is well aware of the potential harm these schemes can cause but prioritises their own financial gains over their clients’ well-being.

The High Cost of Deception

Sky-High Investment Fees

One of the most damaging aspects of offshore investment schemes is the exorbitant fees investors are charged. Many sales representatives push offshore pensions from life companies without fully understanding the impact these fees have on their expat clients. These fees typically include annual management costs, establishment costs, hidden mutual fund management fees, and additional “mirror fund” charges. As a result, expats end up paying some of the highest investment fees in the world.

The Devastating Effect of Fees

The impact of these fees on long-term investments is staggering. Consider a one-time investment of $10,000. If the investment earns 8% per year before fees, it would result in a profit of $11,609 over 10 years. However, with fees of 4% per year, the profit would plummet to just $4,840 over the same period. This significant difference highlights the detrimental effect high fees can have on an investment’s growth potential.

Investment Schemes: A Viral Threat

The Illusion of High Returns

Investing in offshore pensions, also known as investment-linked assurance schemes (ILASs), is akin to walking up a downward escalator. These schemes promise high tax-free returns, luring expats who are looking to capitalise on the tax advantages of investing offshore. However, what many fail to realise is that there are alternative investment options available that do not come with the hefty price tag and inflexibility of ILASs.

The Truth Behind ILASs

ILASs often consist of portfolios of actively managed mutual funds coupled with an insurance component. While the sales pitch may make them appear attractive, the reality is that neither the investment nor the insurance are typically worth the cost. Expats are paying excessive fees for subpar investment performance and unnecessary insurance coverage.

A Cost-Effective Alternative

Thankfully, there are alternatives to ILASs that offer significantly lower fees. By opting for investment options with fees as low as 0.40 percent, expats can save a substantial amount of money. The difference between paying 4 percent and paying 0.40 percent in annual fees can have a significant impact on long-term financial goals. It’s essential to align your investment strategy with your desired lifestyle in retirement.

Protect Yourself: Identifying the Deceptive Advisor

Conduct Thorough Research

To protect yourself from falling victim to deceptive advisors, it is crucial to conduct thorough research. Scrutinise the credentials and qualifications of any potential advisor, ensuring they possess the necessary expertise and education to guide you in making informed financial decisions. Look for transparency and honesty in their approach.

Request Full Disclosure

Don’t be afraid to ask for full disclosure regarding fees and potential conflicts of interest. A reputable advisor will be transparent about the fees associated with their services and disclose any potential conflicts that may arise from recommending specific investment products. Remember, it’s your money, and you have the right to know where it’s going.

Seek Recommendations

Seek recommendations from trusted sources, such as friends, family, or colleagues who have had positive experiences with financial advisors. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights and help you identify trustworthy professionals who have a track record of providing reliable advice.

Verify Credentials

Verify the credentials and certifications of any potential advisor. Look for designations such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which indicate a commitment to professional standards and ongoing education. These credentials can serve as a reliable indicator of an advisor’s expertise and ethical conduct.


In the complex world of finance, it is crucial to remain vigilant and sceptical of advisors who may be masquerading as trustworthy professionals. By educating yourself and staying informed, you can protect your financial well-being and make sound investment decisions. Remember, a truly reliable advisor will prioritise your interests above all else and provide transparent, unbiased guidance to help you achieve your financial goals.

Get in touch!

If you want to know more about offshore investments or believe you might have been the victim of a pathological liar, please contact us.

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