Friends Provident International Faces A Cold Reception

Last week, I received a phone call at work. 

zurich warning“One of your friends gave me your name and number,” the caller said.  “I can help you save money on taxes.  When would you like to meet?”

 Truth was, he was lying.  

None of my friends gave him my name or contact information.  Instead, he was trolling hundreds of telephone numbers, hoping to hawk a Friends Provident offshore pension.

“You’re making this up,” I laughed.  “None of my friends gave you my number.”

 “Why would I make that up?” he replied, sounding a bit hurt.

 For expatriates, sadly, the financial service industry is largely a business of incomplete disclosure.

And the cold-call is a strategy netting thousands of clients into offshore pension products, such as those provided by Friends Provident.

But the cold call’s days are numbered, at least in Singapore.  A Do Not Call Registry has been established.  If you don’t want pesky marketers to call or text you, register here.

This, on the heels of a decision by the United Arab Emirates in 2011 to ban cold calling completely.

Yes, offshore pension sales will suffer.  And that’s a good thing.  

But education will work more effectively.

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Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School (2nd Ed. Wiley 2017) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat (Wiley 2015). My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions. However, please read the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Comments Policy.

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4 Responses

  1. Karin says:

    Hi Andrew,

    It was just by chance while trying to locate ‘The Art of War’ book in a Vancouver bookstore this past weekend that I noticed your book! What a blessing in disguise.

    My husband and I are in our mid-fifties, emigrated from South Africa to Canada 3 years ago!

    Reading your book was like manna from heaven! All these wasted years!!! We have forever been making brokers and insurance companies wealthier and have very little to show for it.

    Wrt your book I have quite a few questions to ask, as I would like to follow the Global Coach Potato Portfolio. The sooner the better!

    We have been seeing this past month an investment advisor from Edward Jones and have transferred our RSP’s over to them for investment. The rest of our Cash Funds to be transferred to them in the new year!

    Would it at all be possible to email you with some of my questions wrt the Global Coach Potato Portfolio?

    • Hi Karin,

      Edward Jones will charge you far more than you need to be paying. What’s your fee arrangement with them? You may consider an option like this one:

      I’m guessing that Edward Jones will charge you at least 1% per year. You’re better off paying a flat consulting fee to have someone build you a couch potato portfolio. In the case of Edward Jones, I think they would try talking you out of a fully indexed portfolio anyway. They will likely want to make the process look complicated. They may even suggest they can beat the market.



  2. Leon says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Here is my Friends Provident question. When I taught in the UAE, I opened a Friends Provident account back in 2010 or early 2011. Have about 10K in it. Had stopped for about a year or so. Now have to restart putting money back into it. I told them I will put about $250.00 a month. After I realized the type program it was, I was sick to my stomach! But it was too late. A few of us teachers had entered this program thinking it was a “good plan”. Any way, mine is for 10 years. Just hope in the 10 years I can get my money and see something of the investment. Do you know of anybody that lasted the duration and was content with the plan?
    Any suggestions?



  3. Dubaiexpat says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I have read a lot of the posts on your website and must say that I’m really glad I found your site. It has opened up my eyes in more then one regard.

    I was wondering if you could let me know your thoughts on DBS Vickers vs TD International. Other then being in different jurisdictions are their products different? Is there a benefit to one over the other?

    I’m a Swedish citizen who may (but probably won’t) retire in Sweden. Chances are it will be somewhere more exotic but who knows. I’m 39 years old and currently looking at options for my FP money (whatever I can get out) as well as any future investment.

    I’ll be looking for your book the next time I’m in a good book shop. Sounds like a lot of people have enjoyed it.


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