In 2011, I wrote the first edition of my book, Millionaire Teacher. It hit #1 on Amazon USA in four book categories: stock market investing, business and money, personal finance and Budgeting and Money Management. In 2017, I followed up with a second edition of that book.
But if I announced that I would speak about investing in the United States, I wouldn’t see the kinds of crowds that I see in the Middle East. Late in January 2018, for example, I gave a free, public evening talk at Dubai College. Their auditorium can house 700 people. Brandy Scott announced the talk on Dubai Eye radio (you can access my interview with Brandy, Malcolm and Richard here). Within hours, registration was fully booked.
There’s a reason for that. British offshore pension sellers have targeted expats for years. They sell the world’s worst financial products. The fees, associated with these products, would make even Donald Trump blush. I have yet to see a structured savings plan, sold in Middle East, which has beaten inflation over the past 10 years. Expats, in the Middle East, know this all too well.
Those that sell these products could talk the fur off a dog. But their time has come. Expats are no longer the easy pickings they once were. Not long ago, a financial salesman could easily sell a product charging annual fees of 9 percent per year for the first 18 months of contributions. He (it’s almost always a man) could earn a commission of $27,000, just for convincing an expat to invest $2000 a month. He would share that money with his brokerage. But his take would still be huge.
Who ultimately pays that commission? The investor does, of course.
And the investor can’t sell before a pre-determined date, without paying a massive penalty. If they tried to sell within one year, they would lose every penny they invested. If they tried to sell after two years, they would lose about 93 percent of their “pension.”
When I spoke on the radio, an offshore pension seller called in. He said something like this: “You’re scaring people. Nobody charges 9 percent per year on the first 18 months of contributions or 4 percent per year after that.”
But I likely scared him (and his ilk) more than anybody else.
I responded: “A man fails to understand something if his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”
Below, I’ve pasted details from one of the most commonly sold schemes in the Middle East. My sources are below it.
Friends Provident Premier Advance
- “– An initial charge of 1.5% is taken each quarter [6% per year] from yourinitial unit holding over the term of your plan.”
- “– An annual fund administration charge of 1.2% of the plan value [taken every year]”
- “– Annual management charges and other fund expensesare imposed by the underlying fund manager [1.7% – 2.5% per year]”
- “Please note that there are fees for mirror funds that would in turn affect the return on your policy [1% per year]”
- 9% to 10.7% per year on the money added over the first 18 months
- 9% to 4.7% per year on money added after the first 18 months
- “If you make a lump sum payment, a one-off initial charge of 7% will be taken”
- Mirror Charge information: http://factsheets.financialexpress.net/fpil/FZ46.pdf
- Friends Provident Premium Advance Product Guide: https://www.fpinternational.com/products/premier-advance.jsp
Not long ago, these products were easy to sell. But expats are catching on. When new expats arrive, caring colleagues are increasingly taking them under their wings. They’re teaching them all about the snakes in salesmen’s suits.
On February 4th 2018, I’ll be wrapping up my latest round of Middle East talks. I’ll be speaking to a fully booked crowd of 200 expats at Abu Dhabi’s Raha International School. This comes on the back of a talk I gave to the international school bursars of COBIS, a few days ago.
Last week, I also spoke at Abu Dhabi’s Brighton College, the Universal American School in Dubai and the British International School in Abu Dhabi.
But I’m no longer the only voice. Expats are teaching expats. Momentum is building. Simplyfi has also built a massive group. If you live in the Middle East, it’s a group worth joining.
Expats are saying no to dodgy investment products, the likes of which we don’t see in more regulated financial environments.
Yes, salespeople will continue to sell investment garbage in areas like the Middle East, Africa and Asia. But their time is coming to an end. We are beating exploitation through education. As a community of expats, we’re sharing what we know. We’re telling our stories. We’re opening up.
It’s the best thing for our financial future, and for the expats that follow us.
My new book, Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Overseas, explains how to simply invest on your own. It also shows how to hire an ethical guide who won’t rip you off. If you’re interested in having me speak to your business, please contact me at millionaireteacherspeaksATgmail.com. So far, my July schedule is free (with the exception of a U.S.-based Teachers Pay Teachers conference mid-way through the month).
If 15 or more of your expat colleagues would like a copy of Millionaire Expat, please let me know. I can arrange a 40 percent discount directly from the publisher. Just send me an email at the address above.
On February 6th I’ll be speaking at the International School in Amsterdam. The next day, my wife and I will fly to Mexico to spend some time with my parents.
Starting February 26th, I’ll be speaking at the Kellet School in Hong Kong; the International School of Guangzhou, China; the International Shekou School in Shenzhen; followed by the International School of Zug and Lucern (Switzerland).
But my heart is with the expats who live in the Middle East. You have been exploited for years – perhaps more than any other group.
I’m just so thrilled that you’re starting to fight back.