The Russia-Singapore Business Forum

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The Russia-Singapore Business Forum has confirmed its position as the only two-way gateway for Russia/CIS and Singapore/Asia businesses in the South-East Asia

The Russia-Singapore Business Forum was initiated eight years ago as a unique business-to-business platform that links the Russian political and business elite with Singapore. The Forum held in September this year and attended by some 750 delegates, confirmed that RSBF is Asia’s only leading business and networking platform where Russian/CIS businessmen meet with their colleagues from Asia.

Beside the scale, one of the main features of the forum was the high level of its participants, including ministers and heads of governmental agencies, owners and presidents of the largest national and international corporations. The importance of the forum both to Russia and Singapore was emphasised by the fact that Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam chose RSBF as a platform to announce the government’s plans to ease visa requirements for Russian citizens.

Other dignitaries and top businessmen who spoke at the forum included Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan; Hanspeter Brunner, CEO, BSI Bank Asia and Thomas Zilliacus, Executive Chairman & CEO, Youzoo Corporation.

Selection_033RSBF 2013 was unique in many ways. Firstly, a new session was held which focused on ASEAN as a new emerging markets region. Weak growth in the developed countries, especially Europe, and an anticipated slowdown in China, are driving businesses to look at the rising opportunities in the fast developing markets of ASEAN. At the same time, ASEAN, with approximately 600 million people, is also striving to be a single integrated market by 2015, significantly boosting its competitiveness as a region and its attractiveness to investors. The participants of RSBF explored the unique challenges in tapping the ASEAN potential.

Another new introduction to RSBF 2013 was the first-of-its-kind ‘Innovation/Technology Roundtable’. Its goal was to thrust novel technology ideas by the smartest start-ups to the Roundtable of business elites and experts who are in a position to transform these further into successful partnerships and bring the ideas to market.

A third interesting segment of the RSBF 2013 was another dimension so often overlooked, namely, Russian entrepreneurs making headway in the IT world. Among the panellists were such well known Russian entrepreneurs as Serguei BELOUSSOV, CEO & Co-founder, Acronis and Senior Partner, Runa Capital; George GENS, President, LANIT Group, Oleg TINKOV Chairman of the Board, Tinkoff Credit Systems.

Commenting on RSBF 2013, Mr Michael Tay, Executive Director of RSBF and former Singapore Ambassador to Russia said, “True to this year’s theme of Connecting Markets, Linking Businesses, RSBF 2013 set a tone different from past forums. In the past, we had tried to reset the image of the Russian/CIS economic potential to Asian and foreign businessmen, and vice versa. RSBF 2013 showed that we had moved to a fundamentally different level of business-making. There was a palpable sense of energy among businessmen to get the business going, to get deals made. One clear direction was greater collaboration in technology and innovation. Another was to explore and link up with new emerging and fast developing markets in Asia.”

“Looking ahead, the DNA of RSBF must continue to be business-driven, constantly evolving and reinventing itself as a true platform for connecting businesses and markets,” he said.

About Russia-Singapore Business Forum

The Russia-Singapore Business Forum (RSBF), initiated in 2006, is an annual B-to-B forum that takes place in Singapore. The RSBF Organising Council is led by Executive Director, Mr. Michael Tay, former Singapore Ambassador to Russia, and resides within the Singapore Business Federation. The RSBF’s Strategic Partner is Sberbank, the largest bank in Eastern Europe. The RSBF has the support of key Singapore Government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

For more information, visit the website: www.rsbf.org.sg

Weekend in Russia with no visa?

Selection_034The Russian government has issued draft amendments to the law ‘On Entering and Departing from the Russian Federation’ which will allow foreign citizens the right to stay in Russia without a visa for up to 72 hours.

Selection_035The same rules are currently applicable to passengers of cruise liners and ferry boats. These new rules will also be valid for visitors arriving by plane.

However, these new simplified procedures do not cover all visitors.

To be able to visit Russia for up to 72 hours without a visa, you will have to:

  1. Enter Russia through one of 11 airports, including Moscow airports: Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo, and the main airports in such cities as Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Sochi, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Kaliningrad and Vladivostok.
  2. Be a citizen of the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Greece, Germany, Spain, France, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, the US and several other countries, numbering around 20 in total.
  3. Fly to Russia on a Russian airline.
  4. Have a hotel booking and medical insurance.

Under the Russian government’s plan, the new rules will increase tourism by up to 60% (to 3.2 million people a year) and bring the Russian economy an extra 3.6-5.4 billion rubles a year. Russian airlines will also profit from bringing more tourists to Russia looking to enjoy a short no-visa 72-hour stay.

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28.1 million foreigners visited the country in 2012, 2.1 million of them as tourists. Whilst these figures may seem quite high, many feel they are far too low for a country of Russia’s size and stature, as they are on a par with much smaller countries such as Laos and Costa Rica.

According to the current draft, the amendment to the law should enter force on June 1, 2014.

Valentina Khlavich, Managing Partner. B.L. business and legal solutions, [email protected]

IWC Art Auction

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IWC Art AuctionShowing real creativity in fund raising for its charities, the International Women’s Club held its first ever art auction in October, at the Hungarian Cultural Centre. Eleven pieces of art were auctioned, all but one of which achieved its starting bid price.

Katalin Diossi, the IWC charities co-chair displayed amazing flair as 
an auctioneer.  She confidently and charmingly encouraged the bidding to ever higher levels. The IWC will have to watch that she doesn’t get hijacked by a professional auction house.

Some pieces spiraled upwards for three or more times the starting price. The auction had all the tension and pressures of a London art auction in miniature. Tense bidding battles between the lady
in red and the gentleman in the third row led to gasps and rounds of applauds. All was in good faith however, as everyone knew that the higher the bidding goes, the more the very real people who the IWC’s charities help, will benefit from the 121,500 roubles which was raised at the auction.

Hats off to the artists who contributed a painting each to the auction, and to the IWC for sheer creativity.

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Golf in the Land of Smiles

Selection_062This article was written by Mike Bridge editor of Thai Golf News.

 

 

 

 

Destination diversity, value for money, warm weather and the vast choice of golf courses located throughout the country are key factors attracting the large numbers of visitors coming to play golf in Thailand.

With over 230 courses Thailand is now regarded as the World’s 3rd destination for golf vacations and if the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) projections are accurate, the country’s golf courses can expect to welcome over 750,000 foreign golf tourists in 2013.

From the beach resorts in the south, to the mountainous surroundings in the North, or the bustling cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, there are golf courses to suit every preference and for all standards.

All are located in highly accessible areas with fast and convenient door-to-door transfers possible within several hours’ travel time. This provides you the visitor with a vast choice for planning Thailand golf holidays.

Most arrive first into Bangkok, which alone boasts of 40 courses all within an hour of the capital city. Perhaps the most well-known course here is the Thai Country Club, a member’s only course which in the past hosted the Jonnie Walker Championship. New kid on the block and gaining a lot of praise from golf editors is Riverdale Golf Club with 18 testing holes. If you are busy in meetings or maybe shopping during the day then there are a number of excellent night courses including Summit Windmill and Panya Indra which stay open until midnight.

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In the North of Thailand there are some championship golf courses around Chiang Mai which is an hour’s flight from Bangkok. Alpine Chiang Mai recently had Ernie Els competing in an Asian Tour event and for pure thrills do try the Chiang Mai Highland’s course with spectacular mountain side fairways. Definitely exciting challengers played in some wonderful countryside.

Two and half hours’ drive south west of Bangkok is the seaside town of Hua Hin, summer home to the current Royal family. If you like your more traditional golf layout, try the country’s oldest course here, The Royal Hua Hin where you tee off close to the towns old fashioned railway. In recent years the town has increased the number of local course to eleven, with the notable ‘must play courses’ being Black Mountain and Banyan Golf Resorts. Also worth trying are Majestic Golf Club and Palm Hills all within easy drive for Hua Hin.

On the other side of the Gulf of Thailand 90 minutes south of Bangkok is Pattaya with over 23 courses. In 2011 they were voted ‘Top Golf Destination in Asia’, and here you can enjoy some great courses designed by the likes of Nicklaus, Faldo, Player and Dye. St Andrews 2000 has 18 holes including two par 6’s, one the World’s longest hole at just under 900 yards. Siam Country Club’s Old Course hosts the annual LPGA Tour and they also have Siam Plantation a spectacular 27 hole club. Early in 2014 they will open Waterside a new 18 holes designed by IMG which will make them the biggest golf complex in the region.

With several direct international flights golf tourism is flourishing on the Island of Phuket which has six top quality courses. Blue Canyon which has seen the likes of Tiger and Greg Norman in the past conquer its Canyon course is perhaps the must play course here. However do try Loch Palm and its sister course Red Mountain which is carved out of an old disused tin mine.

Overall golf in Thailand is most acceptable for all players with most clubs welcoming non- members seven days a week. Some have sports days during the week where the rates are lower. Average cost of a green fee is around Baht2, 000 and expect to pay baht350 for your caddy fee and another Baht600 for a golf cart.

By the way Caddies are compulsory at all clubs and you should expect to tip them around Baht 300-500 after they have looked after you for 18 holes. They will give you the yardage, read the greens and hopefully lower your score. As the country’s top golfer Thongchai Jaidee says. ‘Caddies are the best kept secret in the land of smiles, Thailand’. I hope you will come to Thailand soon to enjoy the culture, cuisine and many superb golf courses.

For more information check out www.thaigolf-news.com

 

Thai Holes to Remember…

With over 230 golf courses Thailand is fast becoming THE golf vacation destination and will soon overtake Spain as the number two country for overseas golfers after the USA.

As editor of Thai Golf News, I am fortunate to play on a lot of courses, and although I have a long way to go have managed to savour over 70 to date.

Therefore in this issue instead of concentrating on just one golf course report, I wanted to reflect on some of my personal holes that bring back memories of why it is such fun to play our golf in Thailand.

Thailand offers all types of courses from the flat waste lands of Bangkok to the highlands of Chiang Mai, or the Seaside links of Phuket to the Mountains of Hua Hin.

Apart from some excellent locations, the designers have been careful to blend into their surroundings and to create some great holes to test our skills.

I am sure you will say how come he left that hole out, or that golf course is not featured. Yes I have to admit this is my choice over the past three years of living in Thailand, but do feel free to email your favourite hole and why you think it stands out.

Selection_064This course is always popular, especially as it is near to the centre of Bangkok. It’s a fair course with several par 3’s to sort out your accuracy. This 18th hole is a great finishing hole as it allows you to give it all from the tee with a fairly wide fairway. But watch out for those cleverly placed bunkers on both sides of the fairway at around 270 yards. If you are a bigger hitter then you will probably want to go for the green in two. It may look simple but, how many balls end up in the water on the right of the green. Course management is definitely required to conquer this finishing par five. This course is close to the airport so is ideal for an early round after landing or a final 18 before check in.

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One of the most photographed holes in the Kingdom. Literally carved out of a disused mine shaft you can almost use your putter as it is a straight drop down onto a fairly small green. I used my wedge and the ball almost creates its own crater as it hits the green below. Known as the clubs signature hole, I am sure the caddies there will tell you most players sneak in a second shot just for the hell of it. The course overall is certainly very well maintained and has that ‘WOW’ factor that makes playing a round a real treat.

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Water comes into play on both the right hand side of the fairway plus the surrounding island green. Various elevations means you need to place you drive carefully along the middle of the fairway. Maybe you want to try you second shot onto the green, but beware of a fairly tight green with water on three sides. I am sure the golf ball fishermen must have a field day here, as I am sure many balls end up in the drink. Maybe better to play up. A truly top class 18 hole Championship course 7,100 yard par 72 masterpiece designed by Ron Garl from the USA. Members only officially but some tour operators can arrange a tee time for you.

Selection_067Known as the Ravine, this short par 3 reminds me a bit of the 17th at Red Mountain. When you see it for the first time from the tee box you almost expect to loose your ball. There is a small stream running across the front of the green, and trees and bushes await your ball at the back of the relatively small green, which is surrounded by a ravine. Samui is a very pretty course with great views, some blind shots and very tight fairways. Suggest you use their driving range first to get your eye in unless you plan to make the golf ball manufactures rich. Good idea to pre book here in high season as with most top courses.
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The new kid on the block, designed and owned by the same team that brought you Red Mountain in Phuket. The original plot of land was flat, however the course has elevations and gullies covering up to 30 metres in height. They are some very long par 4’s to test the longest hitters. The 18th drops down to a valley surrounded by small shrubs. Keep away from the the bunkers on the right of the fairway and on the left and front of the raised tee. Definitely a hole to beware if you want to avoid some expensive bogeys. The ‘in’ course for locals and the 6th par five is also spectacular too.

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Once you have taken in the amazing views and have enjoyed playing in one of the most peaceful golf courses in the Kingdom, the highlands likes to finish with a bang. This long par five starts downhill with a few cleverly place trees to avoid. If you are a budding John Daly then try for the green in two, but beware of the stream across the valley below. Better hit your second shot just over the water and then use a 9 iron up onto the raised tee. A great hole to par.

 

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Club selection here is vital depending on the wind. The green is raised with a large lake on the right and numerous mounds to get over at the front. A fair size bunker awaits you on the left hand side of the green. This is a fairly intimidating hole to find so early in the round, so try not to add too much to your card. Everything about the TCC smacks of class, from the immaculate turn out caddies to the five star restaurant and club house. Part of the Peninsula Group so one not to miss. Again Members only so book through a golf tour operator.

Laem Chabang Golf Club Pattaya. Valley Course 9 holes.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus all 27 holes are impressive however I would have to say that the experience of playing the nine holes here known simply as The Valley is well worth the trip to Pattaya. Sure you can experience the more famous neighbour Siam Country Club’s Old Course, home to the Honda LPGA however the combination of water, undulating greens and beautiful flora remind you of a round at Augusta without the penalties!

 

Tipping Thai Caddies After Your Round

I remember the first time I arrived in Thailand, we were nearing the end of our round of golf and all of us did not know really how much are delightful caddies were expecting us to tip them. Nobody had pre-warned us when we checked in!!!

So here are a few tips on what to do.

You are actual very fortunate here in Thailand, as virtually all golf courses have professionally trained caddies to assist golfers of all standards. Back home, the only time most of us will see a caddy is on TV watching a PGA tournament.

It is normally compulsory to book a caddy as part of the golf package including green fee, golf cart and caddy, although some courses do allow walking.

Thai caddies are in the majority female from Northern Thailand, or in some cases from Cambodia as well. This is their full time job, which they enjoy and take very seriously. In fact it is not unusual to find both mothers and daughters carrying your bag.

They will have a good knowledge of their course, being able to provide golfers with the accurate yardage along the fairways and will be able to read those tricky undulating greens like a paperback novel. They will also assist in selecting your clubs, cleaning them, and will drive the golf cart or pull your golf trolley.

It is a courtesy to offer them a cold drink, especially on hot days, and often in return they will happily fan you to cool you down as you wait at the tee boxes.

Don’t be intimidated by your caddy, as I am sure she has seen a lot worse before you came along. In fact many will happily help and advice you and all with a big Thai smile…well it is known as the Land of the Smiles.

Many caddies are encouraged by their golf clubs to actually play golf in their spare time, so have a better understanding of the rules of the game. They even have their own annual golf tournament known as the Amazing Thailand Singha Caddy Championship.

www.caddychampionship.com

 

The Moscow Village Fête

Moscow Village FeteThe Moscow Village Fête was held again for the ninth year in a row on Saturday 14th September. Curious Russians peering over the wall of the late 19th century Anglican Church on Voznesensky Pereulok in Moscow were bemused to see kids running around with painted faces, food and drink stalls, the resident chaplain, Reverend Dr. Canon Simon Stephens, releasing a bunch of coloured balloons into the autumn sky and adults and children alike enjoying themselves playing silly games, which only the British can invent.

Completed in 1884, St. Andrew’s Church was taken over by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and confiscated by the Soviet Government in 1919. Selection_001The Church tower was used as a machine-gun post during the October Revolution of 1917 and a number of provisional government supporters were shot in the churchyard. Until 1964 when it became a recording studio for the State record company Melodiya, the church and parsonage served as a hostel and partly to accommodate diplomats from Finland 
and Estonia. Following the visit of
Queen Elizabeth II in 1994 the
church was officially allowed to
return to its original purpose
as a place of religious
worship, although, with
the exception of the 
parsonage, property 
rights have not been 
reassigned and remain
 with the Russian State.

Proceeds from the 
fête were donated to
 the church restoration 
fund and the Taganka Childrens Fund in
 equal proportions.
 This tradition is now well established and will certainly continue next year.

Moscow Free Speakers Event

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Many people are terrified of public speaking, but thousands of people have overcome their fears and developed this valuable skill at one of thousands of Toastmasters International club around the world.

In Moscow, we are lucky to have such an organization which is open to all English speakers to improve
not only their communication ability, but also their leadership. Moscow Free Speakers is the oldest English language Toastmaster club in Russia still in existence, founded by Mr Robert Meyerson in 1989. The two earlier Toastmaster clubs he founded at MGU and MGIMO only lasted a few years, but his third attempt with Moscow Free Speakers Club has thrived to the present day.

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Founded during a time when freedom of speech
 did not exist in Moscow, the club continues to follow the internationally recognized Toastmaster educational programmes originally developed by Dr Ralph Smedley in 1924. The current membership is a wonderful assortment of diverse people who all share a passion
for becoming better public speakers and helping each other improve. Anyone who has spent time in Russia will know the value of a good drinking toast, but the club’s programme helps individuals to improve all aspects of interpersonal communication.

The public speaking educational programme dovetails with the leadership programme as all speakers are evaluated and provided with constructive criticism to help them improve. Even the evaluators themselves receive feedback about the quality of their evaluations, so no one is above the court of public opinion! The structured part of the meeting allows members to present prepared projects which focus on specific aspects of public speaking such as gestures, motivation, or vocal variety.

The more relaxed ‘table topics’ session encourages members and guests to think quickly and give short, impromptu speeches on chosen topics.

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Most people are not natural public-speakers, but those willing to take the risks are eventually rewarded with more confidence and the respect of their listeners. Skills learnt here can be applied to work and personal life regardless of the industry or country, hence Toastmaster International clubs can be found in most cities around the world. Life as an expat in Moscow can sometimes leave you speechless, but there is always plenty of material for speeches: don’t keep it all to yourself.

The club also organizes special events and speech contests to put members in healthy competition
to perform at a higher level. Moscow Expat Life’s photographer was lucky enough to visit the club on its Halloween themed meeting, which forced speakers and evaluators to add some spookiness to their performances.

The friendly atmosphere of the club and the opportunity to speak freely has survived three decades. Moscow Free Speakers Club welcomes intrepid guests and curious newcomers to visit
a meeting, and even participate in the tradition
if they wish. Meetings are held on alternating Thursday nights at 7pm in the Gorniy Institute near Oktyaborskaya metro station. More information can be found on their website: http://moscowfreespeakers.ru/

Special thanks to Henry Norman for assisting with the club’s history

Papa’s Place – Pictures from the Re-opening

Papa’s, originally at Maysnitskaya 22, has re-launched, with 1600 sq. metres of space. The first Papa’s was one of Moscow’s first night clubs and broke all the taboos in the 1990s. The new venue features live music 4 days a week, with a contemporary American menu and interior. Papa’s is now one of the biggest bars in Moscow, and as some of the pictures show, the scenery is stunning…

PLACE: PAPA’S PLACE, Nikolskaya 10,

+7 495 755-95-54, 6pm-6am

 

EVENT: REOPENING

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The StandarD – Pictures from the Grand Opening

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The StandarD is an up-to-date café-bar with a thoroughly American feel to it in Kitai Gorod, although once inside, you could be in Manhatten. Large black and white pictures of American icons adorn the walls. The bar people smile and speak English. Food is good and not too expensive. The sound system is fantastic and there are live bands most nights. Check: http://thestandardmoscow.ru/ for updated program.

A few comments from the many visitors at the opening night:

“Hi, I’m Matt. Everyone and their dog is here, it’s like The Tardis, they have managed to get half of Moscow into the bar.”

“My name’s Buda, I came from Hungary specially for the opening. As far as I know, this place has the best burger in town. I really like it here tonight the only problem is that all the seats are reserved. The beer is lovely, I like it.”

“I’m Gus, life is a gas, come and enjoy it.” Peter from Germany

“I’m Sunil, if I find a place that looks after you properly, I always come back.”

PLACE: The StandarD, Bolshoi Zlatoustinsky Pereulok 9, +7 495 623 6459, 11am-11pm.

EVENT: GRAND OPENING

The Truth About IFA€™s

Selection_050Are you one of the many expats who are regularly bombarded with phone calls from apparent Independent Financial Advisers (IFA’s) telling you about the opportunities which abound in the market today?

There are an abundance of such groups who are often found in areas like Moscow and other Eastern European countries where there are no regulations governing offshore financial advice. Their lack of integrity very often leads to a situation which is open to abuse by some of the more unethical firms who act unscrupulously and endeavour to separate you from your hard earned cash.

We know that boiler rooms exist here. A boiler room is an operation, set up to entice expats into making investments which are far from ethical. Sometimes they don’€™t even exist. They can take several forms but typically will eventually leave your investment valueless. If you make the recommended investment it will ultimately lose all its value just before it is due to mature and just when it was looking good according to the trickster who allured you in. Unfortunately for us all, such operations exist in Russia and cast their evil net far and wide regionally and to many western countries.

There are genuine operators here in Moscow who run legitimate consultancy businesses and who introduce expats to opportunities in the offshore markets which, when correctly managed, result in successful investing. There are no direct regulations in Russia, which strictly control offshore investing, although there are related enforceable rules concerning certain types of securities and how they are distributed. However, this remains a grey area, the rules being very different from places such as the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore, where strict regulatory regimes are imposed for the good of both the clients and advisers. These are designed to make sure the investor is protected even in an offshore environment.

The result of under-regulation leaves the situation open to abuse from unethical individuals. The financial services industry has thus created pockets of unwanted operators who rely heavily on the ability of persuasive salespersons. Such operators will employ individuals to cold call you and be extremely convincing that they are the biggest and best in the world of offshore investments. If you are approached by one of these how can you be sure they are not from the ghetto of ex plumbers, telephone and door to door gas salesmen from the western world who last week converted to become “professional financial advisers” when they stepped off the plane at Domodedovo

Even if you do find an adviser who is half decent, how can you be sure he is actually managing your financial products in such a way that you will be the major beneficiary and not him? This is often the case. Advisers are able to work the system such that they make more money as time goes on by manipulating you and the products you are introduced to for their own benefit.

There are a number of different examples where this is common and if you look at it logically from your own layman’s perspective it looks as though the adviser is actually doing you a favour.

If you are faced with this type of situation ask your adviser why he wants to make a change and then turn this on its head and try to imagine how he will benefit from this as well. If the answer is genuinely that he is doing this to assist you he will be able to address any question, explaining properly the reasons and what may happen further along in time. One key question is what will this cost you? If you are paying any kind of penalty to disengage from a current investment and this is not being fully rebated in some way then there’s a good chance he has his own interests at heart and not yours.

For example John invested USD100,000 in 2007, his investment suffered in 2008 when the recession and market declines occurred. He was naturally frustrated at the apparent snail’s pace with which he was clawing back his losses. Another adviser came along and suggested he withdrew a large chunk of the money from this investment and invest it into a structured savings plan. John is told to ‘€˜qualify’€™ for a ‘€˜special bonus’€™ he needs to set the account up for a 20 year term and that he must maintain contributions for the first 18 months. In return he will receive a bonus from the savings plan company of 25% of the first 18 regular payments he puts into the plan. After the 18 month period the payments can cease and the bonus is still valid. The adviser concludes that John will make a guaranteed 25% on contributions he places in the new plan.

Wow, this sounds really great. The adviser is an experienced salesman, but new to the financial services industry, which John is unaware of. John is persuaded to go ahead. Many will say ‘this sounds too good to be true and therefore it is’€™. That is not the case but there are some things which John is unaware of.

First he will be paying charges on the amount of his original investment of USD100,000 and thus any withdrawal will not actually cost anything but continuing charges will be levied on the original USD100,000 even when it is depleted further by withdrawals to pay into the new plan. Thus he will withdraw funds from his USD100,000 and still be paying charges on them.

Second the savings plan, like all products of this type, should be taken to maturity to make full use of the investment. Thus if you cancel after the first 18 months or contractual fixed period, stopping payments, the charges for the ongoing period will still be levied on amounts already paid in. At the end of the 20 year term the investment value will be very low indeed. Any attempt to cancel the contract prior to the completion of 20 years will result in a very heavy penalty.

In summary, our so called adviser has managed to make income by changing John from one product to another and John will eventually be the loser, even though he thinks the adviser is great. This is just one example in isolation. There are many ways which advisers use to manipulate investors to their own gain.

So, how do you sort the genuine adviser from the unethical operator? This is not easy for the man on the street. Many expats who have a genuine desire for assistance with their affairs shy away from the industry as a whole because of the bad reputation it has developed.

We can see the intent of regulation introductions in some countries. These are designed primarily to protect the investor but also to protect the industry and allow genuine professionals to operate effectively, providing authentic expert services, to the exclusion of the cowboy operators.

There are some ways in which you will recognise an authentic adviser. We will continue our discussion on this point next month. Meanwhile your feedback and opinions about what you look for in a genuine professional adviser would be very much appreciated.

Questions to the author can be directed to PFS International on +7 495 9677648 or email to [email protected]