J.M.writes: In 2007 the deVere Group advised me and my wife to invest in the Premier Property Options Fund and the Premier Diversified Property Fund, described in the sales brochure as 'low volatile investments'. We were advised they would provide an immediate regular income and we invested Â£100,000 from our life savings. The transaction took place in Cyprus, where we have a holiday home. In 2010 the Options Fund was compulsorily redeemed and the Property Fund frozen, with losses of about 60 per cent. We complained and found that deVere in Cyprus comes under a licence issued to deVere in Belgium, but this licence only covers insurance.
The deVere Group describes itself as 'the world's largest independent international financial planning consultancy'. Its London office is licensed by the Financial Services Authority, but you were stuck in the regulatory minefield called 'passporting'.
Leaving aside the particulars of your dispute, I should explain that under an absurd European Union rule, there is a fiction that if a company has a financial services licence in one country, then it deserves a 'passport' to operate in every other country without further vetting. This assumes all regulators are equally efficient and provide equal consumer protection. Total rubbish.
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