Reply by Devere Group

Dear Mrs Diane B,
As a company providing expert independent advice, we take customer satisfaction very seriously and always aim to provide a high-quality service. We are deeply sorry our service did not match your expectations. As you may already be fully aware, the complaint has been fully investigated and found to be without merit. Kindly note it is denied any misleading statements have ever been made and you have been informed of all your legal rights, which unfortunately you have failed to avail yourself of. All our advisers are compliant with regulators requirements in all countries in which they operate and are fully trained. deVere is the most highly regulated business of its type worldwide and prides itself on the quality of advice given and service offered.
Regards
deVere Group
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2.3

Update by user Jul 30, 2021

Just as expected, never answered any of the specific issues raised. Far too busy 'ducking and diving' and concentrating on how big they are, how regulated they are and how well trained they areWithout of course giving any details!!

Original review posted by user Jul 28, 2021

I struggle to know where to start. My husband and I lost an awful lot of money, including my defined benefits pension accrued after over 29 years service in the NHS.

All due to trusting a deVere adviser. It happened in 2014, but we are still learning about the way they practice to this present day. We have complained vigorously but deVere have many misleading statements covered in the small print, or they will just ignore any questions that they dont want to answer

There is no point going into our case in too much detail, (agreeing to UK pension transfers into a QROPS) because deVere will say we have already exhausted their complaint's procedure. So Ill just sum up the problems of doing business with this company.

This is what happened to us, and it could easily happen to you

1.We are ex-pats in a foreign country.

2.We were cold-called by deVere and offered a free review. This is now an offence in the UK because cold-calling is always a tactic used by scammers. Sadly, its still legal in Europe, but the UK advice is still relevant just put the phone down. If only we had known!

3.We believe that deVere advisers only have rudimentary training and are unlikely to have much (if any) background in the financial industry.

If, as deVere say "They are an independent financial consultancy with a truly global presence, priding itself in offering clients a world-class and results-driven service", wouldnt you expect their advisers to be trained to a similar level as demanded by the UK FCA when giving pensions advice?

Especially when British ex-pats are their main focus

(deVere say that our adviser was fully qualified with the CII), but they wont tell us what his qualification was in, let alone what level he had achieved)

When I said I would check him out with the CII, they gave this cheeky little reply N.B. The CII site does say only active members will show up

4.A deVere adviser, like many IFAs in Europe receives no salary whatsoever and has to live off commissions (this practice has been banned in the UK since 2012). This means he/she is more likely to sell you products that give him/her the most commissions, rather than what is best for you. Your pension may ultimately be invested into high-risk funds which puts your investments at risk.

Other payments to deVere, neither explained, nor documented are hidden within 3rd Party annual charges. You are then locked into these charges typically for 8-10 years. (up to 1.25% per annum, even if your fund is losing money)

(deVere say they are not legally obliged to provide details on commissions)

5.The turnover of deVere staff is reported to be high. Our adviser disappeared as soon as the ink on the contract was dry.

At the time, we were just relieved to trace the money to Malta ourselves and find that it was safe, and that our adviser hadnt legged it with our pensions

6.By the end of Year 1 our investments had taken a significant nose dive. At the time deVere described them as paper losses and that we shouldnt worry, but we had so many other concerns by then that we left deVere and found another IFA to manage our investments. Following a formal complaint recently, deVere described the missing money as market losses. They chose to ignore their own hand written illustration on our statements telling us how many £Ks needed to be added back into the fund as a balance to understand the true value of our investments

7.When we made a formal complaint, only selected issues were answered and we quickly exhausted their complaints procedure.

They said:

(Without further evidence we will not be taking this matter further. Should you wish to pursue the complaint you should seek legal advice)

Though we didnt know it at the time, once our pensions had left the UK, we no longer had any UK protections at all. So then begins the long and painful journey for justice, in a foreign country, with different regulations, and often in a foreign language. Maybe (and Im currently investigating) deVere do actually scrape through the legalities abroad.

But a professional and ethical company they are certainly not

8. deVere have lots of small print in their documents and this along with their professional ethics would not be acceptable in the UK. For example, our adviser documented that we were entitled to a tax-free lump sum (this is absolutely untrue for the vast majority of people abroad), but deVere include in the small print that they dont give tax advice! Which is it, because they seem to want it both ways?

9.It also seems that deVere is trying to prevent ex-pats or, more generally the public, of knowing about the losses we and many others have suffered because of them.

There are social media platforms complaining about this company all over the world. If you speak out you may well receive letters from their lawyers threatening court action.

I spoke out on 3 private Facebook Groups concerning deVere mis-selling, contributed to a debate about them in a journal and I also have an anonymised web-site to warn ex-pats of the dangers of transferring their pensions abroad www.ex-patpensionstories.com Real life stories of people losing a lot of money because of deVere and other rogues. I have received 2 cease and desist letters from deVere, and 2 of the FB groups have took the deVere out of their group name to avoid similar action.

10.They have been the subject of investigations in several countries, fined heavily and/or are no longer operating there. Just Google deVere mis-selling and read them for yourself

11.Finally, and as I posted on Pissed Consumer earlier, there have been many investigations into the authenticity of Trustpilot reviews.

Treat them all with suspicion when it comes to choosing an IFA. And that most certainly includes deVere!

User's recommendation: Speak with at least 3 IFA's before signing up to anything and be open about what each is promising. Check out their qualifications. Find out if you really need to transfer your pension at all. It may be safer left where it is.

Product or Service Mentioned: Devere Group Financial Advisor.

Preferred solution: To warn others.

Devere Group Pros: Global scope, Operate worldwide.

Devere Group Cons: Sell products with the most commission for themselves.

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