Have you ever attended a seminar or seen advertisement talking about give you financial freedom, more time and more money, and the returns are GUARANTEED? Well, here is the truth. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Following the news “Unlicensed property agent faces charges”, my business associate Wilfred Ling has written a letter to Straits Times. Here is his concern.
She allegedly sold foreign properties to people who attended a free property investment seminar and paid two-day investment course. This method is similar to the one used by trainers at investment seminars on foreign exchange and stock trading. Some of these trainers are not qualified and often promise unrealistic returns.
Under the Financial Advisers Act, those giving investment advice are required to be licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The Act does not say investment advice can be given only through face-to-face meetings. In this modern age, investment advice can also be given through other avenues such as social media, blogs and seminars.
It is puzzling that investment advice given through seminars is not regulated when the Act mandates such regulation.
I am glad to see MAS’s reponse in today’s newspaper:
Mr Wilfred Ling correctly pointed out … that under the Financial Advisers Act (FAA), persons providing financial advice on investment products, such as stocks or foreign exchange, will need to be licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
The licensing requirement applies, regardless of the mode or medium through which the financial advice is given.
If financial advice is provided under the guise of educational training, the training provider would be guilty of committing an offence under the FAA if it does not hold a valid licence.
Consumers who sign up for investment seminars should be wary of promises of high returns that seem too good to be true.
However, who is licensed adviser and how consumers can identify the right adviser? In my blog, I list down three simple steps which you can follow.
Step 1, Understand the ABCs of the Financial Advisers Act
The title, Financial Adviser, is always mis-used in the industry and misunderstood by the consumers. On 10 October 2002, the Financial Advisers Act came into effect and all financial institutions are expected to comply with all its requirements from 1 April 2003. There are three types of Financial Advisers,
- Exempted Financial Advisor
- Licensed Financial Advisor and
- Independent Financial Advisor.
Step 2, Know the right questions to ask your “Financial Adviser”
By asking two simple questions before engaging a person to provide financial services, you will be more likely to find a more suitable financial adviser for yourself, and thus reduce the chances of making improper financial decisions.
Step 3, Understand how to Dealing With A Financial Adviser
Part I – Who are Financial Advisers