Navigating the world of foreign investment can be complex and daunting. This is particularly true if you are planning on moving into the property and beginning a new life, as there is a tremendous amount of planning and organisation that goes into relocating overseas. If you are looking to invest in property in St Lucia, I strongly recommend that you seek the services of an expat financial advisor. |
However, it is important to be aware that there are “sharks” who look to capitalise on expats and the complexities of investing in foreign property. This could cost you a small fortune and expose you to high-risk investments. To separate the sharks from the reputable advisors, follow these steps and you will receive the support and guidance that you need to make a sound investment.
Qualifications & Experience
Firstly, you should ask to see any prospective advisor’s qualifications and experience. This will include obtaining a certificate of their qualifications (and ensuring they are valid), plus asking for references. I do not recommend trusting the online reviews you find on their website, as these could easily be fabricated. Instead, ask for references from previous clients and then contact them directly.
Contact the Financial Conduct Authority
If the advisor claims to have UK experience, you should check with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA will be able to check their records for the details of the advisor and list their previous employers. You should then contact any previous employers to get their opinion on the advisor’s services.
Check Their Professional Body
Independent advisors should be registered with a professional body, which will ensure that they have met the minimum entry qualifications plus follow a code of conduct. Research the professional body, enquire about the membership levels and ask to see a record of the advisor’s experience and qualifications.
Fees & Contracts
Finally, I encourage you to ask for their fees and contracts. Whilst some advisors will have a rate for their advice, some may charge a percentage of the amount to be invested in the property in St Lucia. If they are charging the latter, be wary and ask for a breakdown of the charges; often, hidden yet hefty charges will be included. Any report that they produce for you ought to be on headed paper with details of their professional body or organisation.
These steps will help you to avoid sharks, and instead find an honest and reputable financial advisor. Unfortunately, I have encountered expats who have not taken the time to research their advisor and consequently ended up paying huge commissions. Not just this, but you may also be exposed to high-risk investments which could negatively affect your life on the island.
Foreign investment can be incredibly complex, particularly if you plan on relocating as well. If you are looking to invest in property in St Lucia, give me a call today and I can provide further guidance on finding the right advisor for your needs.
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His indepth local knowledge and wealth of experience in property in St Lucia are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.
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