by Sam Kelly DipPFS, EFA, BA (Hons)
Looking back, it’s obvious I was fairly naïve when I first moved to Spain in terms of just how the financial services industry works here. I have been an investor since my teens, more than 20 years now, and have successfully managed investment portfolios for many years. When I made the decision to move permanently to Spain, I had no idea the journey it would take me on… beyond the 40 hour drive itself!
I arrived here following a job offer from a large global financial advisory firm, well-known here in Spain, with what I perceived to be a pretty good reputation. The truth is, within my first week I was both dumbstruck and horrified by the practises I saw. The entire advice model wasn’t built around client needs and outcomes, transparency and expertise, it was built around how much undisclosed commission could be squeezed out of the client, whether through the funds themselves, or an investment bond – i.e., a Spanish Compliant Investment Bond, or an International Bond held under a QROPs or SIPP.
I immediately realised I could not remain at this company, so quickly began speaking with the other major firms here in Spain. To my amazement I found that every firm I spoke with had exactly the same approach. However they dressed it up, and however well they presented their recommendations, these plans were basically all the same. A bond with a tie-in and a limited fund choice, both of which paid enormous commissions to the adviser whilst the client ultimately saw sub-optimal returns.
This wasn’t the type of career I wanted. The reality is, I was already very comfortable in terms of my personal finances, and I hadn’t moved to Spain for some ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme. I was here because my family have always had a close connection with Spain, my mother has lived here for decades, and every time I got off the plane, when that warm air hit me, it made me feel like I was already home. I was here to build a life and build a client base who would want to remain with me for many years, not discover a few years down the line that I had ripped them off!
Sadly though, that is the case for so many of you living here, and you probably don’t even realise it yet. Spain has had no law requiring fee and commission disclosure like we had in the UK, and many firms deliberately targeted our communities for this very reason. It would not be uncommon to see a client who had been tied in for 5, 8 or 10 years to an investment bond, QROPs, even an International SIPP, who had signed paperwork that generated as much as 13% commission for their adviser on the very first day – a combination of bond and fund commissions.
With no other company out there that I wanted to join, Chorus Financial was founded. Chorus was built off a vision of ethical, high quality, transparent advice. We have worked tirelessly for many years now to educate our communities here in Spain, and on two occasions we have won major European awards for those efforts.
Sitting here today writing this article, I have just come off a Skype call with a client in Mallorca, completed investment instruction for a couple in Marbella and had some clients from Javea pop in for a review. It fills me with so much pride today that Chorus has flourished to be one of the most trusted and successful financial advice companies in Spain, with clients all across the mainland, the Balearics, the Canaries, and many now scattered around the World.
Our vision and promise continues to be that we will advise you to the best of our abilities, always promising to put you first, with full fee transparency, value and the best investment portfolios available to you. Regardless of where you live in Spain you too can benefit from having a Chorus Financial adviser. Whether you’re looking for a new pension or investment recommendation, or have an existing plan, perhaps a QROPs, SIPP or Spanish Investment Bond from companies like SEB, Quilter (formally OMI), Lombard International or others, Chorus can help you.
To discover how Chorus can transform your financial future email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, call +34 965 641 163, or visit www.chorusfinancial.es for more information. If you’re a qualified financial adviser looking to work for a different kind of financial advisory firm, you can contact us too!