Expat investments in the Philippines

This is something I really need to keep the push on with people as its something that not only you should be aware of but the cause of a lot of people heading back to home countries last year after the collapse of the Legacy group. Now the Ponzi scheme which is how the Legacy group functioned basically as long as people keep investing it can keep paying out as long as there is more coming in than going out. There had been bank warnings of the interest being earned years previous to the collapse but its how people approach you that often left people out of pocket. Firstly a fellow expat and his wife here in Cebu constantly pushed the benefits of the Legacy group and the fact it was insured against failure. The same person has managed to virtually recover all his investment but a lot of others haven’t so far. Point being you give trust to someone who has been here a lot longer than you. You expect them to be more of a mentor and guide you through as your not 100% on anything being a guaranteed thing. But at the same time someone telling me its guaranteed had alarm bells ringing which is why it took me around six months to decide. I returned to the Philippines after working in the UK with P500,000 ready for investment. A few family parties later etc. I had already lost a month at the same time the Legacy group had collapsed. My money will still safely tucked up in my bank and got used for something else instead. But many didn’t have this luxury truth of the matter is when it was sold to me with strong sales technique by David Whittle I was pretty much sold but just wasn’t happy with the way it was being pushed, guaranteed and paperwork already there waiting to be signed. At the same time as my wife was talking with his wife which I later found she had asked if my wife had access to my funds. Also some internal problems David had with another agent also made me more than cautious. So at the end of it all I kept my money but David then moved onto motorcycles investments which was also another venture that quickly collapsed. Now its rice and spices. Generally I don’t like to mention specific people but truth of the matter is that no doubt David made money over the years and has recovered most of his investments if not all from the Legacy and motorcycle investment collapse. The rice business could be a viable one and probably is but the fact of the matter is I myself don’t remember him writing or stating the downsides of the investments and the risks of complete loss. As it was always sold upbeat and aggressively as guaranteed. But I was surprised with the collapse when he went from its all sunny to the injured lamb with a sob story and that he was as much a victim as anyone else. Truth of the matter is his wife was an agent yet he was doing most of the talking. They got a commission which I believe he quoted me at 10% which isn’t bad going for talking people who want to grow money into a “guaranteed” investment.

The rice business is something that I know makes money as April has an uncle in that business. Difference is I can talk everything through with Aprils uncle and get the broad picture of the business that he has been his entire life in. Yet David is quick to talk people to invest in his rice and spice ventures but anyone who was being talked into it did you hear any negative sides to investing? What about if rice was seen as “illegally” being hoarded for price rises? Thing is hoarded or not you need to know all the risks for any investment or at least have a good idea so you can plan ahead.

Now would I sell investments? to be honest I would if I knew it was worth the risk and at the same time I would sell from both sides the good and bad as its YOUR money not mine. I have had a company contact me out of Singapore as regard investments with a proven track record has been expanding since 2004 and already has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai,  Singapore and Tokyo. Difference is they specialise in investments for expats and its run by expats. If your interested in arranging a meeting with their representative (who will be coming from Shanghai in the next few months) I can arrange a meet up as well as some of the paperwork that they have sent over for me to give out. Why am I doing it? because I am also looking to invest my own money and interested in what the company has to offer at the same time I would like to give the opportunity to others to actually have a meeting and discuss things incase you decide to invest yourself. No sales pitch from me as simply I am just the messenger and know little about it myself until he arrives. But if interested to meet him drop me an email at mattwilkie@tropicalpenpals.com

Getting back to the main topic (got side tracked with investments as it popped into my head). Truth of the matter any investments that are going to be sold to you as guaranteed don’t touch or at least get someone else to look into it alongside you so you know where you stand. Generally I do that with most big expenditures use someone else so that that we both have to agree stops me making any high risk decisions. Another major factor is a lot of Expats are here to feed off others. They will put making a few pesos above everything else and even worse there are some that have disappeared with other peoples money overnight. Professional con men as Asia is a playground for them as so many expats look to people they can trust.

2 comments for “Expat investments in the Philippines

  1. Adrian Jones
    June 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    My wife, who comes from Antique, and I used to frequent the Cebu Britclub forum and followed quite closely the rise and fall of both the Legacy and Motorbike investment schemes that were very heavily promoted. When these schemes failed the contrast between the agressive promotion to the self pitying, and frankly in my opinion, blatant lying by the promoter,was all to apparant.

    What sickened me was to read from your post that as a result of these losses, some, or many, expats had to return to their home countries with there dreams shattered. I work offshore and I happen to work alongside an individual who lives in Boracay. He told me more about this particular individual whom you have mentioned and stated that he is nothing more than a leech whose income is partly derived from such schemes. My own feeling is that those who do invest are the ones who should not be investing in the 1st place. They have limited incomes and see these investments as giving them a boost. In loosing their investments, they lost everything.

    There should be more promotion on these forums for preparing and advising people who wish to live in the Philippines and enjoy its benefits. The sad and rather pathetic fact is that there are many expats who come to the Philippines, see another Brit or fellow national, and think that these are their new best buddies. It simply is not the case. It’s every man for himself and if an expat doesn’t have the wherewithal to support himself independantly then he should avoid coming over.

    Having said all that, there are many fine forums that do their very upmost to give the best advice to those looking to emigrate. They should be applauded. But my anger and frustration that is expressed in this post, is directed at the sheer callousness of some individuals who do not consider for one moment, that what they are promoting could very easily lead to the financial ruin of those who can ill afford to lose their investment money. Namely those who have retired. I’d wager a decent bottle of wine that of those that have had to return home, a fair proportion fall into that category.

    • Profile photo of OLDARTICLES
      June 28, 2011 at 1:33 am

      I agree.. the big issue is people trust others and I have said it many a time that there are a lot of conmen in the Philippines as well as people who don’t know what they are doing with investments etc. and its not Filipino’s its expats. Someone selling wonderful investments that as you said turned on the flip of a coin from aggressive promotion to self pity pretty much says it all. Its someone who shouldn’t be trusted as the actions are simply self preservation nothing more or less and I have seen many a person lose everything here down to poor planning or talked into taking a gamble they wouldn’t dream of back in the UK.

      Most people who retire here are not from wealthy backgrounds they have generally worked for everything they have but on top of that they are used to being baby sat on a lot of things that would see people being sued,arrested etc. in the UK but here there are no guidelines being followed or dealt with and its why you see people selling investments with no experience, inside knowledge or giving caution when selling. Same as the housing market promising fantastic returns when in reality its primed for collapse.