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Sunken treasure and truffle trees: FOS reveals quirkiest investment complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service has revealed the top five alternative investments it has received complaints about in the past five years.

It says that while these investments could either be regulated or unregulated depending on the specific circumstances, they are likely to be considered as non-traditional.

Unregulated investments have been in the spotlight for much of this year due to two high profile court cases involving Berkeley Burke and Carey Pensions where the FCA has submitted evidence.

Previously Money Marketing has reported on unregulated investments such as Australian wheat, care homes and burial plots.

Some of the more unusual pension investments that consumers have complained about to the ombudsman service include:

  • Truffle trees – funds buy a number of trees whose roots are sprayed with a chemical to encourage the growth of truffles between the tree roots.
  • Sunken treasure – shares are bought in a business that traces sunken shipwrecks in the hope of recovering treasure.
  • Cambodian bio-fuels – plots of land in Cambodia were bought so that Jatropha trees could be grown to produce bio-fuels.
  • Burial plots –purchasing burial plots, with a promised return on investment when the plot is later sold.
  • Whiskey – an investment in maturing and appreciating whiskey, with a promised return on investment when the whiskey is later sold.

A spokeswoman for FOS says: “We’ve seen complaints where consumers are advised to transfer their pension fund into Sipps so that they can invest in unusual, sometimes high-risk schemes. Consumers need to make sure they are not rushed into making decisions about investments.

“Take time to get an expert view about your pension, either from a regulated financial adviser, or a free official source of information. If an investment sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Nicholas Pleasure 20th December 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I sense that this is the FOS attempting a jolly Christmas story. It’s not so amusing when you end up paying the FSCS for this nonsense.

  2. I wonder why it is only the products that get (rightly) criticised. What about the idiots who put their money there. (Clients and advisers alike).

    I well remember years ago whan I was the ‘financial agony aunt’ for the Daily Mirror and had to field qustions from the public. One in particular stands out:

    Q. “Dear Sir, why am I getting less interest on my savings this year than last?”

    A. Dear Madam, Because interest rates have gone down by 2%.

    It proves Katz’s Theorem No. 5:

    Where money is concerned, all things being equal, stupidity remains constant.

    • Q. “Dear Sir, why am I getting less interest on my savings this year than last?”

      A. Dear Madam, Because interest rates have gone down by 2%.

      It proves Katz’s Theorem No. 5:

      Where money is concerned, all things being equal, stupidity remains constant.

      How extremely condescending of you.

      Unfortunately there are vast numbers of people that dont understand basic finance and maths. We should not ridicule them because of their lack of education. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  3. One man’s “quirky” is another man’s “total scam.”

  4. Anybody interested in buying a Magic Money Tree?

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