The Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) Issues Warning to Almond Resorts Staff: Invest carefully and not rashly!

BIPA has an important message for the staff of Almond Resorts who will shortly be receiving severance pay, following the closure of Almond Beach Village in St. Peter. As they are likely to be approached by confident and enthusiastic advisors and sales agents eager to convince them to invest their severance payments in savings plans, annuities and pensions, BIPA would like to warn the Almond staff to follow some basic guidelines before they hand over a single cent of their money.

BIPA will be asking the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to provide a helpline for potential savers and investors to confirm that specific savings and investment products are registered and approved. BIPA also wants the FSC to confirm that any insurance company offering products is currently compliant with all the requirements of The Insurance Act, including the level of its Statutory Fund, and to confirm the same in writing or by email to the person making the enquiry.

Unless and until you fully understand all aspects of the savings or investment plan, how it works, what is going to happen to your money, and have reliable information about the institution with which you will be investing, don’t sign or hand over anything. Take as long as you need to ‘do your homework’ and be as sure as possible that your money will be safe.

Ask for printed documents giving complete details of the product being offered, and an individual letter outlining how it will apply to your personal circumstances. If you have any questions, even if they seem silly, ask, ask, and ask again, until you get an answer that makes sense to you. Never assume anything!

Make sure you understand all the fees involved in taking out the plan and how they are to be paid, and what happens to your money if you die.

Seek a ‘second opinion’ from an independent professional third party, like an accountant or independent financial advisor.

If you are considering saving or investing with an insurance company, look on their website to see if their accounts are up to date. Check their Statutory Fund. Look at their Corporate Governance structure. If necessary, take this information to your accountant or independent financial advisor for further clarification.

As an advocate for all investors and policyholders in Barbados, the Alliance hopes this advice will go some way towards ensuring that the Almond staff’s money is in safe hands, and that they can be confident about their financial future.

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