International Adviser’s most recent “Top Story” was about a Hong Kong adviser named Jessica Cutrera who made unusually honest comments about OCI’s recent ban on the payment of indemnity commissions—a practice which some regard to be a form of bribery.
One effect of OCI’s “ban on bribery” was the death of savings scams, like Zurich Vista, which have indemnity commissions embedded within them.
Commenting on the scams, Jessica Cutrera said, “These indemnified commission contractual saving plans which have been sold in Hong Kong for years – but are illegal in many other developed markets – are long overdue to be removed from sale.”
“I do think there will be a demise of the firms whose primary business was selling these very lucrative savings plans.
“These products are financially toxic and eliminating the sale and the seller is a good thing. Plenty of the IFAs in Hong Kong will survive and thrive, particularly those that have always offered a diverse range of products and services to their clients, not limiting themselves to selling savings plans, and who put their clients’ interests ahead of commissions.
“I sincerely hope that the sale of these or similar products that are harmful to investors does not ever recover.”
While it is laudable that International Adviser would publish a story about an adviser with the audacity to speak the truth, it must also be noted that International Adviser had no qualms about taking ill-gotten money in exchange for promoting a ‘financially toxic’ savings plan—RL360’s Quantum—on a giant banner right next to Cutrera’s scathing quotes:
Quantum is one of the most notorious savings scams in the Middle East. Numerous victims of the product have shared their horror stories on THIS discussion forum. One angry investor calls Quantum a “piece of shit” and advises other victims to “get out of this product today”.
Presumably, RL360 paid for ad space because it believes International Adviser’s main audience is the type of people who would sell “piece of shit” savings plans like Quantum. If that is true, then International Adviser should maybe consider changing its name to something more appropriate, like this:
Alternatively, International Adviser could, in the future, choose to have more scruples about the kinds of products it allows to be promoted on its website.