Australian offshore financial planning services firm Tag Wealth International will establish an office in Phnom Penh to provide services for expatriates living in Cambodia, its director said yesterday.
The company offers advice and recommendations to expats on life insurance, estate planning, retirement planning, offshore banking, investments and various financial products.
Andrew Willard, director of Tag Wealth, said the company has explored the market for several years and will launch services from a full-fledged office within a week. He said the firm sees an opportunity in Cambodia as despite its sizeable expat population, most existing financial advisers operate from offices outside the country.
“In the past there have been a lot of brokers or advisers that fly in from Singapore, Bangkok, or Hong Kong, where the companies are, but there is such a large turnover of people that an expat living here might wind up with quite a bit of products that he or she really doesn’t understand or isn’t right for him or her,” he said.
According to Willard, Tag Wealth was conceived four years ago as an attempt to prevent expats from being wrongly advised or taken advantage of by unqualified advisers.
“The ethical approach is to get clients to explain what they need or what the situation is before we recommend the product,” he explained. “We are not attached to any one company, so we can be impartial about the advice we give and given a client’s situation the right product will present itself naturally.”
He added that the company already has clients in Cambodia, and will limit its client pool to ensure a high level of service.
Paul Dodd, country manager for Infinity Financial Solutions, which has operated a similar expat-oriented financial planning service in Cambodia for nearly a decade, welcomed Tag Wealth’s announcement on its new office, adding that it was refreshing to see another Cambodia-based operator.
“I prefer to have local competition that gives stable advice to people because what we tend to have in Cambodia are people who trip in from Bangkok or Vietnam, who meet the client once or twice, and then their continued standard of service begins to decline a bit,” he said. “So it’s good if there are more [established financial advisory firms] in the marketplace.”
Patrick Smith, managing partner at regional law firm Sciaroni & Associates, said the local market has had its share of fly-by-night expat financial service advisers.
“Many financial advisers seem to be flying in or cold-calling from offshore at the moment and in terms of offshore financial advisers that are headed here, there are not that many,” he said.
Smith said Cambodia’s underdeveloped financial market has created a demand for advice on offshore products, as many of these products are not available in the local market.
“The products that offshore financial advisers will have access to are more diverse than the products available to those in Cambodia, so this is a welcome development for those seeking to invest offshore.”