Want My Money? Don’t Lie to Me.

Monday, February 25, 2008 20:54

For those not living outside the U.S., this post may not hit home for you… but those of you living in China with foreign names will know exactly what I am talking about.

Offshore financial cold calls.

The entire time I have been in China, offshore financial structures have been something I have been keenly aware of. Some of my friends in Beijing and Shanghai are in the industry, and I have friends who have invested through these groups.. with success.

But, they are probably the most irritating cold callers around, this is an industry that really needs a change of practice, and I am hoping that someone in that circle picks up on this post and learns something.

The industry itself, to the best of my knowledge is legit. There are some shady characters no doubt, but the idea isn’t much different than say your local stock broker who knows about offshore structuring.

Where it goes wrong is in their approach. The cold call.

The databases are no doubt simply huge files of contacts that were compiled from AMCHAM directories, networking events, and those free lunch drawings at many restaurants (the financial firms sponsor the lunch in exchange for the week’s worth of cards).

Update: I received this from someone I know in the industry

expats are introduced to us via our clients and occasionally expats are referred to us more than once

In every call that I have received, the person making the calls has never met me and is simply going down the list….

The greeting is the first tell as they will use my full name or call me Mr. Brubaker – something no one I know would do.

then they make the pitch.. and it is 99% of the time their pitch starts off with a lie.

– That their colleague game them my card (why didn’t your colleague call me?)

– That their CEO is in the area and would like to meet me (Really? Am I being given an opportunity at google Pre IPO too?)

and my personal favorite:

– We spoke last week/ month about our products with a colleague, and you had some more questions

This morning, like many others, I received a phone call that started off like this:

Hi Mr Brubaker , this is Mr. Offshore Finance Cold Caller from Offshore Finance company X and you spoke to a colleague of mine last year about some of our products, and I was told you still have a few questions

Lie: I NEVER spoke to his colleague
Lie: I still have questions

Another variation on this is

Hi Mr Brubaker (red light goes off), this is Mr. Offshore Finance Cold Caller from Offshore Finance company X and I was given your card by a friend of yours who recently invested with us

Lie: my friend gave them my card
Lie: My friend would think I am interested in their products (most of my friends have heard the rant you are reading).

…and there are 10 other combinations about their colleagues/ CEO being in the area, etc.. but let’s set that aside for a moment.

My question is why someone think that the person they are speaking to has such a poor memory that a line like that would work, and more importantly… why would I give someone 20,000 USD of my money when the very first thing they did was LIE TO ME and TREAT ME LIKE A FOOL.

Perhaps if one of these guys called me and said something like:

Hi Mr. Brubaker, this is Mr. Offshore Finance Cold Caller from Offshore Finance company X and I am calling you today to see if you would be interested in learning more about investing your money through our firm. I got your name from a database that was probably bought from another firm, and to be honest, I am not sure your contact details are even right, but I thought that as people tend to move around I would give it a shot.

Our firms products are X.Y.Z, and our average return is X for last year. If you would be interested, I would like to come by your office and tell you more about our products, etc, etc…

Were that to happen, I might actually bite because at the minimum the caller would have built a bit of credibility with me by being honest and upfront. It just seems to me that a large reason why they are looked at in such a bad light is because the majority of the players have their 14 opening lines, their 14 comebacks to the “No”, and do little to build credibility.

There is nothing wrong with an industry looking to make people money like this one, and given 99% of us are looking to make money while in China and then make more money by wisely investing those savings, the model is a no brainer. Better yet, if oyu are known as someone that makes expats 20% on their money on a regular basis you can STOP COLD CALLING cause people will come to you and your firm.

Then again, maybe these guys actually don’t make anyone except themselves any money, and thus the really do need to lie because all their returns are just that unattractive.

Anyway, a bit of a break from the norm, but this is long overdue and I would love to hear what others think on this.

Oh.. this post is not an invitation to call me. I am a blogger without ad revenue, and you would just be wasting your time with me.

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7 Responses to “Want My Money? Don’t Lie to Me.”

  1. John Guise says:

    February 25th, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Rich

    I have to agree with you on the above. I don’t like to lose my temper on the telephone, but I’ve come very close to it on two or three occasions when dealing with these people. There also seems to be no way to get off these lists if you have some kind of wealth management model set up. It is really quite frustrating and just paints the industry (I am sure there are some good companies out there) in a bad light.


  2. Rich says:

    February 25th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Hi John.

    Glad the trip went well.

    There are some good firms, and people out there, and in what I have seen they are more successful and rarely cold call.


  3. John Guise says:

    February 26th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    That’s true and they aren’t pushy either.


  4. Datou says:

    March 9th, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    I had one guy call me three. days. in. a. row. First day was a polite no. Second day was a bemused reminder of the previous day. The third day I ask why would a trust my money with a moron who can’t keep track of calls he made in the past 24 hours! Unbelievable. Granted that was 10 years ago- I don’t get many of these calls any more.

  5. Lawrence Sheed says:

    April 2nd, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Since when did that change from Richard to Rich?
    You’ve never called yourself that to me on our various calls.

    I had one lady call me today who got past the defenses of my secretary, with the financial shtick. God I hate those with a passion, just like you.


  6. Rich says:

    April 2nd, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Hey Lawrence,

    How is everything these days?

    I actually had someone about 10 days ago call, and while I am not sure if she read the post above, she gave me an honest pitch.

    After telling her I apprecaited the direct pitch, I still had to refuse. She was only speaking in 30% increase on investment for last year…. and my Euro alone had gained almost that on the dollar!

    So.. I now have 1.30USD instead of 1.

    Wahoo… I am so Rich.

    Hope all is well

  7. Lawrence Sheed says:

    April 2nd, 2008 at 8:15 am

    All is good.

    Most worst bloody sales pitch was about 2 weeks ago. I just sold an apt back home, and the bank must have sold my details because I had about 3 calls in the wee hours of the morning asking if i wanted to invest. No I bloody didn’t, especially at 4am. Bastards.