Greg Pogonowski has helped investors ride the ups and downs of the market for more than 25 years. The financial adviser, based in the UAE, is now with Pinnacle Asset & Wealth Management and discusses the lack of qualification in the profession and today's volatile market.
Many investors have felt burnt by their brokers and financial advisers in recent years. What do you think needs to be changed before more investors seek professional advice?
If by brokers you mean stockbrokers then I can't comment. What I would say, however, is that stockbrokers get paid a commission whether you buy or sell, so they don't always care which way the market goes as long as their clients are either buying or selling as much as possible, it appears.
And what do you think needs to be changed in your industry?
In this region, there are too many advisers who are unqualified. Only recently, when out for drinks with friends, one of the party told me [he] was a financial adviser, and had changed from being an interior designer only two months ago.
During volatile times in the market, investors often flee to safety. But is there anything that's truly a "safe" investment these days?
Good question. It appears people are really trying to stop the value of what they have falling, in real terms. That is why we have seen so much growth in gold. History tells us that when the dollar is weak, gold is strong, because what is the alternative for perceived steady growth without too much risk? What we have seen is a return to core values, if I can put it that way - permanent life insurance with cash values, as this always grows, which is very useful when investments are volatile.
Which financial products have your clients been shifting their investments away from in recent times?
And where are your clients looking to invest now?
Into geographical areas with growth potential - Brazil, China, India, Far East - as well as into raw materials and energy. We all need more goods and some countries are growing diesel instead of food, if you get what I mean. So agriculture is a good idea at this time too.
* Neil Parmar