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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Dubai financial adviser Neil Grant liable for client's six-figure losses, says civil court financial expert

If the judge backs the findings by financial expert Reem Al Nuaimi, other clients who lost money could also mount similar actions

Neil Grant, executive director of Prosperity Offshore Investment Consultants, is photographed at his office in Business Bay in Dubai in 2012. He was convicted of operating his financial services business without a licence. Sarah Dea / The National
Neil Grant, executive director of Prosperity Offshore Investment Consultants, is photographed at his office in Business Bay in Dubai in 2012. He was convicted of operating his financial services business without a licence. Sarah Dea / The National

An unlicensed financial adviser was found liable after a client lost hundreds of thousands of dirhams in an investment scheme.

A civil court-appointed financial expert tasked with investigating British consultant Neil Grant, came to the conclusion in its report.

A judge in Dubai will make a final decision on the case on November 14.

The report found Grant liable for the Dh285,900 loss incurred by client Amber Waheed as a result of his unlicensed financial advice. He was found to have misled her on investments in 2015.

If the judge agrees to the findings by financial expert Reem Al Nuaimi, other clients of Grant's who lost money could mount similar actions.

The civil case against Grant, who offered financial services under the name Prosperity Offshore Investment Consultants in Dubai, was filed following criminal proceedings against him in 2017.

Grant was convicted by Dubai Criminal Court for operating his company without being registered with the authorities, and fined Dh2,000.

Investors said they instructed the Scotsman to put their money into long term funds that were likely to pay a healthy return over time.

Grant invested the funds into schemes, such as student accommodation in the UK, that failed to deliver the promised 12 per cent annual profits. Clients claim they were high risk investments, which he disputes.

Other investors have since come forward to say they also lost significant funds after taking financial advice from Grant.

His lawyers have denied wrongdoing on his behalf and will have 30 days to appeal any decision on November 14.

In an email to The National on Sunday, Grant denied any wrongdoing and said clients signed off on all investments before they were made.

He also said he did not mislead clients over their investments "in any way".

The case raised concerns over the issue of unregulated financial services offered in Dubai.

With mis-selling a key point of concern, the UAE Insurance Authority led a clean-up of the investment sector in 2016 to change how financial products are sold.

Although more robust regulations are being implemented across the industry, experts encourage investors to do their own homework before handing over savings.

“It is incredibly important to conduct detailed due diligence on service providers before you sign-up or contractually agree to any financial transactions,” said Sam Instone, chief executive of AES International, a certified investment company in Dubai International Financial Centre.

“An inadvertent moment with a bank, broker, or insurance company can wreak havoc while the consequences of dealing with a fly-by-night adviser may be irreparable.

“Always check the firm is licensed for the exact type of services it is providing you with and take a second or third opinion from independent professionals instead of referrals from your friends.”

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