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‘I lost Dh740,000 on investments my fund manager profited from’

Businessman alleges he was tricked into putting mutual fund assets into schemes without being told about their high service fees

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hoodwinked: Siju Chacko said he was pressured into putting money into elaborate schemes by a smooth-talking bank salesman

DUBAI: An Indian businessman claims he was duped into moving his savings into elaborate investment-cum-insurance policies through high-pressure selling tactics and misleading enticements

Saju Chacko, a logistics executive, said he was hoodwinked into putting his mutual fund assets into multiple investments of the same nature without being told about service fees for each of these plans.

“I feel scammed,” he said. “I trusted a professional manager and a big bank with my hard-earned savings. They are the only ones who profited from my losses in investments which were never fully explained to me. It seemed the relationship manager was only interested in getting his commissions.”

Chacko moved his investments in mutual funds into several smaller investment-insurance funds offered by the manager who promised to grow his wealth by taking advantage of global international market opportunities.

At one point, Chacko said he was investing $41,000 (Dh151,000) per month for eight investment instruments offered by the same bank relationship manager. “It was too late when I realised I had to pay a fee of $300 per month for each of these instruments, though in reality, there are only two investment types.”

Chacko said his decade-old relationship with the bank has been damaged.

“Whenever I visit (the bank), I was approached by relationship managers offering various (investment) schemes. I have stayed away from these as I was not comfortable. However, as time passed, I had to oblige the relationship manager due to his persistence. But I was cheated ruthlessly.”

By the time he decided to cash in his investments, he claimed to have lost over $200,000 of his personal money.

“It was a bitter experience trusting this manager with my personal investments. He coaxed me into investing in funds and insurance policies which were of a similar nature, with high monthly fees which only benefitted the salesman and the bank.”

“I was promised investment yields that were never true,” he said. Chacko said he had lodged a complaint with the UAE Central Bank and is lodging a complaint with the ombudsman of the UAE Insurance Authority. The Indian executive, who owns businesses in Dubai, India and Singapore, said: “Never blindly trust these investment advisers, even if he is employed by your trusted bank.”

The bank confirmed Chacko has been a client for seven years, adding: “It is important to note that Mr Chacko fully acknowledges that he has entered these policies after fully satisfying certain extensive due diligence procedures put in place by the bank to safeguard its customers’ interest at all times.”

The bank said that the businessman initially requested to reinstate lapsed policies where he had stopped contributing. “Mr Chacko had not funded the account(s) associated with his investment insurance. Subsequently, a ‘medical check’ was also requested by the underwriting insurance company, which the client did 
not agree to.”

(The bank has not been named due 
to legal reasons. The story is being 
published in public interest)


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