One constant of commercial life for centuries has been the birth and death of investment products or schemes that snare the desperate, unwary or overly trusting and then pop and leave little but mess behind.
News reports of people losing their retirement savings or nest eggs and being forced to delay retirement or sell their homes are not a new thing. Neither is the concern that many people hold that they won’t have enough to pay for their retirement and belief that an aggressive investment strategy is what they need to obtain the required amount of money for their future.
Lawyers are not qualified (simply by being lawyers) to give advice on the commercial risks of investment decisions. We can however review the investment documentation (contracts) provided and confirm if it matches what promotional material or promises may have been made to you to tempt you into investing. The best time to get investment legal advice is before anything is signed, and before any money is lent or borrowed. Advice can be obtained afterwards, but by then the prospects of withdrawing from the investment may not be good.
People often shy away from obtaining investment legal advice due to the cost. However investments are generally never cost-free just as they are never risk-free. Importantly, advice should be obtained from someone who has no interest in the transaction itself.
If you are considering an investment, questions you could ask yourself may be:
– Do the documents I’ve been asked to sign agree with what I’ve been told by the promoter?
– Do I understand the transaction behind the investment?
– Can I afford not to get advice on this?
– Am I prepared to treat this investment as a pure gamble?
I often wonder if people are subconsciously considering that they can always sue someone if something goes wrong. That ‘someone’ may not be around if things go wrong, or may not be good to satisfy any judgment debt, or may be unwilling to pay without a prolonged (and expensive) Court battle. People may also believe that a Government Agency (ASIC or Fair Trading for example) may step in an ‘make things right’ but these agencies do not do become involved in every situation and even if they can prosecute wrong doers, they do not compensate the investors themselves.
Kinds of Assistance
If you have been asked to sign some documentation then prior to doing so and making your investment Graceville Lawyers can meet with you to take your instructions on your understanding of the investment and then review the documents and provide you a written advice on their operation. If required, searches can also be undertaken to confirm factual matters about aspects relating to the investment.
As investment schemes are often accompanied by high pressure tactics to push investors into forgoing advice, advice should not be sought on an urgent basis. Sufficient time should be allowed for proper instructions to be taken, searches made and advice given by us and considered by you before you proceed with the investment.
If you have already signed documents or paid money for an investment, Graceville Lawyers can meet with you to review and advise on what has occurred.
(c) Graceville Lawyers 2014