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Due Diligence Key for Investing in the Philippines

Due Diligence Key for Investing in the Philippines

Investors around the world have been focusing on the Philippines for the past few years as the Asian country is becoming an important spot for property and financial investment.  The risk for fraud in the Philippines, however, continues to be a significant barrier to entry.

According to the Urban Land Institute and Price Waterhouse Coopers the growing economy in the island nation makes this destination a good prospect for property investment.   The developing country of the Philippines is a high risk environment, but also presents significant opportunity for cheap local labor, and growing businesses in Manila and Cebu.  Many foreigners are using the country for inexpensive call centers, tech support and partnerships.  Because most Filipinos speak English and the low cost of labor, it’s a natural investment spot.

The economy in the Philippines has been growing in the past two years thanks to foreign business investment that is creating a new market in the country for jobs.  Locals are finding better employment opportunities in everything from transportation moving goods from point A to point B, to logistics in import and export, to service industry jobs like call center and technical support.  The major hubs are in Manila, Cebu and growing.

As Europe’s economy is tumbling and North America seems to be still recovering from a major crisis, the Philippines offers a potential return on investment, in a time when profitability is hard to find.  Despite the risk from fraud, scams and other complications, many foreign investors are jumping in.  For those who choose not to have their offers, business partners, or investments verified, the learning lesson can be a costly one.

In fact, as business opportunity grows, so too is the level for business fraud and internet scams, criminal activity and investment fraud.  Investing in the Philippines without verifying with a professional investigation firm or verification service is not advised, say experts and law enforcement.

Philippines detectives have seen a rise of scams coming from fake real estate companies, false websites, fraudulent business proposals, real estate and investment scams and other crime techniques that are targeting foreign investors.  Criminals are targeting individual investors, small businesses, and CEO’s of major corporations.  Scammers may offer a profitable call center or tech support opportunity, stock in a false company in Manila, and so on.  Convincing documentation, supporting evidence and even meetings with the subject can take place.  It’s getting more difficult to determine who is real and who is a fraud.  Hiring a reputable investigation company to verify registration, offices and screen the case for fraud is advised.

Criminals are targeting individuals and businesses in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.  Fake companies are often elaborate hoaxes with impressive websites and documentation.  To avoid these scams, and to not be a victim of financial loss or identity theft,  companies are relying on Philippines investigators to properly screen the offers, and verify the opportunity.  A reputable investigator can check legal filings, verify offices and management, investigate reputation and start date, and identify any fraud or risk factors.

Be safe and verify,

C. Wright
© 2012 Philippine PI™

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