Everything About Offshore IFAs
If you needed financial advice back in the UK it’s very easy to find an adviser, it’s extremely simple to look on the Financial Conduct Authority register to check whether they are regulated or not. However, as soon as you move overseas, it can feel daunting when you start looking for offshore IFAs.
Offshore there is no real clear true rule about regulation or qualifications. The advisers offshore can still be fee based, commission only or both.
So, its a big wide world out there so how on earth can you find just one person who knows it all who can help you?
Well, here are the details that you need to know about offshore advice, to help you onto the right path.
Firstly, your old adviser back in the UK will probably not be regulated to advise you as soon as you moved overseas. Another thing to consider is that a local adviser in your new country might be able to help you with local plans, what about sorting out money you still have in Britain? Then you will have to think about adjusting your finances with any plans you might have for future repatriation, relocation or (if one day ) you move back to Britain. An offshore adviser will factor these in when advising you what to do with your wealth right now.
With your wonderful new life offshore and enjoying life as an expat, there will be unique tax advantages and other financial benefits you can gain from by being offshore. A local adviser back in the UK or in your new country of residence may know nothing about. Therefore, seeking advice from an independent, offshore financial adviser will be a lot more beneficial, especially when considering your finances from an international perspective.
Any offshore adviser will be able to look at any plans you already have in place, and ensure an international perspective is given on your finances as to not restrict you to the regulation or limited choice in your new nation or back home. They will also be able to take into account any plans you may have for moving on
Another reason to consider an international financial adviser when you need financial planning is because they may be more used to working via email or telephone, so that wherever you move to next in the world, they can remain your point of contact, maintaining continuity for your wealth.
There is so much more choice for the management and investment of your wealth as soon as you think internationally, it’s often wise to seek expert offshore advice to ensure you identify which paths would be most suitable for your own ambitions, goals and personal financial position.
- You need an adviser who has an international perspective and ideally is independent. There’s little point in using a local adviser if you move to another country or even go back to the UK at some point in the future. This is even more illustrated if the local adviser only specialises in advising clients where you are currently based. If planned correctly with the help of an offshore adviser, a move to another country, repatriation or move back to the UK can have future tax advantages for your wealth and estate – a local adviser may not know about this.
- Your new adviser will need to understand how your previous financial affairs were managed, how your current status can benefit you, and how future circumstances will require you to/from certain courses of action.
- An international adviser will understand expats and the offshore/international world of tax and financial planning.
- They should be independent and not tied to any financial institution – this is essential.
- Your new international adviser needs to be qualified, experienced and professional.
- Make sure your new adviser is correctly regulated to give you advice. – IFAs in the UK who want to give advice have to be regulated by the FCA. But it doesn’t work like that once you move abroad…An offshore IFA based in the EU (Belgium, Ireland, Germany etc..) should be regulated somewhere within Europe; other member states deem them to have the best regulation procedures in place. Once regulated therein an advisory can give advice. They can also have a branch office elsewhere in Europe and because of passporting, they can advise expats in other EU member states.In other words, passporting is a term describing the right to conduct financial services across the EU based on a single authorisation or approval.
As an expat you can call on the services of an offshore or international financial adviser as opposed to being forced to speak to a UK IFA who may not understand your new tax status and may only be able to recommend unsuitable savings and investment products available only in the UK (such as ISAs and pensions – you’re no longer eligible for when you become non-resident and which you cannot receive tax relief),
The offshore brokerages should also maintain an ongoing client relationship by offering a regular review of your financial arrangements to make sure they are still suitable. For this service they might charge/receive an ongoing management fee. Such companies will make it clear to you, that there is an ongoing fee for their ongoing commitment to correctly manage your money.
It is paramount that when you choose an adviser you must ask them how they will be paid for giving you advice. Most advisers will offer this information up front anyway. If a fee is chargeable this must be agreed with you in advance and in writing. Also, when a commission is paid it must be detailed to you.
Either way, you are paying for the advice, just as you would pay a doctor or plumber for advice (and help). If you had a burst pipe, or in the same way you would pay a doctor for advice about a medical complaint.
The good news is there are extremely excellent financial advisers working offshore and internationally. They know how expats can leverage any tax advantages they may have, they know the best jurisdictions for investor protection, they know that one product or path certainly doesn’t suit all, and they can help you make the very most of your own international status by tailoring you a bespoke offshore solution.
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