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Arts Society de La Frontera

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Spain
This article is published on: 24th May 2022

24.05.22

The Spectrum IFA Group again co-sponsored an excellent Arts Society de La Frontera lecture on the 18th May at the newly renovated San Roque Golf & Country Club on the Costa del Sol. We were represented by one of our local and long-serving advisers, Charles Hutchinson, who attended along with another Costa del Sol based partner Jeremy Ferguson and his wife Michelle in her role as his personal assistant.

The Arts Society is a leading global arts charity which opens up the world of the arts through a network of local societies and national events throughout the world.

With inspiring monthly lectures given by some of the UK’s top experts, together with days of special interest, educational visits and cultural holidays, the Arts Society is a great way to learn, have fun and make new and lasting friendships.

At this event, over 180 attendees were entertained by a talk on the fabulous Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla “Master of Light” by Arantxa Sardina from the Tate Gallery in London. She gave an impressive lecture, revealing what a true master he is amongst the other well known impressionists of the early 20th century.

The talk was followed by a drinks reception with a musician and youth art exhibition which included a free raffle for prizes including Charles´s gift of a book on the artist, champagne, orchids and Jeremy supplied liqueur.

It was the best turnout we have had for a few years, which was largely due to it being the last lecture of the season combined with the art exhibition and relaxation of Covid rules. A very successful event at a wonderful venue.

The Spectrum IFA Group was very proud to be involved with such a fantastic organization during its current global expansion and we hope to have the opportunity again in the next season.

Temporary Annuities in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Pension Lump Sums, Pensions in Spain, QROPS, Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 19th May 2022

19.05.22

Over the last few years, there have been some well-known IFAs here in Spain advising their clients that they can save up to 88% on their income tax in Spain by stating that their pensions are temporary annuities. In some cases, this has caused serious problems for pensioners. There is no way the Hacienda would offer such benefits unless these annuities were such from outset. It would seem logical if this was to be set up as such from outset, the schemes would have to be domiciled here in Spain for the tax reasons I go on to explain. Similarly, the annuity status could not be applied to foreign pension schemes being exported by expatriates from their previous country of residence when they come to live here.

For example, I have come across clients who have transferred their pension abroad under QROPS rules, they then instruct their trustees to pay them a set income for, say, 5 years. In some cases, the trustees would give them a certificate confirming that this income is a temporary annuity. Ironically this not only potentially makes the trustees as culpable as the pensioner but so too the gestor or accountant drawing up that tax return.

An annuity is something you buy from a financial institution (usually a life assurance company) for a certain sum. In return, the company will pay you an income for life or a fixed period. Once purchased, that money is no longer yours and it is irreversible.

However, the money in a pension scheme (although legally owned by the trustees) is for your benefit in your lifetime and can be passed to your beneficiaries or spouse, depending on the scheme T & Cs. The income can be stopped, restarted, raised, lowered, or even taken in lump sums (again depending on the scheme particulars). The capital remains at your disposal. Therefore it cannot be regarded in any way as an annuity, let alone a temporary one.

Temporary Annuities in Spain

Those who promote these “loopholes” are tapping into one’s natural desire to lower one’s taxes. They are exploiting genuine tax benefits offered to those who have already paid income tax on their savings with which they purchase an annuity for a fixed period. The special low tax rates which go with these annuities are by way of partial compensation for having your tax-paid capital repaid to you. Whereas pension income is always taxed at your marginal rate, mainly because there is tax relief on monies you put into your pension scheme, with both money purchase and occupational pensions. Furthermore, pension “pots” are invested and will attract, if properly invested, investment growth.

Those companies who advise people to do this and those who file a tax return claiming their pension is an annuity (when it clearly is not) are committing tax fraud. And there are very heavy fines for doing such a thing. A tax audit can go back up to 5 years and the tax shortfalls can involve sizeable sums especially when the fines are included. At pension age, this can be very distressing and a very nasty shock to an elderly person.

Spectrum can help you avoid this situation by reviewing any previous advice given and offering an unbiased opinion. We research our products and taxation thoroughly before advising our clients. If you have any doubts about your pension and the advice you have already received, then please contact me for an initial meeting which carries no fee. We want you to have peace of mind so that you can tell others about us. Spectrum is not in the risk business but very much here to protect your wealth.

Arts Society de La Frontera ‘Live’

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Spain
This article is published on: 24th January 2022

24.01.22

After a gap of nearly two years due to Covid, The Spectrum IFA Group again co-sponsored an excellent Arts Society de La Frontera “Live” lecture on the 19th January at the newly renovated San Roque Golf & Country Club on the Costa del Sol. We were represented by one of our local and long-serving advisers, Charles Hutchinson, who attended along with our co-sponsors Smart Currency Exchange represented by Dean Biddulph. Also present was the society’s European Chairman Jo Ward.

The Arts Society is a leading global arts charity which opens up the world of the arts through a network of local societies and national events throughout the world.

With inspiring monthly lectures given by some of the UK’s top experts, together with days of special interest, educational visits and cultural holidays, the Arts Society is a great way to learn, have fun and make new and lasting friendships.

At this event, over 50 attendees were entertained by a talk on the 1920’s Dustbowl of California, Oklahoma and Texas by John Francis, who is one of the UK’s top experts on this subject. He gave an excellent lecture, revealing to us how this terrible time in US history spawned a number of well known artists and singers, as part of the aid package produced by President Franklin Roosevelt to stimulate recovery.

The talk was followed by a drinks reception which included a free raffle for prizes including CH supplied lovely Art Deco flower vase, a book on the subject and Brandy. Smart Currency Exchange also supplied champagne and a crystal decanter and glasses.

All in all, considering many people are still nervous about large events, it was a good turnout and a successful event at a wonderful venue. The Spectrum IFA Group was very proud to be involved with such a fantastic organization during its current global expansion and we hope to have the opportunity again at the March lecture.

Trust not Trusts

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Spain
This article is published on: 15th November 2021

15.11.21

In this article I want to explore trust in business, although the two in the title have always been synonymous with each other. Trusts were created at the time of the Crusades in the Middle Ages to enable the Crusader Knights to leave their estates in the hands of someone they alone trusted. To this day you place your trust in someone to look after your assets which is why that someone is called a trustee.

Trust is an abstract concept and without it business could not function – certainly not at the volumes and levels it does – or else one would be reduced to solely carrying out transactions which were guaranteed by some 3rd party.

In financial services, trust is the basic ingredient, the bedrock, the lubricant if you like, which allows the flow of capital to its destination for the good of both individuals and companies. In Spectrum’s case, it is of course for the benefit and well being of our private clients. It must be remembered that Spectrum’s business model is built neither on publicity nor advertising, but on referrals. This means that if new clients come to us because they know of someone who has benefited from our services, they do so solely on trust.

Spectrum in turn places its trust in its providers (whether they be tax lawyers, life assurance companies or pension trust companies) and investment houses. We are responsible for the financial well being of all our clients and for that reason we have to be very careful in whom we place our trust. We are not in the risk business but in the wealth preservation business, for today’s clients and their future generations.

our services

Trust is spawned by truth. They are intertwined. If you always tell the truth (whether it be good or bad) a relationship will form between the speaker and the listener which cannot be eroded by other parties whose ethics are somewhat less than ours. Spectrum has a mantra – the client before the business – which in simple terms is the question: to whose advantage is a particular step – the client or the company?

Trust is a two way street. If our clients trust us, then we must trust our clients to tell us the truth from outset and to behave responsibly in this relationship. We have a duty to our clients and so they must reciprocate likewise.

Trust in banks nowadays is not as fruitful as it once was. This can almost certainly be attributed to them treating their customers as numbers, not as people. I have a widowed, infirm client whose grandfather was the chairman of a major UK clearing bank. She was treated with disdain – it simply meant nothing.

Finally, you take trust to a breaking point if you cannot show professional credentials. Would you be flown by an unqualified unlicensed pilot (the recent tragic death of that well known soccer player being the most recent example)? Would you have medical treatment from an unqualified medical practitioner? Or an architect without him/her being accredited to the relevant professional body in your country?

Trust is an incredibly rewarding relationship. You only have to read the testimonials on this website to see how rewarding it is – for both parties. If you would like to explore in more detail these rewards and find out more of how we do business with our clients and what we can do for you, do please contact me below:

Minimising exposure to tax in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, Spain, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 29th September 2021

29.09.21

Probably the most burning issue here on the Costa del Sol for expatriates is minimising exposure to Spanish taxes. Everywhere I go to meet and discuss matters with both clients and prospective clients, this same subject always arises. Over the years I have noticed that this subject has caused so much unhappiness with some people. And it is mostly with men, rarely with women.

The unhappiness stems from the conflict between the heart and the pocket. The heart says I want to live here, revel in this micro climate, enjoy my golf, wine and dine with my friends and basically enjoy a healthy outdoor life. My pocket says I don’t want and will not pay these taxes – particularly wealth tax. Wealth tax is alien to North European nationals, whose countries by and large do not impose this tax.

The result for some is that they are sentenced to be constantly wandering the world, on the move from one jurisdiction to another throughout the tax year, always ensuring they are not there long enough to be caught in the tax net. This can also result in stress, instability, the feeling of not belonging anywhere and some cases the cause of divorce. Women on the other hand just want to live where they will be happy, where they have access to their social circle, to their children and grandchildren, either close by or at the end of an easy inexpensive short flight. For them, the tax issue is secondary.

One only has this life once and so why not take the course of most happiness for you and your family and accept the fact there are two sure things in life – death and taxes (to quote Benjamin Franklin)? You cannot take your money with you when you depart this orb, but you can certainly minimise your taxes whilst here and leave your money to your beneficiaries with either very little inheritance tax or none at all.

Saving in Spain, ISA, Tax Free Saving in Spain

Thus, it is best to confront the tax implications head on to see what is entailed and what your potential liability is. Apart from wealth and inheritance tax, there are two other mainstream taxes in Spain – capital gains tax and income tax. These too can be mitigated and often eliminated with careful tax planning. Investment income can be sheltered from tax as well as capital gains if steps are taken early enough, particularly if you are coming to live here from another jurisdiction. Here in Andalucia, inheritance tax has for all intents and purposes been eliminated. Wealth tax carries generous allowances (particularly in the case of shared assets). There is even talk of once more eliminating wealth tax altogether but we will have to wait and see.

Of course, tax and investments are intertwined so it is important to have a good financial adviser on board. Spectrum has been advising thousands of their clients for many years with the assistance of locally qualified tax experts on the subject of taxation, which you can see in the many other articles on this website.

If you would like to talk to me more about this subject and the points raised, please contact me as per below and I would be happy to discuss this further.

UK Inheritance Tax and Spanish Succession Tax

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Inheritance Tax, Spain, Spanish Succession Tax, Succession Planning, Wealth Tax
This article is published on: 5th August 2020

05.08.20
Succession tax in Spain

Much has been written and said on this subject, particularly in many of a 19th hole. There is a fundamental difference between the two:

  • The UK Inheritance Tax is upon the deceased’s estate
  • The Spanish Succession Tax version is upon the inheritors

UK Inheritance Tax Liability is on the worldwide estate of the deceased and all global assets are assessed and ‘gathered together’ for the purpose of probate. Once fully quantified and valued, the tax is levied at a (current) rate of 40%. There is a nil rate band of (currently) £325,000 estate value below which no tax is payable. The tax has to be paid BEFORE the estate is distributed.

Spanish Succession Tax is payable on EITHER assets being located in Spain OR on global assets if the inheritor is a resident of Spain. If neither is the case, then there is no liability. If one or both is the case, then Spanish Succession Tax is payable by the inheritor(s) whether they be a resident or non resident of Spain.

There are some essential measures one can take to either mitigate or avoid these liabilities.

One of the best and most effective is the use of (Spanish compliant) investment bonds. In Spain for example, Succession Tax is payable on assets passing between spouses (this is unlike the UK where assets can pass between them untaxed). Where an investment bond is jointly owned, the deceased’s half can pass to the spouse untaxed.

An even greater advantage is that the bond can pass down the generations with the possibility of continuing investment growth free of both UK Inheritance Tax and Spanish Succession Tax. For as long as the policy holders and lives assured continue to be appointed, the bond will continue and each generation of policy holders can enjoy capital withdrawals on both a regular or intermittent basis. Thus all inheritance tax is avoided by an unlimited number of generations.

Furthermore, should a Spanish resident bond owner pass away and their beneficiaries are non residents of Spain, there would be no liability to Spanish Succession Tax because the bond is also domiciled outside of Spain (e.g. Dublin).

Spanish Inheritance Tax

For the moment, Spanish Succession Tax in the region where I live (Andalucia) is virtually non existent. There is a €1m allowance between close family members, providing their individual existing wealth does not exceed that figure. The remaining assets are also liable to a 99% exemption.

These two taxes are the only ones not included in the UK/Spain Double Tax Treaty. However, there is an unwritten rule that if it has been paid in one country, then it will not be charged again by the other. To my certain knowledge, this informal agreement has always been observed.

For information and assistance with your inheritance planning, please contact me by completing the form below of email/call:
charles.hutchinson@spectrum-ifa.com
Tel:(+34) 952 79 79 23
Mobile: 605 903 472

7 Good Reasons to Retire in Andalucía

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Moving to Spain, Retirement, Spain
This article is published on: 13th June 2020

13.06.20

There is currently a noticeable increase in the number of enquiries to estate agents in this area from abroad, the majority of which are from the UK.

If you are looking ahead to retirement and wondering where you might like to live when the time comes, you should consider putting Andalucía somewhere at the top of your list.

Lifestyle
The Spanish lifestyle is one of the most open and friendly in the world where coastal areas, in particular Andalucía, are most welcoming. Locals are well aware that the international market is all important to the economy and growth of the region, bringing prosperity to what was once the poorest part of the country.

Culture
The region is littered with places of historical interest and beautiful world heritage sites. The Arts play an important role in life here with great classical concerts and popular music shows. Every town and village in Andalucía has at least two ferias (festivals) a year and talented street performers are found everywhere. Every city has important galleries and museums reflecting its historical artistic contributions to the world.

Climate
Andalucía enjoys one of the mildest climates in Europe, especially in coastal regions where temperatures are not as extreme as in the interior. Having said that, the climate in the interior is dry, making the upper and lower temperatures more tolerable. The climate, outdoor life, healthy Mediterranean diet and generally relaxed atmosphere of the region can be counted among the many reasons why Andalucía enjoys the highest life expectancy in Europe.

Cost of Living
The benign climate makes for reduced heating, food and clothing expenses. It encourages outdoor living through more months of the year than you might enjoy in northern Europe or parts of the US. Spain is one of the largest producers of fruit and vegetables in Europe with much of these coming from Huelva and Almería and not far away, Murcia which is known as the vegetable garden of Spain. Eating out can also be very inexpensive and extremely good. In coastal areas and a little further inland there is no shortage of good places to eat. Spain is also one of the most important wine producers of the world and Spanish wines have come a long way, standing alongside some of the best in the world.

Sports & Outdoor leisure
There is a large variety of sporting activities to be enjoyed here. Apart from a huge number of golf courses and tennis clubs, there are excellent beaches, water sports, Whale/Dolphin watching, etc. You can snow ski and water ski within two hours of each other. We have the highest ski resort in Spain. Trekking and rambling is a pure joy through spectacular scenery.

Health Care
The state health care system in Spain is excellent and some of the best doctors and specialists can be found in this country, especially in Andalucia for they too want to live a good lifestyle! Health Insurance, if you do not qualify for state health care, is cheap when compared to northern Europe and many countries farther afield.

Communications
The larger cities in the region are very well connected with Madrid and other main Spanish cities. There are excellent coach and train services which are a joy to experience. Coach travel is inexpensive and always provides the bonus of being able to enjoy the view. Train travel also offers you the chance to enjoy the scenery and if you want added comfort and speed, the AVE is an excellent example of high-speed train travel with one of the best networks in Europe, which has halved train travel time around many parts of the country. It also compares favourably against air travel if, for example, you are travelling to Madrid, as you will be taken right to the city centre and you do not have to be at the station two hours before departure.

Capital cities in Andalucía also provide excellent connections by air with direct flights to 129 European cities as well as to numerous destinations elsewhere in the world. If you have family and friends back home, in the US or somewhere in northern Europe there are plenty of options when it comes to getting back to see them or having them come over to Spain for visits.

moving-to-spain

Things to consider before moving here

  • You will need to decide where you want to live. This is best achieved by renting short term somewhere first. Consideration should be given to any medical care needs, sporting facilities, schools (if you a younger retiree) and convenient distances to an international airport
  • You will need to decide how much time you want to spend here and whether to become tax resident. This is where I can give you in depth assistance with residency, permits and tax advice
  • Regarding tax, we would need to review any existing investments you may have to ensure they are tax efficient here in Spain. UK tax efficient investments are usually not tax efficient here
  • We would need to review your income situation in retirement and how best to achieve the required level with the least tax
  • We can assist you with a choice of medical insurance, if needed. Wills might have to be adjusted and Spanish ones drawn up

Please remember that if you already have a UK Financial Adviser, they will not be qualified or knowledgeable to give advice here.
By the same token, if one of our clients moves back to the UK or another country, it is essential they contact a local adviser there.

WISH YOU WERE HERE?
CONTACT ME NOW FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Retire in Andalucía

Atypical expat family living in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 15th May 2020

15.05.20

Once upon a time there lived a British family in Southern Spain. I say British but in fact the wife had dual nationality, being both American and British. In fact they are still here.

They have 3 children, one adult son from her previous marriage living in the Middle East, their second son in boarding school in England and the youngest, their daughter, with them in Spain. His last position had been as an eminent surgeon in a well known teaching hospital in London. She had been a very successful realtor (estate agent) on the East coast of the USA. They had met through mutual friends when he was at medical conference in Boston. She brought with her to the marriage a respectably sized share portfolio which she had accumulated over the years.

They have a large five bedroom house in leafy suburbia in Surrey, UK. They have owned it since the arrival of their first child, several years after marrying. He sold his flat in central London a couple of years after their wedding and commuted to work every day from Dorking. Summer after summer brought nothing but rain and unpredictable weather. They finally decided to throw in the towel and move, lock, stock and barrel to Andalucia where they purchased a lovely house with gorgeous views over the Mediterranean. There in their retirement they play golf and have grown a circle of good friends, enjoying the lifestyle they had dreamt of in the UK. They rent out their Surrey home to visiting foreign film crews and have it managed by a competent agent.

They have a fair sized investment portfolio with a UK stockbroker who has underperformed their peers over the previous decade, which he learnt from talking to fellow golfers in the 19th hole at the club. He has become keen to change his broker and the portfolio, but is very concerned about the potential Capital Gains Tax.

estate planning

Relations with their eldest son have become increasingly strained due to his stepfather’s disapproval of her son’s lifestyle in Dubai. It has reached a point whereby he has changed his English Will to exclude him from his half of the joint estate. The parents do not have Spanish Wills.

Also growing is the worry about their house in the UK with rising maintenance costs and property taxes. The decision has been made to sell it. In any event, over the years they have owned it they are sitting on a very fine profit. But it seems that they can no longer label it as their prime home. After all, they have been resident in Spain for some considerable years.

Brexit arrived rather suddenly and they have become aware of their potential position as non EU citizens after the final deadline in December 2020.

While they have appointed a UK estate agent to handle the sale of their UK home, Covid-19 has arrived on the global scene. They watch with horror as their portfolios tumble in value. Before the arrival of the virus, they had a sale agreed and their lawyer has taken a large deposit on exchange of contracts. Now the property market is falling away.

Several of their acquaintances both in the UK and in Spain have contracted the virus and they are getting nervous of their own position, their children’s and what to do if they catch it. He is over 65 and becoming more vulnerable as time passes.

UK share portfolio

This couple faces several significant problems:

  • She has a US share and bond portfolio which is fully exposed to US taxes
  • He wants to sell out their UK portfolio and change holdings. It still shows a considerable gain
  • They want to sell their UK home which is still showing a considerable gain
  • They have no Spanish Wills which would cause problems in the event of first death, not least if the eldest son invoked Spanish Succession Law, to inherit his share
  • Although resident in Spain from several angles, they are not actually tax resident here but still tax resident in the UK
  • Apart from tax considerations, their residence status would become questionable in December 2020 (if the Brexit negotiations deadline is realised)
  • They need to complete the sale of their UK home as soon as possible before the market falls much further and their buyer pulls out (despite the hefty deposit he has made)

You might think this is just a story, but with only a few changes this was the reality of two of my longest held clients. Not all of the above may apply to you, but I’m sure certain elements of this brief bio resonate with many of you. The important thing to remember is that every element of this situation has a solution. As advisers here in Spain, we are expats too, and over the past years we have come across all (and more) of these situations. And we have always delivered a solution.

Do you relate to, or are you faced, with any of these issues? Do you know someone who does? They all have a solution. Why not call me for a chat over a coffee? If we are still in lockdown, we can talk about it on the telephone, all in the strictest confidence, of course.

Life in Lockdown

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, investment diversification, Spain
This article is published on: 14th April 2020

14.04.20

Here we are starting the 5th week of lockdown in the Costa del Sol. What a surreal world it is compared to what we have known all our lives. I would like to think it is good for us and our moral fibre. Certainly it is morphing into a much more pleasant environment to the mess mankind was creating until the virus came along. Depending on your take on things, this is either nature seeking to redress our mishandling of this fragile planet, or it is the force we call God taking action to prevent our mass suicide. Of course, it can be argued they are both one and the same, but that discussion is for another time. I and my wife are very lucky, as is my son and his family. We live in houses with space and gardens. We are particularly lucky as we have 1.3 hectares of land and are at least 300 meters from the nearest lone house. We have dogs and can take them out for walks at will, on or off our land, and nearly always meet no one. We have fabulous views and my wife is catching up with all the stuff in the garden for which she normally does not have the time. We both work from home anyway and so our work regime has not altered.

Some of my clients in similar circumstances are also not enduring too bad a time, but the ones I feel for are those clients of mine who live alone in small apartments in urban areas and have no dogs. These are the ones I try to stay in touch with most. I am calm in the knowledge that their money is safe because they are with highly reputable companies and investment managers. And it is all about when the markets will begin to recover. It is their wellbeing that concerns me most and part of that is the reassurance they need that their security is not threatened in the long term.

Charles Hutchinson Estepona

Little Estepona has only one case so far (so lucky), it’s like a ghost town when I go down for our weekly shop. No one on the streets and the police have check points to enquire to where you are going and why and from where you have come.

You have to carry evidence on you to show what you are doing. It’s all good stuff to keep this dreadful thing outside of our city limits. But it does feel very bizarre. Telecommunications and web communications have replaced face to face and touchy feely, but that’s tolerable. The peace and quiet is incredible, you hear so much more now without the sometimes distant murmur of traffic, fireworks, helicopters and the boy racers roaring up and down our mountain road across the valley. The nightingales have arrived which is so beautiful and you can hear them even louder than before. The dawn chorus is almost deafening.

I have to say that the Spanish are bearing up extremely well. When you consider that their life is all about being out and about, socialising, meeting, kissing and hugging each other, sitting out in cafés with friends and family and just enjoying the social interaction, making huge amounts of noise, so much so that they design their homes, not for entertaining, but for spending as little time in them as possible. So now they are imprisoned for an indeterminate sentence, where they cannot go out except to buy essential food once a day, directly there and back, no meeting or touching people and if meeting someone by mistake, it must be from a distance. At the end of all this, we reckon there will be a spike in suicides, divorces and births. Our son Simon and family in Luxembourg, in the same lockdown, go to virtual drinks and dinner parties in the evenings and weekends with friends in the area. He showed us a photo of him getting ready for a dinner party. He was wearing a winged collar, black tie and dinner jacket and shorts and slippers (they can’t see the bottom half!). We’ve started them too; we have about half a dozen friends for drinks and it is hugely enjoyable. We use Zoom so that you can see everyone at the same time and chat together.

Rhona, my wife, has joined Gareth Malone’s virtual choir – I wonder if you have heard about it? The Great British Home Chorus. So far he has more than 110,000 people from all over the English speaking globe and she rehearses with him in the early evening. It is hilarious sometimes hearing these extraordinary howls from another part of the house or outside, my not hearing or seeing the great teacher conducting her.

So, what now? We really don’t know – anything could happen – gradual eradication or a resurgence of the virus? We know here there has been a partial release of lockdown for some workers, especially those who cannot work from home. There is a natural conflict between those who want to continue the lockdown to protect the health of the population and the health service and those who want to protect the economy, jobs and companies. It is very difficult to navigate a sensible course between the two. The global stock markets, which always try to predict the future (not the present nor the past), have already come off bottom with a double bounce nearly a month ago. Now this rise seems sustained for the moment or is this another dead cat bounce? What is obvious is that the markets want to get going again and advantage is being taken of these low levels by many. Those who have cash should think seriously about getting in at these levels, even if drip feeding. Some markets are already up between 20% – 30% from bottom and the potential is still there for a very healthy start to an investment, but it is not for the faint hearted. Cash is king no longer and a home has to be found for it. Make a plan, invest for the long term (at least 5 years), diversify your investments (even in multi asset funds alone), choose good investment houses and funds and stick to the plan. You will not go far wrong if you observe these simple rules.
If you would like to discuss this further, do please get in touch by contacting me as per below. I would even like to hear about your lockdown experiences!

Stock markets falling, should I sell?

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: BREXIT, Investment Risk, Spain, Stock Markets
This article is published on: 6th March 2020

06.03.20

There are four big subjects dominating the public arena at present: life after Brexit, life after the coronavirus, life after climate change, life after the dramatic falls in the global markets.

We live in an interdependent world where news is instant across all continents (although I’m not sure whether the penguins are interested). We are aware of climate change, the antics of Widow Twanky Trump, the spread of the coronavirus and Brexit (an outdated game in which the British people have kicked off in the hope of a repeat performance of their imperial past). Hopefully we have taken onboard the catastrophy of climate change in time (not Widow Twanky, yet) before we are reduced to a desert of Mars proportions. Hopefully the coronavirus threat is a storm in a teacup. Hopefully Brexit will work out. These are all uncertainties – except one: the global stock markets.

All life is cyclical; this is enshrined in history. Take any historical event of extreme proportions; the pendulum will at some point begin to swing back the other way. The only possible exception I can think of is the reincarnation of the Dinosaurs and the Dodo. There will be other tyrants, exterminations, plagues and climate changes at some point; but in our lifetime at least you can depend on the markets bouncing back. Why? As I have described in other articles, the markets are like the tides, they come in and they go out. The sea does not disappear over the horizon in a great hiss of steam into the sunset. Money has to have a home and it is to the markets, at the end of the day, that money’s guardians largely turn. In a post apocalyptical world, bartering will still continue, even if it is with seashells and potatoes. Money is merely the lubricant of trade, whether it be between you and I or corporations or countries.

Believe it or not, the professional market traders relish market falls (or corrections, as they call them) because it presents them with the buying opportunities which are needed to make money. The falls are caused by a mixture of inexperienced emotional investors and market makers (to create the buying opportunities). What is sure now is that markets will move up again and it might be sooner than expected. No person, company or country can stay in lock down for long. We have to eat and carry on our normal lives. Sooner or later, a cure for COVID-19 will be found (they announced yesterday promising results with HIV and Ebola antiviral drugs). The old may be vulnerable, but they don’t need to go out to work, tilling the fields or driving the engines of manufacturing. They are mostly at home enjoying a good rest after a lifetime’s toil. So with a bit of care we may be able to keep them protected until the virus burns itself out.

The lesson is clear: stay invested, or if you are a little brave buy into these low levels to enjoy a potentially better return and maybe average down (don’t commit all your spare investment capital at once but buy into the falling markets in stages to increase the odds of buying near the bottom to increase your potential profits).

Remember, Spectrum does not risk our clients’ hard earned capital. We just know the tide will come in again and as long as we are in sound and sturdy boats (investment funds), it will take everyone back up the beach to new heights. Spectrum chooses fund houses for their experience and expertise, some of whom have been around for more than 200 years. It is their fund managers’ job to react to world events on a daily basis. We use them to protect our clients’ money. We arrange for our clients to access these superb funds through structures called Investment Bonds (or Insurance Wrappers) which are Spanish compliant and which offer unparalleled security (against corporate collapse) and low taxation with both income tax in Spain and the UK and also inheritance tax in Spain.

If you would like to talk to me more about this subject and the points raised, please contact me as per below and I would be happy to discuss this further.