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There is more to (investment) life than the FTSE100

By John Hayward - Topics: Costa Blanca, FTSE stock market, investment diversification, Investment Risk, Spain, Stock Markets
This article is published on: 2nd September 2020

02.09.20

Dependence on the UK stockmarket has damaged wealth

In the last 5 months, life has not been easy. We have all had to change our lifestyles to one extent or another and we don´t know exactly what lengths we will need to go to in order to remain safe. Hopefully the worst has passed and we can get back to thinking about our future in a positive way and not have to constantly worry about coronavirus.

Aside from the pain of having to wear a mask, in the last 5 months I have had concerns about work, I have learned new words and phrases linked to coronavirus, and I have obtained a new Spanish residence card. Certain things have not changed during this time. People read the same newspapers, watch the same television programmes, express their disdain for Donald Trump, and base their investment decisions on the performance of the FTSE100.

New investment trends

Whilst certain business sectors have suffered over the last few months, others have prospered and have a positive outlook. Technology has come to the fore, both in terms of purchasing goods and communication.

Investments and the FTSE100

Aside from the investment vehicle and the tax structure your investments and pension funds are held within, it is important that the investments themselves are well managed. Some people have held off investing through fear of coronavirus. There are also those who had previously delayed investment decisions until Brexit had been sorted out. The consequence of this has been that they have missed out on growth over the last 5 years, even with the downturn in March/April, as well as suffering from the real loss through inflation if they have left their cash in the bank.

Most UK nationals refer to the FTSE100 to find out what is happening with stockmarkets. This is mainly due to it being the one we, as followers of British financial news, are most familiar with. The FTSE100 has been lagging behind global stockmarkets in the last few months. However, the FTSE100, the index of the top 100 companies in the UK, only represents a small percentage of global stockmarkets. Almost 40% of the 100 are banks/financial, oil/energy and consumer staples which include retailers. All of these sectors have been hit by coronavirus. It is overweight in certain sectors and, although they are all big companies, their recent losses are reflected in the movement of the index. Banks especially have had a rough time. Therefore, it is far from being a stockmarket index which represents all global markets and sectors. I appreciate that it is an indicator, but it shouldn´t be used as a decision maker.

You will see from the chart below that by referring to, or even relying upon, the performance of the FTSE100 in order to make investment decisions could have been a mistake. It compares the FTSE100 with the US S&P500 and Nasdaq, and Japan´s Nikkei. The chart runs from the start of 2020. The FTSE100 is D, the blue line.

FTSE100 comparison

Not only has it been important to be aware of global stockmarket performance, but there are other sectors and assets to invest in. For example, gold, that was not immune to the panic in March, has shown itself to be in demand as a safe haven.

Gold prices

Well managed investment portfolios

I am pleased to say that all my invested clients are better off now than they were at the end of March. The most pleasing thing is that not only did they suffer relatively low falls in March but now many have made a complete recovery. We do not push people towards FTSE100 tracker funds. They may be cheaper but that is because there is little or no management. As is often the case, cheapest is not the best.

Conclusion

Active investment management has proven itself to be the best approach, certainly in problematic times. We recommend investment managers who are able to access global shares and other assets. They can buy and sell on a daily basis and not commit you to funds that can become restricted or illiquid. Many of my clients have been pleasantly surprised by the “bounce” of their investment value since March. The FTSE100 has struggled and it has been assumed that this is the case generally. They are also surprised how the United States stockmarkets, with all of the Trump and election issues, have done so well. At times there seems little or no correlation between day to day life and stockmarket performance. In fact, history has taught us that when there is panic and depression, stockmarkets tend to do well.

Over the next few weeks I shall be publishing more articles, so stay tuned:
• The expense of using your bank for insurances
• Life insurance for general living expenses and Spanish inheritance tax
• Currency exchange – your ‘free’ facility could be costing you thousands
• Applying for the new TIE – not compulsory for some but could be beneficial

With investments, there are plans that I can recommend that are clear to understand and tax efficient, and I explain the full details before you commit. The Spectrum IFA Group is not tied to any one company and I can offer you independent, impartial advice and guidance.

Contact me today to find out how I can help you make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.

How to avoid Spanish taxes on your UK property and investments

By John Hayward - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain, Tax in Spain, tax tips, UK investments, UK property
This article is published on: 30th July 2020

30.07.20
Tax in Spain and the UK

Being tax resident in Spain is not your choice
once you have made the initial decision to move to Spain.

Generally, once you have spent 183 days (not necessarily consecutive) in Spain, you are deemed to be tax resident and have to declare income and assets to the Spanish tax office. The tax year in Spain runs from 1st January to 31st December. Unlike the UK, which works on a part tax year basis when someone leaves the UK, in Spain you are either tax resident for the whole year or you are not.

As soon as you know that you will be taking the step to eventually become tax resident in Spain, it is extremely important to make certain that you have arranged your investments and property(ies) in a way that isn´t going to open you up to unnecessary Spanish taxes.

A lot of people will be looking to become resident in Spain before Brexit on 31st December 2020, in case the process becomes more complicated after. However, for those who are worried that applying for a residence card will automatically make them tax resident, let me dispel this fear. It does not. Therefore, you have the opportunity to apply for a residence card whilst taking action to protect your assets free from Spanish tax for 2020, becoming tax resident in Spain in 2021.

UK Property & Tax in Spain

As a tax resident in Spain, a person has to declare all of their overseas assets (over certain levels) as well as the income from these assets. Anything sold, such as a property or investments (ISAs, shares, bonds, etc.), and even a lump sum from a pension which would be tax free in the UK, will be taxable in Spain and this is where there is a potential tax nightmare.

Our advice is usually to sell before becoming tax resident in Spain, if selling is feasible and practical. If you are eligible to take a tax free lump sum, do so before becoming tax resident in Spain. ISAs are also taxable in Spain and although there are ways to legally avoid taxes whilst holding this type of investment, things can become very complicated.

property investment Spain

Let me make this clearer with examples of someone who has a UK property and sells it after becoming tax resident in Spain.

Example 1 – Property Purchase 1986

  • You move to Spain and become a permanent resident, and thus a tax resident, in Spain.
  • You own a property in the UK which has been your primary residence since you bought it in 1986.
  • As you have now moved to Spain, it is now a secondary property.
  • You bought it for £48,000. You are selling it for £600,000. As this is no longer your primary residence, Spanish capital gains tax is due on the sale.
  • Even with indexation (which only applies to pre-1994 purchases), the tax bill is over €50,000.

Example 2 – Property Purchase 2004

    • You bought a property in the UK in 2004 for £150,000 and are selling it now for £250,000.
    • The Spanish capital gains tax on the sale would be over €20,000.
    • Unlike the UK, there are no capital gains tax allowances in Spain.

The same principle applies to shares, investment bonds, and ISAs.
You have to pay Spanish capital gains tax on the difference between what you paid for them and what you sell them for, again with some indexation for pre-1994 purchases.

Spanish Inheritance Tax

Plan early: Before you move to Spain to help avoid Spanish Tax

You need to draw a line under your asset values now so that you can take advantage of the more beneficial capital gains and property tax rules in the UK and start afresh in Spain without the fear of unavoidable Spanish taxes in the future.

Contact me today to find out how we can help you make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.

Moving to Spain & UK pension contributions

By John Hayward - Topics: Pensions, Spain, Tax Relief, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 29th May 2020

29.05.20

I am moving to Spain and I want to make UK personal pension contributions
Is this permitted and what are the restrictions?
Will I still receive tax relief?

Providing that you are a relevant UK individual (definitions below) then you can continue pension contributions for up to 5 full tax years after the tax year you leave the UK. This means that, even if you have no UK earnings once you leave the UK, you can continue to pay up to £2,880 a year (currently), with a gross pension credit of £3,600, for 5 full tax years after leaving the UK. There are more details on how you qualify to make contributions in the text below taken from HMRC’s Pensions Tax Manual. Importantly, any contributions must be made to a plan taken out prior to leaving the UK. In other words, you cannot open a new UK pension plan having left the UK.

We have solutions for people who have left the UK but continue to work and wish to fund a retirement plan. We also help clients position their existing pension funds in the most tax efficient way, creating flexibility whilst providing access to investment experts to maximise the benefits you will receive.

Relevant UK individuals and active members*

Section 189 Finance Act 2004
An individual is a relevant UK individual for a tax year if they:

  • have relevant UK earnings chargeable to income tax for that tax year,
  • are resident in the United Kingdom at some time during that tax year,
  • were resident in the UK at some time during the five tax years immediately before the tax year in question and they were also resident in the UK when they joined the pension scheme, or
  • have for that tax year general earnings from overseas Crown employment subject to UK tax (as defined by section 28 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003), or
  • is the spouse or civil partner of an individual who has for the tax year general earnings from overseas Crown employment subject to UK tax (as defined by section 28 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003)

Relevant UK earnings are explained under Earnings that attract tax relief in the above tax manual.

Tax in Spain and the UK

Members who move overseas
An individual who is a member of a registered pension scheme and is no longer resident in the UK is a relevant UK individual for a tax year if they were resident in the UK both:

  • at some time during the five tax years before that year
  • when the individual became a member of the pension scheme

These individuals may also qualify for tax relief on contributions up to the ‘basic amount’ of £3,600.
*Source UK government

To find out if you qualify and an explanation of all your pension options, including pension transfers, SIPPs, QROPS, and income drawdown, tax treatment of pensions in Spain, and to find out how you could make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, contact me today at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.

How long do you wait for things to improve?

By John Hayward - Topics: FTSE stock market, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain
This article is published on: 27th April 2020

27.04.20

16th March 2020 FTSE 100 – 4898.79
24th April 2020 FTSE 100 – 5750.94
Up 17.39%

History has taught that after disasters there are recoveries. Covid-19 may well be around forever, but there will be controls. Some companies will fall victim, but others will survive and be profitable. We can help you be part of that success. Waiting for Covid-19 to go away before investing could result in lost growth and, ultimately, lost income.

Stockmarkets tend to be ahead of public sentiment and often drive how people feel. Whether the overall recovery pattern is a “V” or a “U” or even a “W” is in some ways irrelevant if you have a medium to long term (5+ years) window. I often hear people saying, “I might not be around in 5 years”. This may be true, but for most people there is more chance of being alive in 5 years than not. Even if one doesn’t survive the next 5 years, we can organise finances so that the survivors are no worse off. Not investing guarantees no growth and capital loss in real terms when allowing for inflation.

Relying on your bank to keep your money safe my not be the iron clad guarantee you perceive it to be.

Careful investing with quality management has proven beneficial for many people in the past. Looking for the quick big buck has often benefitted everybody other than the client. Let us review what you have so that you are part of the recovery and that you don´t feel upset in 3 or 4 years’ time because you missed out on an opportunity.

Contact me now and I will be happy to arrange a phone or video meeting.

Feeling down about investments?

By John Hayward - Topics: Investment Risk, Investments, Spain, Stock Markets
This article is published on: 20th March 2020

20.03.20

Take advantage of this great opportunity

The last stockmarket crash was in September 2008. Here we are again. At the time of writing, the FTSE100 is more than 25% down, even allowing for dividends. For many, this is not an attractive situation when considering investments. For others, the few that look through the dark clouds, this is a great opportunity. It is very difficult, for the vast majority of people, to time when to buy into markets and when to sell out. When to sell can be simpler for those who have a nerve trigger point that will say enough is enough and they will take their profit. Those who sell when things are going down often get it wrong and crystallise a loss. Some will be forced to sell due to other circumstances and could be lucky that this happens when markets are historically high. Others who have to sell at a low point, such as now, are obviously not so lucky. This then leads to a lack of confidence in investing and the feeling of never wanting to be burnt again.

Anybody sitting on cash, wondering what to do with it, should seriously consider investing at a time like this when stockmarkets have crashed. Interest rates are close to non-existent so there is little to offer short term deposit savers. Inflation trundles on and so cash might be ”king” in the short term, but long term hardly ever. The problem is that whenever there is a crisis few can see beyond its end, so they will not invest until things have improved. By then, the potential profits on offer have disappeared. The fact is that that markets will bottom out. Where? Nobody knows for sure, but based on the fact that a big influence on why markets have fallen so much is fear and panic, it is felt that markets are artificially low. There may be further to go down but it is likely that there will be a significant rebound. Markets tend to discount the future. This means that, on the day that someone says the virus is under control, stockmarkets will have already been on their way up for some time.

One way of coping with the uncertainty of when the bottom of this particular dip might be is to drip feed your money into the markets. This means that if markets continue to slide, you don´t suffer a reduced value on all of your cash. Conversely, if markets increase in value, then you are part of that increase. By feeding your money in over a period of time you are able to reduce the downside and be part of the upside. In time, once this crisis has ended, you will already be invested and thus reap the benefits.

To find out how you could make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, contact me today at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp 618 204 731.

Save Thousands in Gift and Inheritance Tax in Spain

By John Hayward - Topics: Inheritance Tax, Spain, Succession Planning, Tax
This article is published on: 27th February 2020

27.02.20

In Spain, you can transfer money or other assets to your children or grandchildren during your lifetime, but these transfers can be subject to gift tax. Tax on gifts in Spain is payable at the time they are made.

However, many autonomous regions have special tax allowances or deductions for these gifts. In the Valencian Community, for example, each child or grandchild could be eligible to receive €100,000 without attracting any gift tax, whereas the tax on €100,000, without any allowances, would be at least €12,000. Also, gifting an asset now will mean that any growth on that asset will be free of any future inheritance tax.

The same allowance is available on inheritance, which means each child can receive €200,000 of your wealth, tax free, saving many thousands in inheritance and gift tax.

Gifting your property whilst you still live it in it, with rights to remain, is another option which many people consider. Known as usufructo, children will inherit the bare ownership of the property, possibly paying some gift tax now, but freeing property from the estate when considering inheritance tax.

As with most things relating to Brexit, what will happen next year is not known publicly at the time of writing. Also, it has been suggested that gift and inheritance tax is about to change in Spain. Therefore, if you are thinking of gifting money, or other assets to your children or grandchildren, this might be an opportunity that will not be around for much longer.

Advice before you arrive in Spain

By John Hayward - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 21st February 2020

21.02.20

For the majority of those who move to a Spain, speaking to a qualified financial planning adviser, who is regulated and licensed in Spain, is something which generally happens after you have moved to Spain. It makes sense to understand the implications of moving to Spain in relation to existing investments and the taxes that come with those. Positioning one´s wealth correctly prior to moving can save thousands in unnecessary taxes.

Therefore, by talking to an adviser, especially one that has lived in Spain for more than 15 years and has experienced the life with his own family, before you embark on the journey can help avoid some issues which expatriates can find themselves encountering:

Many UK based advisers are not fully regulated to offer advice for those in Spain.

They are almost certainly of the most current regulations or tax efficient solutions for your needs, especially as the rules differ from one autonomous region to another.

A Spanish regulated adviser can ensure you are financially prepared for your move, in terms of any investments, savings and taxes which can become due on both income and windfalls you may be expecting after your move.

Tax free and favoured investments such as ISA´s, lump sums from pension funds, and Premium Bonds, are not tax free in Spain.

For those planning on using a property as the main source of income, an understanding of the overall cost and the Spanish taxes that property attracts is essential.

Making a Spanish Will, even if one has an English Will, is vital in order to make certain that wealth is distributed correctly.

Organising a funeral in Spain is a much quicker process than in the UK. For many the funeral is very traumatic if only for what needs to be organised, in Spanish. We can help you arrange a plan for you and your children to escape this trauma.

People overpay when it comes to currency exchange, many using their bank. What appears to be a free deal actually can cost you a lot of money. The exchange rate banks give can be way off the commercial rate. We can save you potentially thousands on your currency especially when you purchase or sell a property.

Investing an hour of two of your time before you make the move to Spain can provide peace of mind and financial comfort when planning a new adventure. We can help with all of the above, and much more.

Please contact me today to find out how we can help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports, or recommendations we provide.

So what is the outlook for 2020?

By John Hayward - Topics: Interest rates, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain
This article is published on: 4th January 2020

04.01.20

How was 2019 for you? For many, it has been another year of uncertainty with an apparent lack of decision making by politicians which has led people to delay making their own decisions. For me, it was the year that I broke my ankle two days into a fortnight holiday. If only for that reason, it has not been my favourite year ever.

So what is the outlook for 2020? Questionable political leadership in the UK over the last 4 years has created a weak economic backdrop where investment firms have been unwilling to risk client money in the UK. That appears to be changing and, whether you agree or disagree with Brexit, certainty creates confidence. A known is far easier to deal with than an unknown.

The current problem is how exactly Brexit is going to go through and how long it will take. That is why top investment firms that we recommend spread their exposure globally and not just in the UK. Although most British people have been hung up about Brexit (me included), the rest of the world has been carrying on their business regardless, creating growth for our clients at a time when other people I have spoken to have been too scared to invest, waiting for that magic day when everything will be at its perfect investment point. This approach is almost guaranteed to fail, certainly in the long term. Taking a grip and making sensible, informed investment decisions now is vital without waiting for a politician to decide your short-term, and long-term, fate.

Since David Cameron announced in February 2016 that there would be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, we have seen the following (to 31/12/19)*:

  • +12% – UK inflation
  • +49% – FTSE100
  • +30% – A low risk investment fund that we recommend for cautious investors
  • +4% – Average savings rate
  • -8% – GBP/EUR exchange rate

What these figures illustrate is that the person who invested, or remained invested, in February 2016, should now be pretty happy. Those who have decided to wait until they know what is happening are likely to have made nothing with their money remaining in a non-interest bearing current account. Their money is now worth 8% less when allowing for inflation. This “loss” is compounded for those living in Spain, receiving regular income from UK State and other pensions, by the fact that the exchange rate is down 8%.

How long do you, or can you, wait before arranging your finances for your benefit and not leaving your money propping up banks that still have issues? We have many satisfied clients who have benefited from our knowledge and expertise. In addition, with our experience of tax in Spain, we can help those living in Spain after Brexit, guiding clients who have UK investments and reducing the impact of the Modelo 720 asset declaration.

Whilst there is a new batch of uncertainty surrounding what Brexit deal will be put in place on 31st January 2020, and what trade agreements will be set up by 31st December 2020, there are positive signs for the coming year and the benefits of these can only be achieved if one is invested appropriately.

We can review your current investments, wherever they may be, and make sure that they are both profitable and tax efficient, both here in Spain and the UK.

*Sources
Hargreaves Lansdown
Financial Express
Swanlowpark

Spanish Succession and Gift Tax boost for non-EU beneficiaries

By John Hayward - Topics: Costa Blanca, Estate Planning, Inheritance Tax, Spain, Succession Planning
This article is published on: 6th December 2019

06.12.19

Imagine that it is Saturday 1st February 2020. Britain has calmly left the European Union with trade deals in place with Australia, Canada, South Africa, the USA, China, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Columbia (I did say imagine). It is possible that you have children who live in one of these countries and you are resident in Spain. 2 years ago your children would not have benefited from the European Court of Justice ruling (2014) which stated that children who live in an EU/EEA country should benefit from local Spanish rules and allowances when calculating Spanish Succession and Gift Tax. Since the decision in 2018 in favour of a Canadian (Canada is not due to join the EU), the Spanish Supreme Court have ruled that “connected” non-EU beneficiaries will also benefit from the rules of each Autonomous Region in Spain. What this means is that, even if there was a hard Brexit, your child in London would be treated as fairly as one in Valencia, Havana, or Beijing.

It is possible to reclaim overpaid Succession and Gift Tax. Please get in contact if you know anybody who has been a beneficiary of an inheritance using the allowances under the old rules. The claim could amount to many thousands of Euros.

Gifting your Spanish property can save tax

Investing some time in estate planning now will help to make certain that your wealth is distributed the way you want it to be and not end up in the taxman´s pocket. One example is where we have helped parents in Spain gift their properties to their children, who live in the UK, whilst the parents continue to live in the property. This could save thousands in future inheritance tax.

Positioning investments in tax efficient structures can also help protect against inheritance tax. We have the solutions.

Your right to vote and the risk of doing nothing

By John Hayward - Topics: BREXIT, Spain, UK General Elections
This article is published on: 31st October 2019

31.10.19

So we pass another Brexit date with 31st January 2020 the next one. I have some questions:

  • Will there be a (another) referendum before?
  • Who will win the General Election on 12th December?
  • Does anyone in a position of power really care?
  • What will I get for Christmas?

These are all unknowns, to me at least, but there are two that I can have an influence on. If I´m good, I could get something nice for Christmas. Perhaps a matching sock for last year´s. I could also have an effect on who gets elected in the UK on 12th December.

The 15 year rule
It is generally known that one has up to 15 years to register to vote in General Elections in the UK having moved abroad. Although there has been talk about abolishing this rule, it still exists. One aspect generally unknown is that you have the right to vote if you registered within the last 15 years after moving abroad. Therefore, this means that you can vote in the upcoming election if you registered on or after 12th December 2004. In my case, after leaving the UK in late 2004, I believed that I had missed the opportunity by a month or so. In fact, and because I registered to vote in the 2005 election, I have been told by my last constituency office that I have until 2020 to continue voting.

If you left the UK within the last 15 years then you simply register now. I believe that you have up until 25th November to do so. If you have registered to vote within the last 15 years, after leaving the UK, I suggest that you get confirmation from your last constituency office and then register to vote in the coming election at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Unfortunately, this could be an election based purely on Brexit. We know more now than we did in June 2016 and so, hopefully, whoever wins, there will be clear direction and they get on with leaving or staying.

Lost benefits waiting for Brexit
Many people have delayed making decisions due to Brexit uncertainty, especially when it comes to buying property or investing. On the property side, this has meant missing out on property value gains, lost rental revenues, or simply a delay in the dream move. From our side, in the investment world, those who have been invested in the types of cautious fund that we promote have seen their money grow by over 20% since the referendum in June 2016. At the same time, for those people who have left their money in the bank in readiness for what they didn´t really know, have seen their money reduce in real value by around 11% through inflation. In simple terms, £100,000 invested in a low risk fund would now be worth £120,000, £107,000 when allowing for 11% inflation. Left in the bank, with no interest, £89,000. People would be up in arms if they were told that their bank was charging them 2% (£2,000 in this example) a year in charges but this is effectively what inflation has caused and has been the consequence of ‘playing safe’.

There´s probably another ‘Brexit’ around the corner, but life goes on. I look forward to receiving my sock regardless of who is Prime Minister on 25th December.

To find out more about how you could benefit from quality financial planning advice and years of experience both in Spain and the UK, contact me today on +34 618 204 731 (call or WhatsApp) or at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com