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Potential Catalan Issues

By Chris Burke - Topics: Banking, Barcelona, Catalonia, Currencies, Elections, Investments, spain
This article is published on: 5th October 2017

05.10.17

It seems Catalonia and Spain are continuing their loggerheads and head jutting, but what most people are starting to consider are their OWN assets and issues being a resident here, particularly if you are not Catalan. I have received many emails this week from worried clients and contacts, about having their money here and what they can/shouldn’t do.

See below my 5 TOP FINANCE TIPS for the current predicament and indeed some of the areas we help people with.

Spain’s stock market has taken a severe hit this week, with two of the Catalan banks, Banco Sabadell and Caixabank down 6.3% and 6.7% respectively. Indeed today Banco Sabadell is holding an emergency meeting, Thursday the 5th October, to approve relocating their headquarters out of Catalonia.

Therefore, as an emergency communication to my clients and contacts I thought it would be useful to know what you should be thinking about and the main questions that have arisen this week:

1. Personal Money in banks
Any money in a bank, unless used to live on a day by day, is devaluing in real terms. If Spain reacts to Catalonia declaring independence, we have no idea what might happen. In the last crisis, banks made it difficult to move and even limited the money you could take from your bank account. If you have ‘excess funds’ in accounts in banks, you may want to consider other options so you still have full control of your money and no worries.

2. Business Bank Accounts
If your business account is with a Catalan bank, but you have a personal one that is not, you CAN move money into this. However, you have to be careful and follow these guidelines:

‘In order to avoid problems with the consideration of dividends it would be preferable to do a loan agreement between you and your company and to file a form through la Generalitat, in order to demonstrate the date of the loan and the content of the agreement. There is no stamp duty to be applied and it is not necessary to go to a Notary, but it is better to have this document done, just in case, if in the future somebody asks about this amount.
Source: Silvia Gabarro, GM Tax.

3. Currency
Anyone with sterling Money will have felt the pain of the currency weakening since the Brexit vote. Analysts have been saying for months that this is very undervalued, and built on worries about the UK leaving the EU. However, there are still fundamental issues within the EU, including the real major problems of the Italian banks, the fragile Spanish economy and a few members who are heavily in debt and unlikely to ever be able to repay this. Now we also have the Catalan Independence problems coming to a head within Spain, this could be compounded. Then in May next year we have the Italian elections which could be interesting to say the least.

Therefore, it could be argued before the Euro weakens any further, a good time to transfer money into sterling from Euros.

4. Existing/Investments
Many Catalan/Spanish banks whose client’s money is invested have more of an emphasis on their own funds or Spanish funds, than a non Spanish bank/investment would. We call this being more ‘Spanish Centric’. If the Spanish stocks are booming then this is fine, however if not the case this could be very dangerous to your investments, whether personal or corporate.

The larger the stock market, the closer correlation (it does the same as) to other large stock markets. Therefore, if your money is invested with a truly global bank/investment firm you will not put your money so much at risk to this.

5. Relocation
Believe or not, some businesses and people are relocating due to the current predicament, and some companies share prices have even gone up by 20% on revealing this news to the press!

You may or may not want to consider this, or be in a position to, but your personal and corporate finances do not need to worry if you have them set up correctly. Companies’ savings and your personal money can be with a ‘Portable bank/institution’ that acts like a balloon. Wherever you go, you pull your balloon along with you happily. Then, when you want to access some of the money, you let some ‘air’ (money) out and adhere to the local rules of where you are. No need to open up bank accounts in different countries, or go through the extensive administration. Just tell us you want your money and after some due diligence you shall receive it, wherever you are and knowing the process is legal and compliant.

UK expats cannot vote after 15 years abroad

By Victoria Lewis - Topics: Elections, France, Habitual Residence, Residency, United Kingdom
This article is published on: 12th June 2017

12.06.17

This article was written in May 2015 by a lawyer friend of mine and is as relevant today.

The result of the UK election was meant to be much closer. If it had been closer, the rule which prevents British expats who have been abroad for more than 15 years from voting in Parliamentary elections may have come under renewed scrutiny.

The size of the British community abroad is estimated at 5.6 million. Most expats leave the UK for work-related reasons, taking their families with them. Mixed-nationality marriages are also a factor in emigration decisions, as well as the wish of many British pensioners to retire abroad. Thanks to exchange programs, the number of students travelling around the world to experience life abroad has increased significantly in recent years. In our ever more globalized world, borders are disappearing.

These “British Expats” are unofficial but precious ambassadors, promoting British values to their host countries. They make an invaluable contribution to the diffusion of their culture, disseminating the “British Way of Life” by projecting an image of their “Britishness” around them. In the view of the Institute for Public Policy Research, “British abroad are not a burden or an embarrassment: they are in many ways the best of the UK and we should be proud and supportive of them”.

However, their political situation is overshadowed by the fact that they lose their right to vote in the United Kingdom after they have been living abroad for more than 15 years, no matter how frequently they return to visit their home country. Exceptions exist for the military, civil servants and British Council employees, but all other British expats cannot vote under the current UK law. While most developed countries such as France, Spain, Switzerland or the USA have recognized their own expat population by giving them an unrestricted right to vote in national elections, the United Kingdom seems to be one of the few countries with this type of restrictive rule.

How the law changed
Before 1985, British citizens living outside the United Kingdom were unable to vote in UK Parliamentary elections. Following intensive pressure, the Representation of the People Act 1985 finally gave them the right to vote. They could register as “overseas voters” in the constituency where they last lived in the UK. But, 1985 also marked the beginning of a ‘time limit’ during which British expats would be able to remain on the electoral register. This period was shortened and extended, but has never been unlimited.

The Representation of the People Act 1985 made provision for British citizens residing outside the United Kingdom to remain on the electoral register in the UK for a period of 5 years. In 1989, this period was extended to 20 years. In 2000, it was decided to reduce it to 15 years, with effect from 1 April 2002, leading to the rule that applies today.

A discriminatory and arbitrary rule, according to most British expats
Due to this, pressure groups have been created to plead for the abolition of the 15-year rule. They claim that the legislation is discriminatory, arbitrary and serves no useful purpose.

They consider it to be discriminatory because not all British expats are concerned by the legislation. As indicated previously, members of the armed forces, Crown servants and employees of the British Council are exempted from the rule. Besides, in accordance with European Union Treaties, all European citizens have the right to live and work in another state of the EU. These fundamental rights should not be subject to any restrictions or penalties. They accuse the UK of acting in a discriminatory fashion by penalising the right of free movement of its citizens, whilst most other developed countries do not.

They also consider it an arbitrary treatment because the cut-off point has been fixed without a concrete objective or justified basis on which to determine who should have the right to vote. The Government used to claim that people who have lived abroad for over 15 years are likely to lose links with the UK. However, in today’s world of increasing global communication, this argument does not seem appropriate any more.

Comparison with other countries
Unlike the UK, most advanced democracies have granted their expat population an unrestricted right to vote in national elections.
In June 2012, French people abroad were able to vote for their MPs for the first time. Around the world, 11 constituencies were created. (See the article on the FBCCI Blog: Voting rights for British Expats: What can the UK learn from France?)

Spanish expats’ rights are guaranteed by article 68 of the Constitution. In Portugal, according to the Constitution, the single-chamber Assembly of the Republic is “the representative assembly of all Portuguese citizens”. Thus, expats have the same right to vote in elections for the Assembly as citizens living in Portugal. Italian expats are represented in both chambers of the parliament and elect 65 representatives to the ‘Consiglio Generale degli Italiani all’Estero’. The United States also guarantee their expat population’s political rights.

Efforts to reform
Faced with this situation, some national and European politicians have asked for the law to be reviewed or, at least, debated.

“The exercise of the freedom of movement should not result in losing an important democratic right” says Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for electoral rights, in her factsheet “Promoting your electoral rights”. “Although EU law grants EU citizens the right to participate in municipal and European elections in the Member State where they reside, it provides no such right with regard to national elections. (…) Given that EU citizens of those Member States are not able to participate in any national elections (neither in the Member State of origin not in the Member State of residence), they are deprived of one of their most important political rights just because they exercise their right to free movement. (…) The Commission will launch a discussion to identify political options to prevent EU citizens from losing their political rights when they exercise their right to free movement.”

A short debate in the House of Lords on voting arrangements for British citizens living overseas and members of the armed forces serving abroad was held on 2nd March 2011. Viscount Astor, arduous defender of the overseas voters’ electoral rights (“This 15-year rule is unfair and excludes perhaps half the expatriates living overseas. There is no credible reason for that.”), asked whether the Government would consider changing the voting arrangements that were currently in place. He called on the Government to look again at the 15-year rule. Lord Lester of Herne Hill agreed with him and has previously asked the Government to legislate to change the rules.

More recently, calls have been made for the Government to reconsider this rule. The issue was raised during the passage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill 2012-2013 in the House of Commons. Conservative Geoffrey Clifton-Brown proposed that a new clause should be added to the Bill to remove the 15-year limit rule: “the new clause would remove this qualifying period altogether, so that all British citizens could qualify as overseas voters, regardless of when they were last resident in the UK”.

The Parliamentary Secretary, David Health, replied that the Government would give the issue “serious consideration” but that it would not rush into a decision, “not because of any wish to obstruct, but simply because the question of extending the franchise is a fundamental one and both the Government and the House would have to feel comfortable with doing that”. The amendment was subsequently withdrawn.

The Bill received its second reading in the Lords on the 24th July 2012 and Lord Norton of Louth raised the issue of overseas voters during the debate. Lord Lexen also called for the 15-year rule to be abolished: (…) I urge strongly that the scope of the Bill be extended, as my noble friend Lord Norton of Louth argued, by adding to it provision to enable all our fellow subjects of Her Majesty who live abroad to vote in our parliamentary elections. This would end the 15-year limit rule, for which no clear rationale has ever been offered (…)”.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire responded for the Government and said there were no plans to extend the 15-year limit rule: “The Government does not have any plans at the present moment to lengthen the period from leaving the country beyond 15 years, nor do we have any really ambitious plans to do what is done in some other countries, which is to allow voting in embassies and consulates. However, the electoral period will help”.

The entrenched position of the Courts

The feeling of not being understood and being prejudiced in the execution of one of their fundamental rights has encouraged some expats to challenge the rules before the courts.

Two cases were brought recently.
The first case concerned James Preston, a British citizen living with his family in Spain and working for UK companies since 1995. In 2009 he was denied the right to vote in Parliamentary elections, having lived outside the UK for 15 years. He went to the High Court in 2011, asking for judicial review of the legislation but his case was dismissed. His application to take his case to the Court of Appeal was denied in 2012. Lord Justice Elias said he appreciated Mr. Preston and other expats were “genuinely upset about the rule”, but that there was no real evidence that “it does create a barrier of any kind to freedom of movement”. “It is inherently unlikely that the loss of the right to vote would be sufficient to cause expats to up sticks and return to the UK”, he added.

The second case was brought by Harry Shindler, a World War II veteran who retired to Italy in the early 1980’s. He took his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, alleging a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, which provides that: “The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature”.

He claimed that no time-limit should be imposed on expats’ voting rights. He considered he should have the right to choose his place of residence without being disenfranchised. “Universal suffrage is set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Universal to my mind, and in every dictionary I’ve seen, means ‘everybody’”. “Expats abroad pay their taxes at home. There are those who have property and haven’t sold it because they believe they’ll be coming back. They pay taxes on that property. They pay council tax. The pensions we get, government and private, come from the UK and those pensions, when they reach a certain limit, are taxed in the UK. So here we have expats who pay their taxes and are not allowed to vote. It’s unacceptable.”

However, the court in Strasbourg rejected his case, ruling that the 15-year limit was “not an insubstantial period of time” and it was up to the British Government whether to choose a cut-off point. Therefore, in the court’s view, the 15-year rule does not violate the right to free elections.
In view of the positions of both the courts and the Government, it seems British expats are stuck in a situation where, after 15 years abroad, they may still pay taxes in the UK, still feel British and strongly linked to their home country, but cannot vote in British elections; nor in their host country’s national elections either.

In November 2011, the Government said Mr. Shindler is not a ‘victim’, since “it was open to him to take Italian citizenship and acquire a right to vote in elections to the Italian national parliament”.

David Burrage, an ex-soldier and policeman who co-founded the British Expats Association of Spain, commented: “When I consider that Harry had jumped ashore and onto the beaches at Anzio and offered up his life, like so many of our brave servicemen, during World War II, when viewed alongside the conduct of our Government, by way of that most recent response on their behalf, it not only makes me feel ashamed, I also feel utterly disgusted”.

Although this statement dates from 2011, it still expresses the feelings of many British expats.
Neil Robertson
Solicitor, England & Wales
Avocat au Barreau de Paris
May 2015

“How dare they move abroad and take their wealth with them!”

By David Hattersley - Topics: BREXIT, Elections, Residency, spain, Theresa May, United Kingdom
This article is published on: 19th April 2017

19.04.17

Taken from a (fictional) script of a new episode of “Yes Minister”, re-introducing the following cast.

Chancellor of The Exchequer: The Right Honourable Jim Hacker
Permanent Secretary to the Treasury: Sir Humphrey Appleby
Principal Private Secretary to Jim Hacker: Bernard Woolley

Sir Humphrey, bursts into the office of the Chancellor, unannounced, hot, bothered, angry and ranting.

Sir Humphrey: The PM has just announced another election, What is that woman playing at !!. Heavens above it was only weeks ago that we spent ages working on the Budget, which may never come into effect, or at least until it becomes law, by which time we may, heavens forbid, have had a change of government, and have to start all over again. Teaching newcomers about the real facts !!!!!……. How can I run the nations Treasury on that basis????. It reminds of the last time a lady PM was in charge, daring to throw her hand bag around dictating what we could and couldn’t do. It created chaos. We have only just managed to get back to a kind of orderly sensible running of this department and the Civil Service. What is the point of having a Cabinet if you don’t share the information first.!!!!

Bernard: Sir Humphrey, please calm down a little. To be fair, it’s only a few months since the Minister was appointed. It’s not as if he fully knows the ropes yet. Besides, we tried to contact you this morning at your office, immediately after the Cabinet meeting, but were told that you were at your club having breakfast with old friends from Oxford and were not to be disturbed as you were talking about important issues in relation to the Budget.

Sir Humphrey: Minister you should have let me know earlier. Surely the PM must have known that she was going to make this U – turn, despite saying only a few months ago she wasn’t going to have a General Election until 2020. That’s the trouble with politicians, changing their minds, to the whim of the public at a moment’s notice. We seem to be moving to the policies of our neighbours in the EU, in particular Greece, France and Italy along with the US where a populist trend or tweet is considered grounds to react without the calm sensible order to the stability that we in the Civil Service desire.

Jim: The Cabinet meeting was held this morning. This U turn was only discussed this morning. It was felt that it was in the best interests to enable the PM to be elected as the leader of the party best in the position to negotiate a favourable exit. We needed to do this as soon as possible, so that stability is returned quickly. You seem to forget the previous lady P.M., whom you deride, and may I remind you, “Was not for turning”, who was then thrown out of power by a small number of people, and the electorate was not given the chance to vote . This is democracy at its finest, I think the PM should be applauded for taking this risk, as we all are.

Sir Humphrey: calming down…..mumble mumble, …… Minister I suggest we look at the best way to ensure that the best bits of the Budget that can be carried forward and that we can get some additional revenue coming into the State coffers without too much difficulty.

Jim: Mmm, I am a little concerned that perhaps some elements are a little too hasty and need further thought and consideration. We need to consider that the UK is still part of the EU, and is still subject to the freedom of movement of goods and services as enshrined by the EU/EEA constitution.

Sir Humphrey: In the mean time Minister, due to the election and additional delays we still need to make things harder to protect against a possible net capital outflow for those that are bringing forward plans to retire overseas. I was talking this morning to the FCA, along with the friends from Oxford who are either CEO’s of product providers concerned about retaining their funds under management, along those who are trustees of UK pension schemes. Maybe in two years time we will be well shot of the EU and bothersome elements of the EEA, and can then treat ex pats and the Europeans that move back to their original country as one. As for the Scots we are bribing them with more money than we can afford to stay within the UK. However they seem intent on holding another referendum to leave the Union and join the EU. In that event we can borrow President Trump’s brilliant idea by rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall to stop those heathen coming in. And that can be paid for by increasing the duty on their Scotch.

Bernard: errmmm can I remind you Sir Humphrey, that if what is left of the Union leaves the EU, and just stays in the EEA , then what is left might not get the benefits of the subsidies of the Common Agricultural Policy. That could mean that things like Scottish Salmon, Lamb, Beef and Irish butter from remaining members will get these subsidies whilst what remains of the UK won’t as we will have lost the benefits of the CAP.

Sir Humphrey: Look , after all it was the English electorate that voted to leave and they will have no sympathy with any of them whatsoever. This is especially after that brilliant campaign by the Daily Blurb to stop winter fuel payments to pensioners living in the sunny Costa’s.

Jim: Didn’t they have snow on the Costa’s recently, that seems pretty wintery to me !

Sir Humphrey: Yes, but Minister , that is once every 30 odd years, a one off .

Jim: About the same number of years since there has been snow in London on Christmas Day then!!!!! Their homes are not built for winter, and those that live 10 kms inland have had to suffer cold winters regularly.

A by now exasperated Sir Humphrey: You haven’t given me the chance to explain the wider picture….. We have to take a long term view. The best bit Minister is when 70% of the ex pats return to be with children & grandchildren, or illness, and they eventually need residential care. They will have to pay for this, but not via HMRC taxation, more a sort of stealth tax. Most won’t realize this as it is not direct taxation, but capital assets have to be liquidated to pay to local Social Services under the Care Act. This leaves a maximum of £23,350 per individual that cannot be used for this purpose. It avoids the pesky IHT rules and allowances, with very little being passed to the next generation. That means that they too will have to work longer and harder, still paying tax of course, without the help of a legacy. That solves the problem of demographics, we have to take the longer view. So we hit them on the way out and on the way back in a triple whammy for daring to retire abroad, and not staying to pay taxes in this glorious country of ours as it moves back to its former glories. After all the opportunities we have given to the great British public over the years, for some of them, how dare they move abroad and take their wealth with them. Ungrateful peasants.!!!

Jim: Doesn’t that discriminate against the very idea of freedom and choice, they took a risk. I remember the 60’s and early 70’s when one was limited to the amount of money one could take out of the UK under exchange controls, for those lucky enough to go on holiday abroad in those dark days. My parent’s passports were stamped accordingly to prevent capital flight and a further fall in Sterling. It is wrong, to return to those dark old days and take that freedom away, that’s not playing cricket.

Sir Humphrey: Yes Minister ,but we will also potentially lose further tax payers when some of the companies in the City relocate part of their operations to Europe, along with research companies that may relocate to Scotland so that they still benefit from EU grants. Someone has to pay for that loss and we have to be realistic and find a way that is politically acceptable to the remaining electorate and protect our interests’ as a result of an additional loss to the countries coffers. I know it may not be cricket, but that is a just a game, to which incidentally I will thoroughly enjoy watching from the members pavilion at Lords , after meeting up with the ex leader of UKIP who has just been nominated as a member. Perhaps you’d like to become a member too Minister, I am sure that could be arranged.

Jim: Sir Humphrey, I am pleased for you as a civil servant that you are to be able to spend 5 days off watching a Test Match live. As a working politician I still have the dispatch boxes to go through, and attend to the needs of my constituents. So I am lucky to watch the one hour highlights on TV, so I will have to decline your offer. And there is a minor chance that unlike you I might be out of work in a few weeks time, can’t afford to be a member of Lords, and revert back to a real job.

Moving away from fiction lets deal with the facts

Factual time line.
UK Statutory Residents Test . Finance Act 2013. Note how helpful it is for those coming in, and how difficult it is for those leaving in relation to tax.

UK sited residential property held by ex pats once tax resident abroad. Finance Act 2014. From April 6th 2015, any gain from that date in the value of the property thereafter, upon sale will be liable to UK Capital Gains tax, and as such the gain will be paid directly to UK HMRC.

Care Act 2014.Statutory testing of benefits for care .Introduced two stages April 2015, & then April 2016. The April 2016 element included a revised increased of the thresholds re residual capital and was deferred in April 2015 until at least April 2010 when it will be reviewed again.

FCA ruling. April 2016. Advice and the report required on the potential transfer to a QROP of a Defined Benefit Pensions can only be carried by a UK regulated IFA who charges fees upfront.

Finance Bill March 8th 2017. A potential tax surcharge of 25% of the pot after transferring a UK pension to a QROP.
( Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pension ) Exemptions apply to this particularly if you reside in EEA/EU for five complete tax years after the transfer is completed. A review of all QROP’s providers to see that they match the new rules, in particular those that are outside the EU/EEA area. The rules are more onerous for non EEA / EU residency of both individual and provider. In addition as a “foreign pension” paid to a returning ex pat a QROP will no longer benefit from 90% of this being liable to UK income tax. It will revert to a 100% with immediate effect.

An unusual element of the bill was the fact that it came into effect on the 9th March, allowing no time for those plans already in progress. It is unusual to take such a draconian step and not allow sufficient time for those cases in the process of being progressed to be halted in such a manner.

March 29th 2017. The date the UK formally triggered Article 50 to leave the EU. This has already negated the EU element of the EU/ EEA referred to above re QROP’s.

April 18th 2017 Announcement of UK General Election for June 8th 2017.

A further note is that UK HMRC will still allow personal allowances on taxation of assets held in the UK for non-resident UK citizens living abroad within the EEA. This was dated the 7th April 2017, direct from UK Gov HMRC website. Whether that will continue in the future, will be dependant on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, and that is the great unknown. If you follow the logic applied to the above and the UK does leave the EEA, you have been given at least advance warning.

Most of us as regulated advisers in the EU have come across some UK providers of all manner of, Unit Trusts, ISA’s and Pensions in particular making life extremely difficult too.

So action is required , one has to say immediately, before it is too late. Finally my thanks to the BBC and Antony Jay/Jonathan Lynne for the original Yes Minister,and in particular that episode where Sir Humphrey extols the virtue of the UK remaining in the EU. Thank you for the inspiration to write an updated version that is current, possible and satirical.

Investing in turbulent times

By Sue Regan - Topics: BREXIT, Elections, sterling, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 12th January 2017

12.01.17

In the words of Bob Dylan….The Times They Are a-Changin’

Well, 2016 certainly saw its fair share of change on a global scale, both politically and economically. A few notable events in the year’s calendar being:

  • A slump in Chinese economic growth and heavy selling-off of stock causing its stock market to close for 3 days in January and wider global market turbulence
  • The oil price crash early in the year which, although a welcome bonus at the petrol pumps, had a largely negative effect on the global economy which now relies far more on emerging economies that are oil and commodity rich than it did 15 or 25 years ago – the last periods of ultra low oil prices
  • Interest rates are at an all time low and could go even lower, even though inflation is on the up. Whilst this is a good thing if you are a borrower, it’s not good news for savers
  • BREXIT – as well as the political chaos left in its wake the vote to leave the EU sent sterling into a downward spiral taking it to its lowest level against the US dollar in over 30 years. Although the UK stock market rallied initially because UK exports looked cheap, and the fall of the pound against the Euro has been a little softer, it has dramatically reduced the income for anyone transferring their pensions from sterling to euros
  • Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election took most by surprise, but the president-elect continues to defy expectations. Contrary to the predictions of many experts, stock markets have rallied strongly since his victory, with the three major US indices reaching record highs while the dollar has soared. What effect this will have on the longer term outlook for the US and the rest of the world is yet to be seen but a hike in US interest rates now seems very likely

Sometimes change is positive and sometimes it is negative. When things appear to be bad it is often tempting to allow emotion to intervene and bad investment decisions can be made. To say that the future is uncertain is an understatement, but when is the future ever certain? As the old adage goes “the only things certain in life are death and taxes”. During times of increased uncertainty, it feels “safe” to leave your hard earned cash to sit in a bank account where it won’t be affected by market falls and “at least it will earn a bit of interest” – and that is very often the case BUT that isn’t to say that it won’t lose any value. With interest rates at an all time low and inflation on the rise you don’t need to be a mathematician to work out that if the rate of inflation is higher than the rate of interest your cash is earning then the real value of your capital is falling, not to mention the Income tax payable on savings interest. The thing most investors want above all else is to grow their capital.

Market timing is difficult at best – even the professionals can get it wrong. Every market cycle has days when it rises and days when it falls, known as market volatility. The herd instinct as well as our emotions can sometimes lead us to buy when markets are on the rise or, as is often the case, when they are at a peak, and sell when they are low. Often a few good days account for a large part of the total return on an investment but trying to predict when these days will be is virtually impossible. By staying in the market you ensure that your investments will benefit from the good days.

The key to reducing market volatility is diversification. Although it does not guarantee against loss, diversification is the most important component to achieving your long-term financial goals whilst minimising risk. A well diversified portfolio will include investments across a broad range of asset classes (e.g. cash, bonds, property and equities) and investing in several different industries; sectors; geographical regions; and incorporating different fund managers.

Good portfolio managers will monitor and analyse closely the changes and trends going on in all aspects of the investment universe and will find opportunities even when things are generally perceived to be “bad”. Choosing the right fund manager(s) to manage your money is crucial. Although The Spectrum IFA Group is completely independent and is free to recommend any and all investment providers out there – we don’t. We place huge importance on our rigorous selection process before adding a fund to our Preferred Funds List, considering such things as the strength and security of the fund house; its regulatory environment; the experience and track record of the fund manager(s); the team and resources available; the investment process and the fund mandate. After undertaking the detailed selection process our specialist Investment Committee put together a comprehensive list of funds and investments to suit different risk profiles, time horizons and financial objectives.

Financial Review

It is at times like this that people need financial advice more than ever. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your situation, or any other aspect of retirement or inheritance planning, you can contact me by e-mail at sue.regan@spectrum-ifa.com or by telephone on 04 67 24 90 95 to make an appointment. We adopt a highly-personalised approach to expat financial planning. We are here for the long term, and will continue to guide you through all types of financial issues. The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees directly to clients for their time or for advice given, as can be seen from our Client Charter at www.spectrum-ifa.com/spectrum-ifa-client-charter/

President Trump “The brand and businessman”

By David Hattersley - Topics: Elections, Investments, spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 15th November 2016

15.11.16

Firstly excuse the pun, but if one considers Donald Trump as a “brand” then he did one great job in getting elected as President of the USA. Somehow he sensed that the electorate had grown tired of the political elite and that the establishment needed to be changed and shaken up. That is common knowledge, after all Farage did it based on the cigarettes and beer outside a pub. The same applies to Margaret Thatcher.

Putting it into perspective though, others have gone on to challenge the established order in their respective business fields that then became global household names. The likes of Branson, Doug & Mary Perkins (Specsavers) , Michael O’Leary (Ryan Air) and James Dyson all challenged the status quo and vested elitist interests at the time, much to their dismay and their eventual demise. All the former have gone on to be recognized as global brands that have led a revolution in their fields in their own lifetimes.

In this respect President Trump has, forgive the pun, “out trumped” the recognized establishment in recognizing a true niche market that would follow him. He marketed a particular brand, appealing to a certain audience that felt that it had been left behind in the event of globalization and other ills.One now has to consider the impact on the rest of the world and its impact on investment. In his early days as President elect, he has already shown signs of an element of pragmatism, like a businessman would do towards the need to understand and temper the advertising campaign – for example, recognising what is good in Obamacare and what needs to be modified fiscally to make it a success.

It also depends on who he appoints as his “Board of Directors”, to help him carry through the reforms that are needed for his “New Company” will succeed. No doubt and hopefully, the same will apply to business in general, the need to negotiate where need be, to gain better terms, but at the same time realize the greater picture. He is after all now the CEO of the USA, and that needs to be understood first and foremost.The old order is being replaced, old perceptions will no longer be relevant, and that too can have an impact. As much as Thatcher-ism and Reaganomics changed the world, the Brexit and President Trump’s election will change it too. One has to follow that the old order has been overturned and that whilst the new company has just started, it too needs to act like a company, a far cry from the current political elite. It is almost that a revolution is taking place.

In relation to investments, this means change, but change brings opportunities. Realising this takes skill, and the selection of funds and managers that recognise that change, rather than following old ideas that are now outdated, need to be considered. At the moment though, one cannot take knee jerk reaction as the inauguration does not take place until January 2017, so investors need to keep an eye on the near future, whilst considering other investments that are unlikely to be affected by the above changes.