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The trends for 2016 – The view from the Gondola.

By Peter Brooke - Topics: Events, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 27th January 2016


We have just returned from our annual Spectrum Conference, this year 30 advisers headed to the stunningly beautiful city of Venice.

With two days set aside for discussion and rumination over global markets and other financial changes and issues… in retrospect it seems incredibly well timed…. up to the day of departure for Venice, from the start of 2016, stock markets had fallen between 8 and 15% and Brent Crude Oil was down 20%.

So could we come back from this conference with a view on whether this highly volatile trend was to continue and was this really the end of the world? Well… yes we could.

We are very lucky to be part of a company large enough to access the resources from some of the biggest and best names in our business and they all presented fairly similar views on where we are and where we might be going, and they can all be summarised by looking at 3 main trends and a few smaller issues:

OIL, CHINA, INTEREST RATES and then EMPLOYMENT and BREXIT… so with enormous thanks to companies like Blackrock, Henderson Global Investors, Jupiter, Kames Capital, Rathbones and Tilney Bestinvest, let’s try and look at how these might affect us all.

  • If you believe that there is a global recession around the corner… then sell everything and stay in cash! – We don’t!
  • Is this like 2008? NO, but we could talk ourselves into it! The Global Macro scene is not that
  • Markets will now move to looking at “growth” rather than being “policy” led like from 2009 to 2015. (eg QE etc)
  • GDP growth is at its strongest since 2010.
  • Divergence is increasing around the world (ie. end of QE in US, but increase of QE in Europe).


CHINA the bulk of the slowdown is now behind us, in fact China have been doing exactly what we, as the developed world, have been asking them to do for the last few years… i.e. devaluing their currency and switching to a new ‘consumption based economy’ – this all makes good economic sense BUT their communication has been poor and the ‘fiddling’ in their stock markets has not been appreciated. The economic growth rate is stabilising and as the ‘new’ tech lead, consumer economy becomes greater therefore slowdown in the ‘old’ commodity heavy manufacturing economy will matter less to the overall rate. 4 – 6% GDP growth per year is realistic for the foreseeable future… it’s still a very good growth rate, especially for the biggest economy in the world.

When China was growing at 12%, it was 1/5th size it is now… the relative amount of GDP in real terms is significantly greater now than it was then… the headline rate, might be just that… a headline in a newspaper but the over-reaction to the inevitable slowdown has been pronounced.

OIL – massive sell off through 2015… Not due to drop in demand but due to oversupply… “The Saudis are telling the US to ‘frack’ off, they want to put the US Shale gas business out of business”

BUT – the break-even cost of extraction has dropped from $110 per barrel in 2011 to $34 per barrel now, so the US can afford lower prices for longer. Some countries must keep production high just to maintain some revenues; they can’t afford to stop, even at these low prices. … This is becoming a ‘who blinks first’ situation and is all about power and geopolitics rather than normal market influences.

Low oil prices can help consumption-lead economies (New china, US, Europe etc).

INTEREST RATES – Not this year’s problem as rate changes don’t affect the economy for 12 to 24 months. The market is pricing in for at least two more US rate rises…. there is now less consensus opinion on whether this is now correct. Policy on rates is diverging across the world, US and UK increase, EU stable but with lots of QE and EM likely to decrease.

The best environment for equity market growth is when rates are rising AND growth is rising BUT rising interest rates can mean more stock market volatility as well.

Other Issues;

EMPLOYMENT – conditions are right for wage growth, especially in the US, where unemployment has fallen faster than expected. If wage growth comes through then individuals tend to spend rather than save (unlike companies) and this can lead to price inflation and further growth.

BREXIT – don’t believe the hype… if UK votes to leave the EU then there will still be 2 years of protracted negotiations as to how they leave. There are major concerns for the Finance Industry which is one of the UK’s biggest industries and cross border regulation AFTER leaving the EU could have very deep effects.

Likely to be a SOFT BREXIT or a HARD BREXIT, both lead to different scenarios playing out. Likely to be greater volatility in UK markets and GBP in the run up to the referendum but no specific trend either way.


  1. Still preference for allocation to EQUITIES
  2. Probably add in more ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS or ABSOLUTE RETURN STRATEGIES over more in bonds.
  3. EMERGING MARKETS not ready – JUST YET!!!
  4. GOLD could be a good small hedge
  5. USD to remain strong

So overall, as a member of the Spectrum Fund committee, an investor myself and an adviser to my clients, I feel that the world isn’t over and it isn’t 2008 again. There are good shoots of growth in many markets and even with the “slow down” in China they are still the major engine for growth across the world. Many companies (and this is after all what we are interested in as investors) are healthy still (especially in Europe) and look to be reasonable value.

2016 is going to be volatile but we will make it through and there could be some surprises along the way. Since we arrived in Venice, until today, Oil is up 7% and most markets are up between 1% and 4%!!

Decorative & Fine Arts Society event

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, Events, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 18th December 2015


The Spectrum IFA Group co-sponsored an excellent DFAS (Decorative & Fine Arts Society) lecture on 9th December at the San Roque Golf & Country Club on the Costa del Sol.  The Spectrum Group was represented by two of our local advisers, Jonathan Goodman and Charles Hutchinson, who attended along with our co-sponsors Richard Brown and Lewis Cohen from Tilney Bestinvest.
DFAS is an overseas branch of The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies which is a leading arts charity which opens up the world of the arts through a network of local societies and national events.

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

At this event, over 150 attendees were entertained by a talk on Art Deco by Eric Knowles of Antiques Roadshow fame, who was simply brilliant and kept the audience gripped with his knowledge and humour.

The talk was followed by a drinks reception which included a free raffle for prizes including CH produced Champagne, a presentation wine box and a coffee table glossy book on Art Deco.  Tilney Bestinvest also supplied an art deco style money box designed and crafted by Viscount Linley, the Queen’s nephew, which caused quite a stir!

All in all, a fantastic turnout and a very successful event at a wonderful venue.  The Spectrum Group were very proud to be involved with such a fantastic organisation and we hope to have the opportunity to do so again.

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Le Tour de Finance – 100th event in Dinard

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance, Uncategorised, Uncategorized
This article is published on: 15th November 2015


Our 100th financial seminar was quite rightly our biggest yet with approximately 90 attendees out of the 106 who had RSVP’d.

Guest speakers from Rathbones, SEB, Tilney Best Invest, Prudential International and Standard Bank all flew in specially for this event alongside the organisers and founders, Pippa Maile from Currencies Direct and Michael Lodhi from The Spectrum IFA Group.

The venue, Le Grand Hotel Dinard, was a fabulous location with first-class service and an excellent buffet lunch to finish.

There were plenty of prized to mark the event – five lucky attendees went home with 100euros in cash each, everyone received a goodie bag plus there was a prize draw for other prizes including champagne, signed British rugby shirts and autographed books.

Thank you to everyone who came along and made this such a great success.  If you are one of the people who unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute, please feel free to drop us a line at seminars@ltdf.eu if you would like copies of the presentations or have a specific topic that you would like advice on.

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Le Tour de Finance – autumn 2015

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 25th September 2015


We have been proudly taking part in ‘Le Tour de Finance’ which has now completed nearly 100 events.

The 100th event is in November taking place at the stunning Grand Hotel in Dinard. During 2015 we have already covered events in  Italy, France and Spain that proved to be a huge success. The events are fact filled sessions followed by an opportunity for an informal questions and answers session over complimentary refreshments and a buffet.

The relaxed and open forums are a chance to expand your knowledge of personal finance as an expat resident in France. The panel of speakers are experts in their respective fields and are on-hand to answer questions you may have about protecting and strengthening your personal financial situation while a resident in France.

We welcome you to join us for these autumn events in France.

    •    St. Endreol (Provence) – 7th October register now | more info
    •    Aix en Provence – 8th October register now | more info
    •    Gayda (Languedoc-Roussillon) – 9th October register now | more info
    •    Avrillé, Loire – 11th November register now | more info
    •    Dinard (Brittany) – 12th November – OUR 100th LE TOUR DE FINANCE EVENT! register now | more info

The objective of Le Tour de Finance is to provide expatriates with useful information relating to their financial lives.
 We try and cover frequently asked questions that we receive from our clients. It would be helpful for us to know what your particular areas of interest might be.

Send us your questions and the event you will be attending and we will try and cover them on the day:

Please click here for Le Tour de Finance Questions

Cogs4Cancer 2015 – The new kit has arrived

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Barcelona, Cogs4Cancer, Events, France, Spain, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised, Yachting
This article is published on: 10th September 2015


c4c-shirt-2015-spectrum-ifa copyCheck out the new Cogs4Cancer 2015 team colours !!!

The Spectrum IFA Group are for the second year running sponsoring Lee Mutch, Director at Inter-Nett Monaco.

Starting in 2013, Cogs4Cancer has grown year on year with over €563,000 raised so far. A truly spectacular event, this year is proving to be even bigger than last years ride with the total amount raised just for the 2015 event reaching €164,058.91 (as of 9th September).

Starting on Monday 5th October in Barcelona, the Spectrum team will be at the starting line to wish all the riders the very best of luck on their heroic journey covering 850KM in 5 days.



Do I need help planning my finances in France?

By Amanda Johnson - Topics: Events, France, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 12th June 2015


If you are not sure whether you want or need a financial review at the moment, why drop into one of my financial surgeries for a coffee and an informal chat?

Financial Surgeries  July-September 2015

What are they?

An opportunity for you to speak to me locally and informally about your personal situation. I can answer any questions that you may have about tax efficient savings and investments here in France, as well as helping you understand your pension options since the UK pension changes. We can also cover Inheritance tax planning and an update regarding the new laws taking effect in August 2015.

Where they are?

Café du Cour, Vouvant Wednesday 9th July 11.30 until 14.30pm, Wednesday 9th September 11.30 until 14.30pm

Brasserie Vue du Chateau, Bressuire Friday 24th July 11.00 until 1pm, Friday 25th September 2015 11.00 until 1pm

Do I need to make an appointment?

Whilst there is no need to make an appointment, however, if you do let me know you are coming in I can ensure that I am not double booked.

Why not pop along for an informal chat?

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

Le Tour de Finance 2015 in France

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 8th June 2015


Le Tour de Finance has just completed its final stage of the spring 2015 events, after travelling through France, Italy and Spain. For those who are not familiar with these events, this is a series of seminars, where we bring ‘experts to expats’. Now in its sixth year and due to the popularity of Le Tour, the events take place in both spring and autumn. For the local events, we had some ‘’old and new faces’ presenting.

SEB Life International and Prudential International presented on the topic of assurance vie, explaining the tax-efficiency of this type of investment, both personal and for inheritance planning. Each of the companies outlined the unique features of their own products and it could be seen that the products complement each other, one or the other being more suited to a client, for example, depending upon attitude to investment risk.

Momentum Pensions, which is a multi-jurisdictional pension provider based in the UK, Malta, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar, presented on the highly topical subject of the UK pension reform that has taken place. The presentation outlined the ‘freedom and choice’ options now open to people, but also covered the UK tax consequences for those who decide to flexibly access their pension funds. The alternative of transferring benefits to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) and the advantages that this can provide for expatriates was outlined.

Currencies Direct presented on the various options open to clients who wish to exchange currency, whether this is for regular payments or for ad-hoc exchanges, for example for property purchase. It was very interesting to see how much could be saved by using Currencies Direct, rather than a retail bank, particularly in the light of the current strength of Sterling against the Euro.

There was a presentation on French succession planning from Heslop & Platt, which is a firm of UK solicitors that are specialists in French law. Various possibilities that already exist under French law to put in place successful inheritance planning were outlined. In addition, the forthcoming EU rules on succession were covered and the fact that if a French resident elects the succession laws of their country of nationality to apply, the estate would be administered by a French notaire trying to apply that country’s rules. What seems clear now is that this is likely to cause complications, delays, additional expenses and uncertainty, whilst French inheritance taxes will still apply. As such, the opinion was that if there is a ‘tried and tested French solution’ that achieves the objective that someone is seeking, then this should be the first choice to use, rather than relying on the EU Regulations.

New to Le Tour this year was Leonetti Business Services, a firm that can help you with some of the French bureaucratic issues that we are all faced with from time to time, which undoubtedly can help to get rid of the frustration that these things can create.

Martignole Huzé Associés, a firm of chartered accountants based in Carcassonne, presented on the services that they can provide in English, including the completion of French tax returns, having regard to the conditions of Double Taxation Treaties.

Also new to Le Tour this year was Tilney Bestinvest, which presented on the range of investment management services that this company can provide. The choices range from Mulit-Asset Portfolios, where clients pick the one most suited to their objectives and leave the company to take care of the investment management, through to the more actively managed full Discretionary Fund Management services for larger portfolios.

For The Spectrum IFA Group, we presented on our processes and the products and services that we provide to clients, as well as highlighting the importance of our independence and how we are regulated in France by the French authorities. We also outlined client concerns, for example, tax-efficiency, inheritance tax planning, securing pensions and protection of capital. In addition, in view of the topical issues that we are facing this year, we presented the French tax and social charges consequence of cashing-in UK pensions and for inheritance planning, we used assurance vie to demonstrate the potential inheritance tax savings, providing examples of two scenarios – the ‘French Way’ and the ‘EU Way’. Assurance vie was also used to demonstrate personal tax-efficiency.

As always, the feedback from many people attending these events has been very positive and if you were not able to make it this time to Le Tour de Finance, keep in mind the next local events which will take place in October. On the other hand, if any of these subjects are of interest to you now and you would like to have a confidential discussion about your financial situation, please contact me directly or by using the form below.

Self Managed Investment Solutions

By Peter Brooke - Topics: Events, Investment Risk, Investments, Uncategorised, wealth management
This article is published on: 21st May 2015


CIFA Forum – Monaco April 2015

Peter Brooke, one of our Investment Team Strategists and senior Financial Advisers attended the 13th International CIFA Forum in Monaco at the end of April 2015. The forum allows for presentations, discussion and debate about many aspects of financial regulation, advice and management all with far reaching opinion and outcomes for the future of financial advice across Europe and the world.

Peter was invited to sit on an expert panel in order to provide some of his own insight as an adviser to European based clients on how they choose between self-managed investment solutions as opposed to going through an IFA and secondly, how we, as an advisory industry, can best fulfil this role and what is the fairest way for clients to pay for it.

The main points were:

Should the payment for investment management services be separated from the costs for financial advice?
YES… Financial advisers, as opposed to ‘investment advisers’, should have a more fiduciary role and should look after all matters of client finances; how the investment part (which is really just one of the “tools in the box”) is then paid for is a separate discussion.

What is a reasonable cost for investment management services?
This answer wasn’t reached… some believed a flat fee should be appropriate as the same process is used if you are managing €1000 or €100 000; but this would then dissuade people without significant assets from accessing investment advice.

If we have a percentage basis approach then one could argue that the people with more assets under management would be paying significantly more for the same service… the debate ended with the idea that IFA firms need to decide what their core capabilities are and therefore who their core clients are and should focus on pricing their service to attract only those clients.

The amount of client involvement also needs to be considered when pricing the advised solution. This discussion will continue to run and run as different regulation affects how different jurisdictions provide investment management services.

What are other things that clients need to consider when buying investment services?
Peter very much banged the drum on client engagement and education. In his opinion trust between the client and the adviser is built through spending one-on-one time together and also being completely transparent with costs, legal structures and the processes being employed to select and advise upon investment solutions.

For example Peter pointed out that some retail clients in Europe are still being sold Sophisticated Investor Funds which are completely inappropriate; with better awareness of these sorts of issues problems like this will be avoided in the future.

A lot of this change can be lead by IFA firms helping clients self-educate to question, review, challenge and scrutinise the advice they are given and the firms who are giving it. Clients should be encouraged to do their own due diligence and self-educate wherever possible.

The more transparent this industry is with the people who are asking for our guidance and advice, the better the relationship between the finance industry and the general public will be; this in turn will help close savings gaps around the world, reduce poverty in later life and reduce reliance on states for retirement benefits. It all starts with our daily behaviour towards our clients and we can truly make a difference as an important industry.

A brief interview with Peter following his panel session can be found below:



Le Tour de Finance continues into the Languedoc & Pyrenees region.

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 20th May 2015


After the successful events during April in Spain, The Spectrum IFA Group and Le Tour de Finance moved into France for a series of events in Perpignan, Bize-Minervois and Montagnac.

As with previous events bring together a number of financial experts in their fields to discuss important areas such as pension & QROPS, Tax Efficient Investing, Estate Planning and French Wills.

Le Tour de Finance aims to reach expats where they live so that everyone can seek specific advice relevant to their location in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

The sessions are always educational and drive many questions from the attendees about specific real life experiences, that allow the panel of experts to tailor the presentations.

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Le Tour de Finance returns in October in Provence, Aix en Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon.

If you would like further information or would like to book a place, please contact us

The objective of Le Tour de Finance is to provide expatriates with useful information relating to their financial lives. We try and cover frequently asked questions that we receive from our clients. It would be helpful for us to know what your particular areas of interest might be.

Send us your questions and the event you will be attending and we will try and cover them on the day: Please click here:Le Tour de Finance Questions

The Spectrum IFA Group and CIFA Conference in Monaco

By Peter Brooke - Topics: Events, France, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 6th May 2015


Peter Brooke represented The Spectrum IFA Group at this years’ CIFA conference in Monaco on 22nd – 24th April, by taking part in a panel session.

CIFA (Convention of Independent Financial Advisers – www.cifango.org) is a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. South South News is a TV channel dedicated to the UN. See Pete in action by clicking on the links below.

To view the two interviews please click on the links below



Who is CIFA?

At the initiative of a group of Independent Financial Advisors and under the auspices of the Swiss Group of Independent Financial Advisors (GSCGI) it has been agreed to create a high level international centre in the form of a Swiss Foundation in the field of finance, asset management and global financial counseling.

The objectives of the CIFA are as follows

  • To protect and defend the interests of Independent Financial Advisors at national and international level by creating a unique network of resources both in Switzerland and internationally.
  • To propose and present projects to national and international authorities for the harmonisation of the differing operating rules and regulations within the member states represented by CIFA.
  • To facilitate the implementation of new rules and procedures imposed by national and supra national authorities.
  • To establish a code of conduct to deal with unethical practices and money laundering.

CIFA is a non-profit Swiss Foundation.