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Le Tour de Finance autumn events

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 23rd November 2018

23.11.18

The latest Le Tour De Finance seminar, which was held on the 15th November at the magnificent La Chartreuse du Bignac hotel near Bergerac, was yet again a successful event with maximum attendance.

Attendees, who were a mixture of existing clients of The Spectrum IFA Group and those wanting to hear more about the services and financial solutions presented, had travelled both locally and from other regions in France.

Presentations were given by representatives from Prudential International, Tilney Investment Management Services, Currencies Direct and The Spectrum IFA Group. Topics discussed included recently introduced changes to Assurance Vie (the most tax efficient savings and investment vehicle available in France), the suitability of transferring UK pensions to overseas schemes, investment market outlook and the current sterling to euro exchange rate and solutions available to help mitigate exchange rate volatility.

Unsurprisingly, Brexit featured widely in the informative question and answer session that followed. Although many answers are yet to be determined, attendees were left reassured that The Spectrum IFA Group and its partners were well informed on both the technical detail of Brexit and the practical implications for anyone living or working in France.

Portability of financial products, such Assurance Vie, for an expatriate returning to the UK, was another area of interest in the question and answer session and guests were provided with example scenarios regarding the flexibility that such products offer.

The key message that came out of this event was the importance and benefit, even for the financially experienced, of seeking professional, independent advice. The audience was reminded, in these uncertain times, that it is critical to ensure that all aspects of our personal finances are properly structured, for both legitimacy within the French fiscal system and for maximum tax efficiency ahead of any potential changes in the months and years ahead.

Questions and discussions continued during an informal lunch (in the chateau’s beautiful dining room), during which guests and speakers alike found no shortage of topical subjects for conversation.

Feedback from the event has been very positive. One guest commented “”I enjoyed the day and found it helpful and thought provoking. I also liked the format and thought it much better than the usual sales pitch that one often encounters with perhaps some other organisations. The interactive exchanges added real value.”

We are planning to hold further seminars next year and will provide details on Le Tour de Finance website. See www.ltdf.eu for further information.

Le Tour De Finance Bignac hotel near Bergerac
Le Tour De Finance Bignac hotel near Bergerac
Le Tour De Finance Bignac hotel near Bergerac
Le Tour De Finance Bignac hotel near Bergerac

Le Tour de Finance – Autumn Events

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 17th October 2018

17.10.18

This month saw Le Tour de Finance visit Chateau Val Joanis near Aix-en-Provence and Domaine Gayda near Limoux. As always, the events were well attended, the audiences comprising both familiar faces and first time guests, all gathered to hear invited experts from the world of finance speak about topical issues of relevance to expatriates living in France.

Hosted by The Spectrum IFA Group’s Chris Tagg, the events included presentations and discussion on a wide range of subjects, with extensive interaction between guests and speakers, particularly in relation to Brexit and associated risks and planning opportunities for expats.

Spectrum’s locally based advisers – Victoria Lewis in Aix and Daphne Foulkes in Limoux – spoke about the importance of independent advice, even for the financially aware, and how Spectrum takes an holistic approach to financial planning, identifying for example the most reliable and valuable opportunities for tax efficient savings and inheritance planning in France.

George Forsyth of Prudential International presented on the topic of Assurance Vie, explaining the wide-ranging tax-efficiency of this type of investment and that some international products are fully portable for expats returning to the UK.

Guillaume Tardivat of Currencies Direct outlined how currency specialists offer favourable exchange rates, personalised service and superior on-line account management compared to banks both sides of the Channel.

Robert Walker of Rathbone Investment Management presented Rathbone’s in-house research focussing on a number of potential Brexit outcomes with insight and forecasts for European and UK financial markets. Interesting times ahead.

Jeremy Ferguson offered an update on pension planning opportunities for expatriates in France – mentioning that Brexit and ongoing UK pension reform may reduce scope for transfers from the UK beyond the short term – and emphasised the importance of seeking specialist advice in this technically complex area.

As always, feedback was positive, with much enthusiasm for the revised Question and Answer format and many guests appreciative of the chance to engage directly with the panel of speakers, both during the presentations and more informally afterwards over lunch.

If you weren’t able to join us this time but are interested in any of the subjects mentioned and would welcome a confidential discussion about your financial situation, please contact us through the Spectrum website and one of our advisers, local to you, will be in touch.

Le Tour de Finance – Saumur 49400

By Amanda Johnson - Topics: France, Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 13th September 2018

13.09.18

The Le Tour de Finance roadshows give those either living in France, or in the process of moving here, a great opportunity to speak directly to industry experts who are not normally in direct contact with the public.

Where – Château Gratien Meyer, Route de Monstsoreau, Saumur 49400 (www.gratienmeyer.com/en/ )
When – 14th November, 2018

The event starts at 10.00am and ends at 1.30pm after a free buffet lunch.

It will offer practical guidance on a range of topics including tax efficient investments, pension transfers, estate planning, currency exchange and much more.

Register for this free event or for further information about it by sending an email with your full contact details to: seminars@ltdf.eu, register online on www.ltdf.eu or call +33(0)1 44 83 64 64
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 and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations.

Inheritance Planning in France

By Sue Regan - Topics: France, Inheritance Tax, Le Tour de Finance, Wills
This article is published on: 3rd August 2018

03.08.18

Despite the importance of making sure one’s affairs are in order for the inevitability of our demise, very few people actively seek advice in this area and, as a result, are unaware of the potential difficulties ahead for their families and heirs, not to mention potential tax bills which can be quite substantial for certain classes of beneficiary.

The basic rule is, if you are resident in France, you are considered also to be domiciled in France for inheritance purposes and your worldwide estate becomes taxable in France, where the tax rates depend upon the relationship to your beneficiaries.

Fortunately, there is no inheritance tax between spouses and the allowance between a parent and a child is reasonably generous, currently €100,000 per child, per parent. For anything left to other beneficiaries, the allowances are considerably less. In particular, for step-children and other non-related beneficiaries, the allowance is only €1,594 and the tax rate on anything above that is an eye-watering 60%!

There are strict rules on succession and children are considered to be ‘protected heirs’ and so are entitled to inherit a proportion of each of their parents’ estates. For example, if you have one child, the proportion is half; two children, one-third each; and if you have three or more children, then three-quarters of your estate must be divided equally between them.

You are free to pass on the rest of your estate (the disposable part) to whoever you wish through a French will and, in the absence of making a will, if you have a surviving spouse, he/she would be entitled to 25% of your estate.
You may also be considered domiciled in your ‘home country’ and if so, this could cause some confusion, since your home country may also have the right to charge succession taxes on your death. However, France has a number of Double Taxation Treaties (DTT) with other countries covering inheritance. In such a case, the DTT will set out the rules that apply (basically, ‘which’ country has the right to tax ‘what’ assets).

For example, the 1963 DTT between France and the UK, specifies that the deceased’s total estate will be devolved and taxed in accordance with the person’s place of residence at the time of death, with the exception of any property assets that are sited in the other country.

Therefore, for a UK national who is resident in France, who has retained a property in the UK (and does not own any other property outside of France), the situation would be that:
• any French property, plus his/her total financial assets, would be taxed in accordance with French law; and

• the UK property would be taxed in accordance with UK law, although in theory, the French notaire can take this asset into account when considering the fair distribution of all other assets to any ‘protected heirs’ (i.e. children).

If a DTT covering inheritance does not exist between France and the other country, with which the French resident person has an interest, this could result in double taxation, if the ‘home’ country also has the right to tax the person’s estate.
Hence, when people become French resident, there are usually two issues:
• how to protect the survivor; and
• how to mitigate the potential French inheritance taxes for other beneficiaries.

European Succession Regulation No. 650/2012
Many of you will no doubt have heard about the EU Succession Regulations that came into effect in 2015 whereby the default situation is that it is the law of your place of habitual residence that applies to your estates. However, you can elect for the inheritance law of your country of nationality to apply to your estate by specifying this in a French will. This is effectively one way of getting around the issue of ‘protected heirs’ for some expats living in France.

However, the UK opted out of the Regulations and therefore, it is not yet certain how effective the EU Regulations will be until there have been some test cases. I would always recommend that you discuss this in more detail with a notaire who can advise you on the subject of French wills.

If, after taking the advice of a notaire, it transpires that this is the best course of action for you to achieve your inheritance objectives, it is important to note that the French inheritance tax rules will still apply. Therefore, even though you have the freedom to decide who inherits your estate, this will not reduce the potential inheritance tax liability on your chosen beneficiaries, which, as mentioned above, could potentially be very high for a step-child. Hence, there will still be a need to shelter financial assets from French inheritance taxes.

Inheritance planning for French residency can be very complex, especially where there are children from previous relationships. This is often the starting point of my discussions with a prospective client. Most couples with children that I come across want their spouse or partner to inherit everything upon first death and for the children to inherit on second death. This isn’t possible under standard French Succession law, but it can be achieved by putting in place strategic planning, which is something on which we can provide advice.

If you would welcome a confidential discussion about your own inheritance planning, the mitigation of inheritance taxes for your chosen beneficiaries or a general chat about your overall financial situation, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at sue.regan@spectrum-ifa.com or by telephone on 04 67 24 90 95.

In addition, you can meet me and other members of the Spectrum team at the Tour de Finance, which is once again coming to the stunning Domaine Gayda in Brugairolles 11300. This year’s event will take place on Friday 5th October 2018. Places are by reservation only and it is always well attended so book your place early by giving me a call or dropping me an email. Our speakers will be presenting updates and outlooks on a broad range of subjects, including:

Brexit
Financial Markets
Assurance Vie
Pensions/QROPS
French Tax Issues
Currency Exchange

So, if you are concerned about your investments and pensions in a post-Brexit world why not join us at this very popular event where you can meet the team in person and listen to a number of industry experts in the world of financial advice.

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/

The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action to mitigate the effects of French taxes.

Le Tour de Finance – autumn seminars

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 7th November 2017

07.11.17
Le Tour de Finance

Le Tour de Finance came to the wonderful Chateau La Coste near Aix-en-Provence and was once again, a resounding success.   Over 50 guests came along to listen to a number of industry experts talking about issues effecting expats.

These independent industry experts spoke about highly topical issues such as the proposed changes to the French tax system, pensions, international banking, foreign exchange, assurance vie, discretionary fund management and Brexit.

The event was hosted by The Spectrum IFA Group’s Christopher Tagg and Victoria Lewis, Spectrum’s local adviser explaining how she provides practical financial solutions for expatriates living in France. Other industry experts on hand form their Head Offices around Europe included; Tilney, Momentum, Rathbones, Standard Bank, SEB Life International, Old Mutual and prudential International.

The subjects open for discussion are wide ranging, relevant to expats living in France and the guests are readily invited to participate in the open forum.

Le Tour de Finance will be back in the Spring of 2018 and to learn more about Le Tour de Finance, please click here or visit the dedicated Le Tour de Finance website.

Le Tour de Finance visits “Escape to the Chateau”

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 19th October 2017

19.10.17

Following recent successful events in Aix-en-Provence and Carcassonne, Le Tour moved north to the Mayenne, before heading on-wards to Clecy and Lanvallay. The first event this week event took place at the Chateau de la Motte Husson, the “star” of Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau.

Le Tour de Finance is a series of financial forums designed to give expatriates in France access to various financial experts. Hosted by The Spectrum IFA Group’s Christopher Tagg, topics covered were the tax advantages of Assurance Vie by SEB Life’s Jeremy Ferguson, Calum Harkiss of Currencies Direct answered questions relating to Foreign Exchange, Mark Ommanney of Tilney gave his views on the current state of the markets, Paul Forman of Momentum Pensions tried to help make sense of the complex UK pension rules and talked about QROPs and Prudential’s Edny Van Den Broek spoke about investing for the risk averse. Spectrum’s Michael Doyle gave a practical example of how our experts services provide practical financial solutions and benefits for expatriates living in France.

Finally, a vote of thanks to the day’s attentive hosts, Dick and Angel Strawbridge.

To learn more about Le Tour de Finance and to registered or find out about future events please click here or visit the dedicated Le Tour de Finance website

Le Tour de Finance – Autumn 2017

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 21st September 2017

21.09.17

As we leave summer behind and gently enter the autumn months, we look forward to the next leg of the ever popular Le Tour de Finance in France.

During October, the team shall be visiting:
5th October – Le Puy Sainte Réparade (13610 ) – Book your place
6th October – Gayda, Languedoc (11300) – Book your place
17th October – Martigné sur Mayenne (53470)- Book your place
18th October – Clecy (14570) – Book your place
19th October – Lanvallay (22100) – Book your place

The venues for these next five events have been carefully chosen to bring even more enjoyment to the attendees. Wonderful vineyards, grand chateaux and beautiful golf courses.

Thus far, Le Tour de Finance in 2017 is proving to be the most popular series of events ever. The seminars offer English speaking expats a chance to meet various experts from international companies, involved in providing solutions for expats.

The experts represent a range of international institutions giving attendees unprecedented access to ask those nagging questions about living as an expat in France. Fields of expertise include; Wealth Management, Assurance Vie, Currency Exchange, QROPS/Pensions, Specialist Expat Independent Financial Advice, and Expat Tax Advice.

Representatives from a wide range of international companies such as Tilney, SEB Life, Currencies Direct, Standard Bank, Rathbones, Old Mutual, Prudential International and Momentum Pensions attend the events for a small presentation but more importantly, the events allow attendees to ask direct questions to these experts. This unprecedented access to the experts is what really sets Le Tour de Finance events apart.

The events in October will be visiting the Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Brugairolles in the heart of the Languedoc, Martigné sur Mayenne and Clécy in north western France and, finishing up in Lanvallay Côtes-d’Armor department of Brittany.

Keep an eye open for future events and forums in France, Spain and Italy or contact us here to receive updated information on events in your region.

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, however, it would be helpful for us to know what your particular areas of interest might be.

If you have any specific question please contact us here – Le Tour de Finance Questions

Now is the time to review your finances

By Sue Regan - Topics: BREXIT, France, Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 18th August 2017

18.08.17

At this time of year not many of us can really be bothered with thinking about pensions, investments and inheritance planning – there’s far more exciting things going on, like holidays, friends and family visits (as long as they don’t stay too long!) and the summer fêtes and festivals in just about every village and town in the region.

This is usually a quiet time for us financial advisers, but this year – not so much – perhaps it’s the “Brexit effect” that is causing more ex-pats to think about their financial future now rather than put it off until after the end of the silly season. Of course, there are still no clear facts as to how Brexit will impact on UK citizens living in France, so planning for it is not easy, but reviewing your situation now will give you a clearer idea of your financial future, whether your plan is to stay in France or return to the UK.

Of course, there is never a wrong time to review your financial health. Regardless of whether or not Brexit actually happens, or whether it is a soft or hard Brexit, things generally change over time, such as pensions and tax legislation, investment performance, physical well-being, income and capital needs………. the list goes on.

These are some of the things that a good financial adviser will discuss with you at a regular review meeting, to make sure that your finances are on track to meet your current needs and longer term goals. It is vital that your pensions and investments are structured in the best possible way to produce a suitable level of return and, at the same time, mitigate taxes as much as possible.

Also, as a French resident, your adopted or default marriage regime can make a huge difference to how your assets are treated for inheritance tax purposes and, by simply changing your regime with the help of a Notaire, the survivor of a couple can be much better protected from the French laws of forced inheritance, as well as other important benefits. Your financial adviser should be able to discuss these matters with you.

As I mentioned in my previous article, the very popular Tour de Finance is once again coming to the stunning Domaine Gayda in Brugairolles 11300, So, if you are concerned about your investments and pensions in a post-Brexit world why not join us at this very popular event where you can meet the team in person and listen to a number of industry experts in the world of financial advice. This year’s event will take place on Friday 6th October 2017. Places are by reservation only and it is always well attended so book your place early by giving me a call or dropping me an email. Our speakers will be presenting updates and outlooks on a broad range of subjects, including:

  • Brexit
  • Financial Markets
  • Assurance Vie
  • Pensions/QROPS
  • French Tax Issues
  • Currency Exchange

Financial advice is needed more than ever in uncertain times and doing nothing can often be an expensive mistake. Hence, if you would like to attend the event or would like to have a confidential discussion about your financial situation, you can contact me by e-mail at sue.regan@spectrum-ifa.com or by telephone on 04 67 24 90 95.

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

Common Reporting Standards

By Derek Winsland - Topics: common reporting standards, Exchange of Information, France, International Bank Accounts, Le Tour de Finance, Residency
This article is published on: 27th July 2017

27.07.17

Over the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed the application of the Common Reporting Standards initiative in action. Firstly, from my bank HSBC requesting information to be transmitted to the tax authorities both here in France as well as in UK. This week, I received an email from a client who has also received a letter again from HSBC enquiring about his residency.

It’s clear that the sharing of financial information between tax authorities of different countries is now in full swing. Annual reporting by every financial institution into its own tax authority was introduced in January 2016 and I’m seeing more and more examples of this in operation. For the tax authorities, residency is the main focus – where has the individual declared residency, and where are that person’s assets held.

We’re at the stage now where that information is being studied by local tax offices and enquiry letters being sent. But what information is being shared? Overseas bank accounts are the most common example, hence HSBC and others enquiring about an account holder’s residency status. Other examples include investment bonds held overseas, ISA accounts, unit trust and investment trust portfolios, share accounts, premium bonds…. the list goes on.

With investments held outside of an insurance-based investment bond, any change of fund either through switching or closure could be liable to capital gains in the hands of the investor, so your local tax office is sure to be interested in learning about this. Income drawn from certain, non-EU jurisdiction investment bonds are viewed very differently here in France. And remember, ISAs carry no tax advantages here, so any switches, partial encashments, or sales of funds made by a UK financial adviser or investment manager could have repercussions for the investor resident in France.

If you’re tax resident in France, you are obliged to list all overseas investments and accounts on your annual tax declaration; non-disclosure can result in fines ranging from €1,500 per account up to €10,000 depending on where the account is held. These fines are also per year of non-disclosure.

Quite often we see situations where doing nothing has proved to be an expensive mistake so if ever there was a time to get your financial affairs in order, it is now before the Fisc comes calling. If you’re resident in France, your local tax office can look back through previous years as well, so long forgotten ISAs cashed in can potentially appear on its radar.

If you would like information on how best to re-organise your investments to make them tax-compliant, we are staging the latest in our series of popular Tour de Finance events in the Limoux area on Friday 6th October. Open to everyone, the event, held at Domaine Gayda in Brugairolles is now in its ninth year. Always a popular event, you are urged to order tickets well in advance. There will be a series of short presentations during the morning, culminating with lunch and an opportunity to sample the local wines. If you would like to attend, please email me for your tickets, numbers are limited, so I urge you not to delay.

Subjects covered during the morning include:
Brexit
Financial Markets
Assurance Vie
Pensions/QROPS
French Tax Issues
Currency Exchange

If you have personal or financial circumstances that you feel may benefit from a financial planning review, please contact me direct on the number below. You can also contact me by email at derek.winsland@spectrum-ifa.com or call our office in Limoux to make an appointment. Alternatively, I conduct a drop-in clinic most Fridays (holidays excepting), when you can pop in to speak to me. Our office telephone number is 04 68 31 14 10.

Ignorance is not always bliss…………..

By Sue Regan - Topics: Assurance Vie, BREXIT, France, Le Tour de Finance, QROPS
This article is published on: 17th July 2017

17.07.17

………..and, in the context of not structuring your investments to the tax regime of the country in which you reside, it can prove to be very costly.

Let’s take the scenario of the savings conscious UK investor who, over the years, has used some of their available cash to build up a nice portfolio of tax-free investments in ISA wrappers, but then decides to take up residency in France. From the date of moving to France the tax-free status of UK ISA is not recognised in France and any income or capital gains arising from the ISA portfolio become liable to French tax.

Not everyone is aware of the tax efficient structures available in France for longer term savings, the most popular of which is far and away the Assurance Vie, and, as a consequence, suffers the pain of incurring tax liabilities where there were none previously, not to mention the extra administrative burden (and accountancy costs) associated with completing the end of year tax return. In addition, they are missing out on the compounding effect that any unnecessary taxes would have on the growth of the portfolio, which, in itself, is a crucial factor which should not be underestimated.

It’s not only the tax-efficiency of ISAs that is affected but, if you have a UK financial adviser advising you on the management of your investments, then it is unlikely that they will be able to continue to give you appropriate advice due to your change in residency and tax regime. You probably wouldn’t have sought the advice of a French regulated IFA to manage your UK investments when you lived in the UK so it doesn’t make sense to expect a UK regulated IFA to advise you when living in a different tax jurisdiction to the one in which they are qualified and regulated.

Of course, making the switch from UK tax efficient savings to French tax efficient savings may not be without some cost at the beginning – but the longer term benefits are highly likely to far outweigh any initial cost. If you have not yet become French resident, by taking the initiative and disposing of your ISA portfolio beforehand, there would be no tax implications whatsoever.

An added attraction to the Assurance Vie is that there is no limit to how much can be invested and the longer you hold them the more tax-efficient they become. In addition, this type of investment is highly efficient for mitigating the potential French inheritance taxes so that your heirs can receive more of your wealth, instead of the French State.

The very popular Tour de Finance is once again coming to the stunning Domaine Gayda in Brugairolles 11300, So, if you are concerned about your investments and pensions in a post-Brexit world why not join us at this very popular event where you can meet the team in person and listen to a number of industry experts in the world of financial advice. This year’s event will take place on Friday 6th October 2017. Places are by reservation only and it is always well attended so book your place early by giving me a call or dropping me an email. Our speakers will be presenting updates and outlooks on a broad range of subjects, including:

Brexit
Financial Markets
Assurance Vie
Pensions/QROPS
French Tax Issues
Currency Exchange

With a newly elected French government now in office and the forthcoming publication of the French Projet de Loi in the Autumn, the seminar will be an ideal opportunity to find out how any potential French tax changes may affect you, particularly as President Macron has promised changes to the wealth tax regime.