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Le Tour de Finance – a winner again

By Daphne Foulkes - Topics: France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 1st June 2014

01.06.14

Last week, my colleague Rob & I presented at two of the South West France venues of Le Tour de Finance. This is a tour that travels around France, where we bring ‘experts to expats’. Now in its fifth year and due to the popularity of ‘Le Tour’, the events take place around the country in both spring and autumn.

Rob and I did a ‘double act’ and gave a presentation on The Spectrum IFA Group, which covered 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 discussed client concerns (tax-efficiency, inheritance tax planning, securing pensions, protection of capital and continuing issues about the security of banks in the Eurozone).

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, depending upon attitude to investment risk.

The Standard Bank provided details of its structured product offerings that are currently available. There are different terms available and there is an element of linking to stock market performance with this type of investment, but all provide a guarantee that at least the original capital invested will be returned at the maturity date. For our clients who invest in these Standard Bank products, when used in conjunction with a particular life company wrapper, the clients benefit from an extra bonus, which is provided in addition to the capital guarantee.

Currencies Direct presented the various options open to clients who wish to exchange currency, whether this is for regular payments or for ad-hoc exchanges perhaps for larger purchases, for example for property. It was very interesting to see how much could be saved by using Currencies Direct, rather than a retail bank. Unexpectedly, as the Sterling Euro exchange rate jumped by more than a Euro between one day and the next over the two days when Rob and I were at Le Tour, currency exchange proved to be more topical than any of us were expecting.

Exclusive Healthcare Insurance presented on the range of products that they can offer clients. This included a range of seven different mutuelle plans that top-up the basic French health cover, which are designed to meet the needs of the different income groups of French residents and the variation in medical costs from region to region. Like all mutuelle insurance in France, there are no underwriting conditions and pre-existing conditions are covered. The company also outlined a different product that provides full private medical insurance, but which is subject to underwriting conditions. However, since the UK will stop issuing Certificates S1 to early retirees from July this year (i.e. for those who are not receiving UK State pensions), this might be a viable option for those who may be affected.

There was a presentation on French succession planning from Heslop & Platt, which is a firm of UK solicitors that are specialists in French law. As many of our clients maintain a connection with their former home country, the importance of ensuring that there is no conflict existing between the wills made in the different jurisdictions was highlighted. In addition, the forthcoming EU rules on succession were outlined and it could be seen that there would still be a need in France for inheritance planning the ‘French way’ to avoid the French inheritance taxes that will still exist even when the EU rules are in operation from August 2015.

New to Le Tour this year was PetersonSims, a firm of chartered accountants based in France, which also specialises in expatriate tax issues. A presentation from their Tax Director demonstrated how much money they could save clients, just by making sure that French tax returns are completed correctly and relief from double taxation is obtained.

If you did not make it this time to Le Tour de Finance, keep in mind the next local events which will take towards the end of June. On the other hand, if you would like to have a confidential discussion now on your financial situation, please contact me by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail at daphne.foulkes@spectrum-ifa.com.

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 on the subject of investment of financial assets or the mitigation of taxes.

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 

Le Tour de Finance in France

By Spectrum-IFA - Topics: France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 22nd May 2014

22.05.14

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After a hugely successful run of events in Italy and Spain, Le Tour de Finance has come home to France for a run of 9 events throughout the country.

The first 5 legs of le Tour are taking place from 20th – 23rd May.  The final 4 events are taking place towards the end of June from 17th – 20th.

These informal events are a great opportunity for expats of all ages to get those unanswered financial questions clarified in plain English.

The range of professional speakers is varied and will cover a multitude of subjects from; Pensions & QROPS, Currency Exchange, French Wills, Tax Efficient Investing, Estate Planning & Tax Advice in France.

These sessions are free, you’ll get to meet other expats in your area and can finish the morning with a complimentary buffet.

For further details on future events please click here.

Le Tour de Finance in Spain

By Spectrum-IFA - Topics: Le Tour de Finance, Mallorca, spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 9th May 2014

09.05.14

Le Tour de Finance arrived in Spain on the 5th May in Girona, Catalona. After further events in Mallorca and the Costa Blanca Le Tour is now ready to move eastwards to France.

Commenting on the 3 events in Spain, Jonathan Goodman from The Spectrum IFA Group said “We’ve seen an increase in attendance in Spain with some really great input from the attendees. The range of expert speakers has been wonderful and from general feedback, the events have been a massive success”.

Le Tour de Finance is now preparing for the French leg with a total of 9 locations being visited from the end of May and then into June. If you’re interested in joining us for any of these events, please contact us to find a location near to where you live.

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Tax Returns, Pensions & Seminars

By Daphne Foulkes - Topics: France, Le Tour de Finance, Pensions, Tax, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 28th April 2014

28.04.14

What do the above have in common? Well nothing really except they are all topical now! Let’s start with tax returns ……..

I was really surprised to receive the French tax forms so early this year and then I realised why. The date for submission of paper returns has been brought forward to 20th May or if you submit your declaration over the net, then you have until 27th May to do this. Does this mean that we are going to get our tax demands a week or two earlier this year and perhaps with an earlier deadline date for payment? Well I guess that we will just have to wait and see.

No-one should ever try to second guess the Fisc or think that they can out-manoeuvre this government department. I hear some interesting stories of people being contacted and questioned about why they are not registered in the French tax system. You would be amazed at what is used to check – telephone bills, utility bills, etc., etc. How long will it be before our use of cash machines and our bank and credit card transactions in shops might be used to verify how much time we spend in France? Scary thought and actually they probably don’t need to go that far, as we can be tracked through our mobile phones and probably also our internet use.

Are you convinced now to register in the system? You’re still not sure if you are resident? OK, call me and with just a few questions, I will be able to tell you.

For those of you completing French income tax returns, don’t forget to include a list of foreign bank accounts and life assurance policies. You don’t have to declare amounts (unless you are subject to wealth tax), only the existence of the accounts and policies. If you don’t, the penalty is at least €1,500 per undisclosed account/policy or €10,000 if the bank account is in one of those uncooperative States or territories that have not concluded an agreement with France to exchange information. So even if it is an account that does not pay interest and there is very little in the account, declare the existence or risk the penalty!

Moving on to the other ‘hot topic’ of the day ……… I am already hearing about lots of people who are being cold-called about the UK pension reform. Apparently, these calls are being made by people operating from Spain or Cyprus or perhaps some other place. Typically, they are offering to liberate your UK pension plans now. What do these people know about the French tax system and the implications for you? For that matter, do they even understand the UK tax implications for you?

Rob and I have both written articles on this subject and I hope that we are sending out a strong message of the need to exercise caution. Every case will need to be considered on its own merits – there will be no ‘one size fits all’. Anyway being able to cash in large pension pots is only a proposal at the moment. We will have to wait for the result of the consultation and then probably a few months more to know the outcome. So if you get any of those calls coming from outside of France, my advice is to tell them not to waste your time!

The final thing that I want to mention is our client seminars – Le Tour de Finance. This is a tour that travels around France, where we bring ‘experts to expats’ and we are now taking bookings for the Spring tour for which there will be presentations on the following subjects:

  • Assurance Vie (two of our favoured providers will be presenting)
  • QROPS & Pension Investing (very topical)
  • Currency Exchange (is this a good time to exchange Sterling to Euros?)
  • Health Insurance (are you affected if the UK stop issuing S1s to early retirees?)
  • Wills in France & UK (are you affected by the EU succession rules from 2015?)
  • International Banking (do your current bankers meet your needs?)
  • Tax Advice in France (do you need help with those tax returns?)

Spectrum advisers will also be on hand at all events to answer questions. Maybe you need to have a more in-depth review of your financial situation. If so, we can arrange this with you.

As always, there is no charge for any of our seminars and the speakers’ presentations are followed by a buffet lunch/refreshments. The dates for the local events are:

  • 21st May – Hotel La Villa Duflot, 66000 Perpignan
  • 21st May – Hotel Abbaye École de Sorèze, 81540 Sorèze
  • 22nd May – Côté Mas, 34530 Montagnac
  • 23rd May – Montpellier Massane Golf & Spa Hotel, 34670 Baillargues

Each event starts at 10.00 am with a welcome coffee and ends at 2.00 pm after a buffet lunch, with the exception of Sorèze, which starts at 5.30 pm, finishes at 9.00 pm and refreshments will be served. The seminars are always very popular and so early booking is recommended.

If you would like to attend one of the seminars or you would like to have a confidential discussion on your financial situation, please contact me by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail at daphne.foulkes@spectrum-ifa.com.

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 on the subject of investment of financial assets or the mitigation of taxes.

How can I find out more about the financial services that are available to me in France?

By Amanda Johnson - Topics: France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 15th April 2014

15.04.14

For the past few years in addition to running financial surgeries, where people can pop in & ask me questions they may have, The Spectrum IFA Group have also held tremendously successful “Tour de Finance” roadshows in the area in conjunction with Currencies Direct.

This year we will be at the beautiful Chateau de Saint Loup, in Saint Loup sur Thouet on Tuesday 17th June & our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to listen to various market leaders & complimentary service providers you may not have access to directly and informally, over a buffet lunch after, ask any questions you may have regarding your personal situation.

In addition to Currencies Direct and The Spectrum IFA Group we will be joined by a number of financial institutions including Prudential International, SEB & Standard Bank, as well as Chartered Accountants & international tax experts, PetersonSimms and experts in the French health system, Exclusive.

Starting with registration over coffee at 09.30 followed by a series of brief presentations and then a buffet lunch after, we plan to finish at around 14.30. Once the event is over you will be able to enjoy walking in the grounds of this lovely chateau.

Whether you want to register for our Tour de Finance road show, receive our regular newsletter 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.

For more information on Le Tour de Finance please click here

A successful start – Le Tour de Finance, Italy

By Gareth Horsfall - Topics: Italy, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 3rd April 2014

03.04.14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Tour de Finance Forum (Italy) events in 2014 got off to a flying start with 2 events in Umbertide and Bagni di Lucca, respectively. Both events were well attended with approximately 30 attendees.

The events were a change from the norm, using the Forum style rather than powerpoint and structured presentations. Thank fully, the change of format worked incredibly well and both particpants and speakers alike gave credit to the new format.

The speakers on the day were Judith Ruddock (Studio del Gaizo Picchioni), Andrew Lawford (SEB Life International), Rob Walker (Jupiter Asset Management) and Peter Loveday (Currencies Direct) covering topics such as the latest rules on residency in Italy and tax returns, to tax efficient investment structures and will the Euro and Europe survive.

All in all the new format was more engaging and the content delivered in an easy to understand and manageable style.

We will be looking to hold further Tour de Finance Forum events in the autumn of 2014, in the Lucca and surrounding area and Le Marche.

We hope to see you there!

The Tour de Finance Forum 2014 – Italy

By Gareth Horsfall - Topics: Italy, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 4th March 2014

04.03.14

The Tour de Finance 2014 is back, but this time I have given it a twist!.

 

LTDF-Italy_invitation_2014_emailEvery year we bring a group of financial experts on the road in Italy to talk directly to expats about the financial considerations and concerns that they are facing.

In 2014 we are returning to Bagni di Lucca and Umbertide based on the interest shown and attendance in 2013.

We will be returning on the:

26TH MARCH 2014 Umbertide at Ristorante Pomarancio 

27th MARCH 2014 Bagni di Lucca at La Cantina delle Pianacce

Start time: 10.30am for coffee and sweets until approx 1pm with a FREE buffet lunch, wine and an opportunity to meet your fellow expats.

(I would like to add that due to increased demand for our services, we are receiving requests from all over Italy and so we want to extend the Tour de Finance into other parts of the country. So we will not be returning to these same locations for at least 1 year as the Tour de Finance is planning to expand to others areas of Italy in the autumn 2014.)

BUT, this time the format will change!

We are doing away with the Powerpoint presentations and structured presentations!

After reflecting on your feedback from previous events, I have decided to change the format to a FORUM style event. I want to avoid presenting all the information that ‘we think you should know’ and actually try and deliver the information that you want to know. Typical questions that I often hear from people include:

  • What are the likely implications of the recent implementation and then withdrawal of a 20% witholding tax on profit from investments held overseas, for Italian residents?
  • Are there opportunities to reduce my Inheritance tax liabilities in Italy?
  • What risk is there of losing all my money when I invest and how can I avoid this completely?
  • Are there any tax allowances/credits available to me as a resident in Italy?

So I, Gareth Horsfall (Spectrum IFA group (Italy) will pose questions to the panel for approx 30 minutes, followed by a refreshment break and then a further 30 minutes for questions from the audience.

It really is an opportunity to put the experts ‘on the spot’

The Panel of experts will include:

  • Judith Ruddock: Studio Del Gaizo Picchioni. Cross border tax specialists and commercialisti.
  • Andrew Lawford: SEB Life International. He will be facing questions about tax efficient savings vehicles for Italy and ways to potentially reduce your Inheritance tax liabilties.
  • Rob Walker: Jupiter Asset management, Private Clients. He will be free to take questions on world markets, from the current state of emerging markets to how to generate income from your money.
  • Peter Loveday: Currencies Direct . He will be taking questions on how to save money on International currency transfers and how they work.

I hope you will register your attendance. And I hope that the FORUM event will avoid all the boredom of powerpoint presentations and make the morning much more interactive for you.

If you would like to register for this event then you can do so by sending your full contact details to
info@spectrum-ifa.com or call Gareth Horsfall on 0039 333 6492356.

Who do you bank with?

By David Hattersley - Topics: Investments, Le Tour de Finance, spain, Uncategorised, wealth management
This article is published on: 30th October 2013

30.10.13

Following the recent “Le Tour de Finance” seminar at the Marriott Hotel in Denia, one of the attendees approached me with interesting tale. The Lady was a British expatriate and long term resident in the Javea area. Like many retried expatriates she had been concerned about the security of her assets following banking issues in both UK and Spain, post 2008. She told me she had always felt safe banking with British household names whether at home or abroad. She was shocked to learn that Lloyds Bank’s Spanish operations had been sold to Banco Sabadell.

She felt this had not been properly publicised and she had not had clear information about the change from the bank. She visited her local branch and was surprised that the staff knew little about the change of ownership.

I was able to explain the €100,000 per account deposit guarantee scheme, guaranteed by the Spanish Government in the same way as UK bank deposits are guaranteed by the British Government to the tune of £85,000. This Lady had clearly done her homework and pointed out that the guarantee is per banking group and not per account. We agreed that bank accounts were necessary for emergency funds even when, given current interest rates they were guaranteed to lose money in real, spending power terms. We also agreed that for longer term investing, especially for income, there were much better options out there, one particular proposition from the Prudential, (fully Spanish compliant) had been highlighted during the “Le Tour” seminar.

Our motto is “With Care, You Prosper”, we urge our clients to take a very active interest in their finances, we are here to help our clients help themselves.

The Spectrum IFA Group & Tour de Finance Seminar Costa del Sol – October 18th 2013

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Le Tour de Finance, spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 18th October 2013

18.10.13

The Spectrum IFA Group & Currencies Direct held the final Tour de Finance seminar of the season on Friday the 18th October 2013 at the H10 Estepona Palace Hotel on the Costa del Sol, Spain.

The morning comprised various presentations by industry experts and professionals followed by finger food lunch and wines and soft drinks where guests mingled with the presenters and Spectrum staff to discuss questions and personal needs

The following gave presentations:

Jonathan Goodman introduced the seminar with a presentation of the company, who we are, how we do business and where and how we are regulated. Particular emphasis on client concerns and worries and how our top priority is to build a long term relationship with our clients.

Alan Lawrence of  Blackrock stressed what worries and concerns investors, how asset returns have altered in both scale and type.  Declining bond yields and income equities have shifted the risk profile of both Fixed Interest and Equity assets. The need now to rethink what is low risk and what is high. Where to obtain a reasonable income yield with lowest risk. The dangers of holding cash and how Emerging Markets are an essential part of a portfolio into the future. He ran through various currently recommended BR funds and special emphasis was also made on Gold and its outlook.

Alex Barratt of Currencies Direct showed the guests how using a specialist foreign exchange partner can save you money, both in the exchange rate margins and also in the charges free transfer service they provide, not only in Spain and Europe but all over the world. Of particular interest is that they have made an agreement with a major Spanish bank to provide charges free transfers to and from a client’s account which CD will set up on their behalf.

Andrew Wallace of Prudential International emphasised the strength and history of the company globally, their credit ratings, assets under management and number of clients worldwide. It was unique presentation in the session in that he majored on International Investment Bonds, their value to an investor and the various tax advantages of wrapping one’s investments within them.  He then went on to explain the Spanish Compliant Bond and its value to the Spanish resident.

Michael Lodhi, our venerable leader and spiritual guide, repeated what he said at earlier seminars around Europe, viz: Spectrum addresses client concerns for tax efficiency, investment returns, pensions and inheritance tax planning. He highlighted the effects of inflation on essential expenditure and how important it is to regularly review your investments to ensure their constant effectiveness.  He went on to explain QROPS (transferring your UK based pension abroad) and the importance of taking unbiased advice to see whether it is suitable for all.

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows in 2014 or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you.   We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations that we provide.

Le Tour de Finance Heads to Spain

By Spectrum-IFA - Topics: Le Tour de Finance, spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 10th October 2013

10.10.13

Following the recent success in Italy and France, Le Tour de Finance is heading to Spain. The Spectrum IFA Group in collaboration with Currencies Direct are proud to announce the Spanish leg of the Tour that begins on Tuesday 15th October in Barcelona before moving on to the Costa Blanca, Almeria and the Costa del Sol.

Le Tour de Finance brings professional experts in expat finance, in Spain, closer to you in an open, friendly and professional manner.

The following professionals will be speaking over the course of the week:

  • Currencies Direct – Currency Transfer specialists
  • The Spectrum IFA Group – Independent Financial Advisers
  • Prudential International – Spanish Compliant Products
  • JP Morgan Asset Management – Investment Managers
  • Blackrock – Investment Managers
  • Plus Information on Tax changes in Spain

The events will commence at 10.30 and finish at 14.00 with welcome coffee and snacks on arrival, followed by brief presentations, a FREE tapas lunch and then time to chat with the experts and meet other like-minded expat individuals.

  • Tuesday 15th October – Barcelona, Sitges
  • Wednesday 16th October – Costa Blanca, Javea/Denia
  • Thursday 17th October – Almeria, Mojacar
  • Friday 18th October – Costa del Sol, Estepona

Register for this FREE event by sending an email to seminars@spectrum-ifa.com or calling 936 658 596