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The Spectrum IFA Group Award for their Technical Articles

By Spectrum-IFA - Topics: Mondaq, Spain, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 20th September 2016

20.09.16

Technical knowledge and a deeper understanding of tax, investments, pension and financial planning means a better outcome for our clients and also a more satisfying professional outcome for us. One of the ways we do this is to use a technical articles website called Mondaq for our research. We also contribute to this site by writing articles.

In August 2016, The Spectrum IFA Group was pleased and extremely proud, to have been awarded the ‘Top Communicator Award’ for Spain. Our posts have covered a series of topics such as “Brexit and Tax in Spain“, “Insight into Wealth Management“, “Final Salary Pension Deficits” and more. Our articles had the most reader response of any contributor.

This was no mean feat given that Mondaq publishes thousands of high quality articles each year from thousands of sources!

Autumn Tour de Finance seminars

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: BREXIT, France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 16th August 2016

16.08.16

At this time of the year, it’s pretty difficult for anyone to think about financial planning. The sun is shining, families are visiting, or perhaps we are taking our own vacations somewhere else. Tax, investment markets, pensions and inheritance planning are usually the last things that people want to think about, but this year is proving to be a pretty exceptional year.

September brings the rentrée and it’s also a time when reasonable assumptions can usually be made about what might happen in financial markets over the rest of the year -although this year may be a challenge!

There is at least one ‘big political event’ up ahead that might keep the markets guessing and who knows what the outcome of the US Presidential Election will be? Can anyone ever depend again on forecast polls to gain some insight, after the shock result of the EU Referendum?

On the UK, could there also be a General Election? If not this year, next year? Will Theresa May really be able to resist the pressure that is likely to ensue and stay firm to the statement she made in her leadership campaign not to call a snap election?

Brexit is of course a big question – will it happen or not? If so, when? No-one really knows, but in the meantime, markets remain on high alert and sensitive to the potential outcomes of a Brexit.

As a result of Brexit, the Bank of England has drastically cut its forecast for UK growth for 2017. The interest rate has also been cut to a historic low of 0.25% and this may not be the last reduction for this year. Combined with the prospect of an increase in inflation, due to a weaker Sterling, the prospect for any meaningful return on cash has diminished still further. How will this affect you? What will happen if interest rates stay permanently lower and not just for longer?

There are other things that could affect the way that markets perform over the rest of the year and into 2017. What is the prospect for global equity and bond markets? Are we reaching the peak of the current market cycle? Should you be taking short-term ‘protective’ actions to protect your wealth for the long-term? Do you need to take action with your pension funds to make sure these last as long as you do?

Le Tour de Finance

All very interesting questions and fortunately, we are again holding our popular financial seminars across France – “Le Tour de Finance – Bringing Experts to Expats”, which is a perfect opportunity for you to discuss some of these questions directly with experts. Our industry experts will be presenting updates and outlooks on a broad range of subjects, including:

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

The date for the local seminar is Friday, 7th October 2016 at the Domaine Gayda, 11300 Brugairolles. Places are limited and must be reserved, in advance. This venue is always very popular and so early booking is recommended.

In practice, financial advice is needed more than ever in uncertain times. Doing nothing can often be an expensive mistake. Hence, if you would like to attend the seminar or would anyway like to have a confidential discussion with one of our financial advisers, you can contact us by e-mail at limoux@spectrum-ifa.com or by telephone on 04 68 31 14 10. Alternatively, drop-by to our Friday morning clinic at our office at 2 Place du Général Leclerc, 11300 Limoux, for an initial discussion.

One final thing to share with you is the news that our Languedoc team is expanding. Sue Regan has joined us as an adviser and so now we have six advisers covering this region. Sue lives at Cruzy and so is well placed for visiting clients in Narbonne, Beziers and the surrounding areas. She can be contacted directly by telephone on 04 67 24 90 95 or by email at sue.regan@spectrum-ifa.com. Sue will also be at the Gayda event with Derek, Rob and myself.

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 here

British Chamber of Commerce, Spain and The Spectrum IFA Group

By Spectrum-IFA - Topics: Barcelona, British Chamber of Commerce, Events, Spain, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 3rd July 2016

03.07.16

Here in Spain, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) is a very strong and successful organisation. In fact, it has just won an award for being the best Chamber in the World for promoting British trade! It was therefore no surprise to hear that the Summer Cocktail was UK themed and included Mini Cars, Scottish Beers and British Gins, amongst other things.

At the party, The Spectrum IFA Group were honoured to be presented with a plaque to thank us for 20 years of membership of the Chamber. The award was presented to Jonathan Goodman, Development Director of Spain, who has overseen our business here for the last 20 years. During this time we have worked closely with the Chamber on a large number of matters and events. In addition to the more formal associations it is always a pleasure to meet other members at their many social gatherings.

We would like to thank the BCC for their recognition of The Spectrum IFA Group and we look forward to working with them for at least another 20 years!

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The Spectrum IFA Group opens an office in Limoux

By Derek Winsland - Topics: France, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 27th June 2016

27.06.16

“Out with the old and in with the new”

No this is not a reference to Rob Hesketh departing the scene (which he isn’t, he remains a very important part of the Spectrum operation here in Limoux). Rather it relates to my decision, after 20 plus years at the coal-face of UK Financial Services, to sell up and move lock, stock and barrel to this beautiful part of France.

So far the move has gone well, apart from one or two hiccups that should be expected. But I’ve been grateful for the help and support I have been given by colleagues and the wider ex-pat community who have been generous in sharing their experiences of moving here and the pitfalls to avoid. It has also enabled my fiancée and I to bring forward our wedding plans and so we return to the UK to the beautiful City of Chester to tie the knot at the end of this month.

As both Sue and I have been married before, the more acerbic reader may observe that this is another case of “out with the old, in with the new”!

“Out with the old, in with the new” also refers to Spectrum’s decision to open an office here in Limoux. This is the first office Spectrum has formally established in rural France (up until now Rob and Daphne and all the other Spectrum IFA’s in the area have worked from their homes or other informal locations), so for the company to select this area for its first venture of this kind is testimony to the brilliant work both Rob and Daphne have done over many years. Both Rob and Daphne have now decided they’d like to ease down a bit, and this explains my introduction to this area.

It’s worth noting that The Spectrum IFA Group already have offices in major cities like Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Rome and now Limoux joins that illustrious list!

We’ve taken on an office manager, Jaime Donkin, who will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the office – the office is open Tuesday-Thursday 09.30-12.00 and 14.00-16.00 and Friday 09.30-16.00.

Limoux Friday Clinic

Another change is the introduction of a new service we are offering of a Friday Clinic. As you will no doubt know, Friday is market day here in Limoux, so I will be here to answer any questions you may have; you don’t need to make an appointment, just drop-in on any Friday morning and I’ll endeavour to assist. If you’re making a special journey, you can also ring in to the office and we’ll set aside a half hour appointment if you prefer, the office number is 04 68 31 14 10.

The choice of office location couldn’t be more appropriate either, situated as it is between the bank and the tax office! We like to think we offer an essential buffer between your money flowing out of your bank account and in to the taxman’s – to find out how, pay us a visit on any Friday morning or alternatively ring for an appointment, which could either be in our office or at your home.

Spectrum IFA sponsors Freddie for a Day

By Chris Eaborn - Topics: Spectrum-IFA Group, Sponsoring, Switzerland, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 4th May 2016

04.05.16

Poster Freddie for a dayThis September would have been the 70th birthday of Freddie Mercury, legendary lead singer of the rock band Queen.

His final recordings were made at Queen’s Mountain Studios in Montreux, where Freddie also lived.

As part of a number of fundraising events, students of SEG, the Swiss Education Group, a leading hospitality education network, is hosting a fundraising weekend on 14th and 15th May in Montreux, entitled Freddie for a Day, to celebrate his life and raise money for the Mercury Phoenix Trust.

The Trust was established after his death and focuses on HIV awareness and prevention with a focus on young people in developing countries.

www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com/site/aboutus

Spectrum is a sponsor and one of our Swiss-based advisers Chris Eaborn, will be attending on our behalf.

Spectrum sponsored DFAS lecture – Costa del Sol, Spain – Wednesday 16th March.

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, Events, Spain, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 7th April 2016

07.04.16

The Spectrum IFA Group co-sponsored an excellent NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) lecture on 16th March at the San Roque Golf & Country Club on the Costa del Sol. The Spectrum Group was represented by our local adviser, Charles Hutchinson, assisted by his wife Rhona who attended along with our co-sponsor George Forsyth from Prudential International.
The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies 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, NADFAS is a great way to learn, have fun and make new and lasting friendships.

At this event, around 150 attendees were entertained by an immensely interesting and informative historical talk on the Russian royal family and Fabergé’s Easter Eggs made for the Imperial Russian Court, by Toby Faber of the publishers Faber & Faber.

The talk was followed by a drinks reception which included a free raffle for prizes including CH produced Champagne and a coffee table glossy book on Fabergé. Prudential also supplied a presentation bottle of 12 year old malt whiskey and smaller gifts.

All in all, a good 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 look forward to next season this Autumn.

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Retiring abroad – BBC.com article featuring The Spectrum IFA Group

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: Health Insurance, Pensions, Retirement, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 29th March 2016

29.03.16

Daphne Foulkes was recently asked to contribute to an article by the BBC.com on what to consider if you’re thinking about retiring abroad or to a warmer climate.

You can read the full article here

Spectrum sponsors the NADFAS event in Costa del Sol

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, Events, Spain, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 24th February 2016

24.02.16

The Spectrum IFA Group co-sponsored an excellent NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) lecture on 17th February at the San Roque Golf & Country Club on the Costa del Sol.  The Spectrum IFA Group was represented by our local adviser, Charles Hutchinson, assisted by his wife Rhona who attended along with our co-sponsors Ignacio Ortega & Tricia Anderson from Currencies Direct.

The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies 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, NADFAS is a great way to learn, have fun and make new and lasting friendships.

At this particular event, over 100 attendees were entertained by a fascinating talk on Indian Textiles Art & Design by Jasleen Kandhari, Head of Department, Oxford University.

The talk was followed by a drinks reception which included a free raffle for prizes including CH produced Champagne and a coffee table glossy book on Indian Fabric Design.  Currencies Direct also supplied a presentation box of Cognac and Chocolates and desk diaries.

All in all, a good turnout and a very successful event at a wonderful venue.  The Spectrum IFA Group were very proud to be involved with such a fantastic organisation and we shall also be sponsoring next month’s event on the subject of Fabergé’s Imperial Easter Eggs from the Russian court.

[Gallery not found]

Le Tour de Finance – Spring Seminars

By Spectrum-IFA - Topics: Events, France, Le Tour de Finance, Spectrum-IFA Group, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 23rd February 2016

23.02.16

The spring run of Le Tour de Finance seminars in France is kicking off this week on the 8th March in Limoges and then moves on to Poitiers on the 9th March and Mouzil on the 10th March.

Le Tour de Finance in 2015 proved to be the most popular series of events ever and we celebrated the 100th event in November. The seminars offer English speaking expats a chance to meet various experts from fields including; specialist expat independent financial advice, mutli-asset wealth management, currency exchange, QROPS/pensions and expat tax advice. The experts represent a range of international institutions giving attendees unprecedented access to ask those nagging questions about living as an expat in France.

The events commence at 10am with a welcome coffee followed by a series of short and informative presentations. The seminars are wrapped up with a free buffet lunch and the chance to personally meet these experts and mingle with other like minded expats.

The next events are:

8th March 2016 Haute-Vienn Limoges Register Now
9th March 2016 Poitou-Charentes Poitiers Register Now
10th March 2016 Pays de la Loire Mouzeil Register Now

 

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.

For further details and to book your place at a future event please register here or complete the form below.

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

27.01.16

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).

THE MAIN ISSUES:

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.

OVERALL STRATEGY – CONCENSUS from the experts:

  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%!!