Le Tour de Finance 2015 in France
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.