Your UK Adviser Can’t Help You Anymore… What Now? Post-Brexit Financial Planning for Expats

Ah, the joys of moving overseas! New adventures, cultures, languages, and now... new financial headaches. But worry not! We are here to help if your UK financial adviser has told you that they can no longer look after you anymore.

Due to the UK’s departure from the EU, financially regulated “passporting” has ceased post the transition period. What this means for you as an EU resident UK expat is that your banking situation and investments will become more complex.

It could also mean that your UK-based adviser can’t represent you anymore for legal reasons. However, there’s no need to fret – plenty of options are available to you. And we believe having your hand forced and needing to change your financial adviser is no bad thing for expats.

Thinking objectively. Was your UK adviser best placed to provide specialist advice about cross-border financial matters? Did they possess the international and local knowledge to help you structure your investments for optimum returns and minimal tax liabilities? Maybe an offshore expat adviser is more expert in these areas anyway?

So, let’s discuss your financial planning options post-Brexit. You can plan ahead and take control of your finances wherever they might lead you in the EU.

UK couple in EU

Understanding passporting: How does it impact you as an expat

Let’s talk about passporting. In simple terms, it allows financial services firms authorised in one EU member state to do business in other EU states. It’s a cornerstone of the single market. It will enable companies registered in one EU member state to provide services anywhere else in the bloc without seeking country-specific registration. And, by nature, it restricts the ability of third-country entities to provide services in the EU.

For example, an Irish-based financial adviser can offer advice on investments or pensions to clients living in Spain without having to set up a separate business there – as long as they are qualified to do so and regulated in their home country. And this used to apply to UK financial services firms – until the B word came into play.

How did Brexit impact UK financial advisers offering advice to EU clients?

UK financial services providers could no longer use passporting to access the EU. This had a significant impact on financial services firms in the UK. And it’s probably why your adviser can’t help you once you move out of the UK and into the EU.

Many UK firms with a presence in the EU restructured their businesses to ensure they could continue trading without relying on passporting rights.

Many companies used pre-existing operations on the continent to passport into other member states, often with a skeleton staff and minimal operating costs.

Other firms examined where their client base was concentrated and sought local regulation in that country.

Others relied on a provision in EU legislation allowing third-country (non-EU) providers to work with EU-based clientele so long as the services were not acquired through direct solicitation or deliberate marketing within the EU.

Let’s talk more about reverse solicitation

Reverse solicitation occurs when a client requests services at their exclusive initiative. In this case, the adviser is not required to be authorised in the EU to provide services to the client. However, the adviser must ensure the client has not been targeted or solicited. This includes any type of marketing.

It is important to note that reverse solicitation is not a sneaky way to avoid EU regulations and requirements. UK advisers must still comply with MiFID II regulations when providing services to EU clients, even through reverse solicitation. Additionally, advisers must document and keep records of the client’s request and the services provided to ensure compliance with regulations. And it can be challenging to prove reverse solicitation.

What happens if your UK-based Financial Adviser can’t help you overseas?

UK expats in Malta

These circumstances may come about even two and a half years post-Brexit. You may receive a letter from financial services organisations telling you they can no longer work with you. This may come about because:

  • your adviser may not have been aware that you had moved overseas;
  • their local regulator status may have been rescinded;
  • they may have closed their EU-based operation and now no longer be able to provide services to you as a result;
  • or you may have recently moved out of the UK, or be planning an imminent move.

Financial advice based in the UK may not cover all your financial needs

If you have investments in the UK, a UK-based adviser may still be able to provide support. But the question is, should they?

If you have savings and investments with an EU-based institution, they may not accept instructions from a UK adviser, such as top-ups. Regulators in some EU countries have made it illegal for banks and insurance firms to do business with unauthorised providers. And while we can’t predict the future, other EU regulators will likely take similar steps, which could limit opportunities for expats using UK-based advisers.

It is also essential to consider the practicalities. Will you have the time and inclination to travel to the UK for meetings and paperwork requirements? Will you be able to access funds quickly? What might happen if you were unable to travel for any reason?

Changing your financial adviser when moving overseas

If you have a good relationship with your UK financial adviser and trust them with your financial arrangements, it’s understandable if you’re reluctant to change. You may also be concerned about finding an adviser you can trust. How do you know they’ll understand your needs? And are they regulated?

Let us reassure you that this change is not necessarily harmful to you. Irrespective of whether your UK financial adviser can still advise you, we’ve already established that they might not be best placed to.

So, please think of this as an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your finances and ensure that you are getting the best advice and that it is appropriate for your new circumstances.

The benefits of choosing an international Financial Adviser when moving out of the UK

First things first: if you want to minimise taxation when changing residency and make the most of tax-efficient opportunities in your new home, you should review your financial arrangements before you move.

They may lose their tax benefits if they continue to hold UK savings and investments while living abroad. If they aren’t EU/EEA assets and you are no longer a UK resident, they could potentially attract a higher tax bill in one or both countries. Nobody wants a surprise tax bill. Particularly not while trying to settle into a new country.

EU residents can access locally-compliant alternatives offering advantages beyond tax efficiency, like multi-currency and estate planning flexibility. So, it’s essential to explore your options. You will probably find that reviewing and adjusting how and where you hold your capital will significantly improve your tax position and overall financial health.

Why you need an adviser with local knowledge

While UK-based advisers may be experts on the ins and outs of the UK system for residents there, it’s unlikely that they have the same in-depth knowledge of another country. That’s why it’s crucial to think objectively. Is a UK adviser best placed to help you take advantage of opportunities available in your country of residence?

So should you opt for a local adviser in your new country?

We’re afraid the short answer isn’t much of an answer… It depends.

While moving to an adviser in your local country makes sense, there are a few sticking points to consider. A financial adviser in your new country of residence might possess the local knowledge you need, but…

  • Do they fully understand the intricacies of the tax regime and how it interacts with UK taxation?
  • Are they positioned to manage your UK assets?
  • Do they have the specific expertise to deliver advice on all areas of expat financial planning?
  • Can they access all the tax-efficient solutions that should be available to you?
  • Will you need to retain your UK financial adviser in addition to their services? Will that cost you double the fees?

These are all critical questions to consider when choosing an adviser. You want to ensure that you’re working with someone with the expertise and knowledge to help you make the most of your financial opportunities. And, of course, you want to ensure that whoever you work with is accountable for their actions.

Ensure your financial affairs are compliant and suitable for your new life overseas. Consulting an experienced adviser with local knowledge will help. But… is local knowledge enough?

UK national living in EU - Your UK Adviser Can't Help You Anymore

The answer is an international financial adviser specialising in expat financial planning.

Well, we would say that wouldn’t we? But, genuinely, we do have the expertise and knowledge to help you make the most of your financial opportunities. And we’re accountable for our actions through our ethics and network regulator.

If your UK adviser can no longer work with you, and you’re mourning the loss, how’s this for a solution?

What if you could have a relationship that’s like the one you have with your current UK IFA, but it transcends geographical boundaries?

What if your IFA was a UK expat themself?

What if your IFA has in-depth knowledge of UK financial markets, international finance and the intricacies of cross-border financial planning? What if they also have local expertise of your resident country and EU financial regulation?

Well, then you would have a relationship like the one we have with our clients: global, personalised and trustworthy.

You don’t need multiple IFAs if your UK adviser can’t help

UK expats don’t need numerous IFAs working in separate countries. A global financial planning firm working with expats and the international community can help you achieve your wealth objectives.

They will have the expertise and knowledge of all the tax-efficient options available. And they’ll be able to take over from your existing UK-based IFA, working for you in all the countries where you have financial interests.

So, when choosing an adviser, don’t just settle for someone who knows the UK system. And don’t settle, either, for someone with local knowledge of your new residence. Choose someone with the local knowledge and expertise to help you succeed in your country of residence or anywhere.

You can read our entire blog about why you need an international financial adviser here.

How do I choose an international Financial Adviser?

If your UK financial adviser can no longer work with you, it’ll be best to find one familiar with the regulations and requirements for UK nationals living abroad. Key considerations include:

  • Ensure that the adviser has licencing to provide services in the country of residence;
  • if they don’t have local regulatory rights, ensure they are based in an EU member country and possess passporting rights across the EU;
  • satisfy yourself that they are familiar with local tax laws and cross-border financial planning;
  • check your international IFA has an awareness of unique financial planning considerations for expats – like tax implications, currency fluctuations, and investment options;
  • and make sure your IFA’s ethos aligns with your long-term goals and objectives.

Successful expat financial planning strategies that you should discuss with your IFA include:

  • wealth accumulation strategies specific to international and expat individuals;
  • retirement planning for expats;
  • holistic financial planning solutions that include: protection, succession and estate planning, currency management, saving, tax-efficient investment options, diversification strategies and pension performance

couple on beach in EU

An international financial advice solution that will provide you with the best of both worlds

An international IFA will help you achieve financial peace of mind. This means you can focus on enjoying your life in your new residence.

We’re expats ourselves. So we get it on personal and professional levels. That’s why we understand the unique financial needs of expats, and we’re committed to being your partner in success.

We believe that trust is essential in financial relationships. We strive to provide the highest quality of advice and service by putting you front and centre – with empathy and flexibility – so we can help you achieve your life goals.

And we don’t just bring our personal and professional experience to the table. We also have the added benefit of being backed up by one of the most robust networks in the offshore advice marketplace: the OpesFidelio Group. This means we can offer you the advantage of a bespoke, one-to-one, personal service and administration. But we also come with the network’s added regulatory and compliance framework.

So, your UK financial adviser can’t help because you live overseas? That’s great news. You can work with us. Let’s get started.