If you want to fix your car, you’ll go to a mechanic; if you have a fever, you’ll probably go to the doctor. However, if you want to understand your financial situation fully or if you want to know whether you qualify to transfer your pension, you should seek advice from a qualified financial adviser.
Finding an expat financial adviser can be a tough task, especially if you are a US resident. It would help if you had a professional who is not only knowledgeable about UK finance and tax rules but also understands the complexities of international double taxation agreements, estate planning, and inheritance tax, as well as experience managing pensions both in the UK and abroad.
We provide a checklist to assist you in scanning for a suitable financial adviser to help you achieve your future goals. Before continuing with the checklist, watch the video below to get a brief overview of how to find good UK expat financial advice for a US resident. Subscribe for more updates and tips on the UK pension transfer industry!
1. Regulated Independent Financial Adviser
The expat financial adviser should have the authority and credibility that comes from dealing with cross-border finance on a regular basis. The first thing to remember is that only industries with valid FCA authorisation to perform pension transfers can offer pension transfer advice.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates financial advisers in the United Kingdom. They investigate complaints and ensure that advisors work for the benefit of their clients rather than for their own self-interest or financial gain.
Aside from FCA regulation, an expat financial adviser must also be subject to local regulations in the nation where they reside, such as in Europe, the United States, or any other country.
In Spain, for example, the advisers must be registered with the CNMV (La Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores) and must be registered with Spain’s Dirección General de Seguros (DGS). The IFA must be able to assist you in exploring all available options in planning for Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Wealth Tax, and other taxes.
The second factor to consider is the competence of your financial adviser. It goes without saying that you want an adviser who knows what they are talking about. It should be fine to ask a few questions concerning your financial adviser’s qualifications, educational background, and experience as an expat financial adviser. If they’ve only provided Final Salary recommendations for the past two years and don’t have any genuine qualifications to back them up, they’re not the best financial adviser you can find.
3. References And Testimonials
Check for approval or testimonials from their current clients as an analysis strategy to determine whether the adviser is right for you. You can also check they are on the IFA register to ensure that your IFA is qualified.
Aside from the FCA, there are numerous benchmarks that expats can use to ascertain which FCA Independent Financial Adviser they should contact. One of the most popular is the FT 100, which provides a list of the top financial advisers to approach.
The data for FTAdviser’s Top 100 Financial Advisers was provided by London-based organisation Financial Clarity, an arm of ISS Market Intelligence. Following the changes made last year, the FT now recognises businesses that are either chartered by the Chartered Insurance Institute or accredited by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. These standards, however, do not guarantee good behaviour or practices.
4. Fees and Charges
Transparency is a desirable trait in the United Kingdom. It’s the rule, it’s how all financiers operate, and it’s how Cameron James and his team conduct themselves. Even when dealing with a customer from another country, Cameron James will always follow the UK mentality. However, other advisers in Europe or parts of America may not be subject to a commission prohibition, which means they may charge you anything for that initial advice.
Always insist on your adviser being completely open about how much money they will earn. There’s nothing wrong with asking about pricing within the first two minutes of meeting with your financial adviser. Something is wrong if your financial adviser is unwilling to discuss expenses.
Prices can vary widely, so do your research and choose a financial expert who you believe will charge a fair and reasonable price for the service they can provide and whose offerings and specialities are appropriate for your specific circumstances.
Some financial advisers bill by the hour. Others charge flat fees for certain services, such as writing a will or establishing a trust. Another common method is to charge a percentage of the size of your investment portfolio that the firm manages for you. Some international advisers continue to charge a commission for the products they sell, even though commissions were outlawed in the United Kingdom.
Everyone’s requirements are slightly different; you may be moving across Europe or to Europe from another jurisdiction so having an adviser who understands your changing needs can be highly beneficial.
Above all, the client is responsible for conducting their due diligence before signing a contract or entrusting their financial interests, pensions, and investments, among other things, to the care of another. Request references from current clients and follow up with them to ensure the endorsement is genuine. Bring a list of questions to any consultations and determine whether they can provide the services you require. Please pay attention to what they say, ask their opinion on specific issues, and compare their advice. Check the register of that regulatory body if they claim to be regulated.
Cameron James – Your Trustworthy Expat Financial Advice & Service
Cameron James Expat Financial Planning is the preferred independent financial advisory firm for Final Salary pension and SIPP transfers. With over ten years’ experience in pension transfers, Cameron James is now servicing clients in 26 countries.
We have the qualifications and technical knowledge required to help you transfer to an international SIPP both as an expat and a US resident. Our mission is to bring regulated and transparent advice to our clients. As such, our clients know how much their advice will cost in advance, with no hidden fees.
Cameron James Expat Financial Planning has a sophisticated cash flow management system in place. Our senior management team has a decade of experience in serving expats and is committed to serving the requirements of expats for decades to come.