Managing your financial planning affairs when relocating to Spain can be a bit of a headache, can’t it?…
– is that magnificent-sounding IFA in fact properly registered?
– will he offer you sound financial advice – advice which suits you and your pockets?
– will he “move on” just as you’ve got used to each other?
During my 25 years in Spain, I’ve seen many a financial advisor come and go.
I’ve also witnessed several financial advisors “go under”, causing hardship and heartache to clients who no longer had working years left to make up their severe financial losses.
For this reason, we’ve asked Robin to provide you with a selection of easy-to-understand personal finance articles, to guide you on your way.
We chose Robin because his sound, feet-firmly-on-the-ground practical advice, coupled with his understanding manner, have enabled him to endure the test of time out here with flying colours. He’s also backed by a solid, established investment company.
You’ll find links to his personal finance articles towards the end of this page, along with a simple form in case you wish to contact him regarding financial services in Spain.
But, let’s start with the interview I had with Robin, where he answered some of my questions …
FINANCIAL SERVICES IN SPAIN – INTERVIEW WITH ROBIN
1. How long have you been in Spain … what decided you to come here?
I moved to Spain 13 years ago, after being offered a position as an independent financial advisor based in Spain.
The opportunity to live and build a business in such a climate and environment was just too tempting, especially with a, then, young family.
2. What qualifications/training/experience do you have?
I’ve now been in the financial services sector for a total of 25 years – since the age of 21 – mostly advising on investments and pensions.
My UK financial industry qualifications include CertPFS, and my knowledge is topped up perpetually by attending industry seminars and meetings with other industry professionals.
This includes over 100 hours every year researching investment, legislation changes, and tax issues. In particular, matters relating to financial services in Spain.
But there’s often no substitute to experience … it helps when knowing some key people of multi-national companies who are often very insightful when acting for clients that face constant legislation, industry changes and new EU Directives. For example …
3. Which investments and financial services in Spain most interest expats?
Expatriates in and along the Costas are generally looking for safe investments, because most have retired, built up their nest-egg and – importantly – want to retain it.
Understanding the tax issues facing you leads to ways of reducing it, which makes a big difference in making your savings go further.
The demands of individuals differ when investing. Diversified investments – investing in a number of different assets – reduces investment risk and increases the efficiency of savings.
One common denominator that all appreciate is the old adage:
Multi assets such as gilts, corporate bonds, equities, property, and commodities are recommended.
Premium bonds can have their place in a diversified portfolio, and even gold investment is becoming easier and serves as a good hedge against future inflation.
The first port-of-call for everyone though, is to ensure their deposits are with a strong bank.
It’s all very well choosing bank A that pays 4% … but consider bank B that pays 3% which is far stronger.
It ‘s not enough to simply say “the amount I have in my bank is covered by the Government Compensation Scheme”.
It can likened to building a house … after all, would you consider using half the materials needed for the foundations with which to build your house?
4. Which financial services in Spain do you offer expats?
It’s imperative that you should do a regular audit of your finances. After all, businesses do, so why not you as individuals? I help with such audits …
This is extremely important, because it’s a two-way street, and serves as a getting-to-know-you exercise.
Some of you will be looking to increase income from savings and investments … others will be seeking advice on UK pensions, such as QROPS.
5. Which age groups do you mainly deal with in Spain?
My oldest client is age 99 and the youngest 21!
The majority would be those that are retired, or looking to retire within a few years.
6. Does your investment advice vary much according to age group?
Yes … a 99 year old differs from a 21 year old.
In general, I try to ensure that clients are prepared – financially – for all eventualities.
When living abroad, situations can arise that you may not have given thought to before moving over here, and it’s this general financial preparedness that I strive for in respect of all of my clients.
For example, a recent new client wanted a specific financial picture to plan for the sale of his business in seven years time.
He’s an unusually organised individual, which is interesting, because the average person spends more time on planning their two week annual holiday than on their financial planning.
7. Do you offer investment and financial services to people living outside Spain?
I have colleagues who do … we’re regulated in several other EU countries, such as France, Luxembourg etc, so we’re not just constrained to offering financial services in Spain.
8. Can you suggest any investments that are particularly suitable for these times of economic crisis?
Getting the basics right is key …
This includes an understanding of an individual’s outlook to investment risk and, importantly, choosing the right currencies of those investments.
For example, an expatriate resident in Spain is at risk when holding all their funds in Sterling, because Euros is their home currency.
After the basics are in place, and depending on the individual’s view, at least some “real assets” ought to be considered.
These include assets that are proven to match or exceed inflation, such as equities, property, and commodities.
Talking about these assets may conjure up pictures that only the extremely wealthy can access, But, these days, you can invest in a diversity of assets from as little as $20,000 (or currency equivalent).
9. Which are your most popular investments with expats in Spain?
Probably an investment bond designed to hold all different assets.
These are mostly offered by large insurance companies and are very useful in two ways – they’re extremely tax efficient and are “ring-fenced” which offers high investor protection.
FINANCIAL SERVICES IN SPAIN – FORM AND ARTICLES
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading over the interview I had recently with Robin.
You’ll discover links to his selection of valuable, easy-to-understand personal finance articles below – articles he wrote with you, the expat, in mind.
Or, perhaps you have a question for Robin, or would like his financial advice?… If this is the case, just fill in the following simple form. Robin will get back to you with a FREE, no-obligation answer.