expat network

Be sure to screen your financial adviser when heading for the sun.

financial adviser

Dreaming of a place in sunny southern Europe? Take care to find the right financial adviser when planning your move. Brexit means that qualified financial advisers who used to be able to ‘passport’ their services from Britain to the EU cannot now automatically do so.

“That is unless they have an operational base with local authorisation in an EU state, or join a company that has one,” said Jason Porter, a director of specialist expat financial advisers Blevins Franks.

“Otherwise, they cannot offer advice to EU-based clients in situ.”

Your UK IFA must now be regulated in your foreign location, otherwise they cannot give you advice.

Financial ‘passporting’ in the EU meant that if an EU member state maintained its financial regulation, its local authorisation and its ongoing assessment of local financial businesses to EU rulebook standards, then firms from that member state could obtain and maintain approval to ‘passport’ their financial products and services across other EU member states.

By 2016, there were 5,500 UK authorised firms passporting their services across Europe. As a result, most UK nationals would find their existing banks and investment managers in the UK could continue to advise them when they moved to the EU.

“Brexit and the Trade & Cooperation Agreement changed all that,” said Porter.

Tax and estate planning across two different jurisdictions is tricky.

The UK now has a ‘third country’ status in terms of EU law. Without passporting or any special arrangements, the UK’s financial rules would need to be deemed ‘equivalent’ to those of the EU for the UK to gain access to these markets. And as the UK looks to diverge from the EU’s financial rules, the chances of this becomes more and more remote.

Blevins Franks has seen a large increase in the number of Britons enquiring about a move to Europe. The company has offices in France, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta. It is fully regulated in each country individually.

Britons in the EU should be cautious about the financial advice they receive. They must make sure the advice comes from a company properly regulated in their location. Or they may have no access to recompense if things go wrong.

Jason Porter is a director of specialist expat financial planning firm Blevins Franks and head of its European Emigration Advisory Service.