Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Hidden costs & charges


Are you paying for something you’re not receiving?

  • Renewal commission

  • ‘Trail’ commission

  • Ongoing ‘adviser’ costs


If you have an excellent Financial Adviser who not only did a great job for you in the first place but continues to give you service, this does not apply to you!

How closely do you look at statements you receive from your investment company or pension plan provider? Is there a charge for ongoing service by the adviser who set up the plan?

Do you receive a service from your adviser? Do you even remember who was the adviser?

Many people tell me that they don’t! So why are you paying? Well it’s in the fine print, in the Terms & Conditions which you signed. That doesn’t mean you can do nothing about it. If you don’t know if there’s a charge and receive no service you can still write to the company concerned and ask them to stop any payment from your account, plan or pension.

Financial Pages in Spain can also offer you a way out. You can ask by email for a template letter. You add your details, the details of your plan or policy plus the name & address of the investment company, insurance, QROPS or pension provider. If you have doubts just ask.

I hope that you have a good adviser, one you can trust and who gives you good service but I want to help you with the ones who don’t.

Just email if you have any queries



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain



Additional reading:

·        Unauthorised Advisers

·        Readers’ Favourites







Friday, 14 August 2015

Scam Watch

BEWARE:
Cold calls encouraging a ‘Review’ of your pensions

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has urged pension savers to be mindful that unregulated companies are cold-calling consumers to offer high-risk investment advice.

They are also sending emails, text messages and using online advertising. That was the warning in the UK but in Spain they also advertise in newspapers and it is often difficult to distinguish the regulated from the unregulated.

If you let me know, I can tell you if a company is NOT regulated. Just Email 

The aim of the 'review' is to encourage you to move money from an existing personal or occupational pension to a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or a small self-administered scheme (SSAS).
The money is then typically invested in investments not regulated by the FCA, such as overseas property developments, forestry or storage units known as store pods.

Such investments can be enormously risky and can be difficult to sell and consumers could lose all the money they move, reducing what they have to live on in retirement.

And they also have less protection should anything go wrong and may not be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  Again, also, the FOS does not cover advice in Spain.
The majority of companies offering the reviews are not authorised by the FCA, although some falsely claim they are acting on its behalf. Others claim to be working with the government following the Budget commitment in March to introduce a free advice service for people at retirement.

Financial Pages in Spain ONLY refers readers to regulated advisers. In fact I am more than happy to give you the FCA registration details of anyone I recommend. Feel free to email me to be recommended or I can check out an adviser you have concerns about. Email

You might also wish to read an article in the Telegraph which confirms the warnings given by Financial Pages in Spain



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain




Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Investments for Expats

Whilst mortgage payers and businesses, generally, welcome low interest rates, savers, investors and especially those needing an income, are often looking for a better return

Amongst the most common questions asked of ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ are these:

·        How can I get a better return on my money?

·        Can I get a better rate than my bank is offering?

·        Should I have my money in Euros or Sterling?


Without knowing individual circumstances and providing only generic solutions, I can give some ideas. More importantly, on an individual basis, I can refer you to a Regulated, Professional and Qualified adviser.

Its unlikely these will suit everyone but consider these:

1.    Consistent income
Everyone knows that all markets, including the Stockmarket, can fall as well as rise. However, it is still possible to get a consistent income level even from a fluctuating market.

Over the last five years, the stockmarkets have had four positive years and one negative year but you could have taken a level income of say 5% and still have seen your capital grow.

As always, past performance is no indicator of future returns. I have previously stated that individual advice is necessary.

It is also true that similar investments can be made in Gilt Edged Securities, Property Funds, Global Funds and other categories. All can accommodate the principle of taking a consistent level investment. It is also possible to spread the investments over a number of different categories.

Enquire further

2.    Sterling or Euros
In reality I might also add US Dollars, Swiss Francs, Japanese Yen or many more. That’s because you could invest in a ‘basket’ of currencies yet take your income in just one, e.g. Euros

This might be very sound, if like many people, you are concerned about the future of the euro.

It would be possible to construct a personal investment, to suit YOU on a similar basis to the Consistent Income idea mentioned above. Please ask to speak to a Regulated adviser.

3.    UK Property Investment
This UK Buy to Let opportunity provides the basis for both capital growth and a regular income. It suits expats who are happy to be ‘hands-off’ with the management, which is carried out on your behalf, whilst offering guaranteed returns

Importantly it’s an investment in the bricks & mortar not a fund. For those needing it, there are innovative financing arrangements available. Just ask me for a website link. This is an ideal investment for expats with a company offering a proven record of achievement.

4.    Offshore Financial Planning
There was a time when this was only really available to the ‘rich & famous’ though this is no longer the case. Any REGULATED adviser I recommend can provide this service.

It is difficult to summarise who might benefit but most expats have assets and interests in more than one country and often there can be an efficient offshore solution to your financial plans. Even if you are not sure, a few details about your circumstances will help to refer to the best adviser. Please let me know

5.    Estate Planning
There are so many misconceptions about who pays inheritance tax and where they pay it, Estate Planning should be an integral part of your investment plans. This should arise naturally from your Financial Plan.


I hope this gives readers reason to think about their plans. Additional reading from Financial Pages in Spain includes:







David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain



Wednesday, 29 April 2015

UK Investment Property


 - Buy to Let

British expats looking at the UK for security and great returns will benefit from finding out more

Ask me for more details but here is a brief outline of the investment opportunity is as follows;

  • UK Buy to Let

  • Invest in the property NOT a fund

  • Future income streams backed by 5 year rental guarantees, with a management package included

  • Innovative and alternative funding arrangements, if required

  • A demonstrable better return than paltry interest based deposits

  • Proven track record


Without any obligation, I can give you direct access to the company’s website. Just send me an email with a request

Many of the regular readers of Financial Pages in Spain will know that I do not advertise for other organisations. This is my own initiative as I get lots of emails about low returns on savings and investments

Please email me in absolute confidence and without obligation. Even if you have no experience of property investment you will be helped and guided, if required. Feel free to ask your questions

This is genuine........but if you don’t ask you’ll never know!


David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain




Further Reading:




Friday, 17 April 2015

Five Spanish Non-Resident Taxes


I was asked by a UK based property professional to write the content of a leaflet he wanted, for prospective buyers of Spanish houses / apartments. His request was welcomed as too often property agents prefer NOT to tell prospective buyers about taxes, but this is a great initiative.

For many of my regular Spanish resident readers there are elements of this that will not apply but I was writing specifically for a non-resident audience. It equally applies however to non-residents who have already purchased. By all means, email me if you want more detail.

To begin I’ll list three common myths that are wrong. These have all been said to me or written to me;

  • ‘I’m not liable to Spanish Inheritance Tax because I’m not a resident’ – wrong
  • ‘I live in the UK and pay my taxes to the tax office in Salford Quays. I have a house in Spain but I’ve no need to pay Spanish taxes’ – wrong
  • The people who rent my Spanish house pay me in pounds so I don’t need to pay Spanish tax’ – wrong

The following is the leaflet contents I referred to earlier;

There are 5 key taxes most applicable to non-resident property owners.

Income Tax
Every non-resident owner of a Spanish property has to pay an annual tax to account for their "share" of the property. Although it's called an "income tax" it's not actually based on your level of income, but on a "deemed" or "notional" income, which is a percentage of the rateable value of the property multiplied by the non-resident tax rate of 24.75%.

This tax is based on the calendar year and is always due within 12 months of the end of the tax year, so for the 2017 tax year, tax needs to be paid before 31st December 2018.


Property or IBI Tax
Property rates in Spain is referred to as IBI and, like the UK, this tax will be levied by your local council in Spain. The council will assign a rateable value to your property and then your rates or property tax will be a % of this amount. The % will depend on your council, but in most cases it will be somewhere between 0.5% and 1%. So if you had a rateable value of €50,000 and your local percentage was 0.75%, then your annual rates bill would be €375.

This tax is also based on the calendar year but will normally be payable between June and September each year, again this will be dependent on your local council.

Rental Income Tax
Up until the end of 2009, rental income tax was 24% of the gross income you received on any rentals. So if you generated €1000 by renting out your property, then you would have to pay €240 in tax. You could not offset any expenses - i.e. cleaning, utilities, insurance, mortgage interest, marketing, management fees etc.

However, since January 2010, the rules have changed, which means that you can now offset expenditure when calculating what income, or effectively profit, will be subject to tax of 24.75%.

In theory rental income tax returns need to be submitted each quarter, to account for income received in the preceding 3 months

Capital Gains Tax 
When a non-resident owner sells their property, they will make a capital gain or a loss upon the sale, which is the difference between what they paid for the property and the proceeds of the sale. The buyer of the property should always withhold 3% of the sales value and pay this to the Spanish tax office as an "advance" of the buyer’s potential capital gains tax. It is then up to the buyer to calculate their gain or loss, and if a gain has been made this will be subject to 21% tax. The buyer should pay the 3% within 1 month of the sale date, and the seller then has a further 1 month in order to submit their calculation of a gain or loss and the corresponding tax returns.

Inheritance Tax
Inheritance tax for non-residents is a tax on the beneficiaries and not on the deceased as it is in the UK. The tax rates themselves can vary depending on the relationship of the beneficiaries to the deceased, the amount that is being gifted, their age, and even their wealth in Spain and in the very worst situation tax rates can reach levels of 81%!

The other major issue for UK people is that transfers between husband and wife in Spain are not tax exempt as they are in the UK, so if a spouse were to die, then the surviving spouse, in most cases, will need to pay inheritance tax (as well as probate) in order to take on the additional 50% share of the property.

It will normally take approximately 6 months to deal with the probate issues in Spain and pay any outstanding inheritance tax, before the property deeds can then be altered.

No Inheritance Tax is payable if the property is owned by a UK company, since even if a shareholder dies, the company can continue in existence and the shares passed on to a beneficiary under UK rules. This requires SPECIALIST advice.

* * * * * * *

This is a very basic outline of taxes in Spain, applying to non-residents. Both residents and non-residents are always encouraged to seek professional advice.


Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/financialpagesinspain

Twitter : @davidgspain





You will note that the leaflet does not contain the Spanish titles of the taxes, as it is aimed at a UK audience. 


Further reading recommended, includes the following;

Scam Watch Just say NO to cold calls

Professional Advice Always best


La Torre Fx- Foreign Exchange beating the banks on bank transfers!



Please email me if there is anything I can help with.



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain




Sunday, 22 March 2015

2015: UK Budget, Pensions & QROPS

Also looking from the perspective of a British Expat in Spain


From the changes first announced in the 2014 Budget through to the immediate changes last year, the UK Autumn Statement, changes to QROPS recently enacted and on to the last Budget of the current Parliament, one thing is for sure:

UK Pensions will not be the same again!

All of the changes I want to outline, which affect Expats will make one HUGE assumption: Unless you take fully Authorised & Regulated Advice you cannot possibly know the full picture. An advert for QROPS in a newspaper does not take into account YOUR personal circumstances and probably ignores the fundamental changes.

There is NO ‘one size fits all’ approach to pensions anymore, even if there ever was!

Please enquire about regulated advice


UK Pension changes in summary

·        There is no longer the need to convert a pension fund at retirement into an annuity and pension drawdown becomes much more flexible
·        In addition those already in receipt of an annuity can enquire about trading them in for a lump sum though from 2016 not immediately
·        The Pension Commencement Lump Sum (known in the UK as tax-free-cash) does not change but can be taken in a series of lump sums. It still represents 25% of the total fund
·        The fund which remains can be taken in lump sums rather than evenly by month or annually but this is treated as income and therefore taxable
·        If all of the fund is withdrawn as one lump sum, there is the potential for a Huge tax bill at higher rates of tax
·        Please note the give away to these changes: It may be more flexible for those with pension plans but in the next three tax years the UK Treasury will collect INCREASED tax from pension income.

I am more than happy to refer you to a UK Pensions Specialist if you email me with an outline of your circumstances


QROPS

Many people had assumed that the UK Government would merely replicate the new UK rules to QROPS – but they are NOT

QROPS now become more complex because different jurisdictions will have different rules. Principally, the flexible rules applying to UK pensions, don’t apply to QROPS from April 2015. Those who already have QROPS, are in the process of moving to QROPS or are concerned about the future can contact me  Don’t expect to hear from an existing provider!

In addition, QROPS benefits cannot be taken before age 55.

Even if I cannot answer your queries, I can refer you to a suitably qualified Pensions Specialist


These are fundamental changes but with the correct professional advice, you can get the best from them. Don’t be concerned or worried just ask!



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain
And the NEW Facebook Page



Further Reading:

Scam Watch Just say NO to cold calls

Professional Advice Always best


La Torre Fx- Foreign Exchange beating the banks on bank transfers!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

UK Pension Schemes or Plans but you have emigrated?

Ask for a review, without obligation, with a UK AUTHORISED adviser with experience of helping expats. UK Budget changes to Pensions make this VITAL

Types of schemes, options and regulated advice

It seems that every year, in the UK, there are new laws, new regulations, new ideas or changes to pension plans or schemes. Just to complicate matters there are still many arrangements which have different names! The changes announced in March 2015 are fundamental


UK Pension Plans and Schemes

Here are a list (and it probably isn’t exhaustive) of the titles sometimes used for pension plans. If you have one but don’t understand what it is, please email me.

PPP – Personal Pension Plan
SIPP – Self Invested Personal Pension
GPP – Group Personal Pension Plan
S32 – Section 32 Pension Transfer Plan
ShP - Stakeholder Pensions
PPTP – Personal Pension Transfer Plan
UP – Unsecured Pension
ID – Income Drawdown
ASP – Alternatively secured pension     
AVC – Additional Voluntary Contributions
FSAVC – Free Standing Additional Voluntary Contributions
COMPS – Contracted Out Money Purchase Scheme
CIMPS – Contracted In Money Purchase Scheme
EPP – Executive Pension Plan
RAC – Retirement Annuity Contract
Section 226 Annuities
Superannuation Schemes
SSAS – Small Self Administered Scheme
OPS – Occupational Pension Scheme
DBS – Defined Benefits Scheme
FSP – Final Salary Scheme (DBS & FSP are the same – different names)
S2P – State Second Pension
GPS – Graduated Pension Scheme
SERPS – State Earnings Related Pension Scheme
BSP - Basic State Pension
SRP – State Retirement Pension (BSP & SRP are the same)

Maybe, you’ve even got something with a name not covered here! Please email me if you want anything explained!

Even when you have understood the plan or scheme you have, there could be a whole variety of rules and regulations that you don’t understand.

What are Your Options?

This is not meant to be exhaustive and is generic, you really need to consult a reputable authorised pension adviser.

·        Do nothing
This is very much the worst option. If your circumstances are changed, including emigrating, you need to know the affect on your pension arrangements

  • Take the benefits exactly as they were intended but transfer the pension income to Spain
This is often a good option but still needs to be reviewed. Circumstances change and you might have benefits you no longer need or you want to change the date of retirement. Many schemes have restrictive clauses which can affect your options and rights. You also need the correct tax treatment of your income.

  • Bring your pensions together in a QROPS
For most people who emigrate, this is the best option, though it also needs caution and advice from a specialist. I recommend the ‘further reading’ below. In particular, beware of adverts which promise cash settlements and benefits before normal retirement date. If it sounds too good to be true, well you know the rest. Please email me for details of a genuine specialist.

  • Bring your pensions together in a SIPP
You can certainly use this as an option. If your emigration is not permanent it could be a good one. However, the self investment aspect of a SIPP is often available within a QROPS. Not all SIPP trustees will allow investors who live outside the UK, so you certainly need specialist advice.

  • Best decision : Review your pension options with an authorised UK pension transfer adviser

August 2014
Warning from HM Government about UK Pensions
From Steve Webb, Pensions Minister
“If cold callers offer you massive returns for your pension pot that are just too good to be true, it is because they are.”
Sunday Times August 10th 2014


Warning
For most people, their Pension Fund is the biggest or second biggest asset. BEWARE Scam Watch as this post warns


David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain


Further Reading:

QROPS Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes




Do you transfer money, bank to bank on a regular basis? You can reduce the ‘currency risk’ with La Torre Fx – Foreign Exchange This service is also better than most banks for one off transfers
                              


Friday, 13 March 2015

Getting a ‘second opinion’

Financial Pages in Spain is happy to provide this service

I have been finding for sometime that many people come to me for a ‘second opinion’ For many differing reasons but they are unhappy with the advice they have been given and send me examples.

Rather than guesswork people also ask me to recommend Accountants, Lawyers, Surveyors and other professionals.

Some of the things people have said to me:

  • ‘ It  looked like a mass produced QROPS report with just my name and personal details changed’

  • ‘ They wanted an up front fee even to talk to me, funny they never mention that in their adverts’

  • ‘ I wasn’t convinced the advice was correct’


But they trust ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ and I am receiving comments which show a great deal of respect.

I’ll try to help. Email me

Can you help me to help you?

  • Please send me both good and bad examples of reports you have received, from financial advisers, I’ll respect your privacy
  • Tell me the names of Advisers who've given you bad advice
  • If the fees, charges and commissions are hidden in a report and not openly disclosed, please send examples

This sort of information will help everyone and help eradicate some of the greedy practices.

I may not have intended it when I started out but it seems that Financial Pages in Spain is becoming the respected second opinion.


* * * * * * *

Whatever your query, please write to me. My email is on this link


David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Email me



Further Reading from Financial Pages in Spain