News & Insights

QROPS planning essential in challenging times

Given that so many retirees receive their pensions in pounds rather than euros it should come as little surprise that a proportion are struggling to retain their previous level of spending power. For example, a pension worth 655 euros on June 23 is now worth just 555 euros.

As a result many expats in France have had to make the kinds of economical savings that pre-Brexit might have seemed unimaginable, with some even expressing concern about their ability to meet the costs of a comfortable expatriate life in the long-term.

The long view

It is worth remembering that many of the Brexit doom and gloom scenarios predicted by some sections of the Remain camp have not come to pass and that a difficult period of uncertainty and adjustment was always going to be inevitable.

And now that Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March 2017, it can only be a positive thing that the official two-year Brexit process will soon begin in earnest.

In the meantime there are, fortunately, steps that expats in France can take in order to be properly prepared for what the future may hold. One such step is to apply either for French nationality or a “carte de sejour” residency permit. The latter gives holders the right to remain in France even without the naturalisation status conferred by the former.

Of course, it is also vital that expats seek financial advice regarding their wealth management options, with the value of having effective QROPS arrangements in France never clearer than it is right now.

But perhaps, above all else, it is important that expats don’t become fodder for media scaremongering. Against this background it can be useful for expats to remember why they moved in the first place and to consider whether they are still enjoying the numerous benefits and lifestyle opportunities that are still afforded by residence in France.

Other News

Do you hold substantial cash in Spain? If so read on….

IceHere in Spain, I hear no end of horror stories regarding the country’s financial institutions and laws. Unfortunately, I too have been on the receiving end of unscrupulous and downright unfair treatment, but last week a client of mine of over four years called me in distress. For the avoidance of doubt, this is a true story.

My client is 86 years old and, sadly, her husband died eight months ago. Over four years ago she followed our recommendation of investing in a purpose-built Spanish portfolio bond with both her husband and her as lives assured. This meant that should either partner die before the other, the bond would continue as if nothing had happened, thereby not triggering a Spanish Inheritance Tax calculation. In Spain unlike the UK, there is Inheritance Tax between spouses, however, because this particular bond is held outside Spain it avoids inheritance tax. This is a tool that we often use for clients in Spain.

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Blacktower MD, John Westwood, to take FEIFA forward into Brexit as Chairman

John Westwood, Managing Director and founder of The Blacktower Group, has taken up the post of Chairman at FEIFA, the Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers, following the trade association’s AGM on 21st September. Following two years as an Executive Committee Member John is both pleased and proud to take on this important role.

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