News & Insights

Spotlight On Christopher Thornton – Country Manager in the US

Options for clients with UK pensions in the US

Christopher Thornton, country manager for Blacktower in the US, has more than 10 years of international experience as a Financial Adviser, with particular expertise in the area of cross-border pensions advice and retirement planning. Christopher and his team aim to help Blacktower clients fully understand their options for managing UK pensions in the US and to assist them with their retirement planning and general wealth management.

Before working in the United States, Christopher worked extensively in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa and before that he spent 10 years bringing his expertise to the automotive industry, primarily with Mercedes-Benz, where he specialised in vehicle financing and advising of FCA regulated insurance products.

Pension freedoms are only useful if savers have the right information

Whilst he welcomed the UK pension freedoms that came into effect in the UK in 2015, Christopher considers these freedoms only useful to people who have the knowledge, advice and courage to take advantage of them.

He believes that in his role as a cross-border financial adviser he has a responsibility to guide his clients through the reams of conflicting information and the myriad choices on offer in order to help them reach clarity of purpose. Only once this has been done can the client begin to plan effectively.

Retirement planning is a complex area for anyone, but for US-interested British expats there are particular challenges that make seeking expert, regulated financial advice even more of an imperative.

Understand your situation and your goals

Christopher believes that the single most important aspect to retirement planning for British expats in the US is to ensure that their UK and US pensions align with their expected future retirement. To do this, retirement savers need to take into account where they will retire, the currency they will require and how much flexibility they will need when it comes to accessing their funds.

If these things aren’t considered fully and at an early enough stage, the long-term ramifications can be dire.

Loving life and work in the land of opportunity

“The sheer size of the country”, Christopher says, is incredibly awe inspiring, and his five years of servicing clients from across the whole of North America has meant he has had to identify and understand the nuances of inter-state and cross-border financial services provision from numerous perspectives. Each State has “its own intricacies in respect of retirement planning and taxation” and this means that Christopher has to be completely focused on each client and their individual situation.

Another exciting aspect of working for Blacktower in the US is knowing that net migration from the UK is ever-growing. So, there is no shortage of new clients for Christopher and his team to assist and they all share Blacktower’s commitment to servicing new and existing clients in the same transparent, customer-focused manner, while continually looking for innovative ways to enhance their long-term financial future.

To speak with Christopher or any member of the Blacktower (US) LLC team, please get in touch today.

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