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Be Careful Who You Trust With Your Money
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Many people take financial advice to protect their assets from tax and inflation and to provide financial security for a long and comfortable retirement.  What many do not realise, however, is that their choice of adviser is probably the most important financial decision they need to make.

One of the key questions for British expatriates is whether to use their existing UK adviser, or a new adviser based here in Andalucía.  However, before you start discussing your financial affairs with anyone, you need to establish if they are regulated to provide advice to residents of Spain, and that they are competent.

Do not presume that because the adviser is British and has worked in the UK, that he must be reliable and regulated – unfortunately this is not always the case.

For security and peace of mind, choose an advisory firm which abides by national and international regulations, with advisers who are professionally qualified to a high degree.  They should also be experienced at advising expatriates in your area.

While Spain has its own regulation system, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – formerly known as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) –¬ is considered one of the most rigorous and professional regulators in Europe. Using a f¬irm authorised and regulated by the FCA gives you reassurance and confidence that it can be trusted to advise you over the long term in a wholly appropriate way, and that the investments they recommend are also well regulated.

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union enables regulated entities within one EU country to legitimately conduct business in another EU country.  This is done through a ‘passport’ obtained under the EU’s Insurance Mediation Directive. 

Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited, for example, is a UK incorporated company, fully authorised and regulated by the FCA, with passports to provide advice in Spain, France, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Ireland and Gibraltar.

This is the ideal situation for British expatriates who need financial planning involving both Spain and the UK.  Even if you are resident in Spain, you probably have UK assets such as pensions, and need to consider UK inheritance tax and estate planning issues for UK beneficiaries.

Qualifications and high professional standards are also very important.  The FCA now requires all advisers it regulates to have obtained the Diploma for Financial Advisers.  This involves considerable professional study and various examinations.

Your adviser should also have in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of Spanish and UK tax and estate planning concerns and the way that the two tax regimes interact.  

You should accept nothing less for your and your family’s wealth and financial security!

Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided outside the UK, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK.  Blevins Franks Trustees Limited is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority for the administration of trusts and companies. Blevins Franks Tax Limited provides taxation advice; its advisers are fully qualified tax specialists.  This promotion has been approved and issued by BFFM.

David Bowern, Partner, Blevins Franks
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: 952 809 212

To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com


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