More wealth planning and financial advice being offered to expats

by Ray Clancy on December 22, 2014

Expats in popular European locations such as the UK, France and Italy can now access more wealth management advice than ever before.

One major group has expanded its operations in Italy and another UK-based firm is now offering more to expats in Britain, especially the French and Americans.

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Two separate investment advisor groups have expanded their operations in Italy and the UK

The Spectrum IFA Group said it has boosted its Italian operations in response to strong demand for its services among expats after first entering the Italian market in the first quarter of 2012, with an office in Rome that has now become its head office in the country.

It has announced that it has hired two new advisers to look after expats and other mainly northern Europeans living in Tuscany and Milan. One will be based in Lucca, a picturesque Tuscan city northeast of Pisa, and the other in Milan.

Unlike their counterparts in some other countries popular with British and northern European expats, such as Spain, those who choose to live in Italy tend to want to embrace the culture and people rather than gravitating to areas full of other expats, according to Gareth Horsfall, a UK qualified financial adviser who runs Spectrum’s Italian operation, and who has lived in Rome for the past nine years.

“As a result, they are spread far and wide around the country, making the job of running a business centred around this demographic very difficult,” he said, adding that they have begun to come together increasingly in recent years out of the necessity to seek expert help and advice in their native languages on matters such as tax.

Maseco has announced that it is now filling gaps in the market by offering wealth planning and investment management to French people living in the UK, the first time the firm has branched out to regions outside of the UK and the US.

The wealth management company, which specialises in UK wealth planning for US families, said there is a strong demand from the French community in the UK for cross-border wealth planning.

The French expat community is largely based in London where there are around 120,000 registered French citizens and more than twice that amount potentially unregistered, making them the largest expat community in the UK.

The firm has hired French expat, Karen Gabay, a former managing director at Societe Generale, as an investment adviser. She has been living in the UK for 17 years and has 15 years’ experience in investment banking and asset management.

She believes there are a lot of synergies between American and French expats but that the new service allows greater scope for more offshore savings to create a facility not previously available to the UK based French community, outside of those services available through large private banks.

“We are very careful when we branch out to a new region. We don’t want to be an expat wealth manager, we want to make sure we serve the communities, and we serve them well. I think we wouldn’t launch another in a different European country until we know we have established it well within the French community,” she said.

The aim is to offer financial services to French expat investor who haven’t got many places to go while offering support for the integrated French/UK wealth planning advice to the French community.

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