New International Investment Offering For Expats

by mfefadmin on May 20, 2011

New Investment Offerings for Expats

Turbulence on the worldwide financial markets has brought new concerns and new problems for investors, especially those looking to make a new life overseas, whether starting a new career or looking to retirement. However, growing demand for tailored investment advice for UK non-domiciles, UK expats and residents of Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar has prompted the introduction of a variety of new investment services, tailored to an individual’s specific needs. While many of these new expat services require a minimum of £50,000 to invest they bring a degree of structure to your future financial standing and allow you to plan ahead.

It is never too late to plan for the future

Over the last 20 years or so there has been a massive increase in the number of private investors both in the UK and around the world and with more and more people now looking to move overseas there has also been an increase in the risks involved. Making your way through this minefield of investment decisions, investment scenarios and long-term advice is not always easy and professional advice should be sought in all cases. The situation for those looking to move overseas is made more complicated by foreign currency issues and exchange-rate movements and while these particular issues will always be in the background there are ways and means of reducing your exposure and your risks in this particular area.

Monitoring your investments

While many of us may have similar goals and targets for the future with regards to our financial affairs the truth is that we are all very different and there is no “one investment fits all” in the financial arena. Therefore, in order to balance your short, medium and long-term goals you may need to invest across a range of different investment tools, individual investments and investment funds. Historically this has often led to challenges regarding the monitoring of your investments although thankfully there are a number of investment platforms which offer you a very easy, very useful and very time efficient way of monitoring all of your investments in one place.

Indeed, under guidance from your financial advisor, you may well have the opportunity to integrate your existing investments under one umbrella therefore giving you easy access to the current situation and the current value of all of your investments. In this new world of high-speed news flow those extra minutes you save by having all of your investment information under one roof can in certain circumstances be worth its weight in gold.

The Cost of Living

Whether you are in the UK, Europe or anywhere else around the world there is no doubt that due to subdued economic activity and a rather surprising increase in commodity prices, most of the worldwide population are currently experiencing an increase in the cost of living. When you take into account the increase in the cost of living, relatively high inflation and relatively low savings rates this could, if left unattended, become something of a recipe for disaster.

In years gone by when UK base rates for example were generally around the 3% to 4% level, as opposed to 0.5% today, it was highly unlikely that the rate of inflation would push significantly above base rates to impact upon the “real” value of your savings. However, passive investment, i.e. leaving your funds in a traditional savings account, could in a worst-case scenario see the relative spending power of your savings reduced by between 2.5% and 3.5% per annum. When you also take into account a potential reduction in your income due to the subdued and competitive employment markets around the world then there is a potential for your savings to fall in real terms and your household income to be reduced as well.

As more and more people are confronted by a reduction in their regular income there is every chance they may well be forced to dip into their savings funds thereby reducing their future savings pot even further.

Protecting Your Savings Going Forward

The introduction of new investment services targeted at expats offers the perfect opportunity to acquire professional financial advice on your short, medium and long-term objectives and your ability to meet these. There is no point sitting on your hands and worrying about the future when there are a number of opportunities available which include a mixture of managed funds and structured products that invest in shares, bonds, commodities and exchange traded funds which make full use of the experience gleaned by established investment companies over the years.

Whatever your investment strategy, your risk/reward ratio and your hopes for the future these companies will aim to find a mixture of products to allow you to plan ahead. We are currently in a rather bizarre situation where inflation is running well in excess of general worldwide base rates therefore in simple terms the value of the pound in your pocket today will be less tomorrow, the day after, the month after and for a prolonged period of time so long as inflation is higher than savings rates.

Investing for the Future

For those looking to take a certain degree of risk for the longer term, whilst also protecting a significant portion of their savings in the short term, there are many markets around the world that offer the potential for long-term financial growth. When you look at the financial press over the last few years we have all seen markets such as the Dubai property market being pushed to levels which were unsustainable and the over eagerness of some in the financial press to push these particular sectors higher and higher.

It is also interesting to see that once these markets began to tumble and investor confidence diminish the former bullish press headlines soon turned about-face. Taking the Dubai property market as just one example of dozens of similar situations around the world, the financial press still continue to talk down the sector while those on the ground appear to be suggesting that prices may be more stable than the international financial press is suggesting. This is not to say that for example the Dubai property market is ripe for investment, just the fact that the financial press will very often talk markets too high and on the flip side of the coin they will talk markets too low.

The introduction of a wealth management service gives you the chance to tap into the massive information pool cleaned by companies in this area and make use of this for the medium to long term benefit of your savings. There is no investment company in the world that will advise you on relatively short-term investment strategies because catching a falling market is very like catching a falling knife. However, sitting down to speak to the experts may well open the eyes of many expats who can often cast a glance over their forthcoming new life with “rose tinted glasses”. The reality of a new life overseas brings not only the potential for a better standard of living but also challenges with regards to making your budget stretch as far as possible whilst also maintaining your financial well-being going forward.

You Get what You Pay for

Those who are relatively active on financial websites and financial forums on the Internet will be well aware that there is a mass of information out there in relation to specific investment markets, companies and countries. However, the truth is that much of this information may well be written by third parties who have a particular axe to grind and a particular bias with regards to their comments. Therefore, the key to long-term investment success is to get down to the basic facts and figures and reduce the influence of human nature and biased opinion to come to a measured and a balanced decision.

Each of us who have savings to invest believes that we can beat the experts, we can save on professional fees and ultimately we can do our own homework. In reality the situation is very much different because it is very easy to make money in the boom times but it can be very difficult to retain the value of your investment funds and indeed move them ahead in the not so good times. When you take into account the general rate of inflation around the world at the moment, and particular in the UK and associated islands, it can, without a significant pool of investment information, be difficult to literally “stand still”.

An investment with a tailored Wealth Management service gives you the opportunity to tap into established companies with expertise in banking and global investment and companies which in many cases will manage funds in the hundreds of billions of pounds.

Conclusion

The onslaught of the Internet and the massive array of financial information now available have given many people the idea they can ignore the experience and the advice available from investment companies with years of experience in the global investment market. Sadly, especially in the current economic environment, the wealth of information, access to the latest technology and connections at the fingertips of these companies could be the difference between an ongoing reduction in the relative spending power of your savings and the chance to plan ahead for the future with confidence.

Expats looking at starting a new life overseas will be well aware of the potential pitfalls of life in another country although unfortunately professional financial advice is very often a second thought with so much on their minds. It is vital that you make plans for the short, medium and longer term and put together an investment programme, investment strategy and a budget that will see you through the foreseeable future. Balancing the act of planning for the short, medium and longer term is not easy, which is another reason why professional financial advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.

While there are risks with any type of investment we are in a rather bizarre situation at the moment where there is the potential to reduce your spending power by retaining your funds in standard savings accounts. The advice of Wealth Management companies can open new avenues, open your eyes and allow you to plan for the long-term giving you more security, peace of mind and allowing you to enjoy that much sought after life overseas.

Please bear in mind the value of investments can rise as well as fall and you might get back less than you invested.

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