Friday, 19 May 2017

QROPS

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS)


UPDATE 2017
QROPS remain an excellent retirement planning option WITH authentic financial advice from a REGULATED UK financial adviser who has FCA authorisation to conduct PENSION TRANSFER arrangements.

It is now important to understand;
    - Your personal retirement plans
    -  Whether the new tax applies to YOU or not
    -  How the UK plan to EU affects your pension now and in the future

Ask about PERSONAL advice EMail


UPDATE 2016
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the UK's primary financial services regulator has strict rules, now, about UK Pension Transfers, including QROPS. Unauthorised advisers are NOT allowed to give advice. For any adviser to give advice on Pension Transfers, they must pass TWO tests.
1. They must be authorised and regulated by the FCA
2. They must have a licence from the FCA to specifically give advice on UK Pension Transfers. The licence is granted on passing a pensions specialist written exam.

QROPS have existed since 2006 but started to become part of overseas financial planning in early 2008. For such a recent innovation, there have been many changes along the way. Major adjustments made by the UK in April 2012, are now well established and the market more mature. Further changes were advised in March 2015.

For most people, in the UK, their pension is their second biggest asset after their home. When they emigrate they have this important asset which needs careful administration and control. Tax preferences given lead HMRC controlling very closely how the funds can be used. The tax advantages include;

  • Full tax relief, under maximum allowances, on all contributions
  • Major tax advantages to the tax treatment of funds held in pension arrangements
  • Under UK tax rules, 25% of the fund can be paid TAX FREE as a pension commencement lump sum

So whilst pension planholders regard it as ‘MY MONEY’ the tax authorities (HMRC) have a say in how it is distributed and taxed.

Once the individual emigrates, or plans to emigrate, the possibility of transferring to a QROPS becomes an option.

The principal advantages are;

  • The fund will be free of UK Inheritance Tax
  • In most situations, the income can be paid gross
  • Income limits imposed by HMRC will cease after a qualifying period
  • No requirement to buy an annuity, which is especially beneficial when interest rates are so low
  • The funds within the pension fund can be invested more flexibly. In fact, some QROPS Trustees allow self investment similar to a SIPP
  • Consolidation of disparate funds into one
  • Taking income is no longer controlled within the scheme rules but is more flexible



Jurisdiction: Why not Spain?
Spain is NOT a good jurisdiction for QROPS

Spain does not recognise a trust structure, which is necessary to accept a UK pension. Therefore any potential transfer to a QROPS by a Spanish resident would take assets currently in held in trust, out of trust, with negative taxation consequences.

It is much better for Spanish residents to have the capital sums outside Spain in a trust and then for any income to be taken and declared in SpainEMail  for more details



Non-UK Nationals

I am aware that people of many nationalities have, from working in the UK, preserved benefits. Good news – you do not have to take benefits when the scheme says so. You may also be entitled to a UK pension transfer to QROPS. Just email for more details.

Advice

The best advisers will compare all jurisdictions before making a recommendation. The determining of your priorities should be the overriding reason for recommending a particular QROPS. Some advisers only deal with one provider in one jurisdiction. If you’ve received a recommendation and would like a second opinion please email me.

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) are for professional advisers and their clients and hopefully the unqualified, unregulated imitators will disappear.

I guarantee that you will be given only REGULATED advice if you contact me (with brief details) by sending me an email



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain



Further Reading

Scam Watch Just say NO to cold calls

Professional Advice Always best

La Torre Fx- Foreign Exchange beating the banks on bank transfers!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

UNAUTHORISED ADVISERS

Unauthorised 'advisers' are also Uninsured 'advisers', so when things go wrong, as they often do, YOU are not protected!


Many of the Financial Advisers operating in Spain are doing so without any regulation, with no authorisation and if anything goes wrong YOU the client has no recourse to putting this right. Authorised & Regulated advisers must carry Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect YOU the consumer.

The only acceptable Spanish Regulators are;

CNMV
Comision Nacional del Mercado del Valores is the principal financial services regulator in Spain and responsible for authorising investment products. A CNMV adviser can be recommended, please email here

DGS
Direccion General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensions is the Spanish regulator for insurance products which can be marketed in Spain. Please email me to be referred to an authorised adviser

FCA
The Financial Conduct Authority came into existence in April 2013 to replace the FSA. Although FCA is a UK regulator firms can receive authority to operate in Spain through a European passport arrangement.
It is my very firm belief that ALL UK pension business should be carried out by FCA regulated and authorised advisers. If you have any doubts about an adviser please email me the details, as I can check them for you.
FCA rules tend to be stricter than their Spanish equivalent but you still need to check the regulation of these advisers

Warning about the Unauthorised

When things go wrong, as they do, with an unauthorised adviser you have no recourse. This subject appears in my inbox all to often! The disappointing thing for me is that I see the same names regularly.

You must check BEFORE you invest

To protect yourself, please ask for help. I can;
·         Check the regulation of an adviser you already know
·         Check if an advertisement you see is from a valid company
·         Recommend properly qualified and regulated advisers who ARE authorised in Spain

Just email me your details with anything you want to ask

Further Reading;




David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain









Monday, 8 May 2017

UK Misplaced, forgotten and lost Accounts

Please pass on to your family, friends and colleagues

UPDATE
                                 
  • Pensions – company or personal 
  • Insurance Policies
  • Bank Accounts
  • Building Society savings
  • Premium Bonds
  • Shares
  • Inheritances
The major cause of people being parted from their accounts and other assets is CHANGE OF ADDRESS, this makes this a very important topic for EXPATS


A few straightforward checks can be extremely valuable

One of the most obvious sources of lost accounts is banks and building societies. For those of you who have moved, especially to another country, it is easy to forget an old account. If you have lost accounts or think you may have unclaimed assets, as long as you can identify yourself, you can reclaim your money.

Financial institutions have literally billions of pounds in unclaimed assets, waiting for their rightful owners to collect. Did you know that uncollected inheritances, in the UK, go to the HM Treasury?

If you have pensions you cannot trace, then a financial adviser may be able to help. Many companies have been taken over or merged and can be difficult to trace. I will recommend a regulated adviser if you email me. Finding a lost pension plan could be valuable but equally if it is said to be ‘trivial’ you may get the benefit in cash

The same is also true about life assurance. It’s amazing how many ‘household’ names of a few years ago no longer exist. You might even benefit from a deceased relative but you don’t know you’re a beneficiary and the Life Company doesn’t know you exist.

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) is a UK Government company which, amongst other things, runs Premium Bonds. They recently carried out a survey of people which found that the main reason for claims, after the event, was change of address. It’s easy to forget one or two items, when moving house or emigrating!

Just as it’s easy to forget, it’s also easy to trace & claim.

I can give you five sources where you can look







What’s more you could be doing your family, friends and neighbours a great favour by passing on this information. You just never know……….



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain



Additional Reading:









Sunday, 30 April 2017

Readers’ Favourites - Monthly Update

‘Financial Pages in Spain’ provides information for English - speaking expats and Spanish property owners


The most popular posts last month were;

·        Foreign Exchange beating the banks 
·        QROPS
·        EU 261 Flight delays: your rights
·        Hidden Costs & Charges
·        Misplaced UK Assets often left behind



1. FOREIGN EXCHANGE
La Torre Fx – Foreign Exchange – Beating the bank

The post was easily the most popular post in the month. With current foreign exchange rates very volatile and record lows of sterling, this is a GREAT PLACE to make a comparison and to By-Pass YOUR bank.

This excellent service, with rates to beat the banks and high quality customer service, by linking to the very best Foreign Exchange Platform – FTT Global. The service offers great rates on all major currencies


           
2. QROPS
Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes

Making a return to popularity, following changes made by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget in March. On reflection, the notice of extra charges, also known as a TAX, might be bad news, yet most expats living in Spain will not be affected. Notice I said ‘most’. Whilst it has become increasingly NECESSARY to seek Qualified and Regulated Advice, the changes in the budget make it VITAL.

In addition, the changes are different in EEA (European Economic Area) countries which includes all of the EU. This is likely to be scrapped, in my opinion, if Britain leaves the EU and the Single Market. REGULATED ADVICE IS VITAL

·               QROPS post
·          


3. FLIGHT DELAYS: EU 261 gives your RIGHTS
It is your right, using EU 261 and confirmed by UK Courts to seek financial recourse. The post here largely covers my five year war of words with Ryanair to get compensated. But claimants now will get their rights much more quickly. My article gives useful links to help with the process. If you’ve had a flight delay YOU might be DUE welcome compensation!

·         Flight Delay Compensation



4. MISPLACED, FORGOTTEN & LOST ACCOUNTS

There are £ Billions awaiting rightful owners in the
 UK
The most common reason for mislaying assets is change of address. That of course will apply to the vast majority of expats.  It only takes about 5 or 10 minutes to check and even the most careful can find misplaced funds!

There are many different types of funds you might find, including shares, pensions, National Savings inc Premium Bonds, bank accounts, Building Society savings and much more. Please check the links in my post

·         Lost accounts



5. HIDDEN COSTS & CHARGES

It’s worth checking if you are paying TOO MUCH for charges attached to financial & pension products.
However, if you have a personal financial adviser, who constantly gives ongoing good service, they will explain and deserve payment. But please make sure there are no charges deducted where no service is given and especially if they were NOT DISCLOSED

·         Hidden Charges



If I can help, I gladly will – Financial Pages in Spain is an INFORMATION site with NO ADVERTS



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain


Friday, 26 February 2016

FLIGHT DELAYS: EU 261 Compensation

Victory in the UK Courts means YOU can win more easily!

  • At first they denied responsibility

  • Then Easyjet lost a Court case and Ryanair ‘considered’ an appeal

  • Finally  I got paid €400 compensation but YOURS will be much quicker

IMPORTANT UPDATE


Flight Delay Compensation

You should, in the first instance, contact the airline concerned

Airline links;




Jet2.Com Send booking details by email to customer.service@jet2.com

The process should now be quick thanks to EU 261 and the Court victories


The biggest lesson that I learned, as I proceeded was that I would only lose if I gave up! I was certain at times that it was exactly what they wanted and expected. But I kept responding.

How it started
On 31st July 2010, myself and about 200 other passengers were about to board a Ryanair flight from San Javier Murcia airport en route to Birmingham. The loud bang we heard as we waited in the Murcian sunshine was the baggage handling truck hitting the side of the plane!

We were asked to return to the Terminal whilst the damage was assessed. Unsurprisingly, the news came about an hour later that the aircraft was too badly damaged to fly. Ryanair would ‘let us know’ when arrangements had been made to get us back to Birmingham.

Most of the next five hours were taken up with mindless tedium, though one incident does come to mind.

I spotted a WiFi symbol on the side of the Information Desk. On enquiring with the ‘Information Assistant’ I was informed that WiFi was only available to flight crew and ground staff, so I was denied access! That, of course, added to the feeling amongst passengers of being unwanted. They did give us ‘refreshment vouchers’ which was equivalent to a sandwich and a cold drink. The sandwich choice as I recall was Cheese & Ham or Ham & Cheese!

Eventually, Ryanair put a crew together, an aircraft was readied in Stansted and dispatched to Murcia. On arrival, amidst cheers from bored and tired passengers came the news that we were to board the plane but it wouldn’t leave for an hour due ‘Air Traffic Control difficulties’. But we did land in Birmingham at 9.30 pm just about 9 hours late!

Detail
The initial response, unsurprisingly, was that it wasn’t Ryanair’s fault, they gave us vouchers, they had sent us a replacement plane – no compensation.
Four years later, light appeared at the end of the tunnel. In the European Court , a passenger claimed compensation against Tui for a flight delay using an European Union regulation which is known as EU 261/2004. The Court found in favour of the passenger.

I wrote to Ryanair in detail. Based on the formula established based on the length of the delay and the flight distance, I was entitled to €400 compensation. Even with the Court  ruling Ryanair dismissed compensation on the grounds that it was not their fault. I stood firm.

Progress
In February 2015, in the Liverpool County Court Easyjet lost a case brought by a passenger over a lengthy delay. Easyjet claimed it wasn’t their fault so no compensation was due. The Court set the defence aside and awarded the passenger damages based on the formula in EU 261/2004.

I wrote to Ryanair reiterating my entitlement and referring to the Easyjet case. In fairness to Ryanair, their responses had always been prompt, but on this occasion the reply took six weeks.

Their defence was now based on the likelihood that Easyjet would appeal the decision!  By July 2015, Ryanair continued to use the ‘there could be an appeal’ reason for not settling.

Conclusion
By December 2015, with no further correspondence from Ryanair, I decided giving it one final push before using seeking to redress. Having not received a reply, I sent an identical letter in mid-January 2016.

Rejoice! On the 4th February 2016, Ryanair let me know that they were pleased to offer me compensation of €400 under EU 261/2004. All I had to do was to send my bank details, which I did within the hour. Sorry, dear patient reader, it’s not quite over yet.

On 8th February 2016, I was thanked for my bank details and Ryanair were ‘happy to confirm’ that I would receive €400 within 28 working days. I suppose that from incident to acknowledging the claim took 2,014 days what’s another 28 days amongst friends! I’m now expecting to hear Ryanair’s trumpeting ‘music’ claiming that it arrived early. 26th February 2016 the compensation arrived

NEVER GIVE UP!

But now your entitlement should be settled very quickly, let me know if it isn't!


David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain 


Further Reading:







Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Hidden costs & charges


Are you paying for something you’re not receiving?

  • Renewal commission

  • ‘Trail’ commission

  • Ongoing ‘adviser’ costs


If you have an excellent Financial Adviser who not only did a great job for you in the first place but continues to give you service, this does not apply to you!

How closely do you look at statements you receive from your investment company or pension plan provider? Is there a charge for ongoing service by the adviser who set up the plan?

Do you receive a service from your adviser? Do you even remember who was the adviser?

Many people tell me that they don’t! So why are you paying? Well it’s in the fine print, in the Terms & Conditions which you signed. That doesn’t mean you can do nothing about it. If you don’t know if there’s a charge and receive no service you can still write to the company concerned and ask them to stop any payment from your account, plan or pension.

Financial Pages in Spain can also offer you a way out. You can ask by email for a template letter. You add your details, the details of your plan or policy plus the name & address of the investment company, insurance, QROPS or pension provider. If you have doubts just ask.

I hope that you have a good adviser, one you can trust and who gives you good service but I want to help you with the ones who don’t.

Just email if you have any queries



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain



Additional reading:

·        Unauthorised Advisers

·        Readers’ Favourites







Friday, 14 August 2015

Scam Watch

BEWARE:
Cold calls encouraging a ‘Review’ of your pensions

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has urged pension savers to be mindful that unregulated companies are cold-calling consumers to offer high-risk investment advice.

They are also sending emails, text messages and using online advertising. That was the warning in the UK but in Spain they also advertise in newspapers and it is often difficult to distinguish the regulated from the unregulated.

If you let me know, I can tell you if a company is NOT regulated. Just Email 

The aim of the 'review' is to encourage you to move money from an existing personal or occupational pension to a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or a small self-administered scheme (SSAS).
The money is then typically invested in investments not regulated by the FCA, such as overseas property developments, forestry or storage units known as store pods.

Such investments can be enormously risky and can be difficult to sell and consumers could lose all the money they move, reducing what they have to live on in retirement.

And they also have less protection should anything go wrong and may not be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  Again, also, the FOS does not cover advice in Spain.
The majority of companies offering the reviews are not authorised by the FCA, although some falsely claim they are acting on its behalf. Others claim to be working with the government following the Budget commitment in March to introduce a free advice service for people at retirement.

Financial Pages in Spain ONLY refers readers to regulated advisers. In fact I am more than happy to give you the FCA registration details of anyone I recommend. Feel free to email me to be recommended or I can check out an adviser you have concerns about. Email

You might also wish to read an article in the Telegraph which confirms the warnings given by Financial Pages in Spain



David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain