Saturday, 25 June 2011

Foreign Exchange - beating the banks

La Torre Fx - Foreign Exchange has one primary objective.

Giving you a choice

You don't have to accept the quote from your bank - you have a choice at La Torre Fx

Though La Torre Fx is a new service, it operates on an established platform with additional security from the following;

  • Regulated by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Registered for Data Protection
  • Payment platform uses segregated Barclays accounts
  • Each transaction (trade) is insured up to £1,000,000

Check it out today and compare with your Bank. Get there directly from here La Torre Fx

La Torre Fx and you can then trade as often as you like. As with all foreign exchange providers, there is a need to complete some paperwork. But you only do this once with 

La Torre Fx - Foreign Exchange is a service from Financial Pages in Spain

La Torre Fx can trade in ALL major worldwide currencies

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Why won’t they disclose commission?

One of the scandals of (some) FSA authorised advisers in Spain

September Update
Three months on and they still won’t give a reason. Commission Disclosure in UK is MANDATORY under FSA rules. But many FSA advisers still refuse to disclose in Spain

They pay for big adverts in the newspapers, they proudly say they’ve been around since the year dot, they are authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) but they won’t tell you how much you have to pay them!

They can dress up commission anyway they like but it’s what you pay them! It’s your money.

 Anyone with a story to tell in confidence can contact me by email

·        FSA rules since 1993

·        Commission disclosed in UK but NOT Spain

·        What do they have to hide?

It continues to perplex me, I can’t understand this and quite frankly I think it is wrong!

They advertise in English speaking newspapers, they tell us they are authorised and regulated by the FSA in the UK but they don’t disclose commission which has been an FSA rule since 1993.


Well this is their chance to tell you. If any of the International Financial Advisers who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) want to explain, I will republish their words without any alteration or redaction. So come on, you know who you are come and tell us!

But if no one takes up that option, I’ll also give that the oxygen of publicity too!

So come on guys tell us, why won’t you disclose commission?

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Anyone who has anything to tell me about this or any other issue can write to me with details by email. If you want anonymity I will guarantee it.

If you work for an International Financial Adviser or maybe you did in the past, with a whistleblowing story to tell, I will protect my source.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Financial Pages in Spain – Readers Favourites

Readers’ Favourites Week


When I decided to run ‘Readers’ Favourites Week’ I wasn’t sure how it would workout. I should have had more faith! It has been a record-breaking week. For anyone with a Blog, I recommend Google Analytics which gives a total breakdown of activity on the site.

  • More people visited Financial Pages in Spain than any previous week

  • Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD) is a major concern as more people read this post than any before, in a single week

  • Despite ‘knockers’ in the financial press, New Zealand QROPS is very popular with the readers and expats

There were five articles in the week and Google Analytics gives me the following statistics;

5th with 12.7% of the audience was ‘UK Pension, 100% Cash (Section 615)’

4th with 13.3% was ‘QNUPS – Qualifying Non-UK pension Schemes’

3rd with 18.4% was ‘QROPS – Question and Answers’

2nd with 19.6% was ‘New Zealand QROPS’

1st with 36.1% was ‘Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD)’

Spanish Inheritance Tax is now receiving more attention as Expats and Spanish property owners become aware of the problem. There is a link on the right hand side of the blog which allows you to enter a few details and find out how it affects YOU. Alternatively you can contact me by email

To view more from ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ you might also like to visit the website at

Foreign Exchange
An additional service has also been launched which offers very competitive foreign exchange rates. I know this is a major concern to expats and property owners who need to make both one off lump sum transfers as well as regular payments. The service is called ‘La Torre Fx – Foreign Exchange’

It is NOT limited to Sterling and Euros but offers all major worldwide currencies. La Torre Fx will not be the best every time, but my pre-launch statistics showed that it beat major banks 80% of the time and the foreign exchange bureaux 60% of the trials. It’s seriously worth checking.

I have opened a separate website at
La Torre Fx uses a tried and trusted ‘platform’ and has full regulatory authorisation. Please take a look.

Friday, 3 June 2011

UK Pension, 100% Cash (Section 615)

Financial Pages in Spain – Readers’ Favourites Week

Day five

QROPS and QNUPS are relatively new having come from Statutory Instruments (SI) from 2006 and 2010 respectively. The idea I am bringing here is based on the Income and Corporation Taxes Act (ICTA) 1988. In other words it’s tried and trusted.

  • UK approval by HMRC

  • Benefits can be 100% cash

  • Residency, Domicile and Nationality are not relevant

First of all the Technical point;

An International Pension Scheme can be arranged pursuant to Section 615(6) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. This has been accepted by HMRC. The Section applicable is this weblink

For this article I shall be referring to this scheme by its popular name ‘Section 615’.

I telephoned a number of UK Financial Advisers, operating here in Spain, and asked them if they could advise me about a Section 615. Not one of them could tell me! If as a result of this post, you want to talk to an adviser who does know and has advised others, please email me.

There are a number of categories of people who I believe can benefit from Section 615.

  • Employees of UK companies whose duties are conducted wholly outside UK. So you could be resident in another country (such as Spain) but employed, or become employed, by a UK company
  • Employees of multi-national employers where an overseas parent company has a UK presence
  • Employees of UK companies, who are UK resident, but who undertake duties inside and outside the UK

Whilst these categories relate to ‘employees’, there is no reason why a self employed person or a partnership could not establish a company in the UK for the purposes of becoming employees and benefitting from these schemes. For advice please email me.

The Benefits

For the employer

  • Contributions are allowable against corporation tax in the UK
  • There is no UK National Insurance to pay on the contribution
  • No minimum contribution
  • Employee benefit at reasonable cost. I can take employer enquiries

For the employee

  • There is no tax liability on the contributions
  • Death benefits can be paid to nominated beneficiaries
  • Inheritance Tax efficient
  • All of the fund can be paid as cash on leaving the service of the company or deferred to normal retirement age
  • There is no local tax on these contributions as there is no income
  • Even though employed by a UK company there is no National Insurance cost
  • Member directives on investment are allowed

A wide range of permitted investments, which include;

  • Insurance policies
  • Cash and money funds
  • Equities
  • Fixed interest securities and gilts
  • Property or property shares

This is only an outline of Section 615 but each time I think about it, more groups of people seem to be potential beneficiaries of the Scheme. If you think you might benefit, or just want more information, please email me.

Many UK citizens working abroad can benefit from this arrangement, yet it is not widely offered or available.

Important point to note: I am aware that some schemes can be contentious and the queries are often raised by companies who do not have access to them. Section 615 (6) of the Income & Corporations Tax 1988 is completely non-contentious. Each scheme will be individually approved by the UK tax authorities (HMRC)

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You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

Any personal information that you give me will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and care. Your details will only be passed to a third party with your written authority.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS)

Financial Pages in Spain – Readers Favourites Week

Day three

QNUPS is important for retirement planning, mitigating Inheritance Tax and especially pertinent is the opportunity for ‘in-specie’ transfers. In fact the IHT planning element was brought about as a result of lobbying over the original QROPS rules.

  • Get authorised and regulated advice

  • Remember that QNUPS is a Pension Scheme

  • Ideal for In-Specie Transfers

Late last year,I read an article by an International Financial Adviser which contained inaccurate information. It reminded me that with QNUPS, as with all investments, you need advice from the right source. I can provide you access to a professional adviser, if you email me. Always check the advisers authorisation and qualifications.

 I think the technical description is necessary. The Inheritance Tax (Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes) Regulations 2010 [S1 2010/0511] have introduced this acronym ‘QNUPS’. Weblink gets you to the precise Statutory Instrument (SI).

In short, just over 12 months ago, February 2010, HMRC confirmed that contributions to a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme, would be exempt from UK IHT. What this means is that as long as the QNUPS walks and talks like a pension, then the assets held in it will be protected from UK IHT.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but I believe there are six categories of individuals who will most benefit from or should consider a QNUPS;

  • Any UK resident who from 6th April 2010 became restricted on their UK pension contributions to basic rate tax relief.

  • UK domiciled persons (that includes many UK citizens who have become Spanish residents), and UK residents who want to make pension contributions beyond the UK maximum limits.

  • UK non-residents, including Spanish residents who already have a QROPS but want to add to their pension funds. A classic transfer would be UK savings receiving very little interest, including PEPs and ISA’s

  • Individuals who want to build an IHT friendly investment, intended as part of retirement planning but not related to their income or employment situation

  • Anyone looking for a way of consolidating their lifetime savings or investments without the restrictive rules of conventional pension planning.

  • Any UK resident or domiciled individual who wishes to build up a pension fund in excess of the current lifetime limit

QNUPS provides an excellent opportunity for in-specie transfers. Investments you have built up, properties you own and other revenue producing assets can just as easily be a pension contribution. The investment does not have to be cash but cash is not excluded. Indeed the investments that can be held in a QNUPS are much less prescribed by HMRC than traditional pensions. Remember, however, that the QNUPS has to be a Pension Scheme but it is also a plan to defend assets from Inheritance Tax (IHT).

If any adviser suggests selling your assets and buying another financial structure beware. In-Specie Transfers offer a much more cost effective route, normally, and also selling assets can lead to an encashment charge or even a tax bill (eg Capital Gains Tax). To avoid this pitfall please speak to a recommended adviser. Please email me for details. Remember In-Specie Transfers.

Also Remember the Regulators! I will only recommend an adviser who is authorised by one or more of the following;

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 click here

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

The Financial Services Authority is the UK's financial services regulator. Many British clients prefer a UK adviser and have dealt with FSA regulated advisers in years gone by. For an introduction to recommended adviser, with experience in Spain, please click here .

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

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Financial Pages in Spain has recently introduced a new Foreign Exchange service – La Torre Fx.

Although it is new here, it is based on a fried and tested system, with FULL regulatory protection This is a service and gives an additional option. Try it and compare it with your Bank or Exchange Bureau, you can’t really lose!