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Articles > Financial


Review of Expatriate Medical Insurance Plans Worldwide

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (21:19:39)
courtesy of April Medibroker


Following the rapid rise in “Global based companies” over the past decade, coupled to vast improvements in telecommunications and expansion of Internet services world-wide, the availability of private healthcare insurance services to the expatriate community, has never been better. However, of the 30-40 million estimated expats living or working globally, less than half of these individuals and families hold valid healthcare insurance plans. As this market for expat cover is growing at over 10% annually, globally, several new plan providers and new insurers have launched new plans over recent years, offering clients increased choices. I have listed a number of these with websites and contact phone numbers at the end of this article. Additionally, some of these insurer benefits and premiums are compared in the attached matrix sheet for review purposes.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Property Investment for Expats

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (21:15:48)
Unless you’ve been on Mars since mid 2007, you’ll have seen that the global property and financial markets have been in something of a mess – and that’s putting it mildly!

Just about everything that can be said on this subject, has now been said. It’s been analysed and debated to infinity with the TV and newspapers finding vast numbers of experts who have all suddenly had massive attacks of ‘20/20 hindsight vision’ and claiming, of course, to have seen all this coming long ago.

This article does not go down that road again or rehash tired explanations, allocate blame or make forecasts. It is not at all clear what 2009/2010/2011 holds for the various markets and this article does not pretend to have any clearer vision than the many experts, real or self-appointed, than one can find in the newspapers.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Banking for Expats – Getting a Personal Bank Loan

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (21:13:35)
At first glance it may look like the title here must be a joke. Many new expats, and even some seasoned veterans, think that getting bank loans from foreign banks is just about impossible if one is a foreigner.

There’s no doubt that in turbulent times it can be tricky, and perhaps even more so for expats. Nevertheless, it is a myth that it can’t be done.

One of the reasons any bank exists, whether at home or abroad, is to provide its customers with loans under certain circumstances. The basic types of loan do not vary much in anywhere in the world – broadly speaking they are categorised as personal or business, asset based (e.g. car purchase) or not, and so on. Banks want to sell these loans and make money on them.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) – Qualification

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (21:11:39)
In previous articles we examined the principles of QROPS, and why QROPS could be advantageous to expats in certain circumstances.

In this brief discussion, we’ll look at some of the ‘qualification’ and related issues that apply to those trying to move their pension savings out of the UK to a QROPS.

QROPS – A ‘not entirely clear’ situation

The general package of legislation and other changes now referred to as ‘QROPS’ was introduced into the UK in 2006.

Some have described this as being driven by EU ‘fair play’ legislation though others attribute it to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) trying to close loopholes in pension laws that were being abused by expats.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Currency transfer - Top tips to avoid losing out on exchange rates

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (10:05:32)
By Elisabeth Dobson, Head of Private Clients at World First

Small shifts in foreign currency exchange rates are common and happen in short spaces of time. However, over the past few days (article written September 17, 2009) sterling has dropped off steadily by over 2%.

If you have entered into a contract to buy your property abroad and before you’ve paid for it the exchange rate shifts to go against you like this, it effectively increases the sterling cost to you.

For example, last August a house on the market for €250,000 would have cost you £194,850. But at the moment it would cost you about £222,301 – an increase of £27,451 in a matter of weeks.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Pensions and Social Benefits for Expats

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (10:04:02)
Many expats living overseas, particularly those approaching or at retirement age, start to worry whether or not they can get their pensions and other benefits paid outside of their country of origin.

The good news here is that in the vast majority of cases this is never a problem, though there can be some things worth considering. Do please remember that the issues relating to receiving your state pension overseas can vary hugely depending upon your nationality, your work and contributions history and the country you are moving to. There are too many variables here for a short article to consider so YOU MUST CONSULT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE FOR DETAILS RELATING TO YOUR SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. What you read here are general statements of principle only.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) - Intro

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (10:03:02)
It's always a little sad when one has to start worrying about pensions.

Expats are no different to most people in that the word 'pensions' reminds us that aging is inexorable and that we need to think about making some sort of provision for that period in our lives when work may be a thing of the past.

For expats there are always added complexities. Will the pension be payable locally? Will it be taxed back in the old country? What are the currency issues? How will legislation 'back home' affect me if I'm living overseas?

This is a vast and complicated area and this is the first in a short series of articles that will examine one particular aspect of the pensions maze – QROPS. This slightly scary acronym stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Scheme and relates to how expats can move their pensions out of the UK to their new country of residence.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) - Why?

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (10:01:12)
In the first article in this short series, we outlined a little of the background to the UK government's decision to permit pension fund transfers out of the UK to overseas arrangements in certain circumstances. We also had a brief look at what exactly a QROPS was.

In this article we will look briefly at why an expat may choose to move their funds out of the UK into a QROPS.

Protect your interests!

There is no apology here for stating again that if you're considering what to do with your pension funds then you MUST consult a qualified and registered expert. Any article of this nature must of necessity be summarised and non-specific. Your circumstances will be individual to you, so do not make decisions based exclusively upon this article or any of a similar nature.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Currency transfer - Stay in control, no need to panic!

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:55:40)
By Elisabeth Dobson, Head of Private Clients at World First

At the time of writing, we have just seen sterling lose around 3% in value against the euro – in a matter of days.

Whilst on the surface this may seem insignificant, if you’re relying on a sterling income to finance your life in Spain, a shift like this could be make or break time.

The pound started to tumble against the euro during the course of 2008 and in January and March this year, we have been close to parity. Suddenly, paying your euro mortgage is costing you significantly extra or your weekly shop is eating more into your pension. It is a fact that sadly many British expats have had to return to the UK as they just cannot afford to continue to live in Spain, with the increase in prices the strengthening euro has brought about.   more ...

Articles > Financial


UK Expat Tax Specialist Oliver Heslop talks to Expat Focus

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:53:11)
In this edition of the podcast (download here or listen online from 07:40 onwards here) we talk to UK expat tax specialist and Expat Focus partner Oliver Heslop about some of the basic issues British expats, or those who have moved to the UK from abroad, should be aware of regarding UK taxation. Oliver worked in Arthur Andersen's expat teams for over 10 years before taking an expatriate advisory position with Ernst & Young in 2007. He joined Shipleys as a principal in 2010 as a highly experienced UK tax specialist dealing with cross border issues arising from the movement of people between different countries and businesses. Oliver works with a variety of expatriate clients - some are large multinationals with secondees in 30 or more different countries while others may have one or two executives appointed to senior positions abroad who require tax planning. To contact Oliver directly for advice please use our UK expat tax enquiry form.