Since the referendum in June 2016, the headlines have been dominated by Brexit. Right from those early days of disbelief, to the countless anti-Brexit campaigns, court cases and thoughts that it will never happen… one way or another, our lives here in Spain will change forever from January 1st 2021.
Whether this is good or bad, makes you happy or sad, you are pro or anti, it is finally time to close the door on four years of uncertainty. The big question is how will our lives as expats change?
I have written a number of articles over the years in my attempts to keep my our communities here in Spain up to date with Brexit related news. I have sat on panels alongside the British Consulate to help answer questions about life pre- and post-Brexit and was privileged enough to meet many thousands of you at these events. Despite all that, there’s an element of me that thinks we completely underestimated just how complex and (dare I say) last minute everything seems to be.
I could write pages and pages about the potential changes we as expats are likely to face but I’m going to focus on my area of expertise – finance.
UK Banks were the first thing to impact us, some withdrawing services because we live outside the UK and others still ‘unsure’ of how they will treat us post Brexit. We had further issues when UK pension companies began removing many of the features and freedoms their non-UK customers were expecting in retirement, again as a direct result of Brexit.
I’ve helped many of you over the last few months move your savings and investments that were under threat of being closed into products that are tax efficient here in Spain and guaranteed continuity post-Brexit. At Chorus Financial we’ve also been helping many of you with your UK pensions to ensure you retain all your key benefits and access to ongoing regulated advice.
Many UK based financial advisors have had to tell their non-UK resident clients they can no longer look after them, and Chorus have had many clients move to us to ensure ongoing service on their investments and pensions as we move towards 2021.
Another major concern facing my industry makes those in ‘Spanish Compliant Investment Bonds’ potentially vulnerable. These are popular tax-efficient investment wrappers held by many thousands of you here in Spain, offered by companies such as Quilter International (formally know, as The Old Mutual), Lombard International and SEB to name a few. The issue isn’t with the investment wrappers themselves, but the underlying funds you hold within them.
In many cases those are UK based funds, and this is where the risk lies. From January 1st our industry has still not had any confirmation if UK based funds can be held in these tax compliant products after Brexit.
Unless this is confirmed within the next few weeks, which is looking increasingly unlikely, one of two things will happen. Either your investment funds will be automatically sold on December 31st leaving your entire investment in cash, or come January 1st your product will lose its tax benefits.
At Chorus we are in the process of contacting all of our clients who might be affected, and we have an action plan in place for this eventuality. For many, especially those without an adviser or those who may not have regular contact with your adviser, you could experience some real issues come January 1st.
Simple changes can be made to ensure your investments continue to be compliant and unaffected after Brexit but you will need to make sure you have a financial adviser appointed who can take care of this for you.
If you have concerns about how your investments might be affected after Brexit, or if you have lost contact with your adviser and would like to discuss your options going forward, please contact Chorus Financial on +34 965 641 163, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chorusfinancial.es.