Should expat savers and investors use local or international FAs

Published:  24 Jul at 6 PM
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With the casino culture which caused the 2008 crash still functioning at all financial levels and in most expat jurisdictions, expats could be forgiven for wondering how to choose a reliable advisor.

Many savers and investors, especially those choosing to retire overseas, have little experience of managing investments, and would prefer to talk with an advisor face to face when committing their pension pot. However, this may not be necessary, as most are well-used to making financial transactions without actually visiting their high street bank.

If you’re planning to move around during your stay overseas, it’s even more important to choose a genuinely international advisor and deal with him or her either by phone or via the internet. A long-term financial plan made with your local friendly FA via recommendation or an expats’ club doesn’t take into account that, should you move on to another region or even another country, the chain between you, your advisor and the product provider may well be broken.

For a successful, long-term investment, it’s crucial that the same company monitors its progress and keeps it on track throughout its life. Another reason to use a legitimate, well-recommended international advisory firm is that its employees are far more likely to be fully-qualified, experienced and ethical than local expat salesmen trawling for high commissions rather than advising you in an independent manner.

The expat world is full of tales of woe, with the worst being the boiler room boys cold-calling with the deal of a lifetime. It is, for them, and cutting them off in full flood is the only way forward, as it is with unregistered, smart-suited, illegally working salesmen who befriend you for one reason only.

An international advisor company based and registered in your home country is the best of all bets, as you will be protected to some degree should the worst happen. Skype calls are still cheap, and the internet is your friend as regards instant communication, wherever you live.
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