Eighty percent of Middle East Expats are not taking enough measures to secure their finances, new research has revealed. According to the new study by leading wealth management firm Prestige Wealth Solutions, 75-80% of expats in the Middle East need to act quickly in order to secure and benefit their finances. Prestige Wealth Solutions, one of the region’s leading financial advisory and wealth management companies, recommends that all expats seek unbiased advice, as soon as possible after arriving in a new country.
Craig McConnon, Group CEO of Prestige Wealth Solutions says: “Expats in the Middle East face financial issues that are often alien to their countries of origin. “This, combined with the need for global market knowledge and bespoke advice supports how important it is to talk to a professional financial adviser when you make the move to become an expat.” According to PWS there are five reasons why a financial adviser can be so beneficial and will help safeguard your family, your finances and ultimately maximise your offshore experience.
Regional issues are often highlighted
Life and critical illness cover to protect families from pre-existing UK policies are often invalid in the Middle East and understanding details of the will is vitally important – especially in a country that follows Sharia Law.
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming all is well because of plans already in place, as often they are not valid or can be improved. We advise meeting an independent financial adviser to have a “financial health check” to get peace of mind or receive alternative options.
Higher disposable income requires professional planning
Often expats have higher salaries than in their home countries, which can naturally lead to higher levels of disposable income. This combined with a general lack of company benefits, in areas such as company pension schemes, reinforce the need to sit down with an independent financial adviser, to explore all the options available. We want expats to enjoy their offshore experience to the full, but also want to ensure when they return home, they do so in a financially advantageous position.
Alternative tax efficient environments available
Although many expats move to the Middle East from the UK, they are often surprised to learn that they can bank or invest in other offshore jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey, to name a few. Often these alternative locations can offer additional benefits, so speaking with an independent financial adviser who can explain in detail pros and cons of all jurisdictions, is strongly advised.
Detached from home country laws
Many expats and particularly longer-term expats can become unfamiliar and detached from legislation in their home countries. It can often be an out of sight and out of mind mentality. Misunderstanding of rules and regulations can potentially lead to costly assumptions being made. A common misunderstanding of many UK expats is confusion over tax residency and domicile status. Meeting an independent financial adviser can help add clarity to such matters.
Often viewed as a service reserved only for the HNWI (high net-worth individual), financial advice is becoming more commonplace to British expats seeking to explore their options while they live and earn in the Middle East.
PWS advisers claim that it is normal for clients to be unaware of all their options until they engage with a professional adviser. They are often surprised at what is available to them and the relative ease in which advantageous solutions can be implemented into their financial planning.
*NB PWS adviser survey of clients between April – September following UK changes in legislation on 6 April 2015