The United Kingdom has one of the most internationally diverse populations in the world. In fact, in 2011, 13 per cent (7.5 million) of the resident population of England and Wales were born outside the UK. These figures include around 220 000 South Africans, 200 000 Americans, 125 000 Australians and 80 000 Canadians
In return, over 5 million UK passport holders are now said to reside abroad. Naturally, the largest cohorts are in Australia, America and Canada, with over 50% of the total, but South Africa and New Zealand also have large populations with UK rather than local passports. (numbers sourced from the UK 2011 census and Wikipedia)
Taken together, we are looking not only at upwards of 12 million people who have moved to a country other than their birth, but an increasing number of their descendants, family and heirs who are also affected by these changes.
What this means is that more and more people have assets, income or liabilities in more than one jurisdiction. That may be for family reasons, such as emigration or retirement abroad, or simply for business reasons.
This subject is close to our hearts, partially because it describes Phil and Shannon, who between them have lived in Zimbabwe, the USA, both of them in South Africa and of course now in the UK, with family and friends spread over four continents!
This scenario naturally adds both complexity and risk to these individuals affairs. That may be through complex tax rules, or simply the vagaries of currency exchange. It is unfortunate but true to say that this has led to some consumers falling into less than scrupulous hands, and in turn, led to some very poor outcomes. Sometimes this is due to outright ‘scams’ and scaremongering.
The fact is that it can be very difficult for national regulators alone to deal with this cross border challenge.
One major advantage of being part of the CFP ‘Family’ is that we have access to a network of fellow professionals in 27 jurisdictions worldwide, who share our ethical standards, high levels of competency and who are also accountable to their respective professional bodies.
Based on this foundation, when we meet clients in this position, we always ensure we work with other CFP accredited Financial Planners in whatever jurisdiction is required. This means that through joint work we can add clarity and safety to our Clients affairs.
We know and understand how vital it is to operate to not only the highest regulatory standard at any time, but also the highest professional standard as well.
So if this situation sounds like you, and you want some guidance on how best to deal with the situation, please email Phil on [email protected] or just call us. We can call or Skype you back.
We would be more than happy to have an initial chat at our expense, and share our experience with you.