Staying ahead of ever-changing international regulation

SPONSORED BY : Old Mutual International

By David Denton

Added 16th March 2017

David Denton, Head of International Technical Sales at Old Mutual Wealth talks international markets, offshore bonds and the enduring need for financial planning.

Staying ahead of ever-changing international regulation

Why is technical expertise so important in international markets? 

We find that many of our clients are experts in their own field, but generally not in financial planning.  For some, if it seems complex, there is a tendency to turn a blind eye to it.  Or they try and plan and don’t get it right. As such, we seek to provide financial advisers with the expertise to find the right solutions for their clients. 

How do we do it? We meet advisers face to face whenever we can and the more we can help our advisers to develop strong technical skills, the better. They have the challenge of operating in an ever changing landscape. As such, we need to be on top of regulations and regulation changes all the time. The right solution today may not be the right solution tomorrow. 

Generally, expats will have property, pensions and investments. Each could be taxed differently and that will influence how they plan and decumulate.

Why have offshore bonds shown enduring popularity? 

We find that many of our clients are experts in their own field, but generally not in financial planning.

Offshore bonds offer a very wide range of potential benefits. We encourage advisers and clients to consider, not just how quickly their wealth will grow and the associated risks, but what their investment will look like after tax, which is where offshore bonds really come into their own .Think of it this way, for most people there are three main ways to own investments: 

  1. They can be owned individually. Clients may have picked some up over the years and then held them in a haphazard way with different providers.  In this situation, it is unlikely advice will have been taken.
  2. They can be held on a trading platform, which offers some advantages in relation to administration, but none in relation to tax.
  3. Through an offshore bond, which will provide:
    1. the administrative advantages of a trading platform,
    2. in many cases, tax advantages,
    3. considerable online efficiencies through our own Wealth Interactive platform  

Do you see any threat to offshore bonds from the rise of the platform? 

Generally I don’t.  There are some situations where the tax efficiencies of an offshore bond are irrelevant.  In such situations, the bond will perform as a platform in its own right. 

What other areas are key in financial planning? 

Trusts can be very useful, especially with helping to improve the tax consequences of an investment. For a UK domicile client, for example, this normally relates to inheritance tax. 

There are also soft benefits – such as ensuring the right people benefit at the right time, with the right amount of money, and no probate. These things can be very valuable and if they are buddied up with the right investment product – can result in compelling solutions.  

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