Brexit makes expats move to 'shore up' finances

More than a third of British expatriates have taken action to protect their finances ahead of possible disruption caused by the end of the Brexit transition on December 31, according to the head of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which has more than 80,000 mainly expatriate clients around the world, says that 36% of UK clients living abroad have already taken action to mitigate the financial impact of Brexit, or are in the throes of doing so.However, he said he remained concerned that almost two-thirds of the firm's expat clients had so far taken no action at all.“Typically, British expats around the world – whether they be in Australasia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe or the Americas – maintain financial links with the UK," Mr Green said.“Expats can be expected to be disproportionately affected by Brexit as shifts in policies could affect foreign exchange, pensions and retirement planning, investments and tax planning, amongst other issues.“As such, and quite sensibly, they are looking to shore-up their financial planning strategies before the UK exits the bloc at the end of the year – especially as they can often use their expat status for their financial advantage.”
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Not surprisingly, added Mr Green, the expats most active in trying to "Brexit-proof" their finances were those living in the countries remaining in the European Union. “If there is a no-deal Brexit, which is looking increasingly likely, their pensions, insurance and healthcare could be adversely affected overnight," he said, pointing out that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned that Britons should “get ready for changes” in his latest update on trade negotiations with the EU.Mr Green, whose company operates in 100 nations, added that it was worrying that so many expats had yet to seek advice on their finances because of Brexit.“With five and a half months left before the UK is out of the EU, it’s a concern that more UK expats have not yet sought to create, grow and safeguard their financial assets in a post-Brexit world,” he said.“If expats fail to plan for all Brexit eventualities by not considering all cross- border financial options now, they could be compromising their longer-term financial security.”The firm described the official estimate of five million Brits living overseas as an underestimate. "The real figure is universally acknowledged to be considerably higher as many expats do not register themselves in their new countries of residence with the relevant authorities."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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