Wondering how to find a US Financial Advisor in Paris or France?
If you are an American living in Paris or you plan to relocate to the city of lights, you might be wondering if there are financial advisors in France that can assist you with your financial needs. There are many financial hurdles that American have to face while living abroad, especially in France. In this article, we will review your options as an American expat living in Paris or France.
Why is it almost impossible to find a US Financial Advisor in France since there are so many American Expats living here?
As you have probably found out while researching online, most cross-border financial advisors in France are assisting British Expats. It is a market well served. On the other hand, there are only a few firms specialized in assisting American expats and most if not all of them are located in London. They are focused on helping American Expats living in the UK.
One of the reasons you don’t see firms in France is that it is harder to set up a business in France and more costly for employers to hire advisors. Adding to the fact that there are other licensing requirements, it is rare to find American advisors who speak well enough French to be able to offer local French solutions as well as American investment options.
As an American Financial Advisor working in France, I am the only one with qualifications from the AMF (Authorite des Marches Financier), with FINRA (USA Series 6,7,66,63), and the UK (CISI Level 4). It helps that I am fully bilingual in French and English so you can be sure that your advisor understands the local marketplace.
Qualities of a Financial Advisor
- Has necessary qualifications
- Understands my specific situations
- He has a good understanding of the cross-border tax issues
- He is available when I need him
- I can meet him in person
- He is experienced in helping clients in my situation
- He has a good reputation
What should you look for in a firm or a financial advisor? Can you say that your current advisor meets all the criteria above? Qualifications matter but it is also important to find someone that understands your needs and your journey as an American Expat. Being American brings many challenges regarding taxes and the choice of financial institutions willing to serve you.
Having made the move myself, I can appreciate all the efforts and challenges you are having to go through. Most banks or investment firms in France do not want to report to the IRS all of their US-connected clients. This is one of the reasons that you will have a hard time finding a Financial Advisor that will be able to assist you.
You will also find some advisors with US licenses but without experience advising Americans. At Harrison Brook, we can provide the qualifications and experience you need in a financial advisor. With over 11 years working for one of the largest US brokers, I am well-positioned to assist you with your retirement and planning needs. We can also review your Estate plan and beneficiary services which can be important to review as the estate tax threshold is dramatically lower than in the US.
Another great benefit of having a financial advisor registered in the US is the reputation and background information available on www.brokercheck.finra.org. You can find out all the work and education experience as well as any complaints or regularity issues. You would also know if your advisor filed for bankruptcy or had any felonies.
If your advisor is not searchable on this website then you won’t have access to that information. It gives peace of mind to know that the person you are trusting with your lifelong savings has a clean background.
Taxable Investments options for French residents
France residents have investments that follow the MiFID rules in the EU. It makes it harder to invest in diversified investment vehicles like ETFs. It is because you need to be classified as a Professional Investor to buy these US ETFs. As you probably know, non-US residents are prohibited from purchasing US mutual funds.
It is also not wise to invest in European funds because of the PFIC tax rules with the IRS. The only options left for cash investments are to invest in individual securities or to use a cross-border financial advisor that can build a portfolio of US ETFs.
401K, IRA or Rotht IRA in France?
If you worked in the US before moving to France you probably have an old 401K or IRA. We can manage these accounts for you even if you don’t have a US address. Our custodian is allowing French addresses and you are able to combine 401K and IRAs and also do Roth IRA conversions if desired. France and the US have one of the best dual tax agreements and your income coming from your US retirement account is only taxed in the US which is usually at a lower rate than if it was taxed in France.
By holding my US licenses with FINRA, I can help you manage your accounts while living in France. It is also possible for me to manage your retirement accounts in the US if you are still living in America but expecting a move to France in the near future.
Should I keep my advisor in the US?
As it is possible with some firms to keep your accounts open while using family members’ addresses, it is more and more common to see issues arising when the brokers find out the client is a non-US resident. We hear stories of accounts frozen, online banking shut down, or even some account closures.
One of the main benefits that I bring to my clients is peace of mind that their accounts are held by a custodian that wants their business and also with a cross-border financial advisor that will be able to service them no matter where they live. It is not uncommon to see clients moving from one country to another and even going back to the US later in life.
What else should I know?
I think it is really important for all American expats to build a team of professionals that will be able to help them with all of their needs as expats. It might not always be a financial need. As a cross-border financial advisor in France, I partner with the best tax advisors specializing in assisting American-connected individuals living in France.
Whether you need help with taxes, mortgages for American exptats, immigration or estate planning, we will provide you with great resources so you have peace of mind that your questions will be answered.
To conclude, I would recommend that American expats living in France find the right cross-border financial advisor that will be able to support them in their journey overseas.
Finding a financial advisor licensed in the US and your new home country is a challenge. You deserve to get the level of service clients are receiving in the UK and I am excited to be able to service High Net Worth clients in Paris, Nice and the rest of France.
Having a local advisor that can meet you in person can be invaluable. After all, it is really all about building that trust and lifelong relationship with the person that will be there side by side on this journey in France.
At Harrison Brook, we strive to provide the best cross-border financial advice for US expats living in France. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to assist you.