Investment for Expats in France
Any expat living in France who has considered investing for their future will have come across an Assurance Vie. An Assurance Vie offers significant tax advantages for those who intend to retire in France. Specifically for any lump sum investment, the advantages kick in from year 4 and fully from year 8. They also offer inheritance tax advantages for those under 71. If however, you have moved to France, wanting to invest disposable income, a pot of money you have built up or a recent inheritance and are not planning on retiring in France then an Assurance Vie is definitely not the best option.
The average expat has a transient lifestyle, potentially taking them all over the world. As such they require an international solution that allows multi-currency, contributions and withdrawals from anywhere in the world and tax-efficient growth.
Investment Solutions for Expats in France
There are numerous options available to an expat in France who is wanting to grow their money however it is imperative to complete the relevant due diligence on each product and ensure it ticks the important boxes.
Key areas to consider are:
Regulation – Regulation is essentially protection! The better / stricter the regulation, the higher the level of protection for the investor. The UK’s FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) is considered the benchmark. Any fund regulated via the FCA (also known as a UK Standard Asset) must adhere to strict rules and also ensures any clients money is safeguarded up to £50,000 per fund. Much like if Barclays Bank were to go bankrupt your money is safeguarded up to £85,000.
Safety and Security – Again falling in line with the protection area, specifically focusing on the custodian and ho they operate. This is the bank who holds your money and how they operate their client’s accounts. Who are they, where are they regulated, what processes do they have in place to ensure the safety of your cash.
Funds – What funds are available, is the platform “open architecture” i.e is your financial adviser able to add specific funds that meet the requirements of his clients if they are not on there? Are the funds regulated and if so by who? Do they offer passive funds such as index tracking Vanguards as well as classic Mutual funds i.e actively managed to beat the market. Do they offer multicurrency funds and if so does this include both passive and active and income-generating options?
Currency – Any international solution has to offer multi-currency as an expat can earn in any of the major exchanges. Which do they offer and what is the cost of transitioning from one to another? Do you get the rate of that day or is there a delay? Does it cost the same to hold Euros as it does Dollars?
Visibility / Usability – 24/7 access to view your portfolio and easy to use login and movement around any site are minimum requirements for anyone wanting to invest their money. There is nothing worse than clunky windows 98 Esq sites that can’t perform the simple task of a portfolio valuation or log in from anywhere in the world.
Cost – Any cost incurred is money taken out of your hard-earned cash that needs to be made back from capital growth before you make a profit. The investment platform should be transparent, low cost with no hidden charges. Assurance Vies are notorious for opaque charging structures with huge admin quarterly charges and large fund dealing costs.
Tax efficiency – The platform needs to be both tax compliant the resident country of the investor as well as tax efficient. It is no good achieving fantastic growth to then pay half of it away in income tax, capital gains tax and social charges. Or even worse, be taxed on your investment without having even withdrawn from it.
What is the best product for investment for a resident of France?
The offshore investment platform has been gaining significant pace over the last few years. People tend to associate “offshore” with tax dodging and opaque companies in Panama but this couldn’t be further from that murky world. Since the introduction of CRS (Common Reporting Standards) in January 2016, all reputable financial institutions report into a central system on their clients.
There are numerous platforms now available via a financial adviser and by using the above as a checklist we at Harrison Brook can ensure to use the right product for your needs and requirements. We offer bespoke financial solutions tailor-made for your key objectives. Speak to us today to get an initial call about your situation and needs.
We work to a fee-based based model that is in line with UK RDR guidelines. By not taking a commission from products or providers and with total cost disclosure and transparency, we can ensure that your money has the best chance to work as hard as it can for you.