Tel: +34 93 665 8596 |

Viewing posts categorised under: Spectrum-IFA Group

Pension Presentation in Luxembourg

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 24th May 2017

non EEA residents Luxembourg

The Spectrum IFA group held a pension seminar at the NH Hotel in Luxembourg. The guest speaker was David Denton, Head of Technical Division from Old Mutual International who flew in especially for the afternoon to join two of the local Advisers in Luxembourg, Dave Evans and David O’Donoghue.

It was a sunny afternoon, which only happens a couple of times a year in Luxembourg, so it was great that the 39 guests still managed to turn up. It was hard to book David Denton in as he mentioned he had only just that month already been to Singapore and South Africa to give similar presentations.

Pension Presentation in Luxembourg

David discussed the recent changes with the UK Budget and how this has affected non EEA residents when considering QROPS transfers, he mentioned the changes to the death benefits and the fact that unfunded Final Salary schemes can no longer be transferred. The changes to pensions over the last couple of years shows the UK Government are intent on narrowing down the option in the future, especially with regards to International Pension transfers to Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions (QROPS) and transfers from Final Salary schemes. Whilst these schemes do have good benefits, so should not be moved lightly, but with the very high transfer values at the moment and potential ban on transfers in the future, requests for transfer values are at record highs. With the general election coming up there could be another snap Budget and so why not review you pension plans now while you have time to think about the best way forward and before some retirement options are closed by the UK Government.

Le Tour de Finance – spring 2017

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 7th April 2017

The final three Le Tour de Finance events of the spring season finished in La Roche sur Yon, Niort Bssines and Magnac sur Touvre. The venues for these past three events were spectacular bringing even more enjoyment to the days events for the attendees. The weather was sublime and the events were a huge success.

Thus far, Le Tour de Finance in 2017 is proving to be the most popular series of events ever. The seminars offer English speaking expats a chance to meet various experts from fields including; specialist expat independent financial advice, wealth management, currency exchange, QROPS/pensions and expat tax advice. The experts represent a range of international institutions giving attendees unprecedented access to ask those nagging questions about living as an expat in France.

Representatives from a wide range of international companies such as Tilney, SEB Life, Standard Bank, Rathbones, Prudential International, Momentum Pensions and AXA attend the events for a small presentation but more importantly, the events allow attendees to ask direct questions to these experts. This unprecedented access to the experts is what really sets Le Tour de Finance events apart.

The events will re-commence in June visiting the Alpes Maritime and Var regions. The events locations are Roquefort les Pins, Cabris and Frejus. Keep an eye open for events in France, Spain and Italy or contact us here to receive updated information on events in your region.

The objective of Le Tour de Finance is to provide expatriates with useful information relating to their financial lives. We try and cover frequently asked questions that we receive from our clients, however, it would be helpful for us to know what your particular areas of interest might be.

If you have any specific question please contact us here – Le Tour de Finance Questions

Why Financial Planning ?

By Chris Webb
This article is published on: 17th March 2017


Financial planning is about establishing your future financial goals
and aspirations and working out the best way to achieve them.


Financial planning is about having a strategy, instilling discipline
and creating a structure to your financial world.

Over the years the “financial world” has changed significantly. This is great news for the consumer as this means there is now a much wider range of solutions and products to select from. Investments platforms have risen out of nowhere, insurance products have become increasingly more competitive and the choices with what to do with your pension are numerous.

As I mentioned, this is great news for the consumer. However, this also comes with a downside. More solutions equates to more complexity, more time required to understand the options and more time to get to grips with the tax, compliance and regulatory side of things. Quite simply, for some it can be a minefield !

Not everyone has the time, expertise or confidence to get the best value from this ever changing world and for those people independent financial advice / financial planning can be extremely valuable and worthwhile.

The Spectrum IFA Group is an independent financial advisory and through our relationships with our business partners we are able to offer access to the right solutions and products for your own personal circumstances.

Once we have a thorough understanding of your circumstances and requirements, we will conduct a full analysis of your situation and provide you with a tailored plan of suitable recommendations. This may result in one solution, it may result in two or three, but the end result is that this will enable you to start making decisions which can only help you towards your financial goals.

Being independent means we can offer products from a wide range of providers, we are not tied to “selling the same box to everybody”.

We will meet with you to discuss all of our recommendations, we will make sure that they are clearly explained, fully understood and jargon-free, so that you can make informed choices about your future, based on impartial advice.

You can ask as many questions as you like and request more information at any time. We do things at our clients own pace, not our own. There is no obligation to proceed with our advice, however once you have a full understanding of why we are recommending a solution for your needs you can then make the right decision….. for you !

Residency rights in Brexit negotiations examined

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 19th January 2017


Yesterday on 18th January The Exiting the European Union Committee met in the ‘Boothroyd Room’, Portcullis House, London. The committee looks at the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in EU member states as part of the negotiations for exiting the EU.

Witnesses in attendance included Gareth Horsfall from The Spectrum IFA Group, representing Expats living in Italy.

The Purpose of the session

The questioning focuses on the terms of reference for the inquiry, in addition to:
The concerns of EU citizens currently living in the UK, and UK nationals currently living in the EU
What approach the UK Government should take in the negotiations to safeguard the rights of both EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals resident in the EU
The process for identifying and clarifying the status of EU nationals in the UK

Witnesses in attendance

  • Nicolas Hatton, Founding Co-chair, the3million
  • Anne-Laure Donskoy, Co-chair, the 3million
  • Barbara Drozdowicz, Chief Executive Officer, East European Resource Centre
  • Florina Tudose, Information and Outreach Coordinator, East European Resource Centre
  • Debbie Williams, British citizen resident of Belgium
  • Gareth Horsfall, British citizen resident of Italy (The Spectrum IFA Group)
  • Sue Wilson, British citizen resident of Spain
  • Christopher Chantrey, British citizen resident of France

The session was broadcast on Wednesday 18 January 2017, from the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House.
The recording can be viewed here

A full commentary from the session can be viewed on the Guardian Newspapers website here

The Spectrum IFA Group representing Expats in the ‘Exiting the EU Select Committee’

By Gareth Horsfall
This article is published on: 2nd January 2017


Gareth Horsfall from The Spectrum IFA Group in Rome, Italy, will be one of four UK citizens living in the EU who will be representing us at the House of Commons, Westminster, in the ‘Exiting the EU Select committee’, which will be broadcast live on the BBC Parliament and also streamed live over the internet on January 18th between 9am and 12pm. GMT

What is this?

The ‘UK Exiting the EU Committee’ (consisting of 20 MP’s) is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Exiting the European Union and matters falling within the responsibilities of associated public bodies.

Why have I been considered as a witness?

I have been involved with a few people in Italy who have been taking a very active part in working behind the scenes to try and safeguard our present rights as UK citizens residing in Europe.  A couple of these people thought that because of my particular situation: Italian wife, Italian child, providing financial advice to, mostly, British people living in Italy, being the legal representative of an Italian Ltd company and passporting my UK qualifications into Italy on an equivalence basis, that I might be a good candidate to sit before the select committee and explain the problems that I will face when the UK exits from the EU. I agreed!

It is also an opportunity to explain some of the problems that you will also be facing.

This will be quite an experience and an opportunity for me at the same time. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little overwhelming. However, there are human and economic rights that I feel we must make an effort to try and retain as part of the UK divorce from the EU. On that basis I was willing to put myself forward.

So with this in mind, I would invite you to write to me at and let me know what your worries are about the UK’s exit from the EU. I will read everything before I leave next Tuesday (I may not get chance to reply to everyone, but thank you in advance for any views/opinions you have) and I will use whatever information I can to present a strong case for everyone in Italy and all other British citizens living in Europe.

Time to Unite……

….and Wish me luck!

Should you consider transferring your Final Salary Pension?

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 28th October 2016


A big question and something that raised a lot of interest at our recent Tour de Finance event that took place at the Domaine Gayda. There have been a number of recent changes within the UK economy and the UK pension world that make a review of any pension(s) essential for those living or planning to live outside the UK.

Final Salary pension schemes (also referred to as Defined Benefit schemes) have long been viewed as a gold plated route to a comfortable retirement. However, there is wide opinion now that there are likely to be large changes ahead in the pension industry. The key question is will these schemes really be able to provide the promised benefits over the next 20+ years?

Why Review now?

Record high transfer values

The calculation of transfer values from these types of scheme is complex. One of the factors that determines how much the pension scheme has to pay to transfer a Member’ benefits is gilt yields, which are at an all-time low. This has resulted in transfer values to be at an all-time high and we are finding that some transfer values have increased by over 30% in the last 12 months.

Scheme Deficits
Actuaries Hyman Robertson now calculate the total deficits on the remaining UK final salary pension schemes as £1 Trillion! Since the employers are ultimately responsible for funding the cost of the pension benefits, unless they have very deep pockets, this puts the security of the benefits at risk.

The final salary pension schemes of these two companies have been in the news. These recent examples show that the very large deficits of their final salary pension schemes cause a number of problems; in particular no one wants to purchase these struggling companies as the pension deficits are too big a burden to take on.

Could the Government be forced to change the laws to allow schemes to reduce benefits? A reduction in the benefits will reduce the deficits and make the companies more attractive to purchasers. There is a strong argument that saving thousands of jobs is in the national interest, if that just means trimming down some of these “gold plated benefits”.

Pension Protection Fund (PPF)
This fund has been set up to help the schemes that do get into financial trouble, but two points are key. Firstly, it is not guaranteed by the Government and secondly the remaining final salary schemes have to pay large premiums (a levy) to the PPF in order to fund the insolvent schemes. As more schemes fall into the PPF, there are less remaining schemes that have to share the burden of this cost. Their premium costs will increase, as there will be less remaining schemes to fund the PPF levy.

It is likely the PPF will end up with the same problems as the remaining final salary schemes, as it is unlikely to have the money to pay the “promises” for the pensioners. Additionally, the PPF will most likely have to reduce the benefits they pay out.

Pension changes that have already happened
Inflationary increases have already been allowed to change from Retail Prices Index (RPI) to Consumer Prices Index (CPI). This change looks reasonably small, but over a lifetime this could reduce the benefits by between 25% and 30%.

In April 2015, unfunded Public Sector pension schemes have removed the ability for transfers, so schemes for nurses, firemen, army personnel, civil service workers etc. can no longer transfer their pensions. Now these are blocked, it will be easier to make changes to reduce the benefits and no one is able to respond by transferring out of the schemes.

When this rule was being considered the authorities also wanted to block the transfer of funded schemes, i.e. most final salary schemes that are available. This could come back onto the discussion table in the future.

Autumn Statement (Budget)
This is on 23 November 2016. Could the Government make any further changes to UK pension rules? When Public Sector pensions were blocked, there was a small window of time to transfer. However, most people couldn’t get their transfer values in time as the demand was so high. People who review their pensions now may at least have time to consider options.

Could Brexit end the ability to transfer pensions away from the UK?

Reasons why schemes are in difficulty:

Ageing population
People now expect to live around 27 years in retirement, when these schemes commenced the average number of years in retirement was 13 years.

Lower Investment Returns
Investment returns have not been as high as expected. Also there has been a very large reduction in the amount invested in equities in final salary schemes; this is now around 33%, but in 2006, the average equity content was 61.1%.

Benefits were too good
Simply, many of the final salary schemes were ‘too good’. In 2009, around 24% of employees’ salaries was needed to fully fund final salary schemes that provided the standard level of benefit of 1/60th for each year of pensionable service. In 2016, that rate is now 50%! Clearly, it is unrealistic to expect an employer to meet the liability.

What could happen in the Future?

  • An end to the ability to transfer out of all final salary schemes?
  • Increase the Pension Age, perhaps in line with the increase of the State Pension?
  • Reduction of Inflation increases, (already started as many now increase by CPI instead of RPI)?
  • Reduction of Spouse’s benefit?
  • Increase of contributions from current members?
  • Lower starting income?

Act now! Review your pensions.

It does no harm at all to at least have a review of your pensions. In fact, it is prudent to do so. At The Spectrum IFA Group, we carry out a full transfer analysis, which is in accordance with the UK Financial Conduct Authority rules, before making any recommendation to transfer pension benefits. Doing nothing at all can often be an expensive mistake.

The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of pensions, investment of financial assets or on the mitigation of taxes.

The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees directly to clients for their time or for advice given, as can be seen from our Client Charter .

The Spectrum IFA Group exhibited at the Barcelona International Community Day

By Jonathan Goodman
This article is published on: 26th October 2016


For the third year running The Spectrum IFA Group exhibited and supported the Barcelona International Community Day held at the Maritime Museum in Barcelona. A great venue and well organised, many new contacts were made as well as the deepening of existing relationships. Chris Burke’s presentation was very well received by a large audience of expats.

The event is very informative and totally in line with The Spectrum IFA Group’s modus operandi and we are certain to be able to assist many new and some not so new expats with their overall long term financial planning.
[nggallery id=”63″/]


The Spectrum IFA Group co-sponsored NADFAS lecture

By Charles Hutchinson
This article is published on: 25th October 2016


The Spectrum IFA Group co-sponsored an excellent NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) lecture on 19th October at the San Roque Golf & Country Club on the Costa del Sol.  The Spectrum IFA Group was represented by one of our local advisers, Charles Hutchinson who attended along with our co-sponsor Paul Ellis from Currencies Direct.

The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies is a leading arts charity which opens up the world of the arts through a network of local societies and national events.

With inspiring monthly lectures given by some of the country’s top experts, together with days of special interest, educational visits and cultural holidays, NADFAS is a great way to learn, have fun and make new and lasting friendships.

At this event, over 130 attendees (all our target market) were entertained by a talk on The Life and Work of Henry Murphy, one of Britain’s best but most neglected Goldsmiths. The presentation was given by John Benjamin of Antiques Roadshow fame, who kept the audience gripped with his knowledge and humour. We were fortunate enough to have him agree to private valuations of attendees’ jewelry and especially any Fabergé items before the lecture.

The talk was followed by a Spectrum sponsored drinks reception which included a free raffle for prizes including a CH obtained (very difficult to find, as out of print) glossy coffee table book on Henry Murphy and his works by John Benjamin himself which he gladly signed for the lucky first prize winner.  Also bottles of Champagne and Cava.  Currency Direct supplied a bottle of fine Brandy and a very useful car sunshade.

All in all, a great turnout and a very successful event at a wonderful venue.  The Spectrum IFA Group are very proud to be involved with such a fantastic organisation and we shall be sponsoring the December lecture and drinks reception after, when we will have Tilney Bestinvest as co-sponsors.

[nggallery id=”62″/]

Le Tour de Finance – British Embassy Paris 19th October 2016

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 12th October 2016


The Spectrum IFA Group, as one of the participants of Le Tour de Finance, is proud to announce that the event of 19th October will be held at the British Embassy in Paris.

This prestigious event brings together a number of experts from major British financial institutions on subjects such as UK/French Tax Issues, BREXIT and what this could mean for British expats, Pensions/QROPS and Tax Efficient Investing and Estate Planning for expats.

The popular Tour de Finance events are an excellent opportunity for expats living in France to get those all important questions answered by specialists in their respective fields. The events will also give you a chance to meet other like minded expatriates in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

The event will commence at 18.00, with a complimentary buffet in the Embassy from 20.00 – 21.00.

If you would like further information or would like to book a place, please contact us

The objective of Le Tour de Finance is to provide expatriates with useful information relating to their financial lives. 
We try and cover frequently asked questions that we receive from our clients, however, it would be helpful for us to know what your particular areas of interest might be.

Send us your questions and the event you will be attending and we will try and cover them on the day:

Please click here Le Tour de Finance Questions

Le Tour de Finance – Autumn Leg in France

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 3rd October 2016


The autumn series of Le Tour de Finance events started off in Switzerland at the end of September and are moving towards the southern regions of France for the early October seminars, and then north with a quick visit to Brussels and then on to Paris before finishing in the north west regions.

  • 5th October – Les arcs sur Argens, The Var
  • 6th October – Chateau La Coste, Le Puy Sainte Reparade
  • 7th October – Domaine Gayda, Brugairolles, Languedoc
  • 18th October – Brussels, Belgium
  • 19th October – British Embassy, Paris
  • 1st November – Ploermel, Brittany
  • 2nd November – Silfiac, Brittany
  • 3rd November – Evron-Mezangers, Mayenne

To book your attendence for any of these events, please click here


So far, Le Tour de Finance in 2016 is proving to be the most popular series of events ever. The seminars offer English speaking expats a chance to meet various experts from large independent finance businesses in the flesh. Coaxed out from behind their desks, these senior executives from companies such as Tilney BestInvest, Prudential, Rathbones, Momentum Pensions, SEB and Currencies Direct give short presentations on a range of subjects and then welcome questions from the floor. This really is the chance to get those all important questions answered by the professionals.

This unprecedented access to a range of international and independent experts is what sets Le Tour de Finance events apart.

The first leg of the autumn tour moves through the south of France and then heads direct to Paris on 19th October with a prestigious event at the British Embassy. In the first week of November the tour will head west to Brittany and Mayenne.

The objective of Le Tour de Finance is to provide expatriates with useful information relating to their financial lives. We try and cover frequently asked questions that we receive from our clients, however, it would be helpful for us to know what your particular areas of interest might be. If you’d like to send us your question please click here to complete the form.

If you would like further information or would like to book a place, please contact us or visit the dedicated Le Tour de Finance website for further information on the future events