If you find yourself in a position to put some money into offshore investments for the first time, where should you start?
This is a fair question. Many first time investors do some of the legwork themselves, researching financial products in the newspapers and on the internet. However, if you have a significant amount of money to invest, there is no substitute to getting professional financial advice.
So how do you choose the person to advise you?
As with any kind of advice, there is no substitute for getting it from someone with extensive qualifications and experience in their field. And given that offshore investments are in a class of their own when it comes to financial advice, going to someone who specialises in overseas work is a must. Not only is the range of products available larger than what is on offer in the domestic market, but the tax dimension to offshore investments may be more complex.
If you are wary about financial advisers from reports about mis-selling scandals that frequently appear in the press, you may take some comfort from the fact that financial advice is much better regulated than it was when the major scandals first broke. No financial adviser worth their salt will balk at being asked whether they are regulated or not.
Once you have a list of people you have in mind who are qualified and regulated, what then? The next thing is to decide whether you want to use a tied agent or an adviser who has access to the whole of the market. You might come across tied agents who work for financial institutions you already use – in which case the convenience of having them on your doorstep has to be weighed against the possibility that the solutions they offer may not be the most competitively priced solution for your financial needs.
An adviser with access to the whole of the market, on the other hand, can literally search the whole world for something that will suit you.
Another consideration is how an adviser’s service will be delivered. Are they available in the time zone you need them to be in? Do they have a team whose advice can “follow” you around the world should your career or lifestyle take you on further travels?
Finally, given that you will be disclosing personal details to your adviser, you may wish to select someone who makes you feel comfortable in discussions about your future plans.