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The Ultimate Guide to Investment Funds, Part 2: Investing for Expats

Investing can be a complex endeavor, especially for expats. Expats face a myriad of challenges when it comes to investing.

Expats may be subject to tax obligations in both their home and host countries. Understanding these obligations is crucial to avoid double taxation and to take advantage of any tax treaties that may exist between the two countries.

Expats often have assets and income in different currencies. This exposes them to the risk of currency fluctuations, which can significantly affect the value of their investments.

Expats may also face geopolitical risks, particularly if they are investing in countries with unstable political or economic environments.

Expats may need to navigate complex regulatory environments in their host and home countries. This can include understanding restrictions on certain types of investments and complying with reporting requirements.

This comprehensive guide provides a roadmap for navigating the unique challenges and opportunities that come with investing as an expat.

Investing as an expat comes with its unique set of challenges. From understanding tax laws in your host and home countries to dealing with currency fluctuations and geopolitical risks, investing as an expat requires a different approach.

We go deeply into the world of investment funds in this series of pillar articles. We analyze and assess several possibilities to offer a thorough resource for people looking to make informed judgments.

The information in these articles will reveal the complexities of various investment funds, exposing their strengths, flaws, and potential for growth, regardless of whether you are an experienced investor or you are just starting to consider the possibilities.

You will obtain the knowledge and confidence required to negotiate this dynamic market and secure the financial future you want with our expertise acting as your guide.

Be aware, nevertheless, that everything here is solely for educational reasons and does not constitute expert financial advice or a suggestion of any particular funds.

If you wish to invest with any investment product, we always advise that you get in touch with us or use the services of a financial counselor you can trust to see whether they are suitable for you and your objectives.

As in the first article in this series, check the end of the article for a quick summary of the investment products listed here.

Should expats have an expat financial advisor?

An expat financial advisor can be quite helpful if you plan on staying overseas for an extended period of time.

A seasoned advisor can help you navigate the financial landscape of an international setting and make informed decisions.

Hiring one is an option to think about if you are having problems keeping track of your money. If you do not already have one, it may be wise to find a financial counselor that focuses on the unique needs of expats.

Helping you become situated in your new home and making sure everything is in order from an international tax viewpoint is the job of an experienced expat financial advisor. They will listen to you and learn about your circumstance thoroughly before making any recommendations.

When it comes to foreign tax preparation and compliance, a qualified financial advisor can be a lifesaver for someone living overseas.

In this way, an expat financial counselor can assist you in ways that a regular financial advisor cannot.

But as always, your financial goals and tolerance for risk should inform the advice you receive from your advisor. They may assist you in developing a personal financial strategy, overseeing its execution during good times and bad, and maximizing the value of your savings.

Financial advisors help clients save money by pointing them in the direction of the correct insurance policies and investments.

many people choose to hire an expat financial advisor in order to help them sort through these issues and make their money work harder for them.
Many people choose to hire an expat financial advisor in order to help them sort through these issues and make their money work harder for them.

To sum up, an advisor may be the best person to help an expat who wants to invest but is not sure where to begin or what questions to ask (or even if investing is good for them).

You can get assistance with tax planning and other financial security-related matters by consulting with an expat financial counselor.

They can assist you prepare your taxes so that you pay as little as possible in taxes. As part of this service, we may advise you on how to structure your foreign income to avoid double taxation.

Depending on the type of entity established, this may also require establishing a company or trust that permits savings to grow while minimizing tax liability.

Retirement planning is another service that expat financial advisers can provide. By considering factors like when and how much money will be needed during retirement, as well as the level of risk that may be accepted with investments, these professionals can devise plans that will not only improve returns but also reduce volatility in those returns over time.

Identifying your desired outcomes in retirement is the first step in the planning process. Once you know how much you want to save, you can decide how much of your portfolio to put into stocks and bonds and how much to keep in cash in case of emergencies.

A financial advisor who specializes in working with expats can help you build a strategy to achieve your goals.

The selection of investments most suited to your risk tolerance and other demands is only one area where an expat financial advisor can be of assistance during retirement planning.

One could need more hands-on assistance than someone who is comfortable managing their own portfolio if they have an ambitious investing strategy but no time to review their investments regularly or at all.

There are experts who will partner with your present financial institution to provide enhanced services at reduced costs.

Also, they have additional tools at their disposal, such as research reports from analysts who follow stocks or bonds all day long, allowing them to provide timely, relevant advice to customers rather than the out-of-date guidance that can be detrimental to investors’ portfolios.

Find a financial consultant who can cater to your specific requirements. Make sure they are familiar with banking and investing across borders if you are planning to live abroad.

If you want to retire or send your children to school in a foreign country, you should consult with a financial advisor who is familiar with the local economy and can help you make wise investment decisions.

The Role of a Financial Advisor for Expats

Navigating the investment landscape as an expat can be challenging. That’s where a financial advisor can come in. A financial advisor who specializes in working with expats can provide valuable guidance and help expats make informed investment decisions.

Financial advisors can help expats understand their tax obligations, manage currency risks, and build a diversified investment portfolio. They can also provide advice on estate planning and retirement planning.

When choosing a financial advisor, expats should look for someone who has experience working with expats and who understands the unique challenges and opportunities that come with investing as an expat.

Why should you consider investing as an expat?

While there are challenges to investing as an expat, there are also significant opportunities. These include:

  • Diversification: Investing in different countries can provide expats with an opportunity to diversify their investment portfolio. This can help to spread risk and potentially increase returns.
  • Access to New Markets: Expats may have access to investment opportunities that they would not have in their home country. This can include investing in local businesses or property in their host country.
  • Tax Advantages: Depending on the tax laws in their host and home countries, expats may be able to take advantage of certain tax benefits. This can include taking advantage of tax treaties or investing in tax-advantaged investment products.
  • Currency Appreciation: If the currency in the expat’s host country appreciates against their home currency, this can increase the value of their investments.
  • Higher Returns: Some countries may offer higher returns on investment than others. Expats who are willing to take on additional risk may be able to achieve higher returns by investing in these markets.

What are the best investment strategies for expats?

Expats have a range of investment strategies available to them. However, the best strategy will depend on the individual’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

Building a Diversified Portfolio

One of the most effective investment strategies for expats is to build a diversified portfolio.
The best investment strategies for expats often need a diversified portfolio.

One of the most effective investment strategies for expats is to build a diversified portfolio. This involves investing in a mix of different asset classes, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. It can also involve investing in different geographical regions and sectors.

Diversification can help to spread risk and potentially increase returns. It can also provide a hedge against currency fluctuations and geopolitical risks.

Investing in ETFs and Mutual Funds

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds are excellent investment options for expats. These funds provide a way to invest in a diversified portfolio of assets without having to buy each asset individually.

Investing in mutual funds and ETFs can be particularly useful for expats who are new to investing or who do not have the time or expertise to manage their own investment portfolio.

Investing in Real Estate

Real estate can be a lucrative investment option for expats. This can include investing in property in the expat’s host country or in other countries.

Investing in real estate can provide a steady income stream through rental income. It can also provide potential capital gains if the property appreciates in value.

However, investing in real estate can also be risky. Expats need to understand the local real estate market and be prepared for potential property market downturns. They also need to consider the costs and responsibilities of being a landlord.

Investing in Short-Term Investments

For expats who need quick access to cash, short-term investments such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and high-yield savings accounts can be a good option. These investments offer a low risk and a steady, albeit lower, return compared to other investment options.

Investing as an expat can be complex, but with the right strategy and guidance, it can also be a rewarding endeavor.

By understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that come with investing as an expat, building a diversified investment portfolio, and seeking professional advice, expats can make the most of their investments and achieve their financial goals.

What are the best investment options for expats by country?

What are the best investment options for Canadian expats?

Canadians living abroad may wish to work with a brokerage specializing in the area where they plan to settle. A Dubai broker if you are in the United Arab Emirates, a London broker if you are in the United Kingdom.

This is likely the most tax-efficient choice for Canadians living in the United States.

American citizens and residents can save money on taxes by investing in the United States, thanks to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but most foreign brokers (in Canada and elsewhere) will not accept American clients for legal reasons.

If you are “close” to your second country of residence, it could be another factor in your decision. A local solution could make sense if you have been living in another nation for 30 years, are quite familiar with the area, and perhaps even have family members who are natives of that country.

The reason for this is that you are no longer an expat and want to stay in one place for more than three to four years.

The main disadvantages of using a local solution in your new country of residence are:

  • The exceptions stated above mean that it is not always the most tax-efficient choice.
  • Investor protections are often inadequate, and investment opportunities are limited, in many developing countries. A financial crisis, for instance, could leave you especially vulnerable in a developing nation.
  • You should establish a portable, expat-focused account if you plan to move every three to four years.
  • The allure of what I like to call “the growth story” in emerging nations might entice many expats to relocate there. Many of the foreigners who have invested in local real estate or stock markets have ended up losing money. This is generally the case because they have invested into a hot market in an attempt to replicate past results.
  • If you move to a different nation, certain local brokers and solutions will force you to liquidate your investment. Because of the necessity to pay capital gains taxes when selling, this is not a tax-efficient strategy.
  • You can only benefit from a tax haven in your country of residence for a limited time unless you plan to make a permanent move there. If you are Canadian living in the UK, for instance, you can open an Individual Savings Account (ISA) and invest in stocks and shares. If you plan to make the United Kingdom your permanent home, this is the way to go. However, if you no longer live in the UK, you will no longer be eligible to open an ISA.
  • It can be challenging to locate an economically viable option in some nations.

As an alternative, Canadian expats can contact brokers from Canada. Even though they are no longer living in Canada, some Canadians still prefer to work with a broker in their home country.

Not all brokers will allow this, and some may even close the account if they learn the consumer is moving abroad.

The drawbacks are:

  • There are investments that carry significant tax penalties. For investors who are not Canadian residents, many of the tax breaks and incentives that are available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents when purchasing property or making investments are unavailable.
  • There will be a great deal of tax complexity for you.
  • In particular, the property itself will present a great deal of difficulty. You might hire a real estate company to take care of the property, but doing so would cut into your profits.
  • Since “holiday rentals” may be subject to a distinct tax regime, this complexity may increase.
  • There have been cases where local brokers first accepted foreigners but later reversed course because of changes in the law.
  • Canadians residing abroad have a few options for brokers, but even those that do, like Questrade, can be demanding about things like ID and proof of address. A number of people I know had their proof of address documents denied because they were written in Japanese or Chinese. In contrast, certain brokers who specialize in working with international clients have bilingual personnel who will accept several languages as proof of residence.

Another option is investing in a third country.

In cases like this, it makes sense to apply for our service. It has several advantages.

  • Investing abroad as a foreigner can reduce your taxable income.
  • You must have a system that is easily transportable so that payments may be made from any location in the world over the internet.
  • Having a platform that is already set up for foreigners is preferable. These venues are more likely to feature expert commentary.
  • From a third country, you can still access money from the US, Canada, or anywhere else. You can invest in the S&P 500 or a Canadian index even if you do not have any funds in either country.
  • Foreign language accommodations can be made by some third parties. evidence of residence
  • If you acquire and hold your investments rather than selling them periodically, as is generally advised, your capital gains taxes will not be due until the conclusion of the account. That implies you will not have to worry about paying taxes on your profits with this strategy if you live in a tax haven for capital gains (like several nations in the Middle East and others in Asia and the Pacific). This is a major plus.

For the reasons stated above, this is not the ideal choice for citizens of the United States.

What are the best investment options for Australian expats?

These days, more than 1% of Australia’s total population calls another country home. You may be aware that the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement allows Australians to freely relocate to New Zealand, but you should also know that this number is only around 70,000.

In fact, the United Kingdom is home to more than a third of all Australian expats. They are not simply concentrated in England but can be found in all four regions.

The United States is home to a sizable population of Australians who have chosen to work abroad. Considering the widespread use of English in these nations, this should come as no surprise either.

However, many Australians have family ties to Greece, thus that country accounts for a significant portion of the estimated 100,000 Australians living abroad in the European Union.

There are also sizable Australian communities in Hong Kong, Canada, and Lebanon. Likewise, many Australians choose to spend their working years in South and Southeast Asia.

Recent estimates place the number of Australians living in China at around 15,000, with a comparable number residing in the United Arab Emirates.

The Australian diaspora, as the emigrant population is frequently referred to, is, as you can see, a multicultural group. Some people merely spend a year or two working abroad before continuing their travels. Some have even started families and firmly established themselves in their adoptive country.

Others may continue their world travels until they reach retirement age, however some may return to Australia. Some people may decide they do not want to return.

This implies that no one piece of investment advice is appropriate for every Australian living abroad. The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s personal and financial situations are different. Then there is the question of how your personal financial priorities stack up against those of other people.

This highlights the importance of receiving personalized investment guidance. You may invest in a way that works for you now, no matter where in the globe you find yourself employed.

You can work also toward financial goals that will serve you well in the future, whether or not those plans involve a move back to Australia.

Having stated that, Australians currently living abroad have three primary choices. They require making investments either at home, in the adopted country, or in a third country, as was previously noted. Which one do you think fits you best?

Investing in the Country of Residence:

  • Benefits: It might be tax-efficient, especially in countries like the US. It’s also convenient for those earning in the local currency and those whose employers offer attractive local investment options.
  • Risks: Tax efficiency isn’t guaranteed, and regulations might change. Some countries might not have well-regulated financial institutions. There’s also the risk of high fees and potential double taxation.

Investing in Australia as an Expatriate:

  • Benefits: Investing in shares can be tax-efficient for non-residents. They can also avoid some capital gains tax rules. The rules for superannuation investments remain the same for non-residents.
  • Risks: Some property investments in Australia might not be as tax-efficient as they seem. Local knowledge is crucial for property investments, and one’s non-resident status might get complicated with certain investments.

Investing in a Third Country While Working Overseas

As mentioned earlier, this option is becoming increasingly popular among expats globally. Such investments offer portability, flexibility, and can be highly tax-efficient, especially for those residing in countries with no capital gains tax.

What are the best investment options for British expats?

Similar to expats from other nations, it makes sense to work with a local brokerage firm if you are located in a country or region with a reputable stock market that has a track record of success spanning decades or even centuries.

Similarly, from a tax perspective, some nations are exceptionally challenging. This is notably true in the United States, where regulations can reduce the tax benefits of investing abroad for citizens and permanent residents of that country.

Therefore, from a tax perspective, it is nearly always preferable for a British tax resident in the United States to invest domestically.

Investing locally is riskier if you live in a country like China, Colombia, or any other country with a volatile stock market.

But be sure to remember that a country with a rising GDP does not automatically mean a booming stock market.

Real estate in the country where you now reside is another viable choice. Long-term residence is where this strategy truly shines. This amounts to treating the house more like a residence than an investment.

There are clear dangers in investing in pure rental homes in a country where English is not the primary language spoken. Unless you are in an entirely English-speaking community, this will be the case for British expats.

In addition, as compared to the UK property market, developing market valuations have risen steadily over the past decade to fifteen years.

You could get substantial savings by shopping in emerging nations prior to the years 2007–2010, when the global financial crisis hit. Some properties in emerging markets are now more expensive than in the UK.

The worth of some of the more developed foreign markets has also increased in comparison to the domestic market.

As for investing in a local bank, having a local bank account can make sense, and is often automatically set up by HR departments if you accept a job overseas, because we all require banking for daily necessities.

However, doing business with a foreign bank has a number of advantages. There is now a wider range of available currencies, and it is simpler to transfer funds between countries.

The ability to have a percentage of one’s income sent to a bank account in Hong Kong or abroad is useful for many expats living in China, Vietnam, or other countries where sending money overseas might be problematic.

However, bank deposits are rarely a good financial move. In practically every country in the globe, bank deposits either pay below inflation or if they pay more, you are taking a large risk retaining your money in that currency.

It is true that in some emerging markets you can earn a local deposit rate of 10% or more, but the dangers associated with the local currency and inflation are enormous.

Should you invest back in the UK?

If you are only in the United Kingdom for a few months due to a temporary assignment, it makes sense to send money home. However, if you are a permanent expat, there are various disadvantages to this.

The biggest negative is that you do not get the same tax breaks as Brits have. Gains may be subject to a steep tax rate because ISAs are not available to foreign nationals.

If you plan to invest locally, be sure to remember that a country with a rising GDP does not automatically mean a booming stock market.
If you plan to invest locally, be sure to remember that a country with a rising GDP does not automatically mean a booming stock market.

In severe circumstances, it may also cause tax complications. The UK’s tax agency, HMRC, has introduced a “ties test.”

In practice, you may be considered tax resident in the UK even if you do not physically reside there if you have substantial ties to the country (such as family, enterprises, real estate, pensions, etc.) and spend a significant amount of time there.

Simply spending less than 90 days in the UK per year is no longer grounds for being classified as a non-resident for tax purposes in the United Kingdom.

While this is a minor possibility, many Britons living abroad have reported that their British bank or stock broker has asked them why they keep sending money back to the UK.

Pay stubs and other anti-money-laundering paperwork have been requested on numerous occasions.

If the sums involved are large enough, the brokers and banks in question may also be obligated by law to report them to HMRC.

While it is not technically illegal to transfer large sums of money to a UK bank or stock and share account from abroad, doing so can add a layer of complexity to your life.

Meanwhile, the rental market in the UK can be attractive to many British expats. Problems arise now because it is less tax-efficient for a non-resident, such as a UK expat, to purchase property in the UK.

The Conservative and Labour Party both went into the 2019 election proposing greater taxes on international purchases.

To make matters worse, an increasing number of mortgage lenders are now rejecting applications from international borrowers.

That being said, current UK valuations are superior than those in other markets. Northern and central regions are particularly affected, as home prices there are still below their pre-inflation levels from 15 years ago.

What are the best investment options for US expats?

Among the many investment opportunities available to American expats are:

First, having the funds in the name of your partner (presuming they are not American) is one easy way around FATCA, albeit it is by no means the most sophisticated alternative.

There are potential consequences if the relationship ends. In countries without a robust legal system, a divorce could have devastating consequences.

Second, if your American accounts are accessible to foreigners of American nationality, you can keep making payments into them. However, there is always the chance of losing money due to things like fluctuations in the value of a currency or unexpected banking costs.

Also excluded are the millions of Americans who have lived abroad for 25 or more years yet still maintain financial accounts in the United States. There is also the possibility that your US broker will go the route of many others and shut down your account.

Foreign investment services that do not result in tax penalties. I, along with a small number of other businesses, can only work with the handful of platforms that are FATCA-compliant and thus able to welcome American expats abroad.

The capital gains tax is quite low under this strategy (between 0% and 20% depending on a variety of short- and long-term circumstances), but it can be as high as 37% for non-compliant US investments. This method also simplifies and streamlines the tax filing and compliance process.

Leaving the United States or renouncing your citizenship there. Even Facebook’s co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, has taken this potentially monumental move.

A survey by Greenback Expat Tax Services said one in four American expatriates were seriously considering or planning to renounce their citizenship.

This is in part due to FATCA and double taxation of high-income earners. The cost of renouncing your Green Card, however, is significant. Whether or not you have to pay taxes is determined on your immigration and financial status.

It should be noted that the cost to renounce US citizenship has climbed by 422% in recent years, as reported by Forbes. But that might alter in the not-too-distant future.

Although it is not finalized at this time, Forbes reports that a lawsuit challenging the unfairness of the fees may result in a reduction of the current cost of $2,350 to $450.

Exit taxes may apply to you if you have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for eight of the fifteen years preceding the year of your expatriation. This is true whether you are a green card holder or a citizen of the United States.

Exit taxes are more likely to be levied against those with annual incomes over $160,000 and/or net worths over $2 million. You will be less likely to owe the exit tax if you do not fit either of these two categories and have submitted your taxes appropriately for the prior five years.

Penalties for incorrectly filing tax returns can be rather high. Penalties for failing to file some forms, such as the FBAR or the 8938, can be as high as $10,000 per form, per year.

A taxpayer in this position might want to look into the IRS’s tax amnesty program as a means of clearing the decks and reducing fines.

The decision to renounce one’s United States citizenship is significant in both tax and personal ramifications and should not be made lightly or without first consulting with tax and legal experts.

For most expat Americans, finding tax-compliant investment services overseas is the best available choice.

Navigating Financial Transactions in China

Leaving Mainland China with your hard-earned cash was a major challenge for foreigners living in China in 2021.  Many foreigners come to China for work assignments that last less than a decade.  Even if they do, most Chinese people are unwilling to make pension payments.

If you want further information about how to send money abroad from China, follow the link below or watch this video.

Since the “career expat” is increasingly a thing of the past, this is becoming an increasing problem. In other words, people being transferred to one location for a decade or longer, is becoming infrequent.

With the exception of self-employed expats, more companies are relocating their foreign employees every two, three, or four years.

However, locals are affected as well. It is also important to note that the Chinese and international real estate markets are not the same. The Chinese and international real estate markets are not the same.

However, the situation has worsened as a result of the trade war and the falling value of the RMB. As a result, many Chinese people outside of China are considering options for converting their RMB to dollars.

Indeed Bloomberg has reported on why so many people want to get money out of China, and the situation has become more and more apparent as 2021 commences.

It is true that if you have a modest amount of money (less than 20,000RMB), you can sneak it through customs on your way home.  Taking so much cash with you is not especially safe though, and is not an option at all for greater quantities.

Rich Chinese citizens are moving their riches to Singapore. Some wealthy Chinese see Singapore as a sanctuary for their wealth because they are nervous about maintaining it on the mainland.

Since the 2019 protests in Hong Kong rattled the economy, wealthy Chinese have turned elsewhere to stash their wealth. Singapore was appealing because of its large population of Mandarin Chinese speakers and its lack of a wealth tax in comparison to many other countries.

Beijing’s sudden crackdown on the education industry and emphasis on “common prosperity” — moderate wealth for all as opposed to just a select few — have contributed to its rise to prominence in the past year.

It is also expected that the RMB would continue to be weak during the rest of 2022, with a possible turnaround in 2023. If China continues on its current path, this is the most likely outcome.
It is expected that if China continues on its current path, the RMB may see a turnaround.

Affluent Chinese people are shifting their assets to Singapore through family office structures, which was a topic of discussion at a CNBC event.

The term “family office” refers to a privately held company that operates for the sole purpose of handling the financial affairs of affluent families. To open a family office in Singapore, you will need a net worth of at least $5 million.

Many of the world’s billionaires have turned to family offices to handle their extensive financial affairs. One of Singapore’s selling points is its proximity to other promising investment destinations in Asia.

The Economic Development Board of Singapore estimated that by the year 2020, there would be about 400 family offices operating in the country. The regulatory body has not revised the figure since the year 2021 ended.

Local firms in Singapore who are assisting with family office setups tell CNBC that there could be hundreds more of them right now.

Will get more difficult to transfer funds out of China in the future?

People frequently ask whether it will become more difficult to move money outside of China in the next two to three years, since they want to buy a home or do anything else with the money.

While no one can predict what will happen, it does appear that the Chinese government is becoming more dictatorial in this area.

Additionally, it appears that a growing number of local Chinese are attempting to transfer funds outside of China as the RMB declines in value.

It is possible that sending money abroad will become more difficult in the future, thus waiting seems like a bad idea.

The political atmosphere in China right now makes a further decline in the RMB very likely.  Expect to be weaker even more than the weakest of economists.

China’s banks also provide competitively cheap interest rates.  Leaving RMB in a bank account is like throwing money away to inflation and, more likely, a loss of value.

Several countries’ currencies, including Turkey’s and a number of South American currencies, have fallen against the US dollar in 2018 at a far faster rate than the RMB.

Nobody can predict for sure what will happen in 2021 and the longer-term future, but a significant devaluation by the end of next year is a distinct probability.

The Chinese yuan fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 2008 on October 31st, when it was trading at 6.97.  If the Chinese Central Bank allows the RMB to drop past 7:1, a harsher devaluation may happen.

The future is unknown. However, this unpredictability is likely a major factor helping the USD strengthen during these difficult times.

The RMB might, of course, rise again. It may even get stronger, as it already has in 2020, but the existing state of affairs suggests a negative tendency.

That is a very big gamble, at least.

It is also expected that the RMB would continue to be weak during the rest of 2022, with a possible turnaround in 2023. If China continues on its current path, this is the most likely outcome.

Health Insurance for Expats

Morgan Price Health Insurance Review

Morgan Price is an insurance agency in the United Kingdom that caters to foreign nationals by way of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

They have been operating since 1999, and they have branches in Dubai, the United Kingdom, and Bangkok, as well as customers all around the world.

Main Benefits

  • The value for money is excellent.
  • Having originated in the UK, where regulation is strict, this item is guaranteed to be safe.
  • They are putting more effort into digital products like their app. Because of this, the procedure is simplified for the customer. Here’s what the app looks like:
  • Most comments have praised the speed with which Morgan Price has paid out claims.
  • Help is available in a wide variety of tongues in addition to English.
  • Claims assistance is available at any time.
  • When compared to competing policies, this one has less gaps in coverage. Some carriers, while a small percentage, have been known to refuse claims from customers with a body mass index above a set threshold, among other baffling practices.
  • They do cover pregnant women, unlike some other insurance companies that only cover the newborn on the day of birth.

Main Drawbacks

  • Their packages do add complexity, though, because rates vary by region.
  • While some insurance companies simply offer “American rates” and “international rates,” Morgan Price provides both.
  • Expats in Europe may have to pay a different fee structure than those in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Silver, bronze, and gold are frequent tiers of their packages in Dubai.
  • Another drawback is Morgan Price do not automatically accept applications and can reject to cover you, without offering a reason.

Other points to note include:

  • If you have selected the “include my home country” option, it is included in all packages. Choosing the Asia-Pacific region alone option may leave you unprotected if you later decide to return to the United Kingdom.
  • All plans cover medical care, even if you are outside your service area. The package determines the maximum refund that can be claimed. The basic plan provides up to $25,000 in coverage, while the premium plan provides up to $100,000 in protection.
  • All packages allow you a maximum of 30 days away from home.
  • All of the plans include unlimited coverage for urgent dental care in the event of an accident.
  • Fillings and other non-emergency dental care are not covered by the cheapest two plans, but are covered by the remaining plans up to a maximum of $1,500 per year.

These are based on calculations in the Asia-Pacific area. Dubai and other locations have their own set of regulations and packages that may or may not apply to you.

Overall, Morgan Price are a great provider of expat health insurance, for most people’s requirements. They are not the cheapest nor are they the most costly, but the value they provide is excellent.

Regency for Expats Review

Regency for Expats’ primary area of expertise is health insurance, and the company serves clients in over 120 countries. Aside from the United States, they also operate a branch in Dubai.

The Financial Services Regulatory Commission regulates the parent company, Regency Assurance, under which Regency for Expats operates.

When compared to other providers of international insurance policies, Regency for Expats stands out as remarkable due to its high rate of claim approval (99%) compared to the industry average of roughly 80%.

Regency for Expats is available worldwide, but is most popular in countries with sizable expat communities. Many nations in Latin America fall into this category, such as Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil.

Main Benefits:

  • Low premiums relative to benefits
  • People with pre-existing conditions are accepted, but they are not covered. For instance, you can still be insured even if you have had a heart attack before, but you will not be reimbursed for medical expenses.
  • Excellent track record of claims payouts and prompt acceptance of new members.
  • Health and life insurance policies do not require medical exams.
  • The procedure for applying is simple and quick. Usually takes 24-72 hours.
  • Assistance in a variety of languages, available at any hour
  • Outpatient care is included in the basic plan, while inpatient care is included in the more affordable plans.
  • If you are moving abroad, you can take your policy with you anywhere besides the United States.
  • When compared to other carriers in the expat market in countries like Dubai, they can offer exceptional value when it comes to family health insurance.

Main Drawbacks:

  • After age 70, coverage is only available to current customers.
  • Pre-existing conditions will exclude you from receiving coverage. You will be approved, but those preexisting conditions will not be covered. Claims for other diseases should be unaffected by this.
  • If you are looking for a quick quote, enter your information in the box to the left.
  • Having a higher deductible or co-pay in exchange for a cheaper premium is not an option. In contrast to other insurance providers, we do not need you to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket in exchange for a lower premium.

For most people, the insurance coverage provided by Regency for Expats is ideal. Those who despise bureaucracy will appreciate how simple it is to set up the programs.

Claim and renewal processes are simple. The only downsides are that it is hard to secure considerable amounts of life insurance, and coverage for pre-existing diseases is not included.

However, unless you are covered as part of a group or only want minimal coverage for pre-existing conditions, it can be difficult to obtain health insurance as an expat.

Its coverage is superior to that of the local providers in many countries where expats live and work.

Some options besides Regency for Expats cost more, have similar or cheaper costs, but inferior protection, or are terrible for organization and paperwork. This is typically true of the larger insurance companies. They tend to be slow and inefficient.

Adam’s Thoughts

Both Morgan Price and Regency for Expats offer a range of health insurance plans tailored to the needs of expatriates. This includes coverage for various treatments and additional benefits.

Both Morgan Price and Regency for Expats have demonstrated a deep understanding of the expat landscape. Their tailored offerings reflect a keen awareness of the unique challenges expats face, from navigating foreign healthcare systems to understanding local medical risks.

Expats lead dynamic lives, often moving between countries or facing changing health needs. Both providers offer flexible plans that can be adapted based on the expat’s current situation, be it a change in location or a change in health status.

As such, both providers ensure that expats are covered in multiple countries, offering a sense of security for those who travel or live abroad.

While both providers have received positive feedback regarding their coverage, there are concerns about the claims process, especially with Regency for Expats. It’s essential for potential customers to be aware of these concerns and consider them when choosing an insurance provider.

While both providers have their strengths, the feedback from the expat community is invaluable. Potential customers should not only look at the features of the insurance plans but also consider real-world experiences of other expats.

This feedback provides insights into the practical aspects of using the insurance, such as the ease of the claims process and the responsiveness of customer service.

Expats should compare the offerings of both providers with other health insurance options in the market. Factors to consider include coverage, cost, customer feedback, and the ease of the claims process.

Choosing the right health insurance is a critical decision for expats. While both Morgan Price and Regency for Expats offer compelling options, expats should conduct thorough research, compare different providers, and consider their individual needs before making a decision.

Investment Product Reviews

Investors Trust S&P 500 Review

With offices in Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and elsewhere, Investors Trust is a rapidly expanding service for making financial investments. The United Arab Emirates and Uruguay both have administrative hubs for the company.

During the pandemic, they grew by more than 45% annually to $3.2 billion in assets under management and clients in over a hundred countries, making them a major participant in the offshore investing environment.

The majority of our customers are either foreign nationals or residents from Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Although the S&P500 product is more popular, the MSCI product and its objectives are fairly comparable.

Main Benefits

  • The accounts stand out from the competition because they provide downside protection, which is often only available in the form of a lump amount.
  • The available data suggests that as market volatility increases, many investors get their money out. During the drops in 2020 associated with the Covid Scam, 35% of DIY clients at Schwab sold out of fear. Given the scope of the business, the number of respondents was astronomical.
  • In addition, a Vanguard analysis found that the biggest net inflows into the funds occurred in 1999–2000, following eighteen years of growth for the market, while the highest net sales (outflows) occurred in 2008–2009, during the height of the Global Financial Crisis. When the markets are tumbling, investors are more inclined to continue contributing to an account that offers downside protection because of their emotional investment.
  • Investors Trust does not impose any additional fees on the use of Visa or MasterCard. UnionPay cards are accepted by investors in China, including Chinese nationals living abroad. Because Investors Trust is covering some of the related fees, we are able to provide this service at only 1%. International Space Station: This is a paraphrase.
  • At present, the MSCI EAFE index appears to be underpriced, while the S&P 500 has been one of the world’s best-performing indices. On a price-to-earnings ratio metric, the MSCI USA Index (which tracks the S&P500) appears more expensive than the S&P500. Or to put it in plain words, you are currently paying more for US equities than overseas ones, for each USD, Pound or Euro in sales. That does not guarantee a higher rate of return for your EAFE portfolio than the S&P 500, but it does improve the likelihood that you will over the next decade.

Main Drawbacks

  • Investors Trust’s sister product, the Evolution, is cheaper and has more fund choices. This covers funds, including ETFs, in commodities, mining, government and corporate bonds etc. The addition of more features aside from downside protection is the main reason why more conservative investors prefer it.
  • In order for the downside protection insurance to kick in, you must make regular payments until the policy expires. You will lose this advantage if you cease making contributions more than 90 days after the next payment is due.
  • These programs are offered in US Dollars only, not Euros or Pounds like Evolution. The fact that many people now have access to nearly free currency exchange apps like Wise and Revolut makes this non-issue.
  • The minimal amount of security offered by the 10-year option makes it a poor choice. For many savers, the 15-year account represents the sweet spot between the shorter 10-year account and the longer 20-year account.
  • Fewer people would have a need for solutions that limit losses when the market declines if all investors acted properly. The plan’s key advantage is that it will indirectly prevent investors from making a foolish decision. To put it another way, participants maintain contributing so they do not lose their downside protection.
  • The downside-protection is contingent on structured notes that could go bad, although this is highly unlikely given the A-rated banks backing the plan.

In certain circumstances, this can be a great option, such as for investors who are unduly concerned about market volatility and prone to sell in a panic.

Diversification is another benefit that may result. That is to say, a portion of the portfolio of some investors could benefit from such a strategy.

However, for some investors, the value provided by other alternatives, such as even other Investors Trust options, is superior.

Investors Trust Access Portfolio Review

Investors Trust also offers a lump sum product, called the Access Portfolio Bond, to global investors.

Main Benefits

  • Investors Trust has a great online system that makes deposits, withdrawals, and other administrative tasks simple and quick.  Also, depending on how you want to have your account charged, the prices are manageable.
  • It is possible to reduce costs by picking passive assets, such as ETF index trackers.
  • In general, the range and quality of their available funds is impressive.  Maybe not as many as two or three other sites, but more than others out there.
  • There is access to a borrowing facility, but at a high cost.
  • Withdrawal options are flexible regardless of the plan you select. It is usually completely bendable during the first five years.
  • Multi jurisdictions is a significant advantage of the Investors Trust system. Malaysia, Puerto Rico, and Cayman are all viable options.
  • Although payments must be made in USD, GBP, or EUR, once funds are in Access Portfolio, they can be converted into any of a large number of other currencies. Some examples of such currencies are the Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Singaporean dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Mexican peso, and South African rand.
  • Access to a broader selection of investment funds is being considered.
  • Each of the three sites provides a crucial check and balance.  In this way, your personal property is never combined with the business’s. When you invest with a bank, your money is used to provide loans to other customers.  The level of danger is greatly reduced in this way.
  • Online payments (including one-time payments) are accepted, as are wire transfers. Of course, investing large quantities like $200,000 through credit card is impractical unless you pay $10,000 at a time.  This is a great option for modest amounts because the price is reduced.
  • You can trade on your own or with the assistance of a financial advisor. Even though you need to be introduced by an advisor because this is not a DIY platform, you still get a client login after your account is approved. This paves the way for you to engage in independent trading. Some clients, for instance, want to split portfolio management in half between themselves and the advisor. Weighing the pros and cons of one investment over another is a lot of work.
  • It is a tax-wise choice in most cases. Investors Trust does not provide tax advice because tax laws are complex and subject to frequent change.  Their success, it seems, stems from the fact that they operate in a tax haven. Accordingly, this is a smart choice, particularly for expats who are located in countries with low or zero capital gains tax rates. However, you may be subject to taxes on capital gains if you utilize a platform based in a high-tax country that chooses to apply such taxes to non-residents.
  • This makes it a fantastic alternative to some of the more common expat market investments.

Main Drawbacks

  • The availability of a wide variety of funds is a huge plus, but it does mean that some customers are invested in high-priced vehicles when they could be using more cost-effective alternatives offered by the same service. Even on the same exchange, two investors with vastly different budgets will get drastically different returns.
  • Compared to other possibilities, the minimums are quite high.
  • Expats from the United States are not permitted to join this site, and residents of Hong Kong and countries subject to US sanctions, such as Iran, are also excluded. Still, this is more accommodating than the policies of certain service providers, who prohibit customers from a long list of nations.
  • Only US Dollars, Euros, and Pounds can be exchanged here. But this is not much of a problem anymore, what with all the dirt cheap investments available to Aussies, Japs, and everyone else.
  • More limits have been placed on investors’ access to capital than in the past. Whilst this might be a beneficial thing (to limit the investment risk), in certain instances, it can impact the investor.  In general, though, a qualified advisor offers more than enough investment choices for any investor.

As an alternative for the general market, the Investors Trust is a fantastic choice. When comparing two investors on the same platform, investor A with advisory firm A may perform substantially better than investor B with advisory firm B.

What I mean is, the counsel you choose is more consequential than the platform itself.

Overall, the Access Portfolio is a superior offering to the fixed income and platinum alternatives, although those options have their place, especially for conservative investors.

HSBC Expat Review

HSBC Expat, headquartered in Jersey, was once called HSBC International. It is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, as it is part of the HSBC Group.

Jersey Financial Services Commission rules apply to HSBC Expat in the areas of banking, general insurance intervention, investments, and fund services.

There are 64 different countries and regions where HSBC has business. The majority of their clientele are foreign workers who have settled in locations like Dubai, Hong Kong, Qatar, Shanghai, and Singapore.

HSBC Expat, like most private banks, gives its clients access to a wide variety of extremely expensive fund families. For this reason, you should not use any of HSBC Expat‘s investment accounts aimed at international clients unless absolutely necessary.

Long-term investment fund returns are significantly correlated with the amount of money invested each year in the funds’ fees.

Funds available through the HSBC Expat platform may ask for additional distribution fees, recurring charges, and other expenses, with the maximum initial investment fee reaching 3%.

One of HSBC’s several high-quality index fund options for UK clients is the FTSE250 tracker fund. The fund only charges 0.1% per year in fees.

While these options are available on the platform made available to foreigners, they are rarely chosen. They often collaborate with BlackRock, iShares, and other providers on third-party platforms.

It is hardly surprising, given that huge companies, especially those with well-established brands, can often get away with charging more.

Main Benefits

  • Ideally, they make it possible for customers to shift their location within a country but continue to bank with the same financial institution.
  • They also collaborate with the accounting firm EY and its worldwide tax guides, which could be useful for people grappling with intricate tax matters.
  • The quality of mortgage servicing is adequate, but you should still shop around for better terms.
  • While their service is not quite as good as other expat-focused boutique banks, it is still better than what some domestic institutions provide.

Main Drawbacks

  • Particularly striking is the hefty need for opening an Expat Bank account, given that those monies may be invested elsewhere at a higher rate of return.
  • In our opinion, there is a higher risk associated when dealing with a bank that operates on such a worldwide scale because of the nature of the business.
  • Remember that HSBC has ties to the governments of several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and many more.
  • The sheer scope of HSBC’s operations makes it an easy target for governments seeking to exert influence over international financial institutions.

A number of years ago, HSBC looked into the British citizens who had accounts in Guernsey. They were not immigrants temporarily in the nation.

But this shows that it may be easier to apply pressure to a bank that is headquartered in the UK and also has an offshore business, as opposed to a platform or bank that is based totally outside of the UK.

This, however, does not imply that national exchanges or banks are risk-free or error-free.

HSBC’s global operations do not make it more convenient for customers than competing services, by the way. In the UK, the HSBC has a separate regulatory entity.

It may not always be possible to deposit a check issued by HSBC in country A into a bank account in country B.

You may believe this is quite common, however just because this is the case does not make HSBC the local bank for everyone everywhere.

And although though many banks do not have physical locations in a variety of countries, they nonetheless provide international services to their customers.

In conclusion, HSBC Expat is a solid financial institution to consider.  However, there are other alternatives to consider. The rates, the service, and the general convenience could all use some work.

Most of the investment options available through HSBC Expat’s platform are pricey and limited mostly to HSBC’s own funds and products.

The majority of these funds are not among the least expensive, which historically has provided the best long-term returns. Banking and investing, as a rule, should be kept separate for the reasons given.

Sarwa Dubai Review

Like Nutmeg, WealthSimple, Wealthify, and many others, Sarwa is a “robo-adviser,” or an online investment service that uses algorithms to sort the ideal shares, bonds, ETFs that most suit to your risk preference and, thus, also your earning expectations.

This allows you to enter the market at a reasonable price and make some profit in preparation for your retirement.

The Dubai International Financial Centre oversees Sarwa, making it possible to open an account from a large number of other countries. You can start investing with as little as $500 or as much as $500,000, and the site aims to simplify investment for people of all income levels.

Their management charge ranges from 0.85% to 0.5%, depending on the size of your investment, with no fee for the first $500.

They claim they do not pick stocks trying to time the market, and instead construct a portfolio based on your risk tolerance and long-term financial goals. They filter out the distractions so you can concentrate on your retirement fund. You can withdraw your money at any time, so there is no need to worry.

Surprisingly, while being relatively new to the market, Sarwa provides substantially higher return rates than Wealthify, Nutmeg, Wealthsimple, etc., almost matching the market’s annual return. Simultaneously, they inject a unique quality—their human element.

Sarwa is more than simply a robo-advisor that decides what to buy and sell for your account; they also have human financial advisors that can be reached whenever you have questions or concerns.

Their consultants are available to discuss your tried and true investment plan and offer advice on how to achieve your financial objectives, be they buying a home, providing for a family’s future, or taking a vacation.

Main Benefits

  • All investment accounts held with Sarwa are safeguarded by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), despite the fact that the company is headquartered in Dubai and operates internationally through Interactive Brokers. A SIPC account’s securities are protected against bankruptcy or insolvency up to $500,000.
  • When compared to other available robo-advisors, Sarwa offers significant advantages in terms of cost, transparency, and use. In addition, the Growth plan’s return is extremely close to what the stock market makes annually, which indicates that Sarwa closely tracks and benefits from current market trends.
  • Sarwa’s primary investments include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and US and global bonds, all of which are relatively inexpensive and produce long-term outcomes that surpass those of the conventional investor and the usual savings account.
  • Sarwa has incredibly low prices.
  • The customer service team appears really helpful and competent.

Main Drawbacks

  • Since Sarwa is a robo-advisor, you have no say in which stocks, ETFs, or bonds you invest in and must instead rely on the advice of the company’s algorithm. Allocations are set beforehand and carried out automatically based on the results of the first survey.
  • There is no equivalent to the Roth IRA or ISA in either the United States or the United Kingdom. Call the help desk for advice on how to minimize your tax liability.
  • They appear to provide no services for people already living abroad.
  • Sarwa primarily buys equities and bonds in the United States.
  • So far, every review has been overwhelmingly positive. The uninitiated among them, who tend to be the most pessimistic, look content with a 2 month increase or dismayed by a 4 month decline, respectively, since they fail to appreciate the ebb and flow of the market.
  • They do not service specialized clients like high net worth clients well enough
  • Most people who try to invest on their own end up making rash choices they will later regret. However, the fact that you may pull out all your money fast and effortlessly, might be a double edged sword.
  • There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Preliminary data suggests widespread fear during the March 2020 catastrophe.
  • Typically, Interactive Brokers is the trading platform of choice. This raises the potential for estate and withholding taxes in the United States. It makes financial sense, especially for expats, to live in a country with no capital gains tax.
  • Companies like this are great for inexperienced investors with modest budgets. The downside is that robo advising businesses have not shown any evidence that they can close the “behavior gap” as effectively as offline firms can.

Investors who used do-it-yourself platforms or robo-advisors were more prone to panic than those who worked with a human adviser, according to data from the March 2020 market crisis.

Similarly, with the rising in interest rates and the conflict in Ukraine in 2022, we enter a period of adjustment.

Another way to phrase it is as follows. No matter how effective the remedy, it will be wasted if you just avoid investing during market downturns and increase your spending during upswings.

Statistics from March 2020, March 2008, and March 1999 all show that people actually do panic, despite everyone saying they won’t.

This behavior gap is typically easier to bridge with the help of a human advisor. In the market meltdown of 2008, the average human advisor lost less clients than robo advising businesses. For this reason the lack of departure costs from these solutions are a double edged sword.

Evelyn Partners (Tilney BestInvest) Review

Evelyn Partners, formerly known as The Tilney Group, which includes Tilney BestInvest Ltd, provides financial advice and manages client assets. They are managing over $20 billion in assets.

They gained notoriety for their ‘spot the dog’ comments, in which they criticized poor performing funds.

They have clients in the Far East and also in the Middle East. They also have clients in Europe. Locations in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Edinburgh are all part of their network.

As a result of their broker agreements, including with Infinity Financial Solutions, their products are sold in Hong Kong, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Qatar, Cambodia (Phnom Penh), Thailand (Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket in particular), and Mainland China (Shanghai in particular).

Tilney is more expensive in international markets since it is frequently distributed through intermediary platforms rather than directly from the UK.

While some of what I have to say is applicable to UK investors, this piece is intended primarily as a review of Tilney BestInvest for expats in the Middle East, South East Asia, and beyond.

Main Benefits

  • This is a sizable and well-established organization, but size is not everything. To be merely a number, in other words.
  • You should not lose a ton of money in the stock market. Holding on for the long haul may result in a flat or slightly negative portfolio performance, but it should protect you from major losses.
  • The expenses associated with SIPP investments are lower for customers based in the United Kingdom. Service fees range from 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent of the account balance per year.  However, there are additional fund fees that can add up to 1.60% annually.
  • The money is easily accessible because it is priced every day. They are not particularly illiquid or obscure assets, though there may be fees associated with selling. If, for instance, you invest $100,000 and the exit fees are $10,000, you can still get out of the transaction soon. This is in contrast to assets such as some corporate bonds, which typically cannot be sold prior to a specified date.
  • Only a portion of their investments have done well. It is difficult to predict which funds will do well in advance, though, and this article will explain why. Even their best performing funds, have sometimes struggled to outperform the market.
  • Both inside and outside of the United Kingdom, they can be held in a way that minimizes tax liability. This can be said of many assets, though, so it should not be seen as a universally favorable indicator. As a plus, it pales in comparison to more tax-efficient alternatives. Unless you are an American, sending money back to your native country is likely to be a tax-inefficient choice.

Main Drawbacks

The cons outweigh the benefits, especially for foreign residents. Among the drawbacks are:

  • To begin with, the fees are expensive because first of all, not the service costs but the fees within the money.
  • Tilney BestInvest’s Defensive Portfolio and Aggressive Portfolio both include annual fees of up to 1.60% and an initial investment fee of up to 5%. Index trackers start as little as 0.03% per year.  Numerous studies have found that fees have a significant impact on returns over the long run for investors.
  • Second, fees in the UK are not the best compared to some suppliers, but pale in comparison with the charges in the overseas expat market. The explanation is elementary; the various charges add up.
  • The AMC is 1.5% every year.
  • Fees greater than or equal to 2% every year
  • Deposits as low as 5%
  • Bonds and QROPS/providers can add up to an additional 1%-2% annually.

Simply told, you are being charged many fees, and they are adding up over time. The life insurance fee, BestInvest fee, broker costs and sometimes QROPS and SIPPS fees all mount up to a considerable amount over the years.

  • Third, there are brokers who say they have “rebated” or “discounted” their fees. Still, the net fees are prohibitively expensive, even if this holds.
  • There are several hoops to jump through before you can get your hands on the cash, according to the many ratings that have been posted online.

That is to say, the company has not changed to accommodate the digital era. At least, Tilney’s overseas brokers have not changed to accommodate the market. Withdrawing and depositing funds online is not always possible, which is unacceptable in 2020.

  • Related to the previous point, the procedures are considerably more onerous than in the UK because Tilney is offered worldwide with some old-fashioned items.
  • Third-party providers sometimes need physical documents, updated proof of address, and other information before allowing withdrawals from these accounts.

In my experience helping people withdraw from these assets, the process can take up to a month due to seemingly minor issues, such as a mismatch between the signature on the withdrawal form and the one on file.

This, on top of the steep exit fees, was a bitter pill for some investors to swallow.

It is simple to shift blame. A broker may claim that outsourcing the investment process helps eliminate conflicts of interest.

Perhaps there is some truth to this. However, many brokers may be able to pin poor results on Tilney by arguing that it is their responsibility to “be the financial planner” rather than the client’s.

Outsourcing typically results in not just stacked costs but also stacked complexity.

  • Another point is that the customer service has been described as “uncaring”. This effectively reduces you to becoming customer 102022 instead of a person. Likewise, regular trade and IT mistakes have been reported.
  • Tilney’s ability to provide a higher “risk adjusted return” is a fiction, as stated in point number nine.
  • Advocates for the corporation could say that they will not beat indices like the S&P500, but they can give safer and less volatile returns.
  • There are other risks involved with this strategy, including “human error,” therefore this is basically untrue. This also means that your returns could shift if the team in charge of your funds ever changed.
  • One such problem is arrogance. Fund industry winners of today are often losers tomorrow, and even the best managers have their bad years.

As the old adage goes, “every dog has its day,” and it is highly improbable that BestInvest would consistently outperform the market, or even minimize your risk while underperforming.

Your mileage may likely vary in terms of the service you obtain in the overseas market. Investor A, with advice business A, might obtain significantly inferior service than Investor B, with advisory company B. The quality of service provided by different advisors within the same organization can vary widely.

Related to that, they are not picky about the expat market introducers they choose. Therefore, your experience may differ even more so abroad than it does in the UK.

Ultimately, for foreign investors, Tilney or Evelyn Partners is a highly pricey choice. Buying these goods inside of the UK, is fundamentally different than buying it as an expat, for the reasons indicated above.

Despite the fact that the plans are not governed by UK law, many foreign nationals living abroad nonetheless purchase them. The funds may be regulated in the UK, but it does not guarantee the overseas platforms are.

The issue of regulation is less significant than the issue of expense. So, it is funny that Tilney has a “spot the dog” section where they highlight the funds who have underperformed.

Potential investors would be well to heed March 2020’s stock market falls and volatility, induced by the shutdown of the economy owing to the worldwide health care pandemic.

Tilney’s funds have not beaten a diverse portfolio of index and bond funds, despite the fact that investors were assured that doing so would minimize volatility during difficult times, even if it meant underperforming the market over the long term.

St James’s Place Review

St. James’s Place was founded in Britain and maintains its headquarters there; however, the company also serves the expat community by maintaining locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

There are two ways to gain access to their funds. The first option is to make direct investments with them.

As a second point, their money may be found on a wide variety of do-it-yourself websites, particularly in the UK.

St. James’s Place provides more than just fund and investment management; they also offer mortgages and insurance.

They say they have received a bunch of accolades and that their advise is guaranteed, which helps with compliance.

They handle billions of dollars’ worth of assets for their 730,000 clients with the help of their over 4,000 advisors.

Many of these properties have been acquired through corporate mergers & acquisitions and international expansion.

Main Benefits

  • The worst-case situation is highly unlikely given the company’s stringent regulations. Every piece of guidance is double-checked. Even though this describes the majority of businesses today, the compliance they maintain is usually satisfactory.
  • If you buy and retain their funds for a long period of time, you will not lose money. That is something only the most conservative fund has done in recent years.
  • Therefore, while these funds may not be the finest available, they also are not the worst. This may be a contributing factor to their high proportion of repeat business from satisfied customers in the UK and elsewhere.
  • It is possible that the average investor will not want to move their money if they are only making 4% annually when the market is averaging 9% growth.
  • The few SJP employees I have encountered have all carried themselves in a businesslike manner.
  • Their items to safeguard one’s financial well-being are adequate, if not the most inexpensive available. The same holds true for their Metro Bank-facilitated expat mortgages.
  • Perhaps some of the most negative comments posted online are exaggerated. They raise some valid arguments, but that does not mean the criticism is entirely fair.
  • On average, they outperform some of the more common expat programs.

Major Drawbacks

  • The funds are not inexpensive, and they do not outperform their respective benchmarks.
  • They can not be considered fully autonomous. Managers can invest in companies that are a million miles away, without the risk of losing money. If you work with one of their advisors, especially those catering to the expat community, you will likely be recommended St. James’s Place funds.
  • In addition to that point, it gets much more difficult when the organization’s investment committee does actively seek for successful money managers.
  • That is why there are both internal and external fund managers. Regardless, customers are limited to using St. James’s Place products and services, even if their advisors personally believe that another provider (like Vanguard or anybody else) has a better product.
  • Their expat advice is heavily focused on the United Kingdom, which is not helpful for people who are not from there but are still living in Asia.
  • In comparison to other options, the high net worth solutions are both simplistic and costly.
  • The rule has both positive and negative effects. Most clients, even if they want advice, also desire to have some say about some of the investments that may be considered.
  • With St James’s Place, you will not be able to do 80% in “safe funds”, 10% in index funds and 10% in Bitcoin for example. Therefore, you are completely powerless.
  • The method used is extremely conventional. In order to compete in today’s marketplaces, most customers are not interested in the standard two or three in-person meetings, face finds, and strategy.
  • Most of us would prefer use Uber than a “regular taxi,” and the same is true of wealth management: we want quick transactions and easy access to our records.
  • A current example of this is the Coronavirus. Even before the outbreak, people avoided face-to-face contact. This means they will eventually have to rely on technology more.
  • In continuation of the previous point, several customers have complained online that the corporation is slow to transfer their funds to alternative service providers or to sell their shares.
  • This is maybe a bit harsh and related to the previous point. When compared to a mobile investment app, the turnaround time for withdrawals and deposits at a traditional company that still relies on paper forms is far longer.
  • It is not always preferable to have a well-known brand name. It may make you feel like you are customer number 100,625 with fewer special touches. Although they offer a variety of funds, their selection is not as extensive as it is with other service providers.
  • Beyond the actual fees, you have the opaque nature of the set up. One of the company’s newest board members confessed that the company’s pricing practices were murky.
  • Based on the evaluation above, your results may differ. It is possible that Investor A in Fund C is pleased with Advisor B. On the other hand, Investor B can be a part of one of their underperforming funds.
  • High advisor turnover has a major impact on service continuity in some branches.
  • A lot of criticism has been leveled at the firm because of the manner it pays and incentivizes its advisors. While not all of the press has been accurate, it does appear that financial incentives can sometimes lead to bias.
  • It is possible that the quality of service varies not only between locations in the United Kingdom but also between individual British offices.
  • Considering the Neil Woodford affair before his fall from grace, investors also put too much faith in “star fund managers.” It is further evidence that past results in the investment management industry are hardly ever indicative of future returns.

There are better funds and firms out there for the majority of investors, and while some of the harshest reviews online are not fair or balanced, and St. James’s Place is not a bad company.

Expats and the British market can take advantage of this. In other words, more affordable, open, and individualized choices are available with careful consideration.

Therefore, it is prudent for clients who already have investments at St. James’s Place to consider whether or not those funds might be better served elsewhere.

Custodian Life Review

Custodian Life is headquartered in Bermuda, and the company’s financial transactions take place at The Bank of Butterfield.

Listed and unlisted assets, commodities, derivatives, mutual funds, and even certain cryptocurrency are all acceptable forms of investment to Custodian Life at this time.

Their selection is more extensive than that of their rivals on the international market as a whole.

Main Benefits

  • Cost-wise, the policy compares favorably to other expat investments. The specific pricing structure will depend on a number of variables, but rest assured that it will be much more reasonable than other policies I have researched.
  • The speed of service is rapid. You do not need to send in physical documents. This makes the process of purchasing a policy, funding it, and making withdrawals simple and rapid.  They were fast in the past, at least.
  • Premiums start at just $30k (or £20k/€25k) a year. Meanwhile, the minimum investment is $3,000, which is substantially lower than most competing companies.
  • Custodian Life is a universal platform for holding a wide variety of assets.  Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, as well as individual stocks, the best mutual funds, the assets of professional investors, and so on.
  • Your assets can be separated if you like. Say, for instance, you have $100,000 in “regular” assets and $10,000 in “unusual” ones.
  • Because of what was just mentioned, you will also have access to investment opportunities that are often reserved for high-net-worth (HNW) individuals.  If you want to invest in alternative assets but do not have a million dollars lying around, do not worry; Custodian Life makes it feasible.
  • In the European Union, Custodian Life has teamed with Exante.  For investors, this means being able to use “Custodian Trader.” Custodian Trader provides access to even more investment options.
  • Custodian Life have a “segregated account system” which means a client’s assets are held separately from the company’s obligations. This means security. Client assets should not be used to settle debts even in the extremely unusual case of bankruptcy. Compared to a government “guarantee” that only protects a set amount of money, this is a considerably stronger form of insurance.
  • Unlike many conventional investments made by expats, this type of investment typically does not impose severe penalty for early withdrawal.
  • It is a good setup for minimizing tax liability for most foreigners.
  • It is a transportable asset since most transactions may be completed without paper records. Access to valuations is available around-the-clock online, so even if you move for a new job, your investment will not suffer as much as it might with some older suppliers that insist on frequent mail-in updates.
  • Everyone, whether an expat or a local, can join; this is great news for everyone interested in finding answers to their problems on a global scale.
  • They can squander either liquid assets or investments that are not producing results. That is, you can put up $200,000 if you have $100,000 in liquid assets and another $100,000 in an expensive investment you are unhappy with.  With other investment providers, however, receiving money or assets may take anywhere from four to eight weeks. 

Main Drawbacks

  • Like many other expat service companies, Custodian Life is unable to serve U.S. citizens abroad because of taxation issues. You can not be accepted if you are British, but if you have an American passport, you can not be British.
  • As you enter Custodian Life with the help of a financial advisor, your experience may differ from the norm.  To put it another way, Custodian Life is just “an umbrella” under which any investment can be held.  Use of that umbrella is crucial.
  • This is not a knock against Custodian Life; rather, it is a reminder that the success of your investment strategy depends on more than just the custodian. For instance, the markets have performed quite well over the past year, but your gains would have been determined by the choices taken on your behalf regarding investments.
  • They are getting stricter and stricter about following procedures and regulations. This is making things slower for both clients and advisors, which is gradually eliminating some of the benefits indicated above.
  • Withdrawals, top-ups, and other administrative tasks for customers are currently taking longer than usual to process.

Over the years, Custodian have faced a wide range of challenges. There were things that were not their fault, including using Reyker Securities. But these problems have stifled their development.

As the charging structure in Custodian Life tends to be much better than other expat investments as a generalization, it does often make sense to stay within the policy, but amend the investments inside it.

That is to say, if you are dissatisfied, it is probably not because of Custodian Life, but rather the investments within the bond or the decline in the markets.

In the past, Custodian Life was a great option for anyone seeking to live abroad.  However, in the present time, most people have access to superior choices.

Dominion Capital Strategies (Guernsey) Review

Dominion Capital Strategies, with headquarters in Guernsey and branch offices in Uruguay and elsewhere, is an international investment management firm. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission oversees and licenses the business.

Their popularity in Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile, as well as the rest of Latin America, makes them a top seller worldwide. Customers from abroad can join in the fun as well.

Main Benefits

  • When compared to other options on the market, the pricing structure of $25 upfront plus monthly payments is preferable. However, the charge structure your broker establishes on day one will determine the size of the monthly costs you will incur.
  • The structure is remarkably see-through.
  • With a few exclusions, they can work with customers all over the world. So, they are more adaptable than some investment providers in this aspect.
  • From a time-savings standpoint, it is effective. It is all possible to do on the internet.
  • Guernsey is in charge of regulating them. The asset manager is subject to oversight from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Arrangement that minimizes taxable income.
  • There are Portuguese and Spanish versions, among others.
  • They have paid for a great feature that provides investors with some security against loss.

Main Drawbacks

  • When compared to other investment opportunities, Dominion’s selection is limited. That includes less passive investment options. This indirectly increases the costs and the client pays more money. However, the performance of the funds they provide has not been terrible. This might be avoided with a good choice of funds, though.
  • Since they are offering their own money for sale on the site, there may be a conflict of interest.
  • The investment performance in the first few years, is frequently not as good as in the years following that, due to the early expenses.
  • You are putting a lot of faith in your broker. Investment options and the broker’s starting fee structure are two of many variables that could determine which broker generates better profits. Higher returns might be expected when working with a seasoned advisor.
  • It is a flexible plan, although regular payments until the conclusion of the savings period are recommended. Pick a premium that works for your budget and keep making regular payments.

Dominion Capital is a solid investment vehicle, and the downside protection option makes it even more attractive.

However, you should think about backup plans and examine the planned pricing structure.

Novia Global Review

Novia Global, based in England and Wales, is a worldwide wealth management platform for the expat market that launched in 2015. In the UK, it is governed by the Financial Conduct Authority, and it is sold in Dubai, Hong Kong, and the EU.

Brooks Mcdonalds, Ashburton Investments, and Bordier & Cie are just a few of the discretionary fund managers used by these institutions.

The Novia Global platform not only offers fully digital and automated reporting and valuation services, but it also allows you to keep track of your investments in real time.

A Novia Global account is required in order to make investments using the Novia Global platform. This protected online account is there to help you keep tabs on and manage your usage of the features made available for only that purpose.

Because it is stored and made available online, you can access it at any time by visiting the business’s website. It also provides details on all the investments you have in your portfolio at the moment.

A single Novia Global account can be used to handle a variety of items. Customers can take advantage of the many possible product structures, currencies, and asset management choices in this way.

Main Benefits

  • The technology is good on the platform.
  • The cost of using Novia Global is reasonable, although it does vary with the configuration options chosen. More information on that is provided below.
  • The SIPP can be established for as little as 180 GBP each year, but there are often other fees to consider.

Main Drawbacks

  • Depending on the funds selected and the billing structure in place, Investor 1 could end up paying two, three, or even five times as much as Investor 2.
  • DIY accounts receive no guidance, however help is provided for some types of accounts.
  • There are several costs and dangers that are not made clear in many structured notes.
  • The pricing structure is unclear. Finding a clear response to the fee query on the Novia Global website is difficult.
  • Although for some people the availability of 7,000 funds is sufficient, if you wish to hold particular equities, they must be included in the FTSE 100. There are other suppliers who have substantially broader offerings, both in terms of overall fund range and individual equities.
  • There are alternative platforms that offer a considerably broader selection of products and services, despite the fact that this one supports all of the major currencies.
  • In the long run, the Novia Global platform does not offer any tax advantages as compared to a locally conforming option like a bond. Not only that, but many countries do not recognize the legality of any tax exemptions not associated with pensions.
  • The rule has both positive and negative effects. Many advisers would suggest that the UK regulation is only a good. The opposite is true. Such rules can limit your options significantly, particularly when it comes to the kind of investments you can make.  Diversification into alternative assets is crucial during a time of low interest rates and weak government bond funds.
  • In addition, more bank failures have occurred in the United Kingdom and the United States than in countries with fewer rules. Therefore, “government guarantees” have been shown to be ineffective.
  • UK regulated platforms do not normally allow for a segregated portfolio, in which 90% is in conventional assets and 10% is in Bitcoin as an example. What this means is that there will be less options available due to the rule. It merely provides a false sense of security.
  • You probably are not working with a creative financial advisor or advice firm if they suggest this sort of approach.
  • They can not accept applications from outside their country, although pensions and trusts can help you get over territoriality restrictions.

In terms of the international community, Novia is not a bad site. Their pricing is not always low, though, and “your mileage may vary.” What I mean is that your advisor and your own investment decisions will both have an impact on how much money you make.

It is crucial to understand that the value of your investments can fall and you may get back less than you have invested.

Most foreign investors view the UK’s new regulations as a bad thing since they will limit the kinds of investments they may make outside of the country. For most investors, better options exist.

Expat Savings Plans (Zurich Vista; Quantum; Friends Provident; Hansard; RL360)

Insurance-investment plans are the most common type of expat savings plan, and they are offered by a variety of providers, including locals, wealth managers, and banks.

The value of the account will increase by 101% if the account holder dies.  If the value of your investment is $100,000 and you pass away, your heirs will receive $101.

Plan contributions are typically made throughout a certain time frame.  The typical minimum saving period is 5 years, with the maximum ranging from 25-30 years. Among the expat markets, the 20- to 30-year savings plans tend to be the most popular.

The Isle of Man, Jersey, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Guernsey, and many other offshore locations are common origins for such schemes.

That is not the issue. In the wake of the financial crisis, investment guidelines are stringent everywhere, whether offshore or onshore. With the exception of Americans, investing offshore can be advantageous for non-residents.

The locations of the plans’ funds are less of a concern than the investments themselves, as well as the plans’ terms and conditions.

Key Takeaways: Analysis and Comparisons

Investors Trust S&P 500

Overview: Investors Trust is a rapidly expanding financial investment service with offices globally, including Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, and Malaysia.

Growth: During the pandemic, they grew by over 45% annually, managing $3.2 billion in assets with clients in over 100 countries.

Clientele: Primarily foreign nationals or residents from Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Products: While the S&P500 product is popular, the MSCI product has similar objectives.

Strengths:

  •         Offers downside protection, a feature not commonly available.
  •         Provides protection against market volatility, preventing panic selling.
  •         Accepts Visa, MasterCard, and UnionPay cards without additional fees.
  •         MSCI EAFE index seems underpriced compared to the S&P 500.

Weaknesses:

  •         The Evolution product offers more fund choices and is cheaper.
  •         Downside protection requires regular payments; missing payments can result in loss of this feature.
  •         Offered only in US Dollars.
  •         10-year option offers minimal security.

Investors Trust Access Portfolio

Overview: A lump sum product offered to global investors.

Strengths:

  •         Efficient online system for transactions.
  •         Offers a wide range of funds.
  •         Flexible withdrawal options.
  •         Operates in multiple jurisdictions.
  •         Funds can be converted into various currencies.
  •         Provides a separation between personal and business assets.
  •         Suitable for expats in low or zero capital gains tax countries.

 Weaknesses:

  •         Some clients end up in high-cost funds.
  •         High minimum investment requirements.
  •         Restrictions on certain nationalities.
  •         Limited currency exchange options.
  •         The platform’s performance can vary based on the advisory firm chosen.

HSBC Expat

Overview: Previously known as HSBC International, HSBC Expat is part of the global HSBC Group and operates under Jersey Financial Services Commission rules.

Operations: HSBC has a presence in 64 countries, catering mainly to expats in locations like Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Strengths:

  •         Allows clients to bank with the same institution even when relocating.
  •         Collaborates with EY for intricate tax matters.
  •         Adequate mortgage servicing.
  •         Better service than some domestic institutions.

Weaknesses:

  •         High requirements for opening an Expat Bank account.
  •         Potential risks due to HSBC’s vast global operations and ties to various governments.
  •         Limited convenience despite global operations.
  •         Most investment options on the platform are expensive and limited to HSBC’s products.

Sarwa Dubai

Overview: Sarwa is a robo-advisor, similar to platforms like Nutmeg, WealthSimple, and Wealthify. It uses algorithms to determine the best investment options based on an individual’s risk preference.

Sarwa is regulated by the Dubai International Financial Centre and allows individuals from various countries to open an account. The platform aims to simplify investment for all income levels.

Strengths:

  •     Regulation and Security: Sarwa is overseen by the Dubai International Financial Centre, ensuring a level of trust and security for investors.
  •     Low Entry Point: Investors can start with as little as $500.
  •     Competitive Fees: Management fees range from 0.85% to 0.5%, with the first $500 being fee-free.
  •     Human Element: Beyond algorithmic recommendations, Sarwa offers human financial advisors for personalized guidance.
  •     Protection: Investment accounts with Sarwa are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $500,000.
  •     Performance: Sarwa has shown to provide returns that closely match the market’s annual return.
  •     Diverse Investments: The platform primarily invests in ETFs and US and global bonds, which are cost-effective and have historically shown long-term positive outcomes.

Weaknesses:

  •     Limited Control: Being a robo-advisor, investors don’t have direct control over specific investment choices.
  •     Tax Implications: There’s no equivalent to tax-advantaged accounts like Roth IRA or ISA for international users.
  •     Market Behavior: Preliminary data from market downturns, like in March 2020, suggests that investors can act out of fear, which can be detrimental to long-term investment goals.
  •     Platform Dependency: Sarwa primarily operates through Interactive Brokers, which might have implications for estate and withholding taxes in the US.

Evelyn Partners (Tilney)

Overview: Evelyn Partners, previously known as The Tilney Group, is a financial advisory firm that manages client assets, with over $20 billion under their management. They have a presence in various international markets, including the Middle East, Far East, and Europe.

Strengths:

  •     Established Presence: Being a large organization, they have a long-standing reputation in the financial industry.
  •     Diverse Investment Options: They offer a range of investment options, including some that have shown good performance.
  •     Tax Efficiency: They can be held in a way that minimizes tax liability for both UK and international investors.
  •     Liquidity: Funds are easily accessible, and while there might be exit fees, they don’t lock in investments.

Weaknesses:

  •     High Fees: The cumulative fees, including AMC, deposits, and other charges, can be quite high, impacting long-term returns.
  •     Service Quality: Customer service has been described as lacking, with issues like IT mistakes and trade errors.
  •     Complexity: The multi-layered fee structure and involvement of third-party providers can make the investment process more complex and less transparent.
  •     Regulation Discrepancies: While their funds might be regulated in the UK, their overseas platforms might not be, leading to potential risks for international investors.
  •     Performance Variability: Their performance in market downturns, like in March 2020, hasn’t lived up to the promises of reduced volatility.

St James’s Place

Strengths:

  •     Strong compliance and double-checking of guidance.
  •     Guaranteed advice which aids in compliance.
  •     Broad range of services including mortgages and insurance.
  •     Large client base and significant assets under management.
  •     Expansion through mergers, acquisitions, and international growth.
  •     Generally satisfactory compliance.
  •     Stable fund performance over long periods.
  •     Positive feedback on employee professionalism.
  •     Diverse financial products.
  •     Generally positive reputation, though some criticisms may be exaggerated.

Weaknesses:

  •     Funds do not consistently outperform benchmarks.
  •     Limited autonomy in fund selection.
  •     Heavy UK focus for expat advice.
  •     High net worth solutions are simplistic and expensive.
  •     Limited investment flexibility.
  •     Traditional and slow methods of operation.
  •     Slow fund transfers and share sales.
  •     Limited fund selection compared to other providers.
  •     Opaque pricing practices.
  •     High advisor turnover and potential for biased advice due to financial incentives.

Custodian Life

Strengths:

  •     Competitive pricing for expat investments.
  •     Quick and digital service.
  •     Low minimum investment requirements.
  •     Wide variety of assets accepted, including cryptocurrencies.
  •     Segregated account system for enhanced security.
  •     Tax-efficient structure.
  •     Global accessibility and digital operations.
  •     Flexibility in asset allocation.

Weaknesses:

  •     Cannot serve U.S. citizens abroad.
  •     Dependence on financial advisors for investment success.
  •     Increasingly strict procedures slowing down operations.
  •     Past challenges affecting company growth.
  •     Limited investment options compared to other platforms.

Dominion Capital Strategies (Guernsey)

Strengths:

  •     Transparent pricing structure.
  •     Global accessibility.
  •     Regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
  •     Tax-efficient structure.
  •     Multilingual support.
  •     Downside protection for investments.

Weaknesses:

  •     Limited investment options leading to indirect higher costs.
  •     Potential conflict of interest.
  •     Heavy reliance on brokers for investment success.
  •     Traditional payment structure.
  •     Limited flexibility in investment choices.

Novia Global

Strengths:

  •     Advanced platform technology.
  •     Competitive pricing structure.
  •     Wide range of funds available.
  •     Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

Weaknesses:

  •     Complex and unclear pricing structure.
  •     Limited investment options outside of the FTSE 100.
  •     No inherent tax advantages compared to local options.
  •     UK regulations limiting investment choices.
  •     Cannot serve clients outside their territory.
  •     Limited investment flexibility.

Adam’s Thoughts

The investment landscape for expatriates is vast and diverse, with a plethora of options catering to different financial goals, risk appetites, and investment horizons.

In a nutshell, the world of expatriate investment is ripe with possibilities, but not without its share of difficulties.

Each of these financial institutions and platforms offers unique advantages and disadvantages. While they all provide diverse investment opportunities, potential investors should be wary of high charges, especially in the early years, and the reliance on brokers or advisors which can significantly influence their investment experience.

It’s crucial for investors to conduct thorough research and possibly seek independent financial advice before committing to any of these platforms.

To succeed in this environment, expats need to prepare themselves by doing extensive study, defining their financial goals, and potentially consulting with financial consultants. Investing in the wrong product might have serious consequences. The improper financial product can have serious consequences.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.

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