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Did you know that there are different type of financial advisors?

When you search for a financial advisor, how can you be assured that they are right for you?

So in principle there are three categories of advisor:

1- Tied
2- Restricted
3- Independent

Tied:

In France there are many insurance company agents working almost in every town – these typically represent just one company, AXA for example or Credit Agricole – they will offer you only the products of that company and will be limited to “French only” products – they will not have a specialisation in UK or international pensions or investments for example. Typically any product will only be in euros rather than a choice of currency. The person you are dealing with is known as a ‘courtier’ or a broker, so they are not highly trained advisors, but rather they are trained in knowing their products and will ‘sell’ those they think are appropriate for you. They won’t generally look at other areas of financial planning.

You certainly need a French bank account when you are living in France and products like a Livret “A” are generally a useful bolt hole for your liquid cash – up to certain limits – but it is important not to necessarily tie yourself into products or accounts that might have a limited investment selection or which do not work in other countries outside France.

You should remember that things like UK ISAs do not work in France and therefore you will understand that ‘French’ products and bank products are not designed to work outside France either.

These companies – whether backs or insurance companies will also only offer a limited range of investments and savings and funds as well as they are TIED to just the one company.

Restricted Advice:

The next stage is that of a RESTRICTED advisor, who are limited in who and what they recommend – in the case of the popular (and essential in good investment and tax planning in France) Assurance Vie investments for example they will likely only offer one or two alternatives and also a limited range of investment funds for you to invest in. Charges may also be higher for this type of product and there maybe restrictions on how much you can withdraw in the early years thereby limited your flexibility.

There is of course nothing wrong with this but you are ‘limiting’ your advice and missing out on a whole of market approach and a significant range of investments and investment companies which ultimately may be more suitable for you. Again they may not have the experience or ability to look at other areas for financial planning for you.

Independent Adviser

This is someone who can offer you advice rather than product placement. Known as a ‘conseiller’ in France. They are highly trained and will not ‘sell’ you anything. This is a person who plans. This is an adviser who collects information on all of your financial assets and provides a full report across areas such as inheritance/estate planning, pensions and investment. They will search the whole marketplace for a product that is appropriate for you and take into account your thoughts and wishes to achieve the very best outcome for you.

In France this can mean that you will have a choice of a number of assurance vie products, a portfolio can be tailored to your specific needs and requirements and you are not limited to any particular assurance vie product.

Everyone’s needs are slightly different- you might be moving across different countries in Europe or moving to Europe from another jurisdiction and need someone who understands that what you have needs to be fluid.

Also, on the investment side, you will have a wide selection of funds to use, tailored to your aims and to your individual risk profiles. This is an advisor who will see you regularly to make sure what has been set up still fits so that you are looked after properly.

This also applies to your PENSION investments where you don’t have a “one size fits all solution“. You are individual and your family’s and personal financial requirements are personal to you – therefore you need flexibility in approach, flexibility and independence in selecting your providers and flexibility in your investment selections.

Conclusion

Given the choice, you might have to pay a little more for a highly trained independent advisor, but you will get good service, regular contact and far better value for money in the long run.

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The financial advisers trading under Beacon Wealth Management are members of Nexus Global (IFA Network). Nexus Global is a division within Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited (BFMI). All approved individual members of Nexus Global are Appointed Representatives of BFMI. BFMI is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and bound by their rules under licence number FSC00805B.
And the information on this page is intended as an introduction only and is not designed to offer solutions or advice. Beacon Global Wealth Management can accept no responsibility whatsoever for losses incurred by acting on the information on this page.