Unique House Policies

 

What interesting times we live in and I could add, quite scary times. I shudder when I think that the free world’s peace is controlled by a very volatile and frightening man. Is it acceptable to threaten another country’s leader via Twitter? What about the old fashioned way of diplomatic channels and ambassadors, in private? Still, I am an old fashioned gal who wouldn´t dream of going on Facebook to discuss my private life and to see the office of the US President using social media in this way, when there is a conflict, disagreement, or just lashing out, I find appalling.

I am now going to drop a bit of a bombshell. Do you realise that when you get your Residencia accepted by the Spanish authorities, it is a European document which states you live in Spain. However, to be a full legal resident in Spain, you must be a fiscal resident. This means you must be registered by the Spanish tax office and submit yearly tax returns in Spain. This does not mean you necessarily have to pay tax in Spain, but you must do a yearly tax return, which is a legal requirement. This costs very little and protects you from a fine. If you are autonomos or working on contract, you are a fiscal resident. I feel, with Brexit on the horizon, it would be very wise to get your paperwork in order, because obviously there are checks being carried out on behalf of the governments in both Spain and the UK already. IBI, Basura and road tax are a totally separate issue, as they are in the UK. Would you consider Council Tax, rubbish collection and car tax in Britain as your tax return? Of course not!

Staying on the subject of legality and as part of Expat Services, when talking to my chosen financial advisor, he reminded me of a very good piece of sound advice. Although the company you are dealing with may be authorised to sell financial investments, did you realise that the advisor offering advice also has to be fully registered and regulated? Unless they are, they are not allowed to work in the UK at any time or offer advice in any other country, so take care and select your advisor very carefully, because it could spell trouble with a capital T.

If you are in any doubt on either of these two issues or wish to do a tax return which is due in June, you can always organise an appointment with one of my associates (the first consultation is free), telephone 966 461 690 or visit www.expatservicesspain.net.

I am very excited about my new advertisements that are just starting to appear in the newspapers. I hope you agree with me that they are very ‘relaxing’. There are eight different advertisements informing you of the services that we offer, one of which is a unique house insurance for your largest asset.

It is a very good policy, especially designed for the Expats and as far as I am concerned, knowing my way around the market as I do, it is the best. It might however, not be the cheapest but the extent of the cover is exceptional. Liability, water loss and especially accidental damage on both the contents and the building, are unique. A big percentage of the claims that come through my office are the result of accidental damage. With regard to contents cover, my Sales Consultants will advise you to take out a realistic sum and you would be amazed when you think about how much you spend on furnishing your home, clothes, personal items and valuables. Be very careful when it comes to expensive jewellery, paintings, watches and collections. For example, it you have rings and watches, you will need a full risk policy, not just insurance cover when they are locked in a safe. Also, do not be persuaded to under insure, because when it comes to total loss, you will find yourself in trouble with the insurance company. Never forgetting out-buildings, solar panels and pools, garden furniture, the list is endless. When you take all of this into consideration, you should expect to pay a realistic premium to reflect the cover. If it seems too cheap, whilst at the same time being assured it covers everything, I suggest you look very closely before committing. Liberty Seguros has specially designed policies for second homes, and for those properties that are rented or uninhabited for a certain length of time.

When you are renting your property legally, long term, special landlord insurance is a necessity and includes cover for non payment of rent and Liberty also have policies for tenants to cover their own contents and liability. Protect yourself and your home in the best possible way.

For more information or a quotation, please contact one of my consultants or visit my website www.jennifercunningham.net.

 

Confused or concerned about your Investment/ QROPS or Pension?

We’ve found recently many new clients have come to us with some sort of investment wrapper-typically a Spanish Compliant Portfolio Bond or Qrops/ pension arrangement that most could not answer YES to these 3 questions:

 

Do you know exactly what you are invested in?

Do you understand all your investments?

Do you understand structured notes?

 

Over the recent months we have been helping these new clients understand EXACTLY what they have, enabling them to confidently answer YES to all of the above.

We work with 2 fully qualified individuals who have over 40 years experience in both the UK and Spain advising clients on financial and tax planning matters. individuals. Qualified with the CII and are regulated and registered with the Gilbraltar Financial Services commision, the FCA in the UK and both the DGS and CNMV here in Spain

If you have any queries concerning your existing investment, whether they include Structured Notes or not, empower yourself..do something logical and get in touch. We’ll help you understand exactly what it is you have and advise on all financial and tax planning matters to ensure you are getting the best.

 

 

Would you send your children to be taught in a school where teachers are not qualified?

Just 1 Question…

Would you send your children to be taught in a school where teachers are not qualified?

Qualified

Is your financial adviser qualified?
There are a variety of qualifications within our industry, and as in many industries the level or, quality of qualifications, vary. From a qualification perspective, the UK is probably one of the most robust and rigorous environments.

You can easily check to see if your adviser is qualified to UK standards, by simply going to the Chartered Insurance Institute website, www.cii.co.uk . If you click on membership and then member search, you can then type in your advisers’ name. If they don’t appear with at least the designation Dip PFS next to their name, they would not be able to give advice in the UK.

Regulated
I am sure, like us, you will see many adverts in the press and on Social Media from firms and individuals offering to provide Financial Advice. Sadly, many of these are not regulated at all.
Being regulated ensures that you have important protection against unscrupulous advisers. If the firm is regulated, you will have protection and some recourse action should the advice be deemed to be inappropriate to your personal requirements. In addition, any regulated firm has to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance, which adds another level of protection for you.

Any firm who is regulated will always state on any advert, or on their website, exactly who they are regulated by. Any firm that is regulated will be happy to share their licences with you.

Would you happily get on a plane knowing the pilot isn’t qualified?

Our Consultants are regulated by the FSC in Gibraltar, Registration number FSC1118B, and also registered with the FCA (UK) and both the DGS and CNMV in Spain.
They are qualified to level 4 with the CII, and are members of the Personal Finance Society. Both hold the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
In addition to being both regulated and qualified, clients will also have peace of mind, in that they are dealing with a Family business which is here for the long term.
So, if you are unsure of your advisers’ regulatory status, or qualifications, why not contact us now for a free consultation?

Is your Financial advisor regulated AND fully qualified?

It has come to our attention in recent months that there are a number of Financial Advice companies advertising on the mainland, and in the Canaries, claiming to be fully qualified and regulated. Unfortunately, some of these companies have very limited permissions, or none at all in some cases.

In the first instance, you need to ensure that the company you are dealing with is regulated. This is extremely important and provides you with a level of protection. Equally important, however, is that the individual sitting in front of you, and providing the advice, is fully qualified.

To check to see if a company is regulated is fairly straightforward. On any advert or marketing material, an advice firm will always state their registration number as well information on where and who they are regulated by. Typically, the regulation will come from either the FSC in Gibraltar, the FCA in UK and either the DGS or the CNMV in Spain. Any advert without this information is likely to be from and unregulated entity.

You are also able to see if an adviser is qualified to UK standard, which many claim to be. To do this, you can go to the official CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) website, and click on member search. When searching for an individual, they should have the designation DipPFS next to their name, which means they have reached Diploma status. If they do not have this next to their name, they are not qualified to UK standard.

We are proud to work with two fully qualified advisers who both have both completed the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. We pride ourselves on delivering easily understood, tax efficient solutions for expats living in Spain. You are safe in the knowledge that the advice you are receiving is from fully qualified individuals and a fully regulated business.

We work with our advsisors who are a trading style of Tourbillon Limited, regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (Registered Number FSC1118B). Under our network, we are also registered with the FCA in UK and both the DGS and CNMV in Spain.

 Don’t be caught out, ensure your advisor is qualified and fully regulated. You will be very suprised how many aren’t. After all you wouldn’t send your children to school to be taught by an unqualified teacher, neither would you board a plane with a pilot without the right training. Don’t put your financial affairs at risk.
Contact us for trusted, safe, secure and fully regulated advice

Is it wise to keep your pension in the UK?

Pension planning has always been an important part of financial planning and never more so than
now. The pension industry’s legislation is forever changing and everyone should review their
options.

On top of this, we find ourselves in a transitional period where the UK are in negotiations with the
EU, hoping to obtain the best BREXIT deal possible. This, as one would expect, raises lots of
uncertainty and concerns about how UK pensions will be affected by BREXIT and equally, what
impact this has on individuals who live overseas.

We have seen an increasing number of clients living abroad opt to transfer their pension to
an overseas, tax beneficial, jurisdiction. This has given them peace of mind that their pension will no
longer be subject to unknown changes caused by BREXIT.

Most people will depend on a pension to provide them with their income in retirement. Their
pension may come from the State, from a company sponsored pension scheme or from a private
pension arrangement.

Governments around the world are increasing retirement ages and reducing the benefits that the
state provides, so we all need to have the means to support ourselves. Furthermore, with our life
expectancy increasing through breakthroughs in medication and education, our pension funds need
to last longer than ever before.

It is not uncommon for people to lose track of their pensions over time, or even forget about them
all together. If you want to maintain a certain level of lifestyle in retirement or have the option of
retiring when you want to, it is vital you have a plan in place.

We are able to carry out pension audits and reviews of existing schemes, whether your
pension be based in the UK or overseas. We will explain what your options are in plain English,
without the jargon, so that you can make informed decisions on how best to achieve your goals.

Contact Expat services today and we’ll put you in touch with a tried, tested and trusted advisor recommended by Jennifer herself

Wills, Taxes and Residencia- Time marches on for Brexit

Time marches on. Thousands of words are spoken and still there is great optimism in the UK that Brexit is going to bring wealth, prosperity and a standing in the world similar to that from the past. Personally I think that is going to require a miracle. Needing to be part of a collection of countries when the world is a very dangerous place to live in, became apparent when Theresa May flew to Brussels to request help and support regarding the dreadful situation with the nerve gas poisoning in Salisbury. Will this be able to continue at the same level? No doubt due to the unsettled situation, sadly the British are not coming to Spain in the numbers they used to. They are being superseded by other nationalities. Let´s hope this reverts very soon when we are made to feel a little bit more secure on deciding to make Spain our home.

You will need, if you are Resident or Non Resident, to be registered to either pay or prove that you are paying taxes outside of Spain. Please do not ignore this legal requirement because there are more taxes than IBI and Basura to be assessed, especially if you are a Resident, and a huge fine could follow if you do not comply. If you are thinking of making a will, can I suggest that you do this as soon as possible, as without a will the problems, time and money that this will cost your loved ones, can be extremely high and stressful. If you are living with a person who dies, and you are not a blood relative, then it could turn into a nightmare, especially if the deceased has a son, who in Spanish law can supersede a common law relative. There is also the cost of dealing with a death, and having no life insurance or funeral plan, or the provision to pay the inheritance tax, finding these amounts of money fairly quickly, could cause a very unpleasant and worrying time for your loved ones. Everything I have mentioned here has been gained by the experience of others and myself. You must take on board that there is no help available from the government of Spain – you are on your own. But you have no need to be. My very professional associates can ease this situation if you contact them and take their advice. I appreciate that my company is an insurance company, however there is no point in just protecting your car and your house, you need to protect your family. Once again we can help you with a Bespoke Life Insurance policy, which can be as little as € 120 per year. Can you afford not to do this, because sadly accidents and illness do happen? You need to make all these decisions if you choose to live in Spain, to keep you and your family secure. You know it makes sense. All you have to do is visit www.expatservicesspain.net and contact my company for more information and to arrange an appointment with our associates.

When considering contacting us for your insurance, please remember that Liberty Seguros, the company I deal with, has a special division for Ex Pats. Please do not take this terminology lightly as the investment in the Ex Pat policies is very high, as they are different policies than those offered on the Spanish marketplace. For example, when calling for the grua, check how much distance is covered by your insurance as in most cases this is limited and over that level, you will need to pay, which is not cheap. Also the telephone number you call to make a claim is usually a premium number, which can be very costly. Liberty Seguros offers unlimited grua mileage, and you can call my office on a local number to speak with my Claims Administrator, who of course is bi-lingual and there to assist you. The house policy offered by Liberty Seguros is comprehensive and despite what you can be told, other house policies in Spain, I can assure you, do not have the same coverage. There is even a certain amount of water cover available, which is unique. When you consider the house purchase is the biggest purchase you make, please do not go on price alone and false promises. All the Liberty Seguros policies mentioned offer a Cashback bonus at the moment, for all new business, so now is the time to change. I can also assure you that on renewal you will not be given a huge increase on your premium, as can often happen when you are given a very unrealistic cheap price for your insurance.

For more information contact one of my offices or visit my website www.jennifercunningham.net. My consultants are there to help you with good honest advice, supported by one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.

Could it get any worse?

Could it get any worse? Every time a politician opens his mouth to speak, it is a different story. All I know is that it is becoming a bit of a dangerous farce. There are so many issues and differences to be discussed and many agreements to be made. One example is Northern Ireland, I cannot see an easy resolution happening here and when did the Irish ever resolve anything quickly, especially when it comes to border control and customs.

There have been many warnings of the effects of coming out of the EU, but especially the customs union and trade agreements. These warnings do not seem to be taken on board and there is a mountain to cross regarding the negotiations. I think if I lived in the UK I would be making an exodus to live elsewhere in Europe whilst I had the chance to do it relatively easily, making Spain one of the first choices.

I understand there are a number of people panicking about being able to stay in Spain. I have no fears whatsoever, as both Rajoy, the Prime Minster, his Foreign Minister and the Consulate have many times assured us that we are very welcome to stay (of course we are – the economy would drop enormously without us).

The advice given by the Consulate is to request your Residencia as soon as possible and they are advising that to do this you must have proof of healthcare and if you are not entitled to state healthcare, you need private health insurance, with a certificate which must be presented and approved by the police.

My company can provide you with this certificate when you purchase and complete payment of a health insurance policy. All my offices can assist you with this process, with the applications then be forwarded to my Head Office and your application for your health certificate processed.

I am a little disturbed by many applying for this certificate and after a year, cancelling the policy. Unless you are accepted into the state health system, you will, of course, not have any cover at all in Spain. At this moment it is not illegal to be without health insurance whilst living in Spain but it is very foolish. Accidents and illness happen far too frequently to be without cover. Not only could the costs be high, depending on the illness and if you are unable to pay the invoice you will find yourself with embargoes on your home or bank account.

The other situation you could find yourself in, is needing to reapply for health insurance and find yourself in another age bracket, or have a pre-existing condition, which will both increase the premiums and the pre-existing condition could affect your coverage. Another issue with the state health care is the huge waiting lists and the pressure on the resources. So take care.

Currently I am re-launching Expat Services and have introduced a new service which is named after my Sound Advice programme on Bay Radio – “Jennifer’s Sound Advice Surgeries”, starting in my Javea and Els Poblets offices and extending to the southern offices shortly. I have selected very trusted professionals, who are all fully regulated, to work alongside me, offering their experience of living and working in Spain and what is required to do so. This includes solicitors, financial advisors, currency exchange and a structural surveyor. Two pieces of advice I can give you now is to go to a solicitor when you are thinking of purchasing a property and make sure your solicitor is independent, especially when buying off plan or a new build. This advice will be invaluable, before you even start looking for a property.

When you need any insurance, always go to a specialist, not your bank or solicitor, as in all probability the result will be a Spanish policy, not a policy tailored for the Expats, which my company specialises in. This particularly applies to life insurance. The premiums could be far higher than necessary and you may not be sure of exactly what is covered. When purchasing Mortgage Protection, a medical may be necessary and if you are not offered this and have a condition, your estate may have problems when trying to claim.

It is that time of year again where we are thinking of going on holiday, camping, travelling, hotels or cruises. My company has an excellent policy which you can pay in Sterling, which has many benefits, especially the optional extras when you go on a cruise, which includes cover if you are confined to your cabin due to illness and miss pre-booked excursions, and cover for missing ports or connections during your trip. And of course, all the normal cover of lost luggage, illness and repatriation and being able to speak to someone in your own language is always beneficial.

For those who live near the Els Poblets office, where the Renewal Department is based, I require a part time Sales Consultant to sell general insurance. Sales experience is necessary and other languages would be an advantage. Please send your CV to accounts@jennifercunningham.net.

For more information, please contact one of my offices or email info@jennifercunningham.net and to book an appointment for the Sound Advice Surgery, email info@expatservicesspain.net.

Where to start?

Where to start? So much to say. Maybe just start by mentioning Brexit as it is so important to all our lives. I am so concerned that when a report is produced by professionals, pointing out the downside, it seems to carry no importance with the press and no time taken for any discussions. There are always two sides to any negotiations and I don´t feel that the UK is facing up to the reality of trying to replace a structure that has been in place for over 40 years, and pretty successfully. I understand that one of the most important issues is the customs and single market. Although this appears to be one of the UKs demands, how can this be granted, as Norway, for a start, would be very hostile, as they have to pay to be in this club and accept immigration. Then of course, there is Ireland, and indeed, Gibraltar, which has just been put on hold. We shall see, but I and many others are feeling very uncomfortable at what is happening and the time taken to not come to any conclusions. As Expats, we have no certainty of our position at the end of all this. I am very aware that a large number of Expats, myself included, would like the option of remaining European, as I feel so distant from my country now, which is very sad.

It would appear, at long last, that the housing market seems to be recovering rather well and many people are still following their dream of living in Spain. I launched Expat Services some time ago, but because of the housing market having taken a dip for quite some time, the need for the services I offer was limited. Over the Christmas and New Year period I watched quite a number of programmes where people were following their dreams of living in Spain and I became more concerned as time went on. The reality of purchasing a property in Spain is far removed from their expectations and priorities. Having bought and sold apartments just recently, the process is far from easy, very expensive and the paperwork and costs change depending on the area. How buyers manage to steer themselves through this formidable process, which I found to be daunting, I don´t know. So many obstacles can trip you up and unless you get experienced, independent and regulated help, mistakes can and do happen. In response to this situation and other services required by the Expats, including wills, taxation, finances, pensions and money exchange, etc. from the middle of February, I will be offering a very good service, Jennifer’s Sound Advice Surgeries, initially from my Javea office. Once a week, the associates that I work alongside with, will be doing a surgery where the first consultation will be free of charge. The professionals, who are all fully regulated, will be a solicitor, structural engineer and currency exchange advisor. You can either drop in and take a chance, or book an appointment by calling 96 579 5372 or email info@expatservicesspain.net.

For those planning to become Residents in Spain, if you are not entitled to the national health service, unlike the UK the government encourage and make it mandatory for you will be required to obtain private health insurance for your application. We can help you here also, as ASSSA Health Insurance supply a certificate that is accepted by the police, on full payment of the policy. It is an excellent policy with a comprehensive list of doctors, consultants and hospitals, and you have a first class back up service in English to assist you.

I understand the banks are yet again encroaching on the insurance business. This time by offering health insurance, which is completely ridiculous. Please do not be tempted to go this route as it will be a nightmare for you. The product that ASSSA offer is an expat policy, designed especially for your needs.

I mention Expat policies quite often but I am not sure if people really understand what I am talking about. An insurance company who invests in setting up a completely different department and policies for the ExPat market, meaning separating what is on offer to the Spanish market place in order to meet the requirements that the Expats expect and often at a more affordable price, due to many reasons but one of the most important is the lower level of car claims from the Expats in comparison, is to be applauded. It also has the knock on benefit of far lower increases on renewal premiums, and of course, documentation and support in English.

Do your research with regard to your own policies and if in doubt, call one of my offices, and one of my Sales Consultants will be able to help you. We sell Liberty Seguros insurance policies, dedicated to the Expats. This also applies to the ASSSA insurance health policy. Why not make it easier for yourself?
When selecting a financial company to deal with your very precious money and pensions, do your due diligence and don´t be persuaded unless you are very comfortable with the regulatory bodies. If you need any advice on this subject, call one of my offices as the two companies I have selected to work with are regulated and secure and carry indemnity insurance.

For further information, contact one of my offices, visit my website www.jennifercunningham.net or email info@jennifercunningham.net.

Packages tailor-made for expats

Here at Jennifer Cunningham insurance we work closely with two legal companies, one in the south and one in the north with many years of experience working in Spain. They have tailor made packages specifically designed for expats needs, with Brexit on the horizon the consulate is advising that you seek residencia, signing onto the padron and seeking advice on your taxation needs. Here at Jennifer Cunningham insurance this is where we can help you. Below are a few services mentioned starting with conveyancing, before you start to even look for a property to purchase you need a solicitor straight away to help you through the minefield of a different language and culture.

Inheritance tax in Spain can be quite daunting and expensive and you need to understand that you will need to find the funds very quickly.  If you consider the assets you owned in Spain as a surprise box that no one can open until you are gone, you are placing your family in a difficult situation. Independently of the size of your estate, there is a variety of reason to contemplate having an Inheritance plan. The associates have developed  a complete service which interconnects all the legal, fiscal and practical matters  in dealing with the inheritance process, making things simple for your beneficiaries and family.

Making a Spanish will can help ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way you intend. If you are due to inherit assets in Spain the process can be difficult, long and very expensive if you don’t have it and you make it far simpler and quicker for your loved ones to reside in a different country and have no wills in place it doesn’t make sense.

Taxes rules that operate can be difficult to understand and if you don’t follow them correctly you can be subject to fines and interest payments. Unfortunately we all have to pay taxes and with Brexit its even more important to understand in which country you must pay the taxes. Their is also module 720 which is your worldwide assets which if they are in access of 50,000 they have to be declared. Our trusted teams are there to help you and assist you getting it right in finding the correct solution for you.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the team for  further information by emailing info@expatservicesspain.net

Currency Exchange

THE COST savings of using a specialist currency company are attractive but I have been put off as I understand there could be extra work involved. I also have concerns regarding the safety of my money – am I being over cautious?

Specialist currency providers are becoming popular choices for British ex-pats living in Spain or, indeed, those returning to the UK. Opening a trading facility is much easier and quicker than you may think but is necessary to comply with European KYC anti-money laundering legislation.

Our associates offers the option for customers to apply for registration on-line, via our website, which is a short and straight forward process. Alternatively, customers can simply complete a paper registration form. Additional documentation such as proof of identity and proof of address may be required in some cases.

For the small amount of effort to apply for an account, there are many potential benefits available. These include potential cost savings and the advantage of having a range of currency services that are not always offered by traditional financial institutions, such as high street banks. Trading is also straightforward and is normally conducted over the telephone.

Put simply, you can have access to great rates along with ‘real time’ information on the market which can help you to trade your currency at an advantageous time. Using a specialist currency company means you can arrange to have the rate monitored on your behalf, to help you make the most of market movements and potentially avoid trading when the market is not favourable for you.

Purchasing a Forward Contract, means that you can fix the prevailing rate of exchange to buy currency now, to be settled at a determined date in the future, thus avoiding any potential impact from subsequent market fluctuations. A deposit of 10% of the total amount is required for this service.

The question of security is completely understandable and one that any client needs to be comfortable with.

There are certain questions that will allow you to choose a currency provider with confidence and should be addressed if you have any doubts:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many staff do you have?
  • What is your turnover?
  • How many clients do you deal with each year?
  • Do you have any other divisions as part of the company?
  • Do you speculate with the funds?
  • How do you handle client funds?
  • Do you have audited accounts at Companies House?
  • Where are your offices?
  • Are you Financial Conduct Authority regulated?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many staff do you have? (Over 760 last year)
  • What is your turnover?
  • How many clients do you deal with each year? (We executed over 7 million client transactions in 2016)
  • Do you have any other divisions as part of the company? (Yes. Retail, Wholesale, Commercial including an award-winning on line trading platform)
  • Do you speculate with the funds?
  • How do you handle client funds? (All client funds are safeguarded in segregated client bank accounts.)
  • Do you have audited accounts at Companies House?
  • Where are your offices?
  • Are you regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority?