It’s now five years since the EU referendum and every day I get more and more angry about the consequences of leaving the EU. There are so many reasons that I could probably write a book but for today the email that I am forced to send to some of my clients is enough. I have changed the personal details in the following email but apart from that everything is accurate.
Dear Micheal and Kathleen
I hope that you and your family are keeping well. Tricia and myself have had our first Pfizer vaccinations and we are starting to feel that light is somewhere in the distance.
Me and my family have spent almost five years fighting Brexit, but the English nationalists have taken control and we are where we are (for the moment!). In the so-called negotiations the English right wing cared nothing for anyone other than themselves. In order to get their way, they rode roughshod over anyone who didn’t agree and didn’t care about Scotland, Gibraltar, Northern Ireland, and I’m afraid that anyone beyond the Pale were disregarded entirely.
One of the many sad consequences of Brexit is that with effect from 1st January 2021 all UK Financial Advisers have lost their European Financial Advice passport and they can no longer advise any clients who do not reside in the UK. I have many clients like yourselves who live in Ireland, France, Spain, even the Czech Republic who I am having to contact to tell them that I can no longer advise them or help them in any way.
We first met at your home in Johnson Road in April 1993, almost 28 years ago, and I will be sad that I will no longer be your adviser, but I hope that we can stay in touch. I have promised myself a tour of Ireland for 2022 and who knows but it would be nice to meet, perhaps Micheal could show me where to get a good pint of Guinness.
As a result of the hard Brexit you are now left with a problem because you have investments held in the UK under UK taxation rules. Currently there is no decision on how long you can keep these for or what the taxation status is likely to be. There are already limitations because you cannot add to them, and your investment choices are restricted. Some funds have already been sold down into cash because they could no longer be held by anyone not living in the UK. If you draw funds out, they must be paid into a UK bank account and fortunately you still have your Cater Allen account open which could receive the funds. How long you will be able to keep your Cater Allen account is not guaranteed; some of my clients who live in France and Spain have been left with a problem because companies like Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC have closed their accounts for EU residents.
Because of the bank account issue you may a problem even receiving your UK state pensions or even if these payments are guaranteed. Many people who live in non-European countries do not receive the annual indexation in their state pensions – ten years or more without any indexation in your pension makes a huge difference to your standard of living and while for you that is a few years off it is better that you should know now.
Going back to your investments one option is that you could engage an Irish adviser and I have some contacts who I could put you in touch with if you want, however they are likely to charge you and I don’t want you to incur unnecessary expense.
The simplest way forward would be for you to instruct a full withdrawal of your investments and deposit them to your Cater Allen bank account and if this is what you decide to do I will get one of my team, to send you the necessary forms. As far as I am aware Cater Allen have not yet put in place plans to close their UK accounts to people living outside the UK but who knows whether that will last. After the funds have been deposited to Cater Allen you can transfer them to your Irish accounts and move from pounds to Euros.
We have not yet managed to talk by phone and while it would still be good to talk your options were probably much better explained in writing. If you have any queries or questions, please ask.
Alan — Interface Financial Planning
I’ve had to send similar emails to clients who now live in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Czech Republic. I have suffered a loss in income as a consequence, but many people and organisations have lost income as a result of leaving the EU. What I am particularly annoyed about is that I have worked with these clients for many years so that they can live their dreams and for some of them their dreams have been shattered. The FCA states that I have a duty of care to my clients, but I can no longer provide them with the care that they need and deserve. We all have different reasons for being angry about leaving the EU and thank you for letting me share one of mine. If you would like to share your reasons for being angry about leaving the EU it would be great to hear from you.