Face to face, or on the phone?
One of the deciding factors when choosing an IFA is whether to insist on a local firm enabling you to meet your planner in person, or to deal with a professional over the phone and by email. Some expats will want to see someone face to face in order to “look them in the eye” or some similar reason. The reality is that on rethinking this is usually unnecessary – after all, how many of us visit their branch when they conduct banking transactions?
For most of us, the phone, or even less personal, the internet, is all that’s required. Many of us find it difficult to take an hour or more out of our schedules to visit an IFA – phone calls can be scheduled when it’s convenient and rarely take longer than 20 minutes.
However the biggest reason to have a phone relationship with an international IFA is to maintain the financial relationship longer than you plan to stay in any one location. Put another way, what is the point in making a 25 year financial plan, when you’ll only stay within range of your local IFA for another 5 years? What is the point is taking out offshore financial products which are highly mobile when your IFA isn’t? It’s critical that the same company which made the plan initially, takes responsibility for keeping it on track throughout its life.
Importantly, Expat & Offshore recommends IFAs which are truly international in their outlook and that are able to look after you wherever you might be.