Managing your taxes, mortgages, investments and pension planning while living away from your home country can be tough. Expat Living asked four readers where they sought professional financial advice or service from and how they benefitted.
MBFC Branch (DBS)
12 Marina Boulevard
Level 3 MBFC Tower 3
1800 111 1111 | dbs.com.sg
“I’ve been using DBS for setting up in Singapore – for personal and business accounts, financial planning and tax advice.
I saw the DBS branding regularly here. Initially, we set up our business account with another Singapore bank but had difficulties with the provision of passwords and access to internet banking. After asking around we were recommended to switch to DBS.
DBS has provided rapid, quality service and their proactive sales people have the knowledge and ability to make decisions and think for themselves.
They provided the services we needed for business banking and personal banking needs. They provided us with cards and passwords quickly, and easy access to internet banking. They even offered extra services such as insurance. We would certainly consider them for services in the future, as their processes and systems seem very efficient compared to other banks.
For fellow expats, I would suggest you do your own research and understand the rules and processes in Singapore – don’t simply trust the person giving you advice. Also, realise that you may not be able to get immediate access to a business credit card.”
James Breeze, Australia
80 Raffles Place
#26-05 UOB Plaza 1
6632 8555 | globaleye.sg
“We were looking for a remortgage on our London flat, as the interest rate was extremely high with our UK bank. We were also seeking general advice on financial planning, short-term savings plans and National Insurance Contributions.
A friend recommended Global Eye. When we first met Andrew Talbot several years ago, we were pleased with his common sense approach and broad knowledge on financial planning. Besides wanting to reduce the high interest rate we were paying for our mortgage, we also wanted to build a property portfolio. We are less interested in traditional pension plans.
We now have a critical illness and life protection policy through Global Eye. We have very recently completed the remortgage for our flat in London on Andrew’s recommendation, which is saving us over £500 a month. Andrew is straight-forward, not pushy and understands our needs; we meet up for coffee every few months.”
Adam and Lucy Hemming, UK
10 Jalan Besar
#17-01 Sim Lim Tower
6293 4148 | smats.net
“Years ago, we met Steve Douglas at an Australian High Commission function. He mentioned he was an accountant and I immediately told him that my husband had not completed a tax return for years. He told us to bundle everything, send it over and he would take care of it. And he did!
Since that opportune meeting, we have made significant changes in the way we handle our finances by making good investments along the way, and we are now closer to being financially independent. We had one property we were madly trying to reduce the debt on, but we found that this was a major mistake. Steve set about educating us on how to use the tax laws to our advantage while living away from Australia. We were able to set up our own business back in 2001 and have bought the home that we currently live in largely due to some good decisions made after receiving advice from SMATS.
Steve Douglas and Helen Avis have become good friends of ours and we value their opinions. In fact, we don’t make any financial decision without first discussing it with them.”
Kathy McMahon, Australia
112 Robinson Road, #12-01
6222 3209 | sovereigngroup.com
“I first heard about Sovereign Trust through Gary Smithson, my financial advisor at iFS. They have over 20 offices worldwide and a great reputation for general trust work as well as the Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), which I was interested in.
Given the constantly shifting financial climate, my main concern was flexibility. Fortunately, Sovereign Trust has established and administered QROPS in several jurisdictions and provides a one-stop solution should I ever move into other jurisdictions. Besides that, QROPS has many added benefits, such as allowing 100 percent of the fund to be passed on to nominated beneficiaries on death, and it gives me greater control over the investment of my retirement fund. I am also able to swap between sovereign schemes free of charge.
My best advice to fellow expats on handling financial matters would be this: have a good financial advisor, but trust nobody – do your homework and make sure the investment vehicle is the right one for you and is aligned to your risk requirements.”
Izzi Woodrow, UK