What should you look for in an expat financial adviser?

This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, it is subject to change and we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.

Choosing the right financial adviser is a very important decision. Whilst it is a very positive step to work with an experienced professional, the selection process has its risks. You need to find the right adviser for your needs. This is especially true for British expats living in a country like Spain, where there can be added complexities in the financial planning process due to different cultures, tax laws and language barriers.

Below, our financial planners in Costa Blanca, Spain offer some ideas to help expats evaluate their different options when seeking professional advice. We hope this content is useful to you. If you want to discuss your financial plan with us, please get in touch to arrange a no-obligation financial consultation, at our expense:

+34 966 460 407

Regulation and authorisation

British expats live in many different countries. Unfortunately, many of them do not uphold the same professional standards laid down in the UK by organisations. It always pays to check the regulatory credentials of a financial adviser before working with them. You can find ours in the footer section of our website.

For expats in Spain, you arguably have more protection compared to expats in other non-EU countries. Within the bloc, directives such as the MiFID rules set out some minimum standards for regulated investment firms. However, you will need to check whether the country you live in has specific requirements and standards which help to protect your consumer rights.

Expertise and qualifications

Naturally, you want to consider a financial adviser who is highly competent and has the necessary skills to look after your money. In the UK, the minimum qualification needed to provide clients with financial advice is a level 4 qualification in financial advice recognised by the FCA. In Spain, advisers are also expected to have a similar education level.

For British expats, of course, a key consideration is a financial adviser’s international experience. There are many great UK-based financial firms which offer excellent services to clients living in Britain, but they may be out of their depth regarding international pensions, tax planning and other key areas of cross-border financial planning.

Here, it helps to peruse the financial adviser’s website and other online profiles to gain a sense of their experience level with British expats. Do they have links to both the UK and your new residing country (e.g. Spain)? Have they worked with other people in your position? Does their website speak to individuals in your unique situation as an expat?

Transparency and approach

It is usually a positive sign if a financial adviser is up-front with you and completely open about their costs and charging structure. This helps you to completely understand what you will be paying, avoiding nasty surprises later. All of this should be neatly laid out in clear documentation which you can peruse at your leisure.

When you take that first bold step to speak with a financial adviser, take note of their approach and how they speak to you. Do they talk down to you or use complicated language which is hard to understand? Or do they listen and explain things clearly – helping you feel empowered in your financial choices?

A good financial adviser will never push you into making rushed decisions and will give you enough time to consider your options using the best available information. Also, a reputable adviser will make you aware of investment risks, avoiding talk of “guaranteed” returns with no/minimal risk. Another positive sign is if the adviser takes time to give you personalised advice rather than offering you a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Proof of success

A financial adviser can talk a lot about themselves. Yet what do others have to say about them, especially other expat clients? Here, it helps to have ready access to authentic testimonials, case studies and reviews from those who have worked with the business. Referrals from friends, family and trusted colleagues can also help. Areas to look for social proof include the adviser’s website, industry platforms and personal connections in your expat circle.

Awareness and objectivity

The markets and economic landscape are always changing. Laws, regulations and conditions in the UK, Spain and other parts of the world rarely stand still. A competent international financial adviser will be up to date with current financial events and how they affect clients, reassuring them appropriately. A financial adviser should also demonstrate a commitment to ongoing education and professional development.

A good financial adviser will also continually demonstrate a commitment to objectivity. This may manifest itself as giving you advice which may not align with your beliefs. After all, if a financial adviser is truly dedicated to serving your best interests, they will tell you when they believe you may be heading in the wrong direction with your financial decisions!


If you are interested in discussing your own financial plan or inheritance tax strategy with us, please get in touch to arrange a no-commitment financial consultation at our expense:

+34 966 460 407



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