deVere USA Inc. invites St. George’s Society members to ask questions relating to all aspects of their Financial Planning
deVere USA Inc. recently co-hosted a seminar with the British Consulate-General and we were delighted that many St. George’s Society members were able to attend. At the end of the session we were inundated with questions and queries at varying levels of complexity. As a result we would like to invite all members to ask any pertinent questions on any aspect of Financial Planning that is relevant to their situation. Our commitment is to provide prompt and comprehensive answers.
The areas that you wish to ask questions on may include the following:
-Asset Allocation Models
-UK & Foreign Pensions
-College / University Funding
-General Saving – Best Routes
-Existing Legacy Plans
-Estate Planning – UK IHT, US Estate Taxes
-Questions regarding existing arrangements
-Estate and Succession Planning
“I have recently received a letter from my UK pension scheme to advise that the Trustees are reviewing my future pension benefits. Surely my final salary pension is guaranteed so how can they change this when I am so close to retirement?”
Unfortunately, final salary pension schemes are not guaranteed and do rely on the scheme remaining solvent when you retire and for the duration of your retirement. With unprecedented levels of debt within the UK we are seeing a growing number of public and private sector pension schemes looking to change the benefits their members will receive. One common method is to change the age at which the member can retire from say age 65 to age 67. The most common change we have encountered and by far the most effective is to change the indexation on pensions from RPI (Retail Price Index) to CPI (Consumer Price Index), currently CPI is 1% less than RPI and when compounded over the lifetime of your pension payments can have a significant impact on your pension payments. Whilst for the pension administrator it helps reduce their pension liabilities, it only reduces the entitlement of the pension members themselves.
“I have been in the US for over 15 years and during my time worked for four separate companies, at the moment I have 3 separate frozen 401k pension arrangements, I am not actively managing the schemes nor is my advisor, is there a way I can consolidate the three into one and better affect the returns?”
Yes a very easy process is to roll all of your frozen 401k assets into an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), there is no tax payable on the roll and you have the ease to administer only one scheme not three, generally with cheaper fees and wider investment flexibility. Having regular reviews of portfolio performance quarterly alongside your advisor, generally will increase returns.
“I am the CEO of a small sized company in the US, currently we operate a 401k scheme with 400 members, as pension trustee I have a fiduciary duty to ensure the members get the best deal. I feel the current expense ratios on our scheme are high and investment options out dated but do not really know what other options exist and have not got a great amount of time to investigate, can you provide assistance with this?”
deVere USA has an in-house corporate benefits team who specialize in this area with particular reference to small – medium sized enterprises. Generally speaking if you have operated your 401k scheme for a number of years your expense ratios are higher, typically around 3-4% and there are much more cost effective solutions available where we can reduce this to around 1% by using ETF driven models for example. The process of reviewing and providing a solution is not arduous and will not expend a lot of time on your part.
“I left the UK over 20 years ago and been tax resident in the USA ever since, I still have property in the UK but nothing else, given I have been outside the UK for so long and non-resident then I assume I do not need to worry about UK Inheritance Tax (IHT), is this true?”
No unfortunately not, if you are a UK national you automatically obtain the domicile of your father at birth so assuming he was a UK national then you are also considered UK domicile and subject to UK Inheritance Tax on your worldwide assets. Being resident in the US does not change this. Therefore typically each spouse assuming both UK nationals have a 325, 000 nil rate band, total inter-spousal 650,000 gbp. Above which you are subject to IHT at 40%.
It is very easy to change your tax residence, almost impossible to change your domicile and is a common misconception amongst UK expats in particular.
If you have any questions on any aspect of Financial Planning please contact:
deVere (USA) Inc.
Phone: (direct) 646-664-0693