Guest Blog - Bex Goater, Network Insurance & Financial Planning
In this month’s guest blog, we speak to Bex Goater, Director of Network Insurance & Financial Planning. In this article, Bex explains the importance of those relocating to the island seeking bespoke financial advice.
This article has been prepared for general guidance and interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. No liability is accepted for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of the content and the same is specifically excluded.
I have lived in Guernsey for more than a decade now, but it felt like home from the day I landed here. Our island charmed me with its warm weather, safe surroundings, and of course, the endless beautiful sea views. I also love the fact that everyone seemed to know everyone. It took me a while, but now when I walk down the High Street, I too say hello to a number of people on my travels.
However, there is one thing about Guernsey that can be a challenge upon moving here, and that is the differences compared to the UK. Not that it is challenging to get used to island life; rather to find out what you need to know.
I think many non-islanders (or even new islanders) are aware that our tax system is not the same as that in the UK. But there are other differences, such as the structure of the government, our healthcare system, pensions and benefits system, and of course, the filter in turn (which is wonderful). It was also a shock to discover there was no McDonald’s!
One challenge I faced at the start of my career as a financial adviser was finding out Guernsey-specific information. Not the headline rules that apply to all, as these are relatively easily found; but the niche ‘applies to one client every five years’ kind of information.
Online research of any topic will generally lead you to details and information relating to our mainland friends, which makes sense since said rules apply to around 67 million people. Our rules apply to only 63 thousand people, and even inserting ‘Guernsey’ in the search function doesn’t always yield results.
Why am I writing about this? Well, I have realised the importance of our local advisers to those who are new (and old) to the island. Such advisers have built up a wealth of Guernsey-specific knowledge – gathered from government resources, case studies, industry contacts, and even the asking of many questions over the years.
Having now worked in financial advice for a decade, I can answer most questions I get from any newcomer straight away, and I also have a pack of information that I know is immediately useful for all newbies, about topics that they may not even have considered when relocating.
Our different tax rules can impact upon ongoing suitability of investments and bank accounts, so these should be reviewed when moving to the island. While some UK investments may remain an option, there may be offshore-based investments that are much more tax efficient for a non-UK resident.
In addition, some insurance products, (including life insurance), that may have been purchased when living in the UK, may not be valid to Guernsey residents. It would be sensible to check these to ensure any future claim would be valid and consider new policies if not.
Pensions also need to be considered, both in the short term and longer term, and it is likely that contributions into non-Guernsey pensions should be ceased after a while, or they become tax inefficient.
And these are just some of the areas that differ, there of course many other considerations.
So, what would I recommend to a new island resident? Well, I would suggest initially visiting an independent financial adviser and insurance broker. They will be able to review your financial situation and existing plans holistically, and then, if required, assist with making changes or setting up new plans suitable for the new island.
Network Insurance & Financial Planning Limited can offer holistic independent financial and insurance advice. For further information please visit www.network.gg.
If you are considering relocating to the island, the team at Locate Guernsey are on hand to provide confidential guidance throughout your relocation journey free of charge. If you would like to understand how Guernsey could work for you, please get in touch on 01481 220011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.