Event Review: Financial Advice for Expat Professionals Seminar

DeVere Group are an international independent financial advisory organisation who operate in a vast array of markets around the world. On 21st and 22nd of November, in Chongqing and Chengdu respectively, Phil Morris – a deVere financial advisor based in Shanghai, held seminars regarding expat finance management. The seminars were very useful as both personal and corporate finances can be a headache for many expats living in China for a variety of reasons. The events had some useful insights and advice regarding both troubleshooting and investment opportunities. Throughout both the seminars we touched on many issues such as: Retirement plans (including UK pension transfers), off-shore holdings, investments, Fintech like Blockchain/cryptocurrency and how international mortgages work.

As the attendees of the events were predominantly young professionals, Phil took a focus more related to investment and let the retirement advice take a back seat. We looked at whether it was better to invest money in lump sums or small payments. As well as the distribution of investments with the possibility of holding money off-shore and arranging investments via ‘Core Satellite Theory’ (60-80% split of your investments in multifaceted ‘safe’ industries with 40% in more high risk/high reward industries). We then discussed the investments in more specific terms. For instance, how much money to invest in which industry and the pros and cons for each. Phil also evaluated the following techniques for investment: property, eTorro, and peer to peer lending and what percentage of one’s money should be put in each.

The emerging financial services sector of the 21st century or ‘Fintech’ has prompted a boom in the investment and use of cryptocurrency, this was also something that peaked a lot of people’s interest at the talks. We learned about the volatility of Bitcoin and whether it was worth investing in a product that is based so heavily on speculation, this was also of interest from a China perspective as some of the recent rises and pitfalls of the currency have been down to the Chinese government restrictions. Furthermore, Phil also discussed the emergence of Blockchain – “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” (Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution). This is again, very important as despite the clear merits of this system, the technology can be difficult to understand.  Recently, we have seen that there has been a large amount of interest, namely, because with its implementation comes more transparency and accountability. However, Phil also discussed how the issue of privacy could be a potential hurdle to the system. Both Bitcoin and Blockchain were also discussed with regards to the financial establishment and their attitude and advice towards those investing in cryptocurrency and utilising Blockchain. This element of the talk was therefore useful to expats not only as an avenue for investment and opportunity to learn about a revolutionary new system but also because using cryptocurrency (that uses Blockchain) can be an effective means of extracting money out of China.

Furthermore, after this discussion Phil then went on to explain how DeVere are helping individuals with the launching of their 3 APPs. The first of which is an investment APP which allows clients to purchase Structured Notes, ETFs and Mutual Funds. This APP is designed to provide a platform for day-to-day execution only trading conveniently and at a low cost. The next APP is called ‘deVere Vault’, a low-cost, app-only e-money service, that has been driven by demand from internationally-mobile individuals, and globally-focused firms. Users can open a deVere Vault account quickly, be able to withdraw funds from any cash machine worldwide, receive real-time notifications on all transactions, spend funds on card so long as Mastercard is accepted. The APP can also allow the individual to send and receive funds in most currencies. The final APP which should be launched next month is their cryptocurrency APP whereby one can simply put in their money directly from their bank and invest easily and quickly into Bitcoin amounst other Cryptocurrencies, this will help ease the confusion for those looking to invest in Bitcoin for the first time and provide an easy, more transparent framework by which to do it.

All in all the seminars were a great success and we look forward to welcoming Phil back next year.

Thank you for those in attendance and for those that would like more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@britchamswchina.org