Wealth management is often a concern for expats in Malta, and the country is establishing itself as one of the world’s leading offshore financial centres. Services on offer within Malta range from tax planning, private banking services and asset protection, to traditional money lending and investment management. These services are all regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority, or MFSA, which places a strong emphasis on consumer protection.
In many cases, professional wealth managers are the best source to turn to for assistance when you are in need of help with financial planning. After all, while a bank can also offer financial advice, ultimately that advice will be geared towards encouraging you to store money at their particular bank.
As an alternative, fee-based financial advice is often worthwhile for those with significant wealth, because the fees involved are often off-set by the substantial returns made possible by the wealth that is available to be invested.
Issues for Expatriates in Malta
As an expatriate living in Malta, wealth management can become vastly more complicated, because there are cross-border issues that need to be taken into account. Some of the most notable issues are as follows:
- Asset protection
- Social security arrangements
- Possible effects on pension rights
- Residency status and income tax obligations
- Availability of Euro-denominated assets
- Availability of assets in your country or origin
- Foreign exchange exposure
- Legislation surrounding inheritance
- Inheritance tax planning.
When leaving your home country, you need to consider all of the necessary paperwork back home as well, such as notifying insurers, transferring to a non-resident bank account and various potential tax compliance issues. Generally, it is best to seek the advice of a wealth manager in your country of origin for these matters.
When seeking financial services, you should consider:
- The language barrier
- Cultural differences
- How easy a wealth manager is to contact?
- Product transparency, especially when it comes to underlying risk.