Why Expats Need Independent Specialists
We at C R & Cie. are entirely focused on catering to Expats in Germany. Many financial institutions in Germany; banks, insurance companies or the all-too-prevailing pyramid-structure, as well as multi-tied sales organizations, often think that if one of their staff speaks decent enough English it means they can offer advice to Expats.
It takes much more than that to become a genuinely qualified and dedicated adviser for Expats – at least in Germany.
1. There are all kind of limitations and restrictions on foreigners in the German insurance systems, especially in health insurance. It requires special, detailed knowledge to advise Expats properly, as it makes a huge difference whether you;
-come from an EU member-state or from outside the EU with a time-limited visa or residence permit;
-come as an employee or self-employed;
-come as a single person or with family;
-intend to stay only for a couple of years or indefinitely, and so on.
Knowing which kind of insurance will allow a certain Expat with his or her individual needs to be properly cared for is a field for experts – and that is what we are. Everyone who tries to offer advice to Expats as an afterthought, as a ‘me-to’ kind of business, will either fail miserably or will lead the Expat into a solution that is most likely less than ideal.
2. For some nations and their citizens, there are severe limitations to what pension plans and investments are available here in Germany. US citizens in particular often suffer from being rejected by German institutions (banks, insurance companies, investment companies). This is in part due to the effect of the Sec.Act of 1933, on institutions outside the US, in reporting to the US tax authorities. This problem has been compounded by the recent introduction of the FATCA regulations. There are, however, still enough ways to set a US citizen up with decent, tax-subsidized pension plans or investment portfolios within Germany. You just have to know how and where to get these. Again, this is a field for experts, and that is what we are.
3. Expats coming over from the UK might want to transfer pension capital into German tax-subsidized plans. Reading the QROPS list published by the HMRC is simple enough, but finding the best solution for you in Germany, from the available plans, is a field for experts. This is why you should get us involved and avoid those vultures circling your money with unnecessary fees and dubious offshore solutions. Far too many UK citizens have found after a while that the plans offered to them were violating the QROPS rules, and they may now face serious tax penalties. There are also „advisers“ on the market in Germany who offer very expansive and highly dubious „Offshore plans“ for QROPS – please be very wary about those and always get a second opinion from experts like us
4. Finally – and this, we feel, is the most important point – having the specialised knowledge to guide expats through the maze of German laws and regulations is certainly a must, and something you would hope to expect from any decent adviser. We only accept advisers into our team who have had extensive experience as expats themselves, somewhere in the world. They need to have experienced firsthand how it feels to be vulnerable, uncertain and confused by the systems of a new country, in order to be a genuinely qualified adviser. They will go that extra mile for their clients, because they know what it’s like. You can find out about their individual Expat experience, and stories from all our advisers, when you check out the team members HERE.