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Saranac Widens Choice For US Expats With New Wealth Offering

Jackie Bennion

9 July 2019

US citizens and Green Card holders living abroad are only too familiar with the compliance headaches that dual status brings. As this publication has previously mentioned, the US is only one of two countries (the other is Eritrea) that has the temerity to tax nationals on their global income no matter where they reside. This financial grip on patrons has created a veritable obstacle course of avoiding being thwacked by a punitive double-tax on holdings.

Stepping in to navigate this terrain, private client advisory firm  has launched a wealth advisory, investment management, lending and tax reporting service geared specifically for US citizens and Green Card holders. The new offering, launched on Monday, will support active management, asset allocation, bespoke construction, product selection and FX overlays, the firm said. More broadly, it will give such clients access to specialist tax, estate-planning and succession advice to make sure that they are fully versed “on two very different tax regimes.”

Meeting compliance rules for Americans has become more onerous since the FATCA (Foreign Account Taxation Compliance Act) was enacted under President Obama in late 2010. It caused large banks such as Deutsche and HSBC to stop taking on new US clients and to close the accounts of some existing ones. Equally, a pool of wealth managers has seen the tailored offering as a way of attracting and retaining wealthy US clients, and differentiating themselves. Firms such as Royal Bank of Canada, Schroders, London & Capital, Maseco and Vontobel are all offering strands of expertise to US expats in different parts of the world. Last month this newswire reported on London-based James Hambro & Partners joining the fray.

Saranac's CEO and Eurasia specialist Sean West remarked last week that the special relationship between the US and the UK had entered a new phase, with the US pushing a more assertive and unilateral agenda with plenty more flux on the horizon. The group's UK head of wealth advisory, Stephen Griffiths, suggested that against this "backdrop," with regulatory and compliance burdens increasing, now is a good time to guide US individuals in the UK. "We have a deep knowledge of the challenges of investing for US persons abroad and provide an integrated wealth management solution, which encompasses multiple aspects of our proposition,” he said.

The problems faced by US citizens living overseas has prompted a number of them to renounce their citizenship. While estimates vary widely, there are said to be as many as eight million US expats.