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Expat Financial Affairs: Free seminars answer key questions
‘Financial affairs’ is a broad term, but the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium tends to hear the same kinds of questions from expats over and over: How do I get a loan to buy property? Will I have enough pension savings?
That’s why these two topics are central to the agenda of Expat Financial Affairs 2017, a free event taking place in downtown Brussels on 10 October. Financial advisors will host talks and answer questions about loans and pensions as well as starting a business.
“Many of our members are expats, and talking to them, we realised that they had many questions about finance-related matters,” says Alexandra Trandafir of the British Chamber of Commerce. “We soon discovered that their questions were the same as many other expats in Brussels. So it only made sense that we organise a conference open to all expats in Belgium that aims to answer these practical questions.”
All the speakers at the event are affiliated with the Brussels branches of BNP Paribas Fortis or The Fry Group Belgium and are experts on financial matters specifically related to expats.
Taking the plunge
“We often hear clients remark that they came to Brussels for two years and are still here 10 or 20 years later!” says Pauline Curran, director of The Fry Group. She emphasises that the fair helps answer expats’ specific questions but also encourages them to take the plunge in certain areas where they are hesitating.
“They might be renting and put off buying property due to high taxes,” she explains. “But with such low rates of interest, the cost of borrowing can mean that it is a sensible option – particularly if you plan to stay for more than five years.”
Pension planning is another area that causes anxiety, with many expats burying their heads in the sand. “We are all aware of changing demographics, people living longer and less workers paying into the systems that will fund state pension for future generations,” says Curran. “The onus is on employers and individuals, and they want to understand the solutions available to them.”
She adds: "Those who have worked in different countries would like to understand how it impacts their pension provision. For those with UK pensions, we offer advice regarding the viability of pension transfers, including QROPS (qualifying overseas pension schemes).
This is the chamber’s fifth time organising Expat Financial Affairs, which has become very popular. “The event is a great opportunity for both our member community and for expats in general who want to learn more about managing their finances,” says Trandafir. “They have direct access to the leading companies focused on servicing those needs.”
Anyone interested in attending the free fair is asked to reserve now as space is limited.
Expat Financial Affairs
Tuesday 10 October, 18.00-22.00
La Chancellerie, 1 Rue de la Chancellerie, 1000 Brussels