As news broke this week of UK expats facing closures of their overseas bank accounts and credit cards, the industry has seen mass hysteria with many clients of UK banks thrown into disarray, and disturbingly, attempts to further fan the flames of panic from unlicensed brokerages.
However, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that proactivity equates to protection, writes John Westwood, group managing director at Blacktower Financial Management.
While the thousands of bank accounts are not stated to close until 31 December 2020, in the occurrence of a no-deal Brexit, it is prudent to act sooner rather than later.
Check the facts
These account closures are not fake news, and the prospect of thousands losing credit cards, bank accounts and investments in December is very real.
But your first course of action must be to confirm any impact to the status of your account with your bank.
There are caveats to these closures, such as whether you still hold a UK address and whether certain savings products will be still permitted in Europe.
Speak to your bank and make sure you receive full clarification on your situation before taking any action.
A hard rule of investing is to remove the emotion and remain practical.
If your finances will be affected by these closures, you must act swiftly, but not impetuously.
Avoid sensationalist headlines, and remove the emotion from your planning; a rash decision could have an irrevocable impact on your savings and investments.
One thing expats can do, is open a bank account in their country of residence to err on the side of caution. Even a small deposit into an international account will ensure that you have a back-up plan in place.
Talk to a professional
These circumstances are nuanced, with a no-deal Brexit still hanging in the balance alongside the continuous effects the world is seeing from covid-19.
Now is the time to talk to an experienced, licensed financial adviser to guide you through this time of unpredictability and work with you to protect both your finances and your future.
This article was written for International Adviser by John Westwood, group managing director at Blacktower Financial Management.