The Spectrum IFA Group was established in 2003 and they have over 50 financial advisers across Europe making them one of the largest in terms of adviser numbers in Europe. Their reliable expat financial advisers offer impartial financial advice in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Malta.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Quinn from Spectrum Portugal who is a dual-qualified, chartered financial planner and tax adviser with over 20 years’ experience in finance and investment. He offers great expertise on all financial matters to expats living in Portugal or planning to move to Portugal from anywhere in the world.

Mark moved to the Algarve in 2014, due to the quality of life the Algarve offers and its advantageous location. He joined Spectrum last year and has been successfully running their new centrally located office in Almancil, following working for a company called Blevins Franks. Mark knows the Portuguese system really well from having lived here for 8 years so he is able to give expert advice. “I have gone through the same experiences that new residents of the country will be going through themselves.”

Dual qualified

One particularly unique aspect of Spectrum Portugal is that “I am the only dual-qualified Chartered Financial Planner and Tax Adviser in Portugal. We feel that it is important to be qualified to the highest level in order to provide the best advice to our clients.”

What Spectrum Portugal can offer clients

Mark explained that what they offer is “impartial, international financial advice, which is quite unique out here as many companies are restricted. We are not owned by, or have exclusivity agreements with, any insurance companies or banks so we can truly give clients completely impartial advice.”

He added that “the first stage is always helping people with where they are at the moment, because a lot of people are not necessarily resident in Portugal and may need advice in how to leave their current country of residence. We can help them with all the planning they need to do before they leave and offer advice throughout the process.”

“Our main focus is tax planning, how to exit the UK tax system (or from wherever you are in the world) and make a clean break, how to financially position yourself in the best manner for Portugal and most importantly, the correct order and timing of any steps that need to be taken. For example, I am currently helping some clients moving from the middle and far east restructure their assets. Specifically, what to do with their cash, investments and pension policies because they must sync with the Portuguese tax system.”

Additionally, “we are here to hold our client’s hand during the process and where necessary, we will help people with the auxiliary things that surround financial advice such as property and insurances by introducing them to the right local contacts.”

Most popular services

Mark told me that the most popular services he provides are investment and pension planning. “What you find is that if you are coming from outside Portugal, you generally have set up structures that work for your originating country. So, for example, a British person might have an ISA and Premium Bonds, which are not tax efficient out here. It is important to arrange your pensions, savings and investments in a way that works for Portugal and the EU in general.”

Tailored to each client’s specific needs

I asked Mark why people should seek Spectrum Portugal’s help, rather than a bank, for example. He told me, “Spectrum does not have any corporate shareholders, therefore Spectrum advisers can select products and services that are suitable for our clients from a wide range of financial institutions. Bank products, or advisory firms that are restricted in their offering, are very limited and may not be able to offer the most appropriate solution for you.”

Free consultation

Mark explained that “we give the consultations for free because it is an opportunity for us to gauge if it is something we can help with and it gives clients an opportunity to vet us, and vice versa, to see if we can work together long term. This way we do not charge clients unnecessarily if they do not need our input.”

If you look at our fee basis as well, it is completely transparent. Some companies hide their fees or bundle them, so it is very difficult to work how much they are being charged by the adviser. We work on a fully transparent basis so the client knows exactly how much they are paying.”

Long term relationship

Mark explained that “Spectrum’s long-term model means they are committed to continued financial advice and support. It really is a long-term relationship, with some of our clients having worked with their adviser for more than 15 years. We also meet with our clients on a frequent basis, whatever the client feels is necessary but at least once a year. This is a very important part of ongoing financial planning so we can act during any inevitable changes.”

“Even if you already have an adviser, I strongly encourage people to get a second opinion and review their situation to ensure they are really getting the best advice and a fair deal.”

For further information please visit www.spectrum-ifa.com as they have informative articles and guides. To book your first consultation please contact Mark Quinn at mark.quinn@spectrum-ifa.com.