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As a South African living abroad, choosing the right partner to handle your money matters – whether it’s for financial emigration purposes, or you need to make an international transfer, – is a big decision to make. You’ll need to do just as much research into choosing your financial services partner, as you did when considering your emigration destination options. Let’s take a look at why this matters, and how you can be sure you’re doing your homework properly to connect with the right experts for the job.

 

Legislative change is coming, expats must be prepared

 

Picking an authorised, competent service provider you can trust is critical, especially where it’s your money and assets involved. From an exchange control perspective, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has a keen interest in the movement of your money and other assets, and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will be interested from a tax perspective.

 

As long as you’re considered a tax resident of this country, no matter where you live, SARS considers you one of their own and they expect you to pay your tax (There are exceptions to this, in the form of Double Taxation Agreements). Impending tax legislation changes will see globally-dispersed South African tax residents working abroad taxed on up to 45% of their foreign employment income if it’s more than R1 million, as of 1 March 2020.

 

Financial emigration isn’t a quick-fix

To avoid the long-reaching arm of SARS, it has been suggested that South African expats living abroad should urgently complete the process of financial emigration. Financial emigration from South Africa has a range of benefits, provided you get the correct tax advice before making the first step and applying with the SARB.. Just because you’re not living in South Africa, doesn’t mean you necessarily need to financially emigrate.

 

South Africa’s financial emigration process is not as easy as it might sound, and it involves more than simply physically shifting your assets to a new global location. If, on the other hand, your mind is made up and you’d like to wrap up all your South African financial affairs, cash in your retirement annuities and other policies and transfer the proceeds abroad so you’ll be fully prepared for the next phase of life in your new home country, then financial emigration is the way to do this.

 

However, even if financial emigration isn’t on the cards for you, choosing a cross-border financial services partner is still essential to ensure that the movement of any assets or money does not put you in violation of tax or exchange control regulations.

 

Here are some tips on what to look for in an expert to ensure you’re in safe hands

With the impending legislative changes, there will always be fly-by-night companies looking to make a quick buck off South African expats. To avoid being taken for a ride, look for the following in a cross-border financial services partner:

 

  1. Make sure they’ve got the right accreditations and qualifications.
  2. The more credentials, the better.  You’re looking for a Licensed Financial Services Provider with the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). If they’re not licensed, you’re not interested. It also counts heavily in their favour and gives massive credibility if the company is:
     

    • Registered with South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC)
    • Licensed as a Treasury Outsourced Company with SARB
    • An approved SARS foreign exchange intermediary.
      This is important because you want to know that every transaction you make will be secure and on the right side of the law. All of these credentials mean that your money is safe and compliance will be taken care of by the experts.
  3. Look for a mixture of expertise and specialisations.
  4. What you want is a financial services company that’s made up of a diversity of skills, specialisations and areas. You want certified international financial planners, legal advisors, tax lawyers and accountants to provide a holistic view across your cross-border finances and taxes. They must be real, qualified people. Check out their LinkedIn profiles, make sure they’re real humans before you do business with them.

     

  5. Dig into their customer testimonials
  6. If people are happy with the financial services provider you’re currently considering, there will be online evidence to corroborate their experience. Similarly, if there have been horror stories, you’ll know who to avoid. Look for companies that have many years of solid experience, with thousands of satisfied customers to vouch for their services.

     

  7. Take a look at their fee structure
  8. If the company requires any payment upfront, you’d do well to keep looking at other options. Reputable, dependable companies that can be trusted to deliver on their promises will only expect to be paid a fee once they’ve delivered. Fees will also be discussed in a transparent manner upfront, and will be predictable from the outset if they’re a legitimate financial services provider.

FinGlobal ticks all the necessary boxes as the right cross-border financial services partner for South Africans living abroad. We’ve got all the right credentials (and plenty of them!) and we only employ accredited financial experts with the right mix of skills. We’ve formed strategic partnerships with all necessary South African financial institutions and regulatory authorities to ensure that everything we do is fully-compliant. We’ve also got more than 34 000 satisfied customers (with 100% success rate) to attest to the fact our fees are payable only on completion of the agreed services.

 

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today to discuss your financial emigration requirements.