According to a post written on Financial Advisor IQ and Advisorhub, Wells Fargo has decided to shut down its international investing segment of their businesses in order to better focus their offerings. This will directly impact U.S. expats as well as expat-focused financial advisors. While this is a relatively small part of Wells Fargo’s business, it may have a material impact on financial advisors as well as clients abroad.

If I am a U.S. Expat Client, What Is Likely to Happen and What Should I Do?

Usually clients won’t be shuttered overnight, but clients will likely have to transfer their accounts out by a certain date (estimated in the Financial Advisor IQ article to be September 2021, but is not certain). Failure to act may lead to trading restrictions or possibly even account closures. Clients that this impacts will be sent communications, but it is relatively safe to assume if you have a non-U.S. address and are not an active duty U.S. military member or a U.S. government employee, this is highly to affect your investment accounts.

Due diligence should be conducted on investment advisors and brokerage firms that can hold assets for U.S. expats. We wrote a previous blog post that discusses the best brokerage options available for expats. As due diligence is pursued, you will want to consider investment offerings, currency trading choices, and fees across available custodians. When vetting financial advisors you will want to check their educational backgrounds, compliance records, and experience. While we have a conflict of interest in saying this, we believe that expatriate clients are best served by advisors that have a speciality in this area instead of a “generalist”.

I am an Expat Focused Financial Advisor. What Should I Do?

If a significant part of your assets come from international domiciled clients, including expats, it may be time to look for a new home. Wells Fargo is a member of the “Protocol”, making it easier to leave without significant legal issues. It is still best to hire counsel to assure you won’t run into problems as you depart. In looking for new employment, you will want to look at firms that are committed to helping international clients and have a number of custodial options in case of future changes in offerings by brokerage houses. Should you want to have a conversation with us at Walkner Condon, contact Clint Walkner at [email protected].

For more information on our U.S. expat services, please visit our website.