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American Abroad and Accounts Being Closed by Fisher Investments

American Abroad and Accounts Being Closed by Fisher Investments

We’ve recently heard from a handful of Americans abroad who had either moved outside of the United States or updated their U.S. address to an international one, resulting in Fisher Investments closing their accounts (or informing of the intent to close their accounts). 

Now, this closing of accounts is nothing new when it comes to Americans moving abroad and trying to seamlessly move their investments with them. But this is the first we’ve heard of the account issues with Fisher Investments for U.S. expats. However, regardless of the brokerage, we’ve helped seek out solutions for U.S. expats in similar situations. 

Below, we outline some of the key points of the conversations we have related to this topic. 

Why Exactly Are My Fisher Investments Accounts Being Closed? 

In the case of Fisher Investments, it’s unclear whether the accounts are being closed based specifically on the country of residence or if it’s being done for all Americans abroad. Though, as we’ve mentioned, this is a common obstacle for U.S. expats with many of the main brokerages, including Wells Fargo, UBS, and others. Simply put, this issue tends to boil down to compliance and the costs, and other burdens, inherent in maintaining that compliance in an international landscape. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, along with many other financial regulations related to anti-money laundering have played a role in this higher compliance environment. If you’re looking for more in-depth information on the subject, we wrote extensively about the difficulties of opening accounts as a U.S. expat in this whitepaper

And it’s not just the financial component. As privacy regulations continue to tighten abroad, it’s also become increasingly more challenging to advertise and acquire new clients that live outside of the U.S. Not only is the cost of doing business more onerous, but the cost of growing that business is also compounded by compliance. 

What Brokerage Should I Use Now?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to a brokerage for Americans abroad. It’s a vast landscape from a regulatory standpoint, so some brokerages serve certain areas while others choose not to. Charles Schwab, Interactive Brokers, and TD Ameritrade all provide services to U.S. expats, though it can vary by country. We dive more into the various brokerage options, and their pros and cons, for Americans aboard in this piece

How Walkner Condon Can Help

Our team of financial advisors – Stan Farmer, CFP®, J.D.; Syl Michelin, CFA®; and Keith Poniewaz, Ph.D. – works with U.S. expats and understands the intricacies of financial planning for Americans abroad. They help our clients with wealth management, guiding them through hurdles of currency, taxation, and country-specific regulations and building investment portfolios attuned to their specific needs and risk tolerance. You can learn more about the various subjects impacting U.S. expats in our Expat Investment Guide

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email here or book an appointment with one of our advisors.

Why are My Brokerage Accounts at UBS Being Closed as an Expat?

Why are My Brokerage Accounts at UBS Being Closed as an Expat?

In early December, we received several messages from prospective clients who are U.S. expats with brokerage accounts held at UBS. They’ve indicated to us that UBS was requiring them to move their accounts to another brokerage, as they would no longer be servicing these accounts. It was not clear whether or not the requirement from UBS to move accounts was specifically related to the country of domicile or all U.S. expats. In any case, Walkner Condon has helped many individuals in similar situations find solutions.

Why Did This Happen?

For major brokerages houses like UBS, this is not a new phenomenon. We have written extensively on the subject before in a white paper, “Why is it so Hard to Open Accounts for American Expats?” The passage and implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in addition to myriad regulations that encompass anti-money laundering laws may leave some financial services companies deciding that the compliance burden is simply too high for the revenue.

Who Should I Use for Brokerages?

While the answer depends on your particular situation, we delved into the pros and cons of some custodians that are well known for working with U.S. expats in a blog post, “What is the Best Brokerage for Expats?Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab all provide services to U.S. expats, though it varies by country as to what is specifically available.

How We Can Help

Walkner Condon Financial Advisors dedicated U.S. expat group helps our clients with wealth management, including investments that comply with country specific restrictions, the complexities of navigating through currency and taxation, and cross-border financial planning.  We touch on those subjects and more in our Expat Investment Guide.Visit our website today to learn how we help our U.S. expat clients achieve confidence and clarity about what they are trying to accomplish in the future.