The majority of the estimated 1.8 million Britons living in the European Union are “increasingly financially fearful – and rightly so” over the rising risk of no-deal Brexit, warns the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisation.
The warning from James Green, deVere Group’s divisional manager of Europe, comes after last week’s latest round of critical talks – the seventh – between the UK and EU ended, again, in deadlock.
On Friday, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost told reporters a deal “will not be easy to achieve. Substantive work continues to be necessary across a range of different areas of potential UK-EU future cooperation if we are to deliver it.”
For his part, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was “disappointed” by the lack of progress.
Mr Green observes: “With just months to go until the end of the transition period, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is real and it’s rising.
“Currently, there seems little hope of a deal getting done as both sides are showing no indications of altering their positions.
“This saga is making Britons living across Europe increasingly financially fearful – and rightly so – as they could be disproportionately affected by the UK crashing out of the EU.”
He continues: “There are major concerns that existing payments from UK organisations to those living within the European Economic Area (EEA) could be disrupted or even made impossible.
“As such, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, many UK expats could find that their pensions, insurance and healthcare provision could be adversely affected.”
In addition, says James Green, the “already Brexit-pummelled pound” is likely to shed more value.
“This would, again, mean that those who live in the eurozone and receive UK pensions or income will be financially hit.
“Their purchasing power has already been significantly reduced ever since the 2016 EU referendum – the last thing they need is for the pound to fall further still.”
According to research from deVere Group published in mid-July, 36% of UK clients who live overseas (globally) have actively sought to mitigate the financial impact of Brexit, or are currently doing so.
“In the circumstances, it’s perhaps no surprise that those most likely to be adversely affected are taking measures to create, build and protect their financial assets in a likely no-deal era,” says Mr Green.
Against this backdrop, deVere Europe reports a 15% increase in business.
He concludes: “It’s sensible for these people to ensure financial strategies are best-positioned for any outcome of the Brexit talks.
“This exploration of options is likely to include considering all their international opportunities – especially as they can often capitalise on their expat status for their financial benefit.”