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Wealth Management for Expats in India

Submitted: August 2013

There is a growing wealth management industry in India, and it is largely possible to find English-speaking wealth management professionals.

Generally speaking, you should look for a wealth manager if you think you need help with financial planning. A financial institution is prone to offer you more sophisticated services as you get wealthier. These services range from traditional lending or investment management to inheritance tax planning or asset protection.

Issues for expatriates

Don’t miss out on your compliance requirements upon departure from your home country.

Financial planning complexity increases dramatically when you become an expatriate, as additional cross-border issues must be taken into account. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Availability of rupee-denominated assets
  • Capital control planning See Money Transfer for Expats in India
  • Availability of assets in your home country
  • Social security arrangements
  • Effects of international mobility on your pension rights
  • Your residency status for income tax purposes
  • Asset protection
  • Foreign exchange exposure See Foreign Exchange for Expats in India
  • Inheritance law considerations, and
  • Inheritance tax planning.

It is essential to check if your wealth manager is qualified enough to deal with your specific cross-border issues. In particular, it is very important to assess your needs in India, as a foreign wealth manager may not have the adequate skills to address them.

You don’t necessarily need an India-based wealth manager, especially if you already have a one with the appropriate qualifications in your home country. However, you might wish to consider Indian wealth management products if you decide to hold a large amount of rupee-denominated assets.

In addition, departing from your home country may be subject to some paperwork there (e.g. tax compliance, letting your insurer know that you leave (See Insurance for Expats in India), switching to a non-resident bank account, etc.). A wealth manager in your home country is more likely to be qualified to help you with this.

In all cases, be wary of:

  • Language issues
  • Cultural differences, and
  • How contactable your wealth manager is.

US taxpayers

It may be harder for US citizens to find a relevant wealth manager outside the US. This is because US citizens remain subject to US tax rules, even when they are resident outside the US. Consequently, US citizens are unlikely to avail themselves of the potential tax benefits that India may offer, and US tax considerations must be taken into account in any international planning.

If you are a US taxpayer, you are likely to need a specialist wealth manager, i.e. with the appropriate qualifications to advise US citizens resident in India.

 

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