Cross Border Planning unveils robo-advice facility for American expats, expats in US

Cross Border Planning, the US-expat-focused wealth management firm based in Brussels, has unveiled a new robo-advice facility that it says will enable it to provide American expatriates – as well as expats of other nationalities who are resident in the States – with “access to low-cost investment accounts, with no minimums”.

Cross Border Planning, which as reported  was recently created by the merger of Belgium’s two largest US expat-focused financial advisory businesses, is also planning to offer the new robo-advice platform, which it calls OmniWealth.eu, to other financial advisory and wealth management firms, for their clients, it said in a statement.

The OmniWealth.eu facility was designed in-house, and currently accommodates three currencies (euros, pounds and US dollars), although it will be possible to add others, according to Isa Kettmann, co-founder.

As part of Cross Border Planning’s strategy of targeting ordinary retail investors, many of whom are thought to be put off by such concepts as “robo advice” and “fintech”, the firm has posted an educational “cartoon” on its website, via YouTube.  (Click here to view.)

The cartoon, pictured, lasts about a minute and features a hand illustrating concepts that, while not particularly hard to grasp, seem easier for most people to take on board than in a more conventional words-only format, according to Brian Dunhill, Cross Border partner and former head and founder of Dunhill Financial, which as a result of the merger is now part of Cross Border Planning.

Dunhill, who designed the investment portfolios for OmniWealth.eu, said the facility will clear  through a number of US brokers, depending on the country of residence of the clients. These include but are not limited to Pershing, Charles Schwab, TradePMR (through Wells Fargo), and Interactive Brokers.

The portfolios on offer include “a range of low-cost ETFs, [so] as to not create any regulatory issues in the client’s home country”, Dunhill added, explaining that most American mutual funds are not regulated by foreign regulators.

Among other things the investment strategy will aim to minimize currency risk over the long term, based on where each of the firm’s clients expects to be when they begin accessing their savings, and will otherwise take into account each client’s individual needs with respect to estate planning, social security, 401(k)’s, pensions and investments, according to Dunhill.

Perhaps most importantly, he went on, OmniWealth.eu is thought to be “the first robo-adviser designed to accommodate American expats and expats [from other countries who are living] in America”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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