‘Business as usual’ for IFAs in Catalonia as Spain gets tough

As Spain promises to begin the process of imposing direct rule on Catalonia in response to the latter’s intransigence over independence, a UK financial advisory firm says that, for now, it’s business as usual in the region.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy had given the leader of the regional government, Carles Puigdemont, pictured left, a deadline of 10am today to renounce formally the region’s claims to independence from the rest of Spain.

In a letter sent to Rajoy, Puigdemont not only failed to renounce such claims, he further provoked the ire of the government by threatening to make a formal declaration of independence. turning up the heat on an already fractious relationship following the controversial referendum of 1 October.

The Spanish government published the letter shortly before the 10am deadline, alongside its response, which resolved to trigger Article 155 of the Spanish constitution.

Subject to approval by the Senate following a cabinet meeting called for Saturday morning, Article 155 allows for the suspension of autonomy in the region, with the devolved government’s powers assumed by Madrid.

London-based Spanish journalist Eugenia Jiménez, pictured left, told International Investment: “The key aspect of the process is an extraordinary consejo de ministros, a council of ministers, on Saturday.

“Ratification by the Senate is expected to be granted without objection.

“Article 155 has been opened and the ratification will confirm the legality of this move in what is Spain’s greatest constitutional crisis of the 21st century.

“The immediate effect will be that Madrid will take control of security – essentially, policing – and Treasury.”

Jason Porter is business development director at Blevins Franks, an advisory and wealth-management firm that works with British expats across Europe, with an office in the region, in Girona.

‘No change for business at present’

Porter today told International Investment: “From our point of view, we don’t anticipate a huge change in our business in the region.

“We primarily advise British expats and retirees, and Catalonia remains an attractive place to live, with an attractive climate and lifestyle, plus attractive property.

“The political situation would need to deteriorate substantially before that value proposition altered significantly.”

Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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