Just seven months remain until the UK leaves the European Union, and with an ever increasing chance of a “No-Deal Brexit”, we take a look at what that means for you.
The UK government is currently preparing for the prospect of leaving the EU on the 29 March 2019 with a sparse trade agreement with the EU, or none at all. As part of preparations, the government released a number of documents outlining the effect a No-Deal Brexit would have on industry and the financial implications for the average person. Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned that a no-deal could take 10% off of the UK’s national income, with Prime Minister Theresa May dismissing that, claiming a no-deal would not be “the end of the world”.
Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, the government has admitted that expats living in the EU may not be able to access financial services from UK providers. However France, Spain and Luxembourg have already stated independently that UK companies will be able to pay pensions to existing customers residing in those countries. The worst-case scenario is that Britons living in EU countries where there is no agreement may not be able to receive their pensions, as their providers would be breaking European law by giving it to them. The companies would in turn be breaking UK law by not giving it to them. The government has said they will be doing everything they can to avoid this scenario.
There would be no immediate effects of no-deal for current homeowners with mortgages provided by UK-based lenders, however future mortgage prices could be affected. Banks and building societies borrow money in a variety of ways, and if there are restrictions on this, they may need to increase mortgage rates to cover it.
Savings & Investments
Savings should not be affected if they are being kept in a UK bank or building society. If you have money stored with an EU provider you should keep an eye on how things develop. In terms of investments, technically some European companies may not be able to trade on UK markets (such as the London Stock Exchange) following a no-deal. Investors in EU companies also need to research how they will be affected. Asset managers have been told by the government to plan on the basis that a deal will be in place, but have warned that the EU could confirm that it does not intend to put legislation in place to allow UK-based firms to operate in Europe as other non-EU countries do.
Preparing For A No-Deal Brexit
The government have clearly advised people to operate on the basis that there will be a deal, with the published documents acting as guidance only. They have also said: “'You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations”. This Is Money have listed 5 pieces of practical advice that those worried about their money should take ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit scenario…
1. If your current account is with a European bank, it might be a good idea to open another account with a UK-based provider so you know you can access your cash in a crisis.
2. If you are considering remortgaging your house, do it sooner rather than later. Mortgage rates are extremely low, and waiting any longer could be a gamble.
3. Check if your provider is based in Europe or has a UK-based subsidiary. If the latter, then your accounts won't be affected by a no deal.
4. British expats living in the EU should keep an eye on negotiations with regards to UK pensions, insurance policies held in the UK or loans. Check how providers operate and whether they have an EU-based subsidiary.
5. If you are making a big financial decision, regardless of the Brexit deadline, do your research and consider taking financial advice from a fully regulated adviser.
If you would like help with pensions, mortgages, savings and investments, we have years of financial experience and would love to help you make the right financial decisions. Please get in touch if you would like more information.