You would never settle for compromised advice about your health. The same should be true for your finances.

As a fiduciary, our service is all about you.

What you want out of life; your hopes, dreams, aspirations and passions.

It’s about answering your questions so you can make clear, smart choices about your financial life.

Giving you clarity, confidence and control over your ideal future.

What are you interested in?

Investment Management and Financial Planning

You will likely be a successful international business owner, CEO, executive or wealthy family who expects success across all facets of your life.

Our expertise is in guiding you so your finances are structured in the best way to achieve what you want.

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Financial Planning

Reaching your goals requires the ability to monitor and review. 

Just like medical, mechanical or career decisions - a second opinion is simple and free to get.

Our comprehensive financial planning service delivers peace of mind over your future.

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Investing your money

If you want an easy-to-use, low-cost and flexible way to grow your wealth we have the solution.

The Smart Account™ is a safe and simple way for self-directed investors with straight forward needs to get better results.

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Ready to start the conversation?

We'll call you, talk about your financial goals, and help you decide if we're a good fit. It's that easy.

Reach out

Helping you make informed
and effective decisions.

ANDREW HALLAM

Amazon best-selling author

"I've waited a long time for such a group to emerge. Expat investors have waited even longer."

MIKE HOFF

CEO - MHC

"Honest, straightforward, non-judgemental and very clear advice."

KRISTIAN PETERSSON

CTO - Flywheel Inc

"AES International helped me and my family with their refreshing, transparent, evidence-based approach?"

Jack Johnson

CEO - The Backsplash

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Jack Johnson

CEO - The Backsplash

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AES awards

Bupa Global
Top Producer in Africa, India and the Middle East

AES awards

International Adviser
Best Adviser Firm (Middle East)

AES awards

Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100
Fastest Growing Financial Services Firm

AES awards

International Adviser
Excellence in Business Strategy (UK)

AES awards

Financial Times
Best Transitional Adviser

AES awards

Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100
Best Management Team

Frequently

Asked Questions

What international wealth management services does AES International offer?

AES International provides a range of investment, financial planning and employee benefit solutions.

Our approach is starkly different to that of our more traditional peers, as it focuses on reducing costs, and improving the returns and benefits that our clients get. 

For individual investors, our international wealth management services include:

  • 'Do-more-yourself’ investing solutions (guided passive investing);
  • International investment advice; and
  • Other services such as lending, retirement planning and more sophisticated lifestyle planning analysis. 

For companies, our international wealth management services include the full range of international employee benefit consulting, with particular expertise in: 

Why should I choose you over others?

We believe the traditional international financial services industry harbours a deep conflict of interest, which ultimately damages your returns. 

Their accepted status quo incentivises individual salespeople to spread a wide range of myths, which ultimately enable them to transfer your wealth to themselves via commissions, hidden fees and high charges.

The solutions they favour concurrently underperform market returns.   

Our passion, our mission and our movement are about helping you learn how to sidestep this traditional industry, and benefit from the massive opportunities now available to well-informed investors.

Because we are unconflicted by commission, we help reduce your investment costs, and improve the returns and benefits you receive by using simple, scientifically proven solutions.

This means our clients get better results, and hopefully lead better lives, which helps us realise our own mission of positive change – for our clients and our profession. 

We support these claims fully with data and evidence.  

If you'd like to know more, request a free X-Ray Review™ of your current portfolio, and we'll demonstrate how we are different, and what that difference can mean for you.

What is different about AES International and how will that benefit me?

Pretty much everything that we believe to be in your best interests will be different to what traditional industry salespeople will have told you. 

There are literally hundreds of examples of this...

But maybe this short list will help you understand how and why we are different, and how you can benefit from our approach. 

We believe: 

…advisers must be vocational professionals (highly ethical and highly qualified), not salespeople.

…independent advice from a chartered firm beats conflicted advice from individual advisers or friends.

…in fair and transparent fees, not in hidden commissions.

…in passive funds / index funds / ETFs - and not structured products, unregulated alternatives or expensive mutual funds.

…in centralised service, not highly personalised and potentially empty promises. 

...not everyone needs a financial adviser – at least not all of the time – but there is no one who wouldn’t benefit from good financial advice.

And…ultimately, we believe that sometimes accepting uncomfortable truths will stand you in a far better financial place in the long run than embracing comfortable lies.

What financial structure is best for me as an expat?

We only advocate a personalised financial advice service for those with sufficient wealth and complexity to make our fee-based service worth the investment.

Studies show that un-conflicted and unbiased investment advice and lifestyle financial planning services, like our own, generate substantial value.* 

Our full service combines investment advice and financial planning to help you understand, protect and build your wealth.

This is an holistic approach: it helps you lead a successful financial life – it's not just focused on maximising your investment returns, but improving your overall financial wellbeing and knowledge.

The evidence demonstrates that those who invest without taking such professional financial advice, by choosing a so-called execution-only/do-it-yourself approach, tend to get deeply sub-optimal results (averaging between 7.5% and 8.5% below the market).**

In general terms, we feel those with less than £250,000 of investable assets do not normally need full financial planning assistance, but just a helping hand in terms of choosing the right direction with investment management. 

This means the overall cost of financial advice won't erode returns. 

Our Smart Account™ is ideal for you if you are this type of investor.  And our Knowledge Library, Video Library and blog give you lots of free guidance.

For those with in excess of £250,000 in investable assets, or those with complex wealth management questions, we believe integrated financial planning and investment management is usually the best approach.  

If this sounds like you, our private banking services are likely to be of benefit to you as well.  

Talk to us to find out how we can help you.

*Vanguard research March 2014, 'Putting a value on your value: Quantifying Vanguard Advisor’s Alpha.'

** http://ssrn.com/abstract=2023588.

Why should I use an international wealth management firm?

Clients who benefit the most from our services understand something very important about successful investing, that has been proven time and time again:

Investors are not hardwired to make rational decisions when confronted with emotional, challenging facts in relation to their investments. 

In other words, individual investors are often the worst people to manage their own finances.

Within offshore financial services, the situation is slightly different.  With just a helping hand, self-investing is normally better than becoming the victim of a rotten offshore financial adviser or salesperson or local bank. 

But the evidence shows it is still sub-optimal…

Our chartered financial planners and chartered wealth managers create a great deal of value by understanding this.  A large part of our job is to act as a barrier between investors and their own worst instincts.

In particular, AES International helps safeguard investors and clients from an industry of retail banks, IFAs and insurance salespeople who want to sell their toxic wares to unsuspecting and poorly protected expatriates. 

We try to warn you about financial scams, and guard both your BUY and SELL buttons.

We know that over our clients’ lifetimes there will be economic, political, and market events that will create significant emotional hurdles that will trip up the unwary.  We help you clear these hurdles.

But, you don’t only employ a financial practitioner to talk you off the ledge during inevitable bouts of global financial or political turmoil.  You hire them to guide you towards achieving significant financial goals, such as: 

  • Being able to live the life you've earned when you come to retire.
    You may be nearing retirement and unsure of when, how and to what extent you can draw sustainable income from your investments.
    A well-qualified financial adviser will help you plan for this, and will ensure you don’t get in your own way of success.
  • Determine if, and how, you are able to pay for your children’s or grandchildren’s education.
  • Identify and plan for expenses above and beyond the day-to-day, such as travel, a second home and any other life goals.

We have taken specific steps to ensure a few very important things when it comes to the construction of our practice:

We act solely as fiduciaries to our clients.  A fiduciary is an individual who has a professional obligation to do what is right for their client – in the same way a lawyer, doctor, or accountant has a professional obligation to act in the best interests of their clients.

Our financial practitioners are highly qualified professionals, who have successfully undertaken relevant and prestigious international qualifications.

Our chartered financial planners assist clients with the development and maintenance of their financial plans.

The bottom line is that you should be thinking about hiring a firm that can be a wealth manager, financial adviser and a financial planner, to assist you in best utilising your means to accomplish the various goals you have in mind for your lifetime.

Can’t I manage my own wealth?

Yes, you can – but the evidence suggests that most DIY investors who track down the cheapest platforms end up reaping themselves negative returns…

Author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept of the 10,000 hour rule as the amount of time required to gain competence within a specific field.  Applying this rule to investing - someone who has little experience such as a DIY investor is likely to make many mistakes — which is normal when learning any new skill.

For example, an inexperienced investor might think they’re well diversified when they’re not, they might trade frequently based on what they see on the news, or hold inappropriate investments in taxable or non-compliant accounts. 

Even more importantly, in order to improve you need to receive useful feedback during your practice.

In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, the psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains that learning to drive is one activity where feedback is immediate and clear.  When you’re taking corners, you instantly know whether you’ve turned the wheel too sharply or applied the brakes too hard.  This makes it relatively easy to improve as a driver…

…But with investing, the size (or cost) of a mistake may not become apparent for quite some time - perhaps until it's too late to rectify.  

Professional advice from someone who isn’t incentivised or paid by the industry in the form of commissions and hidden fees, but who represents your best interests, is therefore critical to getting things right first time.

This type of professional advice is best obtained from a fee-based, chartered financial planning organisation – not an individual with whom you play golf, who comes to your home, who works on commission/referrals, or whom you consider to be a friend.

A mountain of evidence demonstrates staggeringly different outcomes are obtained by those who take advice from commission-based investment salespeople (like banks and IFAs), those who do-it themselves (DIY/execution-only) and those who use a fiduciary/fee-based professional such as a chartered wealth manager from a chartered financial planning organisation.

And of course, chartered financial advisers have a minimum of 10,000 hours of professional experience...

How does AES International compare to my other investment options?

Your other main option is to build and manage a portfolio yourself, but as explained above, this can prove time-consuming and risky. 

However, if you are confident in your skills as an investor, then there is a wide range of low-cost investment and trading platforms where you can manage your own wealth.  

You might also like to consider our Smart Account™.

To help you, no matter which investment approach you favour, we have free to access eBooks on our website that offer advice on how to build and manage your wealth. 

Another investment alternative you have is handing your money over to an IFA (independent financial adviser) or bank.

In our experience, despite the fact that many traditional IFAs say theirs is a free service, this can be a very costly approach, and your wealth may be at risk. 

Such advisers are paid opaque commissions and hidden fees, and thus financially incentivised to put their interests ahead of your own.

In truth, there are very few advisers in the international marketplace who operate to the standards that we commit to.  Unlike most home jurisdictions (e.g., UK), the level of oversight and enforcement by regulators in international markets is simply insufficient to protect you from mis-selling or worse.

Banks and discretionary fund managers tend to disclose their fees and charges, but vend their own proprietary products.  These typically substantially underperform the overall market, and can carry a significant opportunity cost when analysed against independently selected solutions.

Our organisation is structured to give our clients, who value independent, professional advice, a much better, cost-effective experience that gets them the right results.

How do you charge / what are your fees?

Our charges are transparent.  They will depend on how we help you, the services you require and the amount of time needed to assist you. 

All our clients are unique and have different needs, but whatever we agree with you in terms of a professional fee, this will be confirmed in writing prior to any work commencing on your behalf.

We are committed to making our fees and charges simple and transparent.  Therefore, we publish the most common fees on our website, and operate a clear tariff of fees and charges. 

We are a commercial business – but we also know that our success is delivered through a long-term approach that marries our charges to meeting our clients’ needs, therefore we commit to keeping costs competitive and transparent.  

It is our belief that our services represent the best value for money within our marketplace.

Finally, cutting clients' costs is a core commitment, because lower costs increase returns and improve outcomes.  

If you have a portfolio and you would like to find out if we can cut your costs, the simplest way is to request a free X-Ray Review™ of your current portfolio, and we'll demonstrate how we can reduce your costs, and what that will mean for you.

Where is AES International located?

We have two main offices – in London and Dubai – and we also hold licences or have representatives in 36 other countries.

We are authorised and regulated in each of the jurisdictions where we have establishments, and can provide international investment advice on a cross-border basis from these. 

For financial advice in Dubai our offices are in the highly regulated Dubai International Financial Centre.

We strongly recommend that you ask to see proof of licensing before engaging with us - or any other fianancial advisory firm.

I have met an IFA, tied agent or appointed representative who is affiliated to AES International – where do they fit in?

As a large international financial services business, we also provide licensing, compliance supervision, and a range of middle and back office services to self-employed advisers and separate businesses.  

These may operate different business models, different charging structures (which must always be set out in writing), different brand names and different websites.

If you are unsure about anything - such as who you're speaking to and their affiliation to us - we always invite you to contact us directly, and to be fully informed about who you're dealing with, their professional background and accreditation, licensing and regulation. 

What happens if something goes wrong?

Occasionally, clients are unhappy: they may feel we under-deliver against something, or they are simply dissatisfied with the way we performed a task.  Where that’s the case, we are quick to raise our hands and take full responsibility. 

We have a well-codified complaints process that, regardless of jurisdiction, is run to UK service standards. 

Do I need a pension?

You need your own pension to fund your lifestyle after you stop working.

As an expat, you cannot rely on the state to provide for you in retirement.  Even if you lived in the UK and had made full National Insurance contributions all your working life, the state pension today is just under £6,500 a year – it’s unlikely to ever rise in real terms. 

Compare this amount to your salary now, and the income you hope to live on when you retire...does it come close? 

No! 

So, this is why you need your own pension.  And the good news is, as an expat you have a number of options to consider when it comes to saving for retirement.

What is a personal pension policy?

In the UK, a personal pension policy is an HMRC approved contract set up to save specifically for retirement.  

It may attract tax benefits, depending on your residency and earnings status, and cannot usually be accessed before the age of 55 because pension solutions are designed to provide an income, and potentially a lump sum, in retirement.

Employers sometimes provide pension savings schemes for employees.  In the UK workplace pensions are now mandatory for example.

However, even if your employer does provide a workplace pension scheme, you may need to make additional savings to ensure you can enjoy the lifestyle you require in retirement.

Can I transfer my pension abroad - to an overseas scheme like a QROPS (qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme)?

Yes, it may be possible, depending on the type of pension scheme you have.

However, there are lots of things to consider, mainly the benefits your current scheme offers versus the potential advantages of transferring.  

This can be a complex decision to make, and one you must take advice on.  The advice you take must be from an individual who is a qualified pension transfer specialist, and in turn, they must work for an organisation that’s regulated to offer pension transfer advice.

The advantages of a pension transfer are often heavily over-sold by unqualified advisers who may stand to profit substantially from a transfer via commissions and hidden fees.

Tread with caution; the value of your pension must be preserved so your future retirement plans are not scuppered.

How much can I contribute to a pension and should I keep contributing now I live abroad?

There are now strict limits to the maximum pension contribution you can make in the UK that can attract tax relief.

However, if you start an appropriate pensions savings scheme whilst living outside the UK as an expat, there is no limit to the contributions you can make.

You can request an illustration from us showing the effect of increasing, reducing or stopping your pension payments to see how this might affect your income in retirement.

What happens to my pension if I die before I retire?

The full value of your pension plan will normally be used to provide a cash lump sum for your dependants or beneficiaries, although it can be used to provide an income for one or more dependants or beneficiaries using an income drawdown plan.

How do I take money from my pension pot?

If you are under 55, it’s unlikely that you will be able to cash in your pension pot because pensions are a specific type of savings scheme designed to provide you with an income in retirement.

Once you reach the age of retirement and want to access your pension, you have many options depending on the scheme.  You may be able to take a lump sum, you can certainly take an income. 

It’s critical you take advice about how to access your investments in retirement so that you’re tax efficient, and your entire portfolio provides you with sufficient income for the rest of your life.

Even if you’ve never spoken to a financial adviser before, when it comes to retirement income planning, you’re likely to derive great value from speaking to a chartered financial adviser.

Please talk to us to find out more about your options for accessing and utilising your pension savings.

What is your investment approach?

Our ScientificSystem™ gives you a methodology based upon Nobel prize-winning evidence and common sense.

Can you help me transfer my pension(s)?

A pension transfer can benefit some people, but not all.

Learn more here.

What retirement planning services do you offer?

Yes. Our retirement planning approach means getting you your financially secure and comfortable retirement, no matter where you currently are.

What is your investment code / philosophy?

We cut YOUR costs and improve YOUR returns, enabling you to live a better life. Read more about our investment code.

Can you help me with expatriate and international tax planning?

Tax often represents the biggest financial outlay over the course of your entire lifetime. Whether to help meet increasingly complex tax obligations, to help you plan ahead for your future and your family's future, or to understand the tax treatment of specific products or structures, e.g., an offshore investment bond - our specialists advisers can assist you.

How can I ensure my family are protected if I die?

In an increasingly globalised world, the fall-out from a family death can be extremely challenging. Find out how AES can help with your estate planning needs.

Should I transfer my Defined Benefit pension?

Transferring out is an irreversible decision because associated guarantees are lost. Find out more.

What tax will I pay if I transfer my pension?

Read our comprehensive analysis of your pension options from a taxation point of view.

I live in Dubai. Can you help me?

If you’re looking for financial advice in Dubai, the most important thing is to find a highly qualified professional, backed by an organisation you can trust.

You've got questions.

Let us take a few minutes to answer them.