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Robert Harris has over 25 years experience working for some of the major financial institutions in the City of London, including 12 years at Citibank where he was a Senior Banker. During his time at Citibank, Robert was responsible for global relationships with important financial institutions and instigated a number of landmark deals.

Robert is a founding partner of Forth Capital and has helped the company become the leading expat financial advisory company in Switzerland. He has been quoted in the Financial Times and numerous magazine articles.

For the www.knowitall.ch website, Robert invites various members of his team at Forth Capital to contribute blog articles on different financial topics that he thinks will be of interest to our readers.



robert harris feb 2018

By Robert Harris, Forth Capital

As Partner and Chairman of the Investment Committee at Forth Capital, I have been asked to give my thoughts on the recent market volatility:

It won’t have gone unnoticed that stock markets fell by over 4% at the end of January. So, what happened and what lessons should be learned? Should you be concerned about your investments and pensions?

In the short term, markets never move in a straight line and they often make big moves both up and down. The large fall in the market on Friday 2nd Feb in the US was caused ironically by better than expected performance in the US economy. The effect of President Trump’s massive fiscal stimulus (tax cuts allied to government spending) has boosted the US economy and caused wages to rise faster than expected, which in turn will fuel inflation.

The fall in the stock market is a result of expectation of rising interest rates (not actual rises!). On the 6th Feb markets rebounded as investors bought cheaper assets.

forth money growth

By Audrey Flynn, Forth Capital


Judith has been married to Steven for almost 15 years. She stopped working several years ago, to look after their two children, returning to work part-time at a lower level when the children started school. Five years ago, Steven had the opportunity to work in Asia for several years and Judith happily gave up her job to move there with him and the children. Then, without warning, Steven announced that he wanted a divorce which forced Judith to reassess her life and her financial situation for the future.

Like many women Judith hadn’t contributed to a pension scheme on a full-time basis for most of her adult life, as she had taken career breaks to look after her children and to support her husband in his career. She had always relied on Steven to manage the family finances with minimum discussion, and without contemplating her own pension.

The sudden break down of her marriage forced Judy to look more closely at her financial situation and realise that she had never sensibly planned for her own retirement, relying entirely on her husband for their retirement plans. She had no idea how much money she had, nor how much she would need to save to enjoy the lifestyle she hoped for when she retired -  and she had no idea where to start…

FC blog 9May2017

By Audrey Flynn, Forth Capital

Planning for your retirement can often be a very complex process and for many it is very important to seek expert advice. Retirement Planning is crucial, with life expectancy increasing and the birth rate in the west falling, and now is the time to plan for your future.  Most governments can no longer guarantee funding of their citizens’ retirement and, as a consequence, they are regularly increasing retirement age and finding ways to heavily tax pension withdrawals.  As healthcare and lifestyles improve, people are living longer meaning that lucrative final salary pension schemes have become too expensive for most companies to fund.

The process of retirement planning is relatively straightforward in principal. Ideally, you want to make sure that you have enough income and assets to live the lifestyle that you want. What makes retirement planning more difficult is determining how that lifestyle should be and what it will cost you.  Then there is the challenge of dealing with the many variables that go into the process and the pace at which they change, specifically knowing if and when you can retire.

On 9 May Forth Capital are hosting a seminar in Geneva on Low-Cost Investment Strategies for International Investors.

Actively managed UK equity funds on average delivered a return of 11.2 per cent last year, just under 6 percentage points lower than the 17.1 per cent return enjoyed by the UK equity index calculated by S&P. In the same period our Forth Capital Next Generation Morningstar Growth Fund delivered 28.5 return.

If you haven’t made the move to passive strategies – do it now.  Forth Capital have created five strategies exclusively for our clients that are highly suited for Retirement Savers, and we have already created nearly 10 million GBP in profit for our clients in the last 12 months. This seminar is an ideal opportunity for English speakers in Geneva and frontaliers to learn more about this opportunity.

Forth Frozen British Pensions

By Alan Turner, Forth Capital

The Government has, once again, avoided calls from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen British Pensions to rule out freezing pensions for EU-resident British expats after Brexit.

When challenged to clarity their position in the Lords, Baroness Mobarik, a Government spokesperson in the Lords, said that she was not able to give the noble Baroness any more guarantee than she has already.

All she had previously said in the debate was that freezing state pensions overseas is a long-standing policy of successive Governments which has been the case for almost 70 years and there are no plans to change the policy.

The policy that she references causes pensioners in Australia, Canada and many other locations to see their state pension value frozen from the time they left the UK and they do not benefit from any increases made since.

retirement forth

By Robert Harris, Forth Capital

During last week’s budget, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer announced changes surrounding the transfer of UK pensions to overseas schemes, which could affect anyone who has previously worked in the UK.

Effective immediately, if you are a non UK resident wishing to transfer your UK pension into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), a transfer tax of 25% will be levied on the transfer unless at least one of five tests can be passed. These tests are:

  • Both the member and the QROPS are in the same country after the transfer
  • The QROPS is based in the EEA and the member is resident in another EEA country after the transfer
  • The QROPS is an occupational pension scheme sponsored by the member’s employer
  • The QROPS is an overseas public service pension scheme and the member is employed by one of the employers participating in the scheme

The QROPS is a pension scheme established by an international organisation to provide benefits in respect of past service and the member is employed by that international organisation.

If you have already transferred your UK pension into a QROPS you will not be affected by this change.