That being said, Houlihan added that clients are often reluctant to keep their money in Dubai.
“They don’t trust the set-up in Dubai. Ultimately, it’s Sharia law which rules there. With Sharia law, even though you’ve got these free zones within Dubai, that could be ripped away overnight.
“There’s always this paranoia with expats, so what they tend to do is not keep their wealth in Dubai.”
Instead they’ll keep it in Guernsey or Isle of Man, whilst holding properties in the UK.
“As an adviser, making that recommendation is very easy. We just have to keep it in a clean, RDR [Retail Distribution Review] compliant platform which we can use offshore. And then obviously work alongside the tax adviser.”
Building client trust on tax
Arlo Group UK is a tax-led proposition. “We build up client trust on tax, which then flows nicely into financial planning,” Houlihan explained.
One client group the IFA works with are pilots. During the pandemic, the government-backed airline Emirates sacked a number of its pilots in a wider 9,000 staff cutting exercise.
For pilots, this meant they lost their residency, meaning they had to move back to the UK, or hop between countries before the pandemic caught up with them.
Houlihan’s team helped a number of these pilots move back without incurring UK tax on their Dubai salaries. If someone is out of the country for five complete tax years their gains are liable to Capital Gains Tax, which means they need to be crystallised before an expat returns.
Since the pandemic, Houlihan has seen an uptick in workers leaving for overseas territories as their jobs no longer require them to work in the UK.
“We’re receiving more enquiries now from people sitting on a beach with their laptop,” said Houlihan. “Tax regimes aren’t built for free movement, despite the trend towards it.”