Anna is a British Expat who wants to invest in the UK


Welcome to our investor clinic. The aim of the clinic is to allow ordinary investors to get feedback from peers on their investments. This week we fea
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Anna is a British Expat who wants to invest in the UK

I don’t know which is the best platform to use as an Expat but I used Stocktrade when I was based in Hong Kong.

They’re an Edinburgh based execution only stockbroker. They’re owned by Brewin Dolphin, and you can execute trades and manage your account online.


Isn’t it possible just to use any platform from overseas such as Alliance Trust, Charles Stanley etc?


Hi Anna,
I don’t know what your tax position is in the UK. If you are able to, then you should make the most of your tax allowances in the UK for NISAs and SIPPs. My NISA is with Alliance Trust. My wife recently had a large capital sum to invest. Her aims were for a mix of capital growth and income, although the income will not be needed for a long time. I like to spend my time researching these things before investing. I have just retired at age 57 and spend quite a bit of time researching my investments, most of which are investment trusts.
Anyway the attached is how I decided to invest my wife’s portfolio. I don’t want to take a lot of risk now that we are both retired. But I have a good pension, so am willing to take some risks to get a better overall return. If you want to see the investment trusts that I ruled out as part of the analysis then set the filter in cell X2 to ALL. If you have any questions please get in touch.


What is ‘VALUE & INCOME’ @warrantstar? Never heard of that one.

Anna might be best getting one or two investment trust savings plans because they would accommodate her monthly saving need.

She could have a mixture of Aberdeen/Baillie Gifford/Scottish Investment Trust/Caledonia.

They’re cheap too and they include a lot of trust she can go away and forget about for a decade or more.

Here’s a guide to them from this site:


It is “Value & Income trust” which is managed by Olim Investment Managers.
Here is a link to its details on Trustnet.

If the link doesn’t work you can copy and paste it into your browser address bar instead.

In general monthly savings plans would seem to make a lot of sense for Anna. They would give the benefits of:

  1. Reduced admin once set up
  2. The benefits of pound cost averaging
  3. Reduces problems of trying to decide what is a good time to make an investment

I find Trustnet very helpful when investigating investment trusts. My approach for the work I did in the spreadsheet that I attached in my earlier post was to pick good long term performers with a reasonable yield and preferably a decent discount to net asset value.


You invest like a fund manager @warrantstar. I have no idea what an Information Ration or a Sharpe ratio is (other than it’s names after Bill Sharpe).

I hold both investment trusts and unit trusts. I invest by reading reviews like the ones on this site, and paying attention to the charts they have at the bottom, they call them Investment Trust metrics on here, but there are variations of them on all investment sites. They tell me the long term performance (this site is one of the few that goes to 10 years, which is important).Also, the charges, discount, strategy, dividend, gearing etc.

Of the funds @warrantstar invests in - Baillie Gifford Japan, European Assets and Finsbury Growth & income are really good trusts.

I don’t know anything about the other two though.

For Anna, I think an investment trust savings plan or two would be a good solution for you because they’re cheap and easy to use and forget about for a decade or two.

Can she use them from overseas?


We asked Aberdeen and Baillie Gifford if they accept overseas investors. Here is Aberdeen’s response:
We do accept overseas investors into a share plan with the exception of US –domiciled investors. With the introduction of FATCA regulations, all client will now have to sign a self-cert confirming their individual tax residency, and as long as this certificate and any other indicia does not confirm any US connection then it’s ok to invest. Below is a link to our share plan brochure.$FILE/ITBrochure.pdf?OpenElement


Thanks everyone for you tips and ideas.

The investment trust savings plans seem ideal. In terms of having a mix, should I have a split of the 10k equally and the monthly savings between 2 or 3 plans? And which 2-3 (or even 4) are the ‘best’ ones?

Your views are most appreciated.



One more thing, I’m still a little confused as to which platform to use to buy the investment trust savings plans as some of them require British residency.


Thanks in advance.



Alliance Trust Savings only require you to have a UK bank account in your name (assuming you still have one) and a residential address, even if that is just a mailing address like your parents. They also do a regular savings scheme: you set up a direct debit on your UK sterling-denominated bank account and they will invest the money every month in your chosen trust(s), charging just £1.50 per purchase. So you would just set up a regular feed of money from Singapore to the UK and Alliance would then invest for you inside an ISA.

Like @warrantstar, I invest in Baillie Gifford Japan, the Finsbury trust (FGT) and F&C Global Smaller Companies (FCS). European Assets is on my radar when I feel less nervous about Europe: they invest in small companies so should do well if Europe ever introduces QE to try and bolster growth and avoid deflation.

In answer to Anna’s later query, there is never a “best” fund - you just have to take a judgement based on past performance, allocating your assets in different parts of the world, and, if you get that far, read the annual reports and see which managers seem to make most sense to you.

I would split your investment six ways: a UK growth and income trust like FCT, a worldwide generalist or two like FCS, an American trust (or another generalist with larger US and tech exposure like Scottish Mortgage), a European fund, an Asia-Pacific fund excluding Japan, and a Japan fund.

For a solid UK trust you could also do worse that City of London (CTY) or Perpetual Growth and Income (PLI). For a US and technology orientation, Scottish Mortgage has been performing very well for several years now, and goes nicely with the small-cap focus of FCS. A more conservative worldwide trust with 50% US dollar hedging is RIT Capital Partners (RCP); this has a capital preservation remit and has been a poor performer, but has picked up noticeably over the last year. In Europe, Jupiter European Opportunities (JEO) and Henderson European Focus (HEFT) have good track records and would go well with the small-cap emphasis of EAT. In Asia-Pacific, good trusts are Pacific Assets, Aberdeen Asian Smaller Cos (AAS) and Scottish Oriental Smaller Cos (SST)


I think that is a pretty good recommendation list from @matchmade. I don’t disagree with any of those and own some of them myself.


For a list of execution-only UK brokers, see However a Google search for “UK stockbrokers for expatriates” threw up a discussion forum for British expatriates at, which led to, which seems to be exactly what Anna is looking for.

John Baron is a UK MP and writes for Investors Chronicle magazine on investment trusts. He talks sense and has some sensible sample portfolios. See for example his Spring portfolio at, which is aimed at young investors or people wanting a low-maintenance growth-orientated package of investments trusts. The Summer portfolio is also worth looking at for a 20-year timeframe. It requires more monitoring and includes about 10% bonds, for some income and as a counter-cyclical hedge, although with bond prices so high, arguably one is safer invested fully in equities.

There’s a typo in my previous entry: FCT should have been FGT.


Originally published at:
Welcome to our investor clinic. The aim of the clinic is to allow ordinary investors to get feedback from peers on their investments. This week we feature Anna, a British Expat, who wants to invest a lump sum now and save monthly. As well as feedback on which trusts to use she wants to know…