Need Travel Insurance ?

Posted on 19th September 2018 by Trevor Reynolds in Blog |Finance in Focus |Uncategorized


Posted on 13th April 2018 by Trevor Reynolds in Uncategorized


Oil vs Metals

Posted on 17th October 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Blog |Uncategorized


Evacuation cover, a must-have for expatriates.

Posted on 10th June 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Uncategorized

Being an expatriate in a foreign land comes with many challenges. There are the relocation costs to account for – unless your company is paying for them – opening a new bank account, building a credit history with the banks, finding appropriate schools for your children at an affordable cost, and then of course learning to speak the native language. With all of that to think about, it’s no wonder that many forget to take time to source an appropriate international medical insurance plan that fits in with their budget and provides for medical evacuation.

As an interGlobal Member you can rest assured that if you suffer a critical medical condition and you can’t receive adequate treatment locally, we will evacuate you and your insured family to a more appropriate facility – which could be in another country altogether. Even if your condition isn’t critical, if we feel it’s medically necessary to find you more suitable medical care, we will always consider evacuation if that is the best option for you.

Unfortunately though for those who don’t consider it necessary to have international medical insurance cover, much less a plan that covers them for evacuation, the cost of that decision can end in financial ruin.

You see, dependent on the location from which a patient has to be transported, distance to be flown and the type of aircraft, a typical medical evacuation by air ambulance can start at anywhere from US$5,000 to upwards of US$100,000.

Most international medical insurance providers would cover all related costs up to an overall plan limit, greatly reducing the financial or emotional stress for the member and their loved ones.

Case files

Disaster in Japan costs over US$180,000 

An accident or other disaster abroad can quite often amount to a financial catastrophe for most people.  Too often, there are media reports  of expatriates involved in mishaps abroad and either having no insurance or for a variety of reasons having their claim declined by their insurer, leading to friends and family having to raise funds to help repatriate them. InterGlobal’s PMI Cover is designed for just such eventualities.

An example of this was a case where a British expatriate working in Japan had a life altering experience. A serious accident meant the expatriate needed to be repatriated to recover at home.

InterGlobal’s repatriation benefits enabled the member’s family to accompany the patient on the journey home for treatment. Our InterGlobal Assistance team arranged and worked with an airline to provide a complete intensive care unit, medical facilities and experienced medical staff on board an aircraft to enable the repatriation to take place in the safest possible way. Whilst back home, our team assisted in ensuring that the member was admitted to an appropriate hospital for further treatment and care.

The member’s evacuation and medical care costs amounted to over US$180,000. An amount that, had the cover not been in place, would have resulted in an additional financial burden and trauma for the family.

“Our role in situations such as these is to ensure that our customer’s care and well-being is a top priority. We therefore ensure that they receive all the support and assistance they require to enable the situation to be managed appropriately,” said the InterGlobal Country Manager handling the case.

Life Wrappers and Japanese Taxes

Posted on 8th June 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Blog |Finance in Focus |Uncategorized

Investments structured as life insurance products help minimise damage when you leave Japan, and indeed while you are here, as they can be reported but aren’t taxable unless you take money out at a profit (this means all unrealised capital gains are shielded from taxes). The new Japan exit tax is applied to financial assets valued JPY100m and more, and a life insurance product currently doesn’t fall into the financial asset category. The exit tax will apply to foreigners from 2020.

Also, the obligation to report overseas assets if their aggregate value was JPY50m or more by the calendar year end is already in force for all Japan tax residents. With legislation like FATCA and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) in place, more and more of our financial data gets automatically exchanged, so the authorities in Japan, who will join the CRS in September 2018, will become aware of assets held wherever they are held, if they aren’t aware already. So again if they are held in an insurance wrapper they can be easily reported but aren’t taxable unless you take a profit out (this means all capital gains are shielded from taxes). At which point one can plan to take things out when one is in the best tax friendly jurisdiction possible to mitigate as much tax or all if possible.

If you are interested in taking a closer look at life insurance products, their benefits, cost, etc., do let me know and we will send you information.

03 5724 5100

Changes in Japan wealth reporting – and what you can do to help yourself

Posted on 2nd June 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Uncategorized

Plagued with wealth worries?

Wealth is a worry if you don’t have any.

And it’s also a worry if you do. Reporting it in tax returns, for example. Being taxed. Or paying penalties for not reporting it in tax returns.

Here’s a summary of the changes to reporting requirements on residents of Japan that are being put in place this decade.

  • Since 2014 Japan foreign residents have been obliged to report assets of more than JPY 50,000,000 held outside Japan. This is a combined total, not the minimum reportable size of any one asset. We haven’t seen the form for doing so nor been asked to declare in making our tax returns, but that’s the official requirement.
  • The ‘my number’ system was instituted at the beginning of this year, 2016. Every Japan resident was sent one. Not much has happened with these my numbers yet. We’ve heard of a few people who had to quote theirs while making foreign exchange remittances. They weren’t used in tax returns this year but we understand that they will be next. My number offers a way for the authorities to track the financial affairs of any individual more closely. Whether tax offices in Japan will use my numbers systematically is a matter of case-by-case conjecture, but they can.
  • The OECD Common Reporting Standard is a sign-up of 54 countries which have agreed to share financial information about their residents as of September 2017. Another 26 countries will join as of September 2018. Japan amongst them. This means assets you as a Japan resident may hold in other countries on the list will be visible to the Japanese authorities.
  • An exit tax was imposed on wealthy residents of Japan as of June 30th Anyone leaving Japan for good with more than ¥100 million in financial assets will be liable for tax on those assets as if they had sold them at the point of departure—even if the assets have not been sold. A case of the authorities getting their pound of flesh even if the cash cow is not yet dead. One bright side to this new law is that foreign residents of Japan will not be liable to this provision for five years: June 30th 2020.

What to do, if you fall into the wealth is a worry category?

Investments written as life insurance provide mitigation against ongoing taxation. The issuing life insurance company owns the assets; you own a contract for the value of the assets. This is the standard structure for the UK offshore finance industry and has proved viable for 50+ years. You can declare the existence of the policy, the policy can increase in value, but there is nothing to tax. Convenient, simple, effective. Please contact us for advice on how to protect your financial assets in this way.

What to do, if you fall into the no wealth is a worry category?

Start a regular savings programme, structured as life insurance, and build up some wealth. Every little bit adds up in time, with the power of compound interest. These policies also are reportable but tax-sheltered. Please contact us for information about how to get started. We all have to start somewhere.

Email or call today 03 5724 5100

Application of Japan exit tax to foreigners delayed for 5 years

Posted on 12th April 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Blog |Uncategorized

On 31 March 2015, the Diet passed the 2015 Tax Reform Proposal into law, which included the “exit tax” provisions that would require the mark-to-market of certain financial assets and the imposition of capital gains tax on any resulting gains for certain residents in Japan moving abroad.

Foreigners will not be subject to the exit tax until five years after the effective date of the law (from 30 June 2020) regardless of the visa type that they hold or the amount of their financial asset holdings.

The exit tax laws are complicated and the expectation is additional guidance and clarification will be needed from lawmakers and Japan tax authorities. For example, vested employee stock options are not specifically excluded from the exit tax regime. As such, a later exercise of the options which have been subjected to exit tax could potentially result in double-taxation.

For more inforamtion please get in contact 03 5724 5100 or

Working abroad for the foreseeable future?

Posted on 16th February 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Uncategorized

When you retire, do you have pension entitlements?  If you have pension entitlements, are they government, or private?

If government don’t forget you have to be on the system for a number of years before you will get anything.  (In Japan, 25 years; other countries also have their minimum contribution periods.)  And that amount you will get looks more and more doomed the worse the demographics and the government finances become.

Your alternative is private. Which is an advantage, as it belongs to you. It sits outside Japan/your country of further residence. It’s tax and reporting sheltered while it builds up. You can direct what’s in it. And it’s yours.

Many have misgivings about signing up for a pension — the main one being “I can’t afford extra money going out each month and it is not a priority right now”.
But for how long can you afford not to afford it?

Have a look at these two examples:
Person A starts saving from age 25 with the modest some of $250 a month — at age 55 they have $ 367,037.60
Person B starts at age 40 with US$1,000 a month — at age 55 they have $ 351,891.40 if their investments generated an 8% return.

Which one is easier?

At 40 you will have hopefully have a larger income but you will also have growing costs as kids and family expenses are just rising…

Guess what happens if they each continue to 65?

A has $ 839,343.12
B has $ 947,452.98

So saver B moved ahead!  But if they waited to age 45 to start then they wouldn’t, as $1000 a month for 20 years only achieves $593,075.06 at 8% return. Only 5 years makes a massive difference.

It’s best to start saving as early as possible for three main reasons:
 You get used to that money going out
 The power of compounding (gains on gains) means five, ten or twenty years makes a massive difference
3) So you actually end up paying out a good deal less.
One advantage of a pension is one of its drawbacks – your money is locked in until at least age 55, restricting the opportunity to tap your retirement fund for other reasons.  But with a Private Personal Pension you can dip into it in later years, if you have to, with minimal fees.  Pay more and you can have a general purpose fund: retirement, cost of children, cost of further education degrees. Not all three may be on the horizon (although we hope retirement is), but if they are they need to be planned.

Consider a pension as an essential part of your monthly spending – like rent, energy bills or a train pass. Always pay yourself something first!

It’s your wealth that is building up – yet many people have stubborn resistance to the concept. Usually when they hit 40 or 50 and suddenly realise savings “are needed” but they have missed the early easier years!

Give us a call to get something started today 03 5724 5100


Posted on 8th February 2016 by Trevor Reynolds in Blog |Finance in Focus |Uncategorized

Planning for retirement has become more challenging than it was for prior generations. Nowadays, many people over the age of 65 are continuing to work or are forced to accept a lower income in order to retire. While retirement goals are still attainable, we must adjust our retirement savings plans and be strategic in our approach; knowledge, resources and commitment are all necessary in order to reach a comfortable retirement.
Recognize the trend of people living longer in retirement. People around the world are living longer due to improved standards of nutrition, medicine and public health. While this is a good thing for individuals, we must consider those extra years spent in retirement and if we have the resources to last us through.

Cope with the large gap in retirement savings. The reality is that many people are falling short on their retirement savings goals resulting in a large annual income gap for retirees. It is important for people to commit to larger annual savings targets and consider staying in the workforce beyond traditional retirement years.

Shift the focus from the size of your nest egg to the annual income needed to maintain a comfortable retirement over the years. Nobody knows how long they are going to live and people are constantly worrying about the overall size of their nest egg and whether it will last them through retirement. Since that can be hard to gage, an easier approach is to consider the annual income required for a comfortable retirement and focus on multiplying that year after year.

Contact us to discuss various income generating options and your review your retirement plans 03 5724 5100 or email


The Pension Challenge

Posted on 25th March 2015 by Trevor Reynolds in Uncategorized

A growing challenge for many nations is population ageing. As birth rates drop and life expectancy increases an ever-larger portion of the population is elderly. This leaves fewer workers for each retired person. In almost all developed countries this means that government and public sector pensions could collapse their economies unless pension systems are reformed or taxes are increased.

The Japanese Pension System is only available once you have paid into the system for 25 years, assuming they have your records!  Even so this is only for the basic subsistence level, if you could call it even that, as it is below poverty line income.

So what should one do?  As always DIY – there are many very easy ways to start savings.  One is to sign up for a portable pension plan. This will be a minimum of five years but is best aimed at your earliest foreseeable retirement age. This will normally be between 55 and 60. You also agree a monthly amount to put away. The more you put into the plan, the more there will be for your retirement. However, you should not take on an obligation you cannot fulfill.

It is very easy as one can contribute using a credit card – this is convenient, is cheaper than using a bank to make transfers, and after a few months you don’t really notice the money going out. Your monthly contribution is then invested into a series of mutual funds. Doing things this way gives you advantages:

Access to diversified range of funds. The days of opaque mystery funds and lack of choice are long gone. You can be in range of funds which will sustain overall performance and cushion you from the gyrations of the markets. Yes, you can be in a wide variety of stock funds; you can also be in high-grade or high-yield bond funds, in gold stocks, in resource stocks, or in property income funds. Diversified portfolios do better in the long run.        

Dollar cost averaging means investing a fixed amount at fixed intervals of time. That’s a sensible approach, for example, if it means committing yourself to investing a fixed amount of your salary every month toward your retirement. Dollar Cost Averaging is nothing more than the systematic investment of a fixed dollar amount at regular time intervals. However, once you initiate the plan, the key to success is sticking with it and ignoring market fluctuations. This is part of the investing puzzle that allows you to invest with more aggressive and volatile funds such as China, India, Latin America, Eastern Europe etc. as they hold over 2/3 of the worlds population and they will overtake the current leaders but there will be bumps which cost averaging will help you benefit from.  For Example, you could invest $1,000 every month ($12,000 a year) not that much really when you think about it’s about $33 a day. 

(If one did $12,000 a year for 15 years and got 10% return this would be become about US$419,000, however if you then left this for a further 15 years and did not add anything it would grow to become about US$1,750,000 – the power of time and compound interest.)

Please get in touch with us here at Banner and we can start your savings off on the right track. Please get in touch on 03-5724-5100 or