Corporation Tax: the case for change

The tax contribution made by UK businesses gets a regular airing, given we effectively now have two annual Budgets if you include the Autumn Statement. Yet despite the Treasury frequently tinkering with Corporation Tax rates there seems little appetite to make sweeping changes. And that’s a shame, because a rethink isn’t just needed – it seems crucial to solving many of society’s problems.

Corporation Tax levels have actually bounced around more than you might think. First introduced in the 1965 Finance Act the tax rate was a hefty 40%. Today, it’s roughly half of that with the latest update to the policy being the application of a sliding scale between 19% and 25%, depending on a company’s annual profit levels.

Discuss any aspect of taxation and the conversation usually centres on fairness. Of late, crucial elements of equity such as personal allowance and fiscal drag have hit the headlines as many households try to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

Income Tax and National Insurance are usually the most scrutinised taxes as they directly affect millions of individuals. But at a time when the role of business in relation to complex societal issues is in the spotlight – from involvement in public service delivery to environmental impact – we should question whether current Corporation Tax is fit for purpose.

That means posing some fundamental questions, including:

  • What is the the purpose of a business in terms of the national interest?
  • What social benefit does a company provide?
  • Should firms be rewarded for positive impact, and likewise penalised for negative social outcomes?

Corporation Tax and the social contract

Corporation Tax isn’t alone in being a problematic part of our taxation system. But its limitations are symbolic of the changing nature of the social contract that exists between government, business and citizens.

That social contract currently exists to provide the foundations of a fair and fully functioning society: security and justice; healthcare; education; welfare; defence; and infrastructure among them. Boiled down, provision of those key pillars represents the ‘value for money’ we receive from public services as taxpayers.

But we should also expect the same contract with companies. In return for being well run and profitable, corporations should treat and reward employees well – and ensure their community values their presence.

Yet as with any tax, if it’s deemed unfair or contains loopholes some of those subject to the rules will – where legitimately possible – try to not pay. So, when we hear the refrain “Why don’t we just charge big business a lot more tax?”, that won’t work either.

In which case, what will? How do we reach a level of business taxation that makes sense, is fair and ultimately ensures all companies can have a real, positive impact on society?

Giving firms credit where credit is due

 One answer lies in setting out a new ‘social impact’ metric as the basis for future business taxation. Since companies have a variety of impacts – positive and negative – on local communities, the measurement system should consider:

  • Business model
  • Company culture
  • Community contribution
  • Local infrastructure needs

Local authorities could be mandated to identify key areas where their communities need additional support. For example, this could be housing, homelessness, sanitation, youth and adult services, crime, and so on – issues I bet you’re aware of in your local area, wherever you live.

A business could be scored against each of the criteria. Critically, their impact might be benchmarked against the local authority’s identified services that need support.

Many firms are already on board with the idea of formalising their impact on society, thanks to changes to governance rules and the emergence of B Corp and similar accreditation. Making your mark in this way can be a differentiator that offers competitive advantage. Implementing the measurement system outlined above would further codify corporations’ impact into something more tangible – and could be directly applied to taxation.

Better-performing businesses, which thanks to the new metrics would be able to demonstrate a positive impact on society, should receive Corporation Tax credits. In turn, that means they’ll retain more of their cash to continue invest in the services, products and actions which are providing the best outcomes.

Followed to its logical conclusion, such investment would take some pressure off purely public-funded services: health, social care, the police, and others.

Reward for better corporate contributions

There are other changes we can make. In my opinion, company directors and controlling shareholders should be made far more accountable for the societal consequences of their firm’s actions than is currently the case.

We shouldn’t stifle entrepreneurship, of course, or stunt the ability to make a profit. But if business leaders are personally invested to take actions that deliver net benefits to society, the tax system is more likely to bear fruit. Directors could be further incentivised with additional personal tax credits.

Put simply, the current tax system does not distinguish between a £100k-profit business that ends up causing £150k ‘damage’ through pollution, increased local reliance on health services, and so on; and another firm that turns a profit of £75k but isn’t responsible for any negative outcomes.

Corporation Tax might not be reformed any time soon – especially with political parties unlikely to want to rock the boat with the powerful business lobby in an election year. But change is something we should all more closely consider in a bid to build a sensible, equitable taxation system. That would offer an alternative to Friedman’s Shareholder Theory in the form of a social equivalent: meaningful contributions for a fairer society.

To find out how ADL can help your business with Corporation Tax planning, tax efficiency in general, as well as business succession, book your free e-consultation with us now.

What is the ADL Advice Guarantee?

Play Video

We guarantee our advice and implementation fees will be the most competitive in the market based on the following criteria:


  • The expertise of your lead adviser i.e. holding at least STEP membership and regulated financial planning qualifications or a private client solicitor holding at least 5+ years post qualification experience in private client advice. The solicitor may not hold formal regulated financial planning qualifications but will be conversant on relevant complementary financial planning needs and thus involve a suitably qualified and experienced colleague.


  • The procedure of the advice given which includes, a free initial consultation process; the initial call/zoom session that often lasts an hour, post-session research, a strategy email or report (where needed). All without a charge.


  • Post implementation support and guidance without charge. We will not charge you a fee to re-open your case file and review the planning implemented several years prior. We will not charge you a fee to explain the planning we’ve put in place to your children several years down the line when they are now old enough to be able to comprehend it.


  • The actual implementation of the solutions.


  • If you’ve been given a “cheaper” quote. We’ll review any solution you’ve been given, providing you with a commentary free of charge. If the actual implementation cost is cheaper, we’ll consider matching it if you really prefer to work with us. At the very least, you can rest assured whatever planning you have decided to implement has been one that you’ve decided to implement with eyes wide open.


  • Finally, the ADL Advice Guarantee mandates ADL Estate Planning Ltd to be a corporate member of the Best Foundation, which offers it’s own attractive Client Guarantee, inclusive of independent arbitration. You can read more about this here:


I’m confident our ADL Advice Guarantee is something that will reassure all our prospects and clients. This is also in addition to at least £2M in professional indemnity cover we have in place for all estate planning work we undertake. Do note, any regulated financial planning work is undertaken under our ADL Wealth brand and any tax reporting work is also covered by appropriate levels of professional indemnity cover.

We look forward to supporting and welcoming you and your family into our ecosystem so we can provide you with some of the most important areas of professional advice you’re ever likely to receive.

Should you have any questions about this advice guarantee, you can reach out to me directly.


Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA Adv DipFA PETR CeRER CeLTCI

Chartered Alibf (STEP Associate)

Private Clients

Managing Director


Dear Judges, the McCloud judgement gives you an intergenerational wealth transfer opportunity you need to know about

Circuit judges and pension changes

Pensions are among the most complicated tax wrappers we have in the UK. There are many different types of pensions, and each have their own unique criteria. Even I as a professional, with over 15 years in financial planning including as a senior adjudicator, holding advanced pension qualifications including Chartered status must remind myself on the intricacies of certain types of pensions that I don’t come across every day. However, I try to take comfort in that I know what questions to ask and what must be considered when unfamiliar legacy plans come across my desk.

The first thing you need to know, and this applies to those who aren’t judges too, if you have an occupational pension plan, your pension payment is taxed under PAYE before you receive it. This means you will be liable to UK tax even if you become non-UK resident in retirement. This contrasts with a personal pension or a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) which will suffer local tax rates. Therefore, should you become a resident in a lower tax jurisdiction in retirement, you could access your personal pension or SIPP with little or no tax consequences.

The second thing I’d like you to know is when we use the word “pension”, it can have several meanings, for instance, the value of the underlying fund or the actual income you receive or are due to receive from the pension provider.  In this article, when I use the word “pension” I’m referring to pension income or merely the all encompassing tax wrapper.

The History

This all stems from the long-foregone coalition government who in June 2010 had established an Independent Public Service Pensions Commission to look at “the long-term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights”.  In March 2011 the Commission recommended the following:

  • replacing the existing pensions which were linked to the members final salary to one that was linked to career average earnings.
  • increasing the pension commencement age to align with the state pension age for all schemes except the armed forces, police and fire services which would have a pension age of 60.

The Government accepted these reforms, and they were legislated into the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 which became a framework for new schemes introduced from 2015 (2014 for local government). The idea being the various public sector schemes would go on to attempt to manifest this framework in their new pension schemes for their employees to ensure the long-term sustainability of the traditionally lucrative public service pensions.

However, the manifestation of the framework on the new judges’ pension would go onto have severe ramifications across ALL public sector schemes. So, what happened?

On 1st April 2015, a New Judicial Pension Scheme (NJPS) was introduced, membership of which was less attractive than the original Judicial Pension Scheme (JPS). To reduce the negative impact of the NJPS on those closer to retirement there were transitional provisions. Those provisions allowed judges to remain members of the JPS by reference to their date of birth if it was better for them.

  • Existing members of the JPS who were born on or before 1st April 1957 would have full protection, could continue in the JPS. Ultimately, the potential benefits under the final salary JPS would be compared with the career average scheme and whichever was higher would be paid. This was the original “statutory underpin” protecting the older members.
  • Existing members of the JPS who were born between 2nd April 1957 and 1st September 1960 are entitled to time-limited protection.
  • Those born after 1st September 1960 weren’t entitled to any protection and were excluded from active membership of the JPS.

Key Points

  • The original JPS aka Judicial Pension Scheme 1993 aka JUPRA as it was established under the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 was an unregistered final salary pension scheme. This meant that although the pension contributions didn’t attract tax relief, contributions were not limited to the annual allowance or lifetime allowance limits. This meant judges could have a separate registered pension scheme that they could also fund without penalty. Whether they took this opportunity is another matter. Other features included (not exhaustive):
    • An accrual rate of 2.5% (1/40th) of pensionable earnings.
    • Normal Pension Age of 65 years.
    • Automatic lump sum on retirement at rate of 2.25 times the annual pension


  • The NJPS was a registered pension scheme, this meant pension contributions would be limited by the annual allowance and the lifetime allowance. This scheme was based on a career average basis rather than the final salary basis. Other features included (not exhaustive):
    • An accrual rate of 2.32% (1/43.1th) of pensionable earnings.
    • Normal Pension Age linked to state pension age.
    • Optional tax-free lump sum based on a commutation rate of 12:1. This meant for every £12 of cash, £1 of pension would need to be given up.

The McCloud judgement

Some of your colleagues, those who had limited, or no transitional protections weren’t happy with the transitional provisions. They brought claims to the employment tribunal (i) alleging direct discrimination on grounds of age (ii) for equal pay on the basis that the transitional provisions disproportionately adversely affected women; and (iii) alleged indirect sex and race discrimination. The government didn’t dispute the provisions discriminated based on age but argued that it was justified as a proportionate means of achieving their aims.

There were similar claims made in relation to the firefighter’s pension scheme but both employment tribunal cases led to the McCloud judgement in the Court of Appeal, and following 5 hearing dates, in December 2018, the Court of Appeal stated that the ‘transitional protection’ offered to some members as part of the reforms amounted to “unlawful discrimination”. Then in July 2019 the government accepted that difference in treatment would be remedied across all public service pension schemes regardless of whether individuals made a claim.

In July 2020 the government launched a consultation proposal to build the remedial action in relation to the McCloud judgement. The government response, now known as the McCloud remedy, was issued in February 2021. Here are the key points (not exhaustive):

  • Eligible members which now included qualifying younger members would now be given a legacy or reformed pension scheme benefits in respect of their service during the period between 1st April 2015 (1st April 2014 for local government) and 31st March 2022 (the remedy period).


  • The choice would be made at retirement, or just before the benefits come into payment.


  • In the meantime, members will be deemed to have accrued benefits in their legacy schemes for the remedy period. From April 2022 all active members would be transferred to the reformed schemes for future service.

Ultimately, it would be down to each public service pension scheme provider to determine how to implement the McCloud remedy when their own schemes faced a potential age discrimination issue.

McCloud remedy and the judicial pension

To qualify for the remedy members would need to satisfy the following 5 conditions:

  • They have service that takes place in the period beginning with 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022 – this is known as the remedy period;
  • The service is pensionable under a judicial scheme;
  • The member was in a pensionable judicial office or a pensionable non-judicial public office on or before 31 March 2012;
  • There is no disqualifying gap in service (a period of five years or more);
  • The member was aged under 55 on 1 April 2012.

If you’ve been the affected, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will contact you first with a Preliminary Information Statement (PIS) to confirm the data they hold about your pension service, which you need to respond to within 2 months. You’d then be sent an Information Statement with an options exercise with a comparison of the estimated benefits you could’ve received under the various options during the remedy period. You need to respond to this within 3 months.

The Judicial Pension Scheme (JPS) 2022

From 1 April 2022, all members eligible for a judicial pension joined the Judicial Pension Scheme 2022 (JPS 2022), unless they opted out.  JPS 2022 is an unregistered Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme. The pension being the average of your pensionable earnings throughout your membership of the scheme. Other features include:

  • Member contribution rate of 4.26% of pensionable earnings
  • Accrual rate of 2.5% (1/40th)
  • No cap on the number of service years
  • Normal Pension Age linked to the State Pension Age

Why this matters for you?

As judges you’re likely to be a higher rate or a top rate taxpayer. Over the years you are also likely to have built wealth that could now be liable to inheritance tax (IHT).

You should be thinking about intergenerational wealth transfer and asset preservation. This is where you can take advantage of registered pension schemes whilst still being a member of the JPS 2022.

Therefore, any surplus income can be saved into a registered personal pension or a SIPP. This will give you income tax relief at 40% or 45%, which is a highly tax-efficient way to build up additional capital. For example, £1,000 per month in a registered pension would only cost a higher rate taxpayer £600 and a top rate taxpayer £550. You could invest £60,000 per year into a registered pension and that would only cost you £33,000 as a top rate taxpayer.

If you’ve been a member of a registered pension from previous years, then you could potentially also benefit from carry forward. This is when you have not utilised the full annual allowance from the previous 3 years, and in the current tax year you’re able to “carry forward” those unused allowances to make a larger contribution into the registered pension scheme.

The magic of the registered pension is that it can be inherited by your beneficiaries tax-free should you die before age 75 or be only subject to your beneficiaries’ marginal rates of income tax if you die when you’re over 75. Crucially, registered pension schemes are not subject to the 40% IHT.

What could potentially be even better, especially where you have non-taxpaying beneficiaries such as grandchildren, is passing your registered pension into a Pension Death Benefit Trust (PDBT). This should be undertaken with a carefully worded contingent nomination. A decision to be confirmed on death.

Now, although the trust would suffer an immediate 45% tax on entry, this tax can be reclaimed when it’s advanced to a lower tax paying or a non-tax paying beneficiary. This does mean only 55% of the pension trust fund can be invested.

The PDBT allows for protection against third party threats your beneficiaries could face such as remarriage of the surviving spouse, divorce settlement claims, care costs, creditor claims and generational inheritance tax.

Intergenerational Wealth Management requires multiple disciplines and it’s crucial it is done correctly. You can download our e-book – Winning at life:       Welcome your future, maintain your assets, secure your capital, safeguard your family and plan for your future legacy via the following link:

Should you be interested in a consultancy call, please book in a slot.

Mohammad Uz-Zaman is a chartered private client wealth manager who holds accreditations across regulated financial advice and estate planning. He is also an associate member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He works closely with financial advisers, general practice solicitors, accountants and investment managers from several major practices. Should you be interested in exploring a B2B relationship please email Mohammad Uz-Zaman directly at


My Finances: App Launch Drives ADL’s Mission To Boost Wealth Planning

You might have felt this frustration a few times: go to your app store, search for wealth planning advice, get bombarded with complex options – none of which does exactly what you need, all in one place.

With such disparate personal finance information to sift through it’s no wonder many people shrug their shoulders when it comes to financial planning. According to research, only around 1 in 3 (37%) declare themselves ‘full planners’: they have financial goals, and a plan in place to achieve them.

Put into context, that’s approaching 30 million over-18s in the UK who haven’t committed to wealth planning.

This might all sound like someone else’s problem. In reality, it gives us as a country a big problem. Consider some of these stats:

  • 39% of UK adults don’t feel confident managing their money
  • 63% actually believe they have no control over their finances
  • 11.5 million have less than £100 in savings
  • 55% find pensions too baffling to be able to save well for retirement
  • 43% of pensioners are not engaged with how to manage residential care costs

The list goes on. By putting ourselves in this position, we’re collectively contributing to a society that isn’t financially literate and doesn’t enjoy the benefits that better wealth management can bring: a more efficient economy, effective services; basically, a better place to live.

Our wealth planning problems start at an early age. Only around half (52%) of children aged between seven and 17 claim to have had any meaningful financial lessons – and plenty of them pick advice up from family rather than in the state or private school system.

So, if society isn’t set up to make us all better at wealth planning driven by a greater level of financial literacy, for everyone’s benefit, then someone needs to take matters by the scruff of the neck.

At ADL we’re doing our bit. After years of planning and development, we’re unveiling our new, comprehensive wealth planning app: My Finances.

The app – initially available for Android devices, with iOS to follow soon – brings together a wider range of wealth planning calculators than any other tool. There will be 10 to start with, letting you tot up inflation impacts, consider equity release, understand investment gains, double your money, and make other easy calculations.

But it will also, uniquely, offer one-to-one access to a network of our partner wealth planning advisors. They cover aspects of financial planning spanning mortgage payments, pensions, commercial finance, accountancy and more.

Perhaps most importantly, as ADL and our collaborators seek to change the way the UK thinks about and manages money, My Finances will offer a full programme of coaching sessions, webinars and other content to build users’ financial knowledge with easy-to-consume, knowledge-building insights.

We’ve launched a landing page to share more information about the app and what it can do for you. We’ll make My Finances more visible on app stores and online via some exciting marketing initiatives. We’ll be contacting potential users to bring more people on board – and start to make the change we want to see. As our developers continue to work hard, and the app builds momentum, we will roll out further features to subscribers.

We’re committed to building a wealth planning ecosystem that supports our vision of a fully financially literate UK. As individuals, and a society as a whole, that can be a priceless contribution to a prosperous financial future.

Opportunities and Threats Re. A Decentralised Cryptocurrency

The following comments are based on nation states having a decentralised cryptocurrency either by way of market forces, or a radical shift in government policy towards accepting it as legal tender. It’s also on the basis of multiple decentralised cryptocurrencies existing globally and with free or preferential trade agreements existing between those adopters.

Quick point on market saturation, this is when a business has exhausted their potential in that jurisdiction i.e. market. By entering new jurisdictions, new markets open up, thereby allowing new avenues of enrichment. Governments that advocate free market capitalism,  work on the same principle, advocating for their domiciled companies to enter those new markets and in turn create additional tax revenue streams.


  • Forex among adopters of the same cryptocurrencies will no longer be required. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) will have a huge boost in entering international trade previously off limits due to currency risk.
  • Exchange rate fluctuation will be a thing of the past, thus also encouraging private investor confidence when travelling and investing into new regions.
  • Traditionally weaker economies with weak currencies can benefit from a more stable currency thus increasing the potential for their SMEs to expand into wealthier nation states.
  • Private industry, especially construction, education and health care providers from wealthier nation states can improve the economic productivity of weaker nation states. Thus leading to an quicker overall regional wellbeing.
  • Nation states become more reliant on one another thus reducing the risk of armed conflict.

Threats (and unintended consequences)

  • Increased competition between users of the same cryptocurrency, could lead to high inflation rates in some regions. This is because service and product providers in one region could have greater demand in a cross border jurisdiction.
  • Governments nor a central bank would be able to control inflation by changing the interest rate and the supply of money.
  • Decentralised cryptocurrency will be in direct competition with the traditional currency e.g. British Pound. It’d create an intra-country forex problem and essentially means the government and central bank being in direct competition with corporations that adopt a decentralised cryptocurrency. My brain is not able to compute the consequences.
  • Government and corporate conflict. Consider a government seeking to increase taxes as part of their budgetary policy to pay for public services yet a business’s revenue stream increasingly coming from a lower tax jurisdiction. Could that company easily migrate to the lower tax jurisdiction? Could migration be made easier due to technology and a better skilled global workforce? Yes.
  • If governments no longer create currency, what are the consequences of private individuals and corporations creating currency? Consider, energy companies that clearly have a monopoly on controlling energy supply now moving into mining cryptocurrencies? How would you tax that? That’d also begin the road to disempowering governments and empowering corporations.
  • As cryptocurrencies are finite there’s a risk of mercantilism; nation states or more realistically corporations hoarding cryptocurrency, encouraging export (thus new money in) and limiting imports (thus reducing money out). The complete opposite of a free market.
  • Traditional economic blocs could opt to use a select number of cryptocurrencies among each other to manage international competition in trade and to maintain strategic positions.
  • It will encourage labour mobility as nation states will find it more difficult to focus on a particular sector of their economy thus encouraging migration and loss of talent. For example, a government of country A would find it difficult to subsidize the agricultural sector, as a company in country B with lower costs would be able to sell into Country A with little or no economic friction. Putting up trade barriers within a bloc that is using the same cryptocurrencies wouldn’t be practical and will undermine the bloc’s alliance.

Ask an economist, whom I refer respectfully as philosophers of money and commerce, about a single currency system with a central bank such as with the Euro, and that’s more than enough to create a plethora of hypotheses. Now throw in a decentralised cryptocurrency that in itself is created by technology using electrical power, it’s probably enough to say we risk creating Frankenstein’s monster, not of the economy, but the economist. Of course I jest.

I don’t think any national government will allow such a development. Nor do I think the public would advocate it, knowing the serious potential consequences of it. Therefore, the only outcome I see progressing is a centralised cryptocurrency with the current cryptocurrencies falling by the wayside, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some cryptoassets suffer an astronomical collapse as regulation is extended.

I leave you with a quote:

He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation.  James A. Garfield

If you enjoyed this article you may also like:

Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA DipFA PETR is an international wealth manager who holds dual accreditations across wealth management and trust planning. He advises high-net worth (HNW) individuals how best to protect their family and structure their estate for the benefit of successive generations. Mohammad is also an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Do you need financial advice? Check out your score by answering only 10 light hearted questions via the following link:

For press enquiries and further information on your own wealth management plans you can reach out via the contact form or schedule a call via the Calendly widget (30 min initial enquiry option) below:


Blockchain and Bitcoin; a hegemonic shift in data centralization and currency

It’s probably useful to start off with some definitions and descriptions so here goes:

Cryptocurrencies: Electronic cash not issued by any government or central bank.

It started off being used as a substitute for traditional currency on the dark web, and it’s currently not legal tender. It has been popularized with the development of ‘cryptocurrency exchanges’ that were created to trade various cryptocurrencies, which encouraged lay and experienced speculators to invest which have both driven up prices and created considerable volatility. There are more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies in existence but only a few are popular. Bitcoin being the most well-known.

When private investors invest into cryptocurrencies, it’s more accurate to refer to them as cryptoassets. Thus, cryptoassets are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in the UK. There is very little regulation around cryptoassets.

Blockchain: It is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies that is supposed to give it its integrity and thus investor confidence. It’s considered to be decentralized, that is, there is no single intermediary, such as a bank, verifying the integrity of a transaction or ‘store of value’.

Every time a transaction occurs, a record is created in a ‘block’; what follows is a series or a chain of blocks. Hence blockchain. It’s essentially a ledger of every single type of transaction, even erroneous ones.

The value of blockchain technology lies in how it stores data. In another age, it could be considered, black magic and wizardry. But basically, highly complex mathematics verify every single block, and the correct sequence of those blocks.

Those highly complex mathematics require computing power and those who invest in the technology to undertake that activity are colloquially called miners or in the case of Bitcoin, Bitcoin miners. Everytime they solve the highly complex mathematics; they are rewarded with Bitcoin or whatever other cryptoasset.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology. We don’t know who invented it. Yes, you read that correctly. The name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ does get mentioned but no-one has ever seen or heard the creator who was supposedly a 37-year-old Japanese male. No-one has ever been able to verify whether Satoshi Nakamoto was a single person or a group of people. We know the name was a pseudonym. There’s been all sorts of tales as to Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity e.g., the CIA, MI5, as well as several real persons including Elon Musk (he’s denied it).

What do I think about cryptocurrency as a cryptoasset?

The value of popular cryptoassets is entirely driven by speculators. In some sense it’s like forex trading, in that they both involve the trading of currency, e.g., trading British Sterling for Bitcoin, having speculated it rising in value against it. Forex is however backed by central government that can influence the supply and demand of a currency because it has important utility as a medium of exchange.

Currently, cryptoassets have no utility. Investors are not investing into anything that can offer value to an end-user, unlike traditional currency that can be used to purchase goods and services. So, despite its growth in popularity, it can only remain a pseudo asset whilst regulation around it remains unclear and a light touch. If cryptoassets do not become legal tender I expect it will continue to suffer from uncanny rises and falls.

Unless you’re a globalist who believes in absolutely no trade barriers and believes in the most liberal form of free market capitalism, I think there’s good reason to be seriously concerned over any legitimization of the current decentralized structure of cryptocurrencies as legal tender. I can only imagine what economists would be thinking on the impact on inflation, labour, wages and especially international trade.

A decentralized currency would disempower governments, unwittingly hailing the rise of corporatocracy like you’ve never known it, seen it, or imagined it.

I do think as we move into a cashless society, blockchain technology is going to become very important in developing a centralised digital currency that can ensure integrity and efficiency in our financial markets. The Bank of England is already exploring an initiative known as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which I think is a very positive move. This will be intimately tied in with other blockchain based applications.

What do I think about the future of blockchain?

The technology is powerful and the impact it may have on our societies when coupled with other emerging technologies will dramatically change our behaviours. Financial crime could become obsolete.  However, how people respond vis-a-vie our new social contract with central government remains to be seen. I still remember the furor around ID cards those many years ago.

The applications for blockchain technology across all industries can create a trust within the marketplace that can do away with all sorts of intermediaries and bureaucracy.

Imagine buying a house from a vendor that records not just the history of the title register but also every significant home improvement, and problem that house has had. Imagine blockchain technology integrating with ‘smart-homes’. Imagine AI interpreting the data in plain English. Imagine your real CV on blockchain – which records your education, exam results, career history. Now imagine not receiving a national insurance card, driving license or passport. Rather, you are being assigned a citizen blockchain account on birth that is integrated into the government’s educational, health, taxation and security systems; imagine that blockchain account recording every GP visit, every exam result, every school you attended, every job, and all your tax contributions.

The thing is all that data already exists across various government institutions that don’t always ‘speak’ to each other, with blockchain it’d all be centralised. That’s data centralization, which can only be made possible by blockchain. Although this may allow a government to intervene sooner with social support, because it will better identify your vulnerability, but at what cost is anybodies guess.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like:

Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA DipFA PETR is an international wealth manager who holds dual accreditations across wealth management and trust planning. He advises high-net worth (HNW) individuals how best to protect their family and structure their estate for the benefit of successive generations. Mohammad is also an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Do you need financial advice? Check out your score by answering only 10 light hearted questions via the following link:

For press enquiries and further information on your own wealth management plans you can reach out via the contact form or schedule a call via the Calendly widget (30 min initial enquiry option) below:


Which second passport should I get?

You’re in a great job, living in a low tax- or tax-free jurisdiction or you benefit from considerable assets, but you’re concerned about security. Security can mean different things to different people and the passport you hold doesn’t help.

The strength of a passport tends to be ranked by how many VISA free countries that passport allows one to visit. The Henley & Partners Passport Index puts the top three passports as Japan with a VISA free score of 191, Singapore in second place with a VISA free score of 190, and in joint third place, Germany, and South Korea, with a VISA free score of 189.

Portugal, a member of the EU, providing access to 27 other EU countries is ranked 6th and the United Kingdom and United States are both ranked 7th.

Middle Eastern countries tend to offer VISA free access to 20-40 countries except for Saudi Arabia which offers VISA free access to 79 destinations, Qatar 95 and the United Arab Emirates having the strongest with 173 VISA free access destinations.

But of course, when deciding about which second passport is most suitable for you, you’d probably want to give more consideration than simply to a mobility score. But rather the relevancy of those destinations to you and your family.

Most people are motivated to obtain a second passport due to wanting better access to education and work for their children. Escaping geopolitical risk, having access to business and leisure destinations are also important. To a lesser extent it’s also about having access to better healthcare, a better retirement destination and a tax efficient jurisdiction.

Residency and citizenship by investment programs enable nations to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from qualified and highly vetted individuals who can make a significant economic contribution to the host nation. FDI is attractive for nations as it offers debt free liquidity that can be reinvested into the nation’s infrastructure and public services. Furthermore, by attracting highly qualified or wealthy individuals it’s also likely to better diversify the economy through entrepreneurship and thus job creation.

So which passport is right for you?

Before anything you need answers to at least the following:

  1. What’s your objective? And why?
  2. What level of residual funds do you have available to invest into a second jurisdiction for residency or citizenship?
  3. Are you willing reside permanently in your host country?
  4. How often do you intend to visit your host country?
  5. How quickly do you intend to achieve residency and citizenship?

Three popular destinations

  1. Vanuatu

For a donation of $180,000 a family of four can obtain citizenship in approximately 8 weeks. And you can include a dependent relative provided they’re over 55.  It offers access to 130 VISA free countries including the UK and the Schengen countries. You can obtain citizenship without ever visiting.

  •  Turkey

For an investment of $250,000, a married couple with minor children can obtain citizenship in approximately 4 months. It offers access to 111 VISA free countries, but it doesn’t include VISA free access to the UK or Schengen countries.

It does however benefit from the E2 business treaty with the USA and the Ankara Business Agreement with the UK. This allows Turkish citizens to open a business in either of those countries and in turn give them potential access to residency in those countries.

Turkey also offers free education for children. You’ll only need to make a single visit to obtain citizenship.

  • Portugal

For an investment of c$300,000, families with children upto the age of 21 can obtain residency in approximately 6 months. It offers access to 186 VISA free countries which include access to the UK and the Schengen countries.

After 5 years of residency, you can apply for citizenship. You would only have needed 5 weeks of physical stay in Portugal within a 5-year period to qualify for citizenship.

Portugal is quite easily the most popular destination being an EU member which offers passport holders the right to live, work and study across the 27 EU member countries. It also offers the most convenient route to citizenship as the physical stay requirement is manageable.

There are around 25 Golden VISA programmes internationally that offer a residency and/or citizenship by investment opportunities. It should go without saying several factors must tie up to ensure objectives are met, not least the security of your capital funds for investment.

All three options can be within the scope of most high earners with surplus income who may not have the immediate capital requirements but can do within a few years provided they also have a tailored wealth management plan that is regularly reviewed.

For further information to explore your personal circumstances please reach out via the contact form or book a slot via the Calendly widget (30 min initial enquiry option) below.

Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA Adv DipFA PETR is a chartered wealth manager who holds dual accreditations across wealth management and trust planning. He advises high-net worth (HNW) individuals how best to protect their family and structure their estate for the benefit of successive generations. Mohammad is also an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).


International financial advice must consider second passports and second residency


The UK is considered one of the most respected, if not, the most respected place to obtain financial services whether you are an individual investor or an institutional investor. A necessary evolution that needed to come about from the inception of the Lloyds of London which actually started off as providing marine insurance in the late 17th century.

That evolution required the complementary development of various other professional services which included accountancy, legal, and financial education which is the reason why the UK has become a world leader in its provision.

But in an age of increasing hyperconnectivity, easier travel and liberal economies, people have better access to relevant education and are able to apply those skills in the jurisdictions that require them and have a welcoming attitude. Those jurisdictions are no longer London, New York, or a major European city. Rather it’s Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha. And yet more cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to be created as part of their eye-watering NEOM project, will only serve to attract more talent into the region.

But despite the attraction of foreign talent, it’s unlikely to provide local financial products and is also unlikely to offer robust financial regulation anytime soon. Only when we see innovation in tech and science coming out from homegrown companies in the Middle East to be worthy of being listed on an internationally reputable stock exchange also in the Middle East will we then see the necessary development of local professional services – just like the journey London took in its own development.

Until then nationals and expats will continue to rely on international financial services to offer an opportunity to plan for their financial future. They are going to need it as they benefit from a high-income and a low tax jurisdiction. A necessary compromise for a jurisdiction that doesn’t normally offer citizenship.

Despite the Middle East being an attractive destination, parts of the region remain a serious security risk for families, be it due to geopolitical conflict or the affects of climate change.

Mobility is now and will continue to be considerably more important as expats seek jurisdictions that are safe for their families, that can provide good healthcare, access to a decent education and of course the opportunity to work and set up a business. Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese, all come to mind. But so do Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshi professionals living and contributing to developing their host countries but without being able to call it their state.

The second passport and residency industry has seen an explosion in growth, in 2014 the industry was worth $2 BLN (Source: and in 2019 it was worth a staggering $25 BLN (Source: As expats weigh up geopolitical and domestic challenges I think this industry is only going to become even more important.

International financial advisers need to consider their clients country of origin and passport more than ever to best advise how to protect their clients’ future. Suitable life insurance, retirement plans and cross-border tax planning will always be important, but a wealth management plan must now be tailored to meet the immediate need of a safer jurisdiction for relevant clients and their families.

You may be interested to read the following piece:

Should you like to discuss your international wealth management needs please reach out via the contact form or book a slot via the Calendly widget below.

Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA Adv DipFA PETR is a chartered wealth manager who holds dual accreditations across wealth management and trust planning. He advises high-net worth (HNW) individuals how best to protect their family and structure their estate for the benefit of successive generations. Mohammad is also an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).


7 top tips for expats and nationals in the Middle East and Asia

If you’re in a rush, you can book in a consultancy call now, click here.

Yes, I appreciate you may have been cold-called and bamboozled with messages to such an extent you find the idea of sitting down with a financial adviser a nightmare. And yes, building rapport with them to discuss your sensitive financial affairs can be very difficult to do.

Recently I’ve been dealing with a client who is in the unfortunate position of paying various lots of obscure charges that amount to 3.5% per year. He’s not seen any growth on his investments since 2014 and he’s still locked in for several more years. Fortunately, you will not find a client in such an arrangement in the UK, but we still see such clients regularly across the Middle East and Asia.

It’s essentially a mixture of a lack of regulation, a lack of corporate ethics, a lack of advisor competency, and aggressive sales. And if the developed economies in the Middle East and Asia want to build a financial services industry on par with the UK then things will need to radically change. But you as an investor don’t need to wait for regulatory changes, you can upskill yourself now.

Hopefully these tips will help you sift through the advisers who can add value as opposed to time wasters as well as providing you with some key discussion points that will also allow you to explore the resourcefulness of your potential adviser.

Here are my top tips for High-Net Worth (HNW) expats and residents living in countries with an underdeveloped financial services industry:

1.      Ensure your adviser is qualified at least to a Level 4 UK standard. Where you have a UK pension that you need advice on, ensure they hold a Level 6 UK Pension Transfer qualification. Don’t be shy to ask to see their certificates.

2.      Put in place your international life and critical insurance plans with a company that has an excellent credit rating and claim pay-out rate.

Disregard the cover via your employer, as you may not be with that employer forever thus having to pay higher premiums to take out a similar policy when you are older and possibly in poorer health.

3.      It’s often far better to pay for advice be it initial and/or ongoing on a fixed fee basis with no tie-ins. Avoid arrangements with a commission structure. Make sure you understand all the charges. Get a list of ALL charges. If you’re being charged 3% per year and your investment does 5% per year, you need to ask yourself is it worth the risk for only 2%?

4. Always provide your international financial adviser with accurate information for them to do their analysis properly so you’ll avoid surprises several years into your plan. Your adviser should be advising you NOT you leading them down a path.

If you don’t trust your adviser to provide them with your accurate income and liability information, get another adviser who you can trust.

5. Consider whether international mobility via a second residency or citizenship scheme is important for you and your family. If it is, structure a cost-effective savings plan to budget for it if you need to. Otherwise explore options now.

6.      If you have significant assets in any of the developed countries, a simple will is rarely going to be enough. You need to be thinking about setting up trust funds for your beneficiaries.

Similarly, if you have assets in underdeveloped countries, asset protection will be even more important. Seek advice sooner rather than later with regards to how to transfer those assets to a more secure jurisdiction.

7.      Similarly, you should also put in place a Power of Attorney. In the UK this is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). It’s a powerful legal document that gives someone you trust the authority to manage your property and financial affairs in that particular jurisdiction in the event you are unable to.

Take financial advice seriously. It can save you hundreds of thousands, if not millions. And make you a decent sum too. You should be having reviews annually.

Don’t expect your financial adviser to make you rich. If they promise you market beating investment returns consistently, get another adviser.

Remember good advice is priceless, book an International Financial Advice consultancy call by contacting Mohammad Uz-Zaman via the following form or book a slot via our calendly widget below.


Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA DipFA PETR is an international wealth manager who holds dual accreditations across wealth management and trust planning. He advises high-net worth (HNW) individuals on how best to protect their family and structure their estate for the benefit of successive generations. Mohammad is also an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Do you need financial advice? Check out your score by answering only 10 light hearted questions via the following link:


ADL’s 2020 two sentence insights

Capitalism and technology have made the world glocal. It has and is bringing people closer together like no other point in human history. For example, today, because of the online gig economy, a start-up in London can contract affordable skilled services in the Philippines, without which neither would be able to add value to their local communities.

Yet it’s 2020, faced with a COVID pandemic our generation has never seen, and race relations at an all-time low since MLK, facing dire job losses and an unsurmountable national debt that I suspect will have a bigger impact on our domestic and foreign policy objectives since 9-11. But Europe, US and the UK are disunited and in disarray. I am intrigued like many others as to what the future could hold and how to prepare for it.

Here are my two sentence insights on the following areas:

  1. The UK economy: The performance of the FTSE index will not be reliable indicator of the economy as large companies benefit from a multi-billion-pound bailout under the guise of the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) largely hidden from public view. However, I question whether some of these traditionally investment grade companies will be able to adapt in a post-COVID environment; failing to do so will have a serious impact on our pension and investment holdings.
  2. President Trump & the US elections: I wonder what would’ve happened if President Trump didn’t forcefully remove peaceful protestors outside the White House to walk to the damaged St. John’s Church back in June 2020 but rather reassured the protestors directly taking the knee in support be it only in principle of the #BLM movement? At the age of 74, President Trump is governing in an era of overwhelming racial divisiveness during a global pandemic, but should he be re-elected, and continue with a modus operandi focused on securitisation and divisiveness I suspect it will have dire consequences for a traditional liberal democracy and its international relations.
  3. Brexit: It appears Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taking his hardball negotiation cues from President Trump’s Art of the Deal which I don’t think can apply between nation states. I suspect his threat to break international law, is merely a crude negotiating tactic and if it did come to fruition it will only empower other emerging powers and undermine our own, which is why I don’t think a trade deal will be agreed in 2020.
  4. COVID & China: COVID will pass, humanity has overcome far greater threats and China will be under serious scrutiny over the extent they allegedly withheld key information about the virus that has sent the world on an expensive spin. But the next US administration will need to consider carefully as to whether they lead an adversarial approach towards China in an attempt to curtail its growing geopolitical influence which will no doubt have serious repercussions on its own economy thus curtailing its own global influence or to work with China on forming a new G2 platform or dare I say a G3 platform including Russia.
  5. Israel, Palestine & its neighbours: Two sentences on this? Yeah right.

Technology is breaking down borders which has been fantastic in allowing people the world over to recognise the overwhelming majority of us have similar shared sacred values. Exploiting difference will become much harder to do. But I wonder how inefficient democratic economies will compete with highly efficient undemocratic economies. There is a strong sentiment being made that we need to give up some of our freedoms to compete, but I say, we need more of it.

As humanity enters 2021 we continue to face serious threats including the competition for the earth’s limited resources and I can’t see how we can resolve these matters without an international effort, which will translate into treaties and mutual obligations which may mean our traditional conception of the nation state need also to evolve.

Mohammad Uz-Zaman is a private client trust and estate planning consultant who holds accreditations across regulated financial advice and estate planning. His career included 5 years at a highly respected think-tank. He holds graduate and post-graduate degrees and he is also an associate member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He works closely with financial advisers, general practice solicitors, accountants and investment managers from several major practices.