UK: Protecting Against Events

It's always reassuring to know that someone reads these articles – but there can be a downside. Last month I discussed events and how even the best-laid plans can be derailed by political change, weather or financial shocks. A few days after that article appeared, someone stopped me to say that what I had said seemed to make sense, but then went on to ask me how on earth she could protect herself financially from such episodes. We had a good chat that left me with some food for thought.

On reflection, it strikes me that there are indeed ways in which we can ensure that we will not always be at the mercy of those – often unpleasant – occurrences called "events", of which I like to speak so often. After all certainty is a very rare commodity. It was Benjamin Franklin who said: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". And that is just as true now as when he was speaking two centuries ago.

We should first consider what type of "event" we are talking about. It could be a planned event – either on a fixed date in the future or likely to occur within a certain time scale – or it could be the unexpected, "out-of–the-blue" type of happening – a so-called "derailing" event.

Planned events are often "big ticket" items such as a family wedding. One only needs to look back at the marriage of the newly created Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the end of April in London. For me, one of the most telling moments was Prince William's comment as the bride and her father arrived at the altar – "it's supposed to be a small family affair." Fortunately, most of us won't ever face paying for a church service for 2,000 guests and a reception for 600!

For most people, planning expenditure for such predictable events is likely to involve a combination of releasing savings, cutting spending elsewhere and, most sensibly, being realistic about what can be done with resources available. In other words, setting a budget, funding that budget and sticking to that budget.

So much for those one-off happenings where the level of expenditure is likely to be more or less known in advance and can be planned for. But what of the other categories? Events that cannot be guaranteed but are highly likely to occur, or those that emerge out of nowhere. Financial planning for both is just as vital.

After a marriage has been paid for, children are often the next "big ticket" items that must be considered – not only by parents but also the long-suffering grandparents. In these days of historically low interest rates, it's difficult to open a small investment or savings account for a child in the hope that years of compound interest will do the rest. It simply isn't going to happen at present (or I suspect for some years to come) but there are alternatives. In my case, I buy Premium Bonds for my godson who lives in the UK. They are backed by the UK government and offer at least the chance of a tidy tax-free prize – although dreams of him winning the monthly £1 million prize are most probably just that.

Similarly, one can set up longer term investments for future education, particularly at tertiary level. Given the current debate raging in the UK over university tuition fees, funding is likely to become ever more important for students and their families in the years ahead. Suitable planning, assisted by qualified investment specialists, is highly recommended – and as early as possible to allow any agreed strategy time to achieve its full potential.

The most difficult category of all is the unknown or at least generally unquantifiable type of happening such as accident, illness, untimely death, redundancy or even fraud – as I call it, an "off-piste" type of event. Financially speaking, what can one do to protect oneself, and one's family, from sudden changes in circumstances? Other than savings and investments, of course, there is insurance. A good friend of mine was recently involved with his family in a spectacular road accident. Thankfully, no one was badly hurt and insurance covered the cost of replacing the car, so all is well.

All of us who drive must purchase insurance cover by law so the financial impact of such accidents should always be mitigated. But what about happenings where there is no insurance cover in place? It surprises me how many people venture off on an annual holiday without taking out travel insurance. If, like me, you travel throughout the year on business as well as holidays, an annual travel policy can be surprisingly affordable – and if it's for a two-week trip away it seems very odd that this most simple coverage should not be considered as important as the old "tickets, money and passport" mantra.

Health cover is not inexpensive but might also be considered. Although we are served very well here in Gibraltar by our own "national" health service, the additional comfort given by private cover, if it is affordable, can be well worth thinking about in the long run, especially if one is not covered by some form of social security.

And for the ultimate protection, some form of life insurance should be discussed with an appropriately qualified professional adviser. Not just to cover funeral expenses but perhaps to clear the mortgage (banks often insist on this type of cover anyway). For those caught in the inheritance tax net – not just UK people but Gibraltarians with property in Spain perhaps – it may be that the only way to protect one's family in the event of one's passing is to take out a life policy that covers the cost of any inheritance tax that may become due. In certain parts of Spain inheritance tax is no longer charged but non-residents in popular second home regions, such as Andalucía, must still pay this tax.

UK expatriates should also look carefully at any domestic private pension schemes when moving away from the UK. For example, moving an existing UK pension to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) will ensure that, in the event of early death, all remaining assets in the scheme are distributed to your named beneficiaries.

At present, the preservation of cash assets' capital value is the best one can hope for when holding standard bank deposit accounts. It is to be assumed that the lessons learnt in recent years after some banks failed – and so many others came perilously close to doing so – will lead to a safer, more stable banking environment for all. But don't expect interest rates on savings to rise dramatically any time soon.

Now is a good time to think about the diversification of your investments – no matter how modest. My colleagues at Sovereign Asset Management tell me that the choices available to private investors are more wide ranging and exciting than ever before. Many of us here in Gibraltar need to use both sterling and euro and the exchange rate varies from day-to-day. Currency hedging is something we can all do. Most of the banks offer a specific euro account simply to "hedge" your bets. In this way, if your euro are worth less one day against sterling, your pounds in the other account will be worth more – and vice versa.

As always some ready cash or at least space on the credit card should always be left available for those unexpected but often unavoidable events. Experience in recent years shows us that there is generally something lurking around the corner to trip us up. Considering new ways to cushion ourselves against such shocks should be the number one priority so that when they do happen – and they will – it is an irritation rather than a calamity.

Finally, remember too that good things happen in equal measure. A sudden windfall may result and that too needs thinking about. But that's a subject for another day.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions