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Wellbeing At Work Event 2016

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london logo 2016 dates

The Wellbeing at Work Event returns to central London on 19 October 2016 where over 150 HR professionals, business leaders and consultants will attend to hear from leading speakers who have made successful change in their workplace.

A limited number of early bird discounted tickets are available online at

Confirmed speakers at the event on 19 October include:
Brian Heyworth, Global Co-Head, Financial Institutions Group from HSBC
Jeremy Connick, Partner at Clifford Chance
Liz Nottingham, HR Director EMEA, Starcom MediaVest
Geoff McDonald, Former Global VP of HR, Unilever
Lawrence Mitchell, Global Marketing Director, Reed Business Information

For a full list of speakers click here and to see the programme click here.

The wellbeing revolution has had a huge impact on the workplace, with wide recognition that an engaged workforce can make a significant contribution to business performance but there is still a lot of work and education required:

• 72% of workplaces have no formal mental health policy, even though it costs UK employers around £26 billion each year and is one of the top reasons for long-term absenteeism (Shaw Trust independent report)
• Only 8% of UK organisations currently have a standalone wellbeing strategy that supports the business strategy (CIPD Report)
• FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee wellbeing outperform their competitors and the rest of the FTSE 100 by at least 10% (Mind Report)

The Wellbeing at Work Event 2016 invites HR professionals and business leaders across the UK to a one-day conference on Wednesday 19th October at The Cavendish Conference Centre, 22 Duchess Mews, London W1 (5 minutes walk from Oxford Circus tube).

Tickets for the event can be booked via the website here.

For more information go to or contact the team:
Tel: 0333 011 8803; Email:



Is There Anything To Be Learnt From Programmes Like ‘Chinese School’?

800 435 Mrs Carol Chandler Thompson


There has been extensive media coverage of the differences between Asian education and British of late, fuelled by experimental documentaries like the recent version where five Chinese teachers were placed out of their context into a UK school to see if Chinese teaching methods would ‘cut it’ in a UK state school.

This debate seems to have emerged out of the comparisons between Asian approaches to education and British, made by the former Education Minister Michael Gove during his memorable period in office. Calling, rather anachronistically, for a ‘cultural revolution’ in UK schools, Gove referred to the high PISA rankings of countries like Singapore, China and South Korea and pointed to their marked success in Maths examinations as a potential model for the future of British education.

It is bold to claim to hold a view on education throughout the whole of Asia, as some commentators do, but clearly there are some valid comparisons that can be made. Three years spent as part of a start-up team for a very successful British school in Jeju, South Korea have been hugely enlightening for me and there is certainly much that is revealed by the culture surrounding education in both UK and South Korea that is worth further discussion and investigation.

One obvious difference between the two approaches is the centrality of Confucianism in Korean education, something totally absent in the UK. Not only does this place respect and veneration for teachers at the heart of society, but also means that families value education above all other things, as a means of building for the future and training the mind. Huge sacrifices are made to provide a child with a good education. To be a teacher, is to do something important and meaningful.

With Confucianism, comes also a respect for elders and hierarchy that is no longer so evident in British schools. This brings positives, such as looking up to older role models. In its less desirable manifestation however, hierarchy and age-related power relationships can be abused by older students, unscrupulous in exploiting or bullying younger pupils, to the degree where it is a real social problem in some Korean schools.

The most inspiring difference I observed was the emphasis in UK education upon the Arts and Sport. Some Korean students, having previously experienced very little in their public schools in the way of competitive sport or a creative Arts education, were literally and figuratively transformed by their experiences on the stage, in the orchestra pit and on the football field.

In terms of confidence, personal skills, willingness to take risks and work in teams, students were virtually unrecognisable in the way they presented themselves after three years of experience in these fields; the most convincing evidence one could see for the value of both these curriculum areas.

Related to this, a culture of encouraging risk-taking, ingenuity and curiosity is central to a good British education; this is a feature that Asian educators are increasingly seeking to integrate, but as yet, is not characteristic in many East Asian educational establishments. The growing success of the IB, with its focus on the Theory of Knowledge will go some way to changing this focus. Yet at the moment, it is an anathema for many Korean students to question an argument or theory that a teacher is conveying: respect is key. Whilst some may desire this level of obedience, it does not prepare students well for their future or develop the critical approach essential for academic success beyond examinations.

So there’s not a clear cut comparison to be made. Whilst undoubtedly the British education system is by no means perfect, both sets of educators have much to learn from each other and generalisations are unhelpful on both sides. Meaningful lessons can only be learnt by a genuine and deep understanding of each other’s cultures and that takes time, intelligence and objectivity.


Thinking of Holidaying in 2016? Think Aruba

1024 640 Aruba Tourism Authority


Benefiting from year-round sunshine, an average temperature of 32 degrees and its location outside the hurricane belt, make Aruba your island this year.

Check out what’s news on this Dutch Caribbean island for 2016.

Packed Diary of Events for 2016

Aruba has unveiled a packed diary of events for 2016 with fun, cultural, sporting and entertainment dates for every member of the family.

The year kicks off with the biggest event of the year and everyone’s favourite, Aruba’s spectacular annual Carnival. Following the opening Torch Parade and Carnival Queen elections, there is a Children’s Grand Carnival Parade in capital Oranjestad on January 31, when hundreds of youngsters come together to show off their dancing skills and colourful costumes.

The island’s second city of San Nicolas witnesses a Lighting Parade on February 4, also featuring dance, music and carnival spirit. Two days later, the city hosts its Grand Carnival Parade, prelude to the Grand Carnival Parade in Oranjestad on February 7 This is the largest of Carnival events combining unforgettable music, spectacular floats and original costumes decorated with eye-catching stones, sequins ad feathers, creating a unique display. The fun begins at 10am and continues into the early evening.

For sport enthusiasts, the 31st Aruba International Half Marathon is on March 20, and the 10k 56th International Boulevard Race, which attracts hundreds of runners from all over the world, is scheduled for April 27.

The first of Aruba’s major music extravaganzas is on the calendar for May 25-30. The Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival is a star-studded two-night concert series, featuring top names from the world of entertainment.

Yachtsmen descend on the island on August 12-14 for the 2016 Aruba International Regatta while those who care for the marina environment can help during the annual Aruba Reef Care Project on September 25. More than 800 volunteers traditionally help with a clean-up of the island’s most popular beaches and dive and snorkel sites.

Music fans enjoy a treat again over the September 23 and 24 weekend when the 10th Annual Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival is hosted on the island, again bringing together stars for an impressive entertainment line-up, adding to an unforgettable atmosphere with food stands, bars and parties.

Foodies have their time from October 3 to 16 with Restaurant Week when more than 60 restaurants offer everyone the chance to experience Aruba’s extraordinary culinary diversity.

New on the diary this year is Challenge Aruba 2016, where athletes can challenge themselves to a 1.9km swim, followed by a 90 km cycle and a 21 km run.

Aruba’s International Beach Tennis Tournament, November 13-20 is the premier tournament in the Caribbean, attracting pros and amateurs from around the globe.


Aruba Builds UK Links

Aruba’s growing popularity with UK travellers continues, with additional holiday companies adding the island to their menu of destinations, new holidays twinning it with the USA and extra flights launching this summer.

Fly direct with Thomson Holidays from either Manchester or London Gatwick this summer with prices starting from just £973 per person staying seven nights at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. Flights operate from late April to November from Gatwick and May to October from Manchester. Don’t miss out on your seat on the new Dreamliner.

Virgin Holidays is the latest big-name tour operator to offer Aruba. Featured in its latest Caribbean and Mexico brochure, Virgin is offering packages based on KLM flights via Amsterdam, thereby offering departures from London-Heathrow and 15 regional airports. Four hotels are offered in Aruba – the adults-only Bucuti & Tar Beach Resort, the Hyatt Regency, Occidental Grand Aruba and the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. Prices start at £1,779 for a seven-night holiday.

Twin centre options with the USA are now also offered with My America Holidays. The island is paired with either New York or Miami’s South Beach. Prices start at £1,675, based on 10 nights, with accommodation at Aruba’s Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa and a stay in New York. The Miami option is priced from £1,975, with accommodation at Aruba’s Mill Resort and Spa.

For the latest news and events, please go to



Expat Pensions & Divorce

1024 680 Strategic Wealth Management


If you have a client that has left the UK to live in another country, no doubt they will accept that its laws will apply to their day to day life. Often the complexities of foreign property purchase laws are their first introduction to its legal system.

However, they may not necessarily expect local rules to apply to their personal status – such as the recognition of marriage, or divorce, or their obligations arising from a divorce. To a surprisingly large extent, many clients often assume that they carry the law of their country of origin along with them.

Even within Europe, different countries’ approaches to divorce and family law can vary significantly. The extremes range from Malta, which has no divorce, through to the highly egalitarian Scandinavian approach that simply assumes that other than in special cases, each party can simply get on with their lives without further obligations. Different countries have different criteria as to how one can apply for divorce. Residence is of course the main basis, but certainly not exclusively so.

There is a rule between EU countries that says that the first country of filing takes priority – which simply means the first person to file for divorce wins the “race” for jurisdiction. This was meant to simplify matters. Instead, it has added to complexity, and the outcomes can be very different. A recent attempt to harmonise financial settlements across borders ended in more or less complete failure.

Clients that have left the UK and live abroad need to take specialist advice regarding the pension sharing options in divorce. A court order in one country may not be enforceable in the UK and there is a risk of incurring an Unauthorised Payment Charge of up to 55% if a pension fund is shared with a spouse based on a Court Order issued outside the UK. Offsetting cold be a solution, in return for specified assets the claimant gives up a claim on the spouses pension.

At Strategic Wealth Limited we work with professional advisers and private clients to guide them through the options for their pension in a divorce. These can include UK Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) and Qualifying Non UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS). Our UK qualified team of experienced international advisers can work with you and your client to find the best solution.


Bank On The Rock

1024 683 Octopus International Business Services Ltd


Monkeys… that’s the usual thing that springs to mind when you mention The Rock of Gibraltar to most people in the UK… and the amusing antics of the 300 Macques are certainly a tourist attraction, but the Macques are not what brings business to Gibraltar – it’s the 10% Corporation tax rate introduced in January 2011 for companies that have a physical presence here.

There are a number of jurisdictions in Europe that have the 10% rate, but none that also have the added advantage of not being in the VAT zone. This has encouraged many companies to re-locate their service type businesses to Gibraltar – add a dash of sunshine, a dip in the Mediterranean Sea and Gibraltar is hard to beat. Couple that with a highly educated, multinational staff base attracted here initially by the explosion of international gaming companies, and Gibraltar ticks all the boxes.

Many software development companies, web design and maintenance operations, marketing specialists, logistic planners and online marketers take advantage of the low corporation tax. Gaming, gambling, Insurance and financial companies have also relocated to Gibraltar over the last few years – all require licencing by the Financial Services Commission, but the climate is encouraging for experienced and professional management teams.

The increase in companies setting up in Gibraltar has also had a knock on effect on the local economy, boosting the property market for both commercial and residential property, and finding a sensibly priced office or apartment can be a challenge, but weigh that against the low tax and no vat regime and Gibraltar continues to thrive.

Many high net worth individuals (HNWIs) have also been attracted to take residency in Gibraltar due to the enticing CAT2 resident option. HNWIs who can demonstrate a wealth, including property, in excess of two million pounds can apply for the CAT 2 residency status. Qualifying includes the purchase or rental of approved property in Gibraltar, a personal reference from a bank, accountant or lawyer, along with a few standard documents and once approved, CAT2’s can cap their personal income tax to as little as £30,000 per annum. With property still booming many HNWIs have taken the decision to buy rather than rent, and luxury property developments have sprung up all over the rock.

Another residency option is the High Executive Possessing Specialist Skills (HEPPS) – if approved a HEPPS professional only pays personal income tax on his first £120,000 per annum, which equates to approximately £32,000 per year. Like the CAT2, a HEPPS has to buy or rent approved value property in Gibraltar. But the largest number of companies incorporated in Gibraltar every year are still the non-operating, not physically present companies – still referred to locally as “non-resident” companies. These companies pay no corporation tax in Gibraltar as they do not derive or accrue their income here, neither do they normally need to charge VAT on their invoices, although that may depend on where they do operate from, but this option is still a very popular choice for many tax planners, where they usually incorporate a holding element.

It has to be said that as an experienced corporate service provider, licenced in Gibraltar, one aspect of operating in Gibraltar that has grown more and more difficult over the years has been the change in attitudes of the banks here. Many of the main high street banks have closed their doors to commercial business and have turned their attentions to investment banking only, leaving a massive detrimental hole in the framework of Gibraltar – however in April 2015 the new Gibraltar International Bank opened its doors for business. Owned by the Government of Gibraltar, and opened with the intention of filling that hole, offering local people and businesses an opportunity to bank commercially again. As a corporate service provider looking to assist business people, we are hopeful that the GIBank will allow more clients to be able to “Bank on Gibraltar” for a variety of reasons.