How to do Due Diligence on an expat adviser

When considering the services of an expatriate financial adviser, conducting thorough due diligence is paramount to ensuring your financial security and achieving your investment goals while living abroad. This process involves a meticulous evaluation of the adviser’s credentials, regulatory standing, experience in expatriate financial matters, and their track record of success with clients in similar situations. Whether you’re navigating the complexities of cross-border taxation, seeking investment opportunities, or planning for retirement in a foreign country, selecting the right financial adviser is a critical decision. This blog post will guide you through the essential steps of due diligence, helping you to identify a trustworthy and competent expatriate financial adviser who can provide tailored advice suited to your unique international living situation.

Ensure they are on a financial service register

Advisory services of financial products and investments is a regulated activity in most markets. Each country usually has a financial services register that has companies and individuals that are registered. Below is a list of some main financial service regulators around the world, along with their websites where you can access the register of firms and individuals they regulate.

1. United States

2. United Kingdom

3. European Union

  • European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
    • Website:
    • Note: ESMA coordinates with national regulators, but the actual register of firms is maintained by respective national authorities.

4. Canada

5. Australia

6. Singapore

7. Hong Kong

8. Japan

  • Financial Services Agency (FSA)
    • Website:
    • Note: The FSA provides oversight, but detailed searches may be conducted through licensed financial institutions and entities directly.

9. India

10. South Africa

UK Companies House to see company and director links

Companies House provides a comprehensive database that anyone can access to find information on companies registered in the United Kingdom, including details about company ownership and directors. Here’s how you can use it to find such information:

1. WebCHeck Service Now closed:

  • WebCHeck used to allows you to search for and access company information, including the names of directors and significant shareholders.
  • This service has now been decommissioned and replaced with CHS.

2. Companies House Service (CHS):

  • CHS is a newer service that offers free digital data on registered companies in the UK. Use
  • It provides access to more detailed information than WebCHeck, including filing history, current and resigned officers, registered office address, and more.
  • You can view and download documents such as annual returns, accounts, and company reports.

3. Director Search:

  • Both WebCHeck and CHS allow you to search specifically for information about directors, including their other directorships and involvement in companies, past and present.
  • This can be useful for understanding the network and business activities of individual directors.

4. Monitoring Service:

  • If you are interested in tracking changes or new filings for specific companies, you can use the monitoring service provided by Companies House to get alerts.

Steps to Find Information:

  1. Visit the Companies House website and choose the service you prefer (CHS).
  2. Search for a company using its name or company number.
  3. Navigate through the company’s profile to find the information you’re interested in, such as current directors, shareholders, and recent filings.
  4. Download documents if necessary. Some documents are available for free, while others may require a fee.


  • The beta version of CHS is highly user-friendly and provides most services for free.
  • Pay attention to the filing history section, as it contains valuable information about the company’s financials, changes in directorship, and ownership.
  • Use the “People” tab to find information on current directors and significant shareholders.

Using Companies House, you can gather a wealth of information about the ownership and management of UK registered companies, which can be valuable for research, due diligence, or business intelligence purposes.

What information should you looking for on Companies House?

Confirmation statements (previously known as annual returns) are a valuable resource for researching the shareholders of a UK limited company. These documents, filed annually with Companies House, provide a snapshot of a company’s management and structure at a specific point in time, including details about its directors, secretary, registered office, and shareholders. Here’s how to use confirmation statements or annual returns to see shareholders and trace the ultimate ownership of a company:

1. Accessing Confirmation Statements / Annual Returns:

  • Go to Companies House Service (CHS): Start by visiting the CHS website, where you can search for the company you’re interested in.
  • Search for the Company: Use the company name or registration number to find the company profile.
  • Review the Filing History: Within the company’s profile, navigate to the ‘Filing history’ section. Here, you’ll find a list of all documents filed by the company, including confirmation statements and, for older records, annual returns.

2. Examining Shareholder Information:

  • Download the Latest Confirmation Statement: Look for the most recent confirmation statement (or annual return if the confirmation statement is not available). This document should list the current shareholders and share allocations.
  • No Update? Look Back: If the latest confirmation statement indicates there were no changes since the last filing, you’ll need to review previous confirmation statements or annual returns until you find the one that includes the last update on shareholders.

3. Understanding Shareholder Details:

  • Identify Shareholders: Shareholder information typically includes the names of individuals or entities that hold shares in the company, along with the number of shares they own.
  • For Limited Company Shareholders: If a shareholder is another limited company, you’ll need to conduct a separate search for that company on CHS. This helps to trace the ownership chain up to the ultimate beneficial owner.

4. Working Up the Ownership Chain:

  • Search Each Company in the Chain: For each company listed as a shareholder, repeat the process of searching for the company on CHS, downloading its confirmation statement, and examining its shareholders.
  • Continue Until the Ultimate Owner is Identified: Continue tracing through layers of ownership until you reach individual persons or an entity that is not owned by another company. This is often referred to as the “ultimate beneficial owner.”

Tips for Research:

  • Pay Attention to Share Classes: Different classes of shares may have different voting rights or entitlements, which can affect control of the company.
  • Use Other Documents for Context: Other filings, such as Persons with Significant Control (PSC) statements, can also provide insights into who has significant influence or control over the company.
  • Consider Professional Advice: If the ownership structure is complex, you might consider seeking professional advice or using specialized services that can help navigate and interpret shareholder structures.

By methodically reviewing confirmation statements and annual returns and investigating each layer of corporate ownership, you can uncover the ultimate owners of a UK limited company, even when the immediate shareholders are other companies.

Directed open internet searches

Google has one of the most powerful search engines in the market and this power can be used to look at specific sites. LInkedin is now used by my professionals to publish a resume of where they have worked and what they have done. With some help you can get deep into Linkedin using googles search engine power.

To perform a specific search on LinkedIn using Google, you can utilize the “site:” search operator followed by your specific query. This operator limits the search results to the specified domain—in this case, Here’s how you can structure your search:

Basic Structure [your search query]

Example Searches

If you’re looking for profiles related to “financial advisor” in New York, your search query would look like this: "financial advisor" New York

To find someone specific, like a financial advisor named John Doe, you might use: "John Doe" financial advisor

If you’re seeking information about expatriate financial advisors, your query could be: "expatriate financial advisor"

Tips for Effective Searching

  • Use Quotes for Exact Matches: If you’re looking for a specific phrase, put it in quotes to find exact matches.
  • Utilize Keywords: Think about the keywords that are likely to appear on the profiles or pages you’re interested in. This could include job titles, skills, certifications, or locations.
  • Refine Your Search: You can refine your search further by adding more specific terms or excluding terms using the “-” operator. For example, if you want to exclude results containing the word “assistant,” you would add -assistant to your search.
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