How do I avoid paying obscene fees to invest in France
April 30, 2009 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to make long-term low maintenance investments (e.g., index funds) in Euros in a tax-optimal way in France (assurance vie or PEA are what I understand are the real alternatives) but am shocked and appalled at the fees charged by French banks and mutual funds. I'd be quite grateful for any suggestions.
posted by 12trees to Work & Money (3 answers total)
If you are a US citizen (or possibly Canadian), I think Interactive Brokers will let you trade on many worldwide markets in many currencies. This is not an endorsement, nor am I sure they will suit your needs at all.
posted by fatllama at 2:49 PM on April 30, 2009

Gosh I'm not sure there is enough information here to answer your query.

First of all, what are you ultimately looking for? Exposure to the CAC? Or are you funding, while domiciled in France, Euro based investment into other continental indices?

From what I recall while working in Paris, Assurance Vie is tax efficient (but not exempt) wrapper that you can use to shield capital gains on some shares and corporate bonds. Not sure about the rules that apply to determine which assets are eligible, and I believe these vehicles should be held for roughly ten years (but this is off the top of my head and thus, as its late here in London, suspect).

A PEA is yet another type of wrapper, also tax efficient but in this case free of tax under some specific circumstances. I do believe the specific assets (i.e., shares) that can be held is even more restricted than the Assurance Vie, and you should be looking at a minimum five year holding period to avoid triggering a tax event.

So can you provide any more information and your specifics?

If there are any complicating specifics please share; for instance, I'm an American long term resident of England, married to a Dutch national. That type of thing is important. Sometimes you can (and should!) place certain types of assets in lower tax domiciles, depending upon capital gains, holding periods, etc.

It just might turn out that a PEA or Assurance is not optimal for what you're ultimately trying to achieve.
posted by Mutant at 4:34 PM on April 30, 2009

but am shocked and appalled at the fees charged by French banks

Join the (long) line.
posted by Neiltupper at 1:59 AM on May 1, 2009

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