Based in Lagoa in the Algarve region of Portugal, the business was expanded in 1999 through the acquisition of a local accountancy firm that enabled Sovereign to provide accounting and tax return services to existing and new clients – particularly those with complex tax returns in Portugal in respect of their worldwide income, or those requiring ongoing fiscal representation and accounting services for the letting of their Portuguese properties. To reflect this change, the office was rebranded as Sovereign – Consultoria Lda.
The success of this core service suite in Portugal has tended to obscure the huge resources and high level of expertise that the entire Sovereign Group can bring to clients on a worldwide basis. In recent years, the group has developed an additional specialism – assisting and guiding clients through the complex application processes for Portugal’s popular Non-habitual resident (NHR), ‘Golden Visa’ and D7 Visa schemes.
The Portugal News caught up with Sovereign’s new Business Development Manager for Portugal Shelley Wren and Head of Fiscal Representations Isobel Costa, to find out more.
“We have generally been seen primarily as an accountancy office in Portugal however we can offer so much more within the Sovereign Group,” said Shelley. “We have the advantage of being able to provide these local services, and provide them well, while also providing access to the Group’s international corporate and private client tax planning services, insurance and retirement trust services through its global office network. This enables us to offer integrated advice, products and services to internationally mobile people and businesses that have complex needs.”
“The last year has seen an incredible increase in the number of new clients contacting our offices for residency options. With more and more people wanting to move to Portugal, they must ensure that before the move they take expert guidance on how they will be taxed here and how best to structure their worldwide existing assets before they take up residency here. This is where I come in to guide them. Once they have actually taken up residency, it may be too late.”
Isobel, who has now joined Shelley as Business Development Executive, explained: “Since Brexit, it has come as a shock to many British nationals who have been used to living in Portugal part-time to find they can no longer stay here for more than 90 days in any 180 days. The Group has developed new residency packages to our services offering to assist clients with their residency applications to enable them to stay in Portugal.
“It is a very exciting time for our office to be able to expand our services and we are getting new enquiries from all over the world. We are now offering clients not only our traditional accounting services, but we can really make sure that they can maximise the benefits of being tax resident in Portugal by looking at their global footprint, and leveraging the Group’s international expertise and resources. They can really access a global service from a local point of delivery.”
With an office network spanning Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the Sovereign Group currently manages over 20,000 structures for a wide variety of clients – companies, entrepreneurs, private investors or high-net-worth individuals and their families – and has assets under administration in excess of US$20 billion.
With over 450 employees spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the Sovereign Group’s offering now ranges across market entry, trustee and director services, accounting, payroll, occupational and personal pension plans, employee benefit packages and incentive plans, local licences and permits, company secretarial and company management.
Additional specialist services include asset management, foreign property ownership, retirement planning, residence and immigration, bespoke corporate and private client insurance, as well as yacht and aircraft registration, ownership and management.
“We have fine-tuned our services and I am pleased to say that Sovereign’s Portugal office is now geared up to offer our clients a much, more comprehensive service suite,” said Shelley. “Not only do we have all the international expertise and product suite of our Sovereign colleagues, but we have also formed partnerships with top lawyers all over Portugal to be able to refer our clients for opinions and to assist them with services not available through our office.”
Sovereign is not just all about finance. Last year the Group’s Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF), a charity established in Hong Kong, reached the incredible milestone of raising US$10 million to help underprivileged children in seven countries through the medium of art. SAF runs the annual Sovereign Asian Art Prize with the dual purpose of recognising the best mid-career artists in the region and raising money to fund projects using art as education, rehabilitation and therapy.
“We are also immensely proud of the work done by SAF,” said Isobel. “SAF has now held 23 professional art prizes across the world since its inception in 2003 and the funds raised have made it possible to help over 15,000 children through expressive arts programmes. SAF has now been set up as a charity in Portugal and will be promoting art projects throughout Portugal.”
We are currently looking for volunteers across Portugal to assist with the outreach of SAF and to grow our CSR programs across the country.