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3 Eating Out 8 Hotel Review 11 Wealth Management
14 Taxing Issues 16 Legal Matters 19 Transatlantic Business 21 St John’s Wood
22 Theatre 25 Take Five
28 Sharing Your Allegiance With Another Flag 30 Days Out With The Family 33 American Women’s Clubs
37 Arts & Antiques 39 Useful Numbers 40 Embassy Corner ADVISORY PANEL:
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Cover image credit - Alexi Lubomirski. One of two official engagement photos released by Kensington Palace of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle taken by Alexi Lubomirski in November 2017 at Frogmore House, Windsor.
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AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
EATING OUT Restaurant Reviews
1 Lombard Street
1 Lombard Street
City Of London, London EC3V 9AA Telephone: 020 7929 6611 Bank is probably one of the busiest crossroads in London, the busiest tube station, is right in the heart of the city of London and is at the heart of London Banking community, so it was no surprise that when we were invited to review 1 Lombard Street, we found that the restaurant used to be a grand bank building dating from 1776, and on the day we went for lunch it was buzzing as the restaurant and brasserie was packed with city diners enjoying the grandiose surroundings and honest food. Indeed, the building is Grade II listed, and as you enter the restaurant your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the far end of the large vaulted room to a stunning circular skylight casting wonderful light onto the circular bar that dominates the back of the restaurant, which is perfect for an early evening drink before wending your way home. To be honest my bank never looked like this, but I suppose in the 1770’s when this building was built, banking was only for the rich, and the place you banked needed to be this impressive, and that grandeur serves it well today. 1 Lombard Street is a bar, a brasserie and a restaurant, and so caters for all the city types from 7.30am through to midnight, whether you need a coffee and cake or a more substantial meal. The dome bar is framed by the dramatic domed skylight which provides a perfect location for a quick morning coffee, a lunchtime bite or after work drinks with colleagues and friends and serves wonderful cocktails as well as an extensive wine list, mainly from France, to suit all tastes and price ranges. Despite the draw to the bar, we resisted, and made our way to our table at the back of WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
the restaurant, an intimate space perfect for special celebrations or business meetings. The menu is designed by head chef Juri Ravagli, and is simple but suitably expansive, to enable even the fussiest of diners to find things they like. Starters are split into either hot or cold with a heavy influence of seasonal and classic British and European cuisines. There are usual favourites like Grilled Goats Cheese with beetroot and rocket salad (£13.50), and Salt and Pepper Squid (£9.75) and a tempting Charcuterie selection (£10.75) with crispy bread, but I was drawn to the Wild Mushroom Risotto with Taleggio and herbs (£16.50), and my wife, the Lobster Spaghetti (£26). The risotto was lovely and rich and the wonderfully sticky rice was interspersed with fulsome mushrooms. Nestled in this was chunks of the wonderfully mild but strong smelling Taleggio cheese which melted beautifully, adding its trademark slight fruity tang to the pungent mushrooms. Although expensive, my wife’s lobster spaghetti was truly worth every penny, as large chunks of lobster were surrounded by slightly al dente pasta, all in a subtly garlic flavoured tomato sauce, which was one of our dishes of the year so far! Our choice of mains was equally difficult as there was so much to choose from, with many wonderful British favourites under the broad headings of Fish, Meat, Steaks and for the health conscious, Salads, including a Thai Beef Salad (£19.50) and that super food Red Quinoa Salad (£14.50). Despite the pull of the salad (!) I opted for a dish I haven’t had for a long time, the Roasted Corn Fed Chicken Supreme (£26.50) with truffle mash, and my wife chose the Curried Fishcake (£19.50) with a lime yoghurt dip. My chicken was succulent and perfectly cooked (although I would have preferred a slightly crispy skin
to add texture to the dish) resting on creamy truffle mash, and the flavours just burst in my mouth. I grudgingly had to admit that my wife’s choice was actually better, as the lightly curried fish was encased in the lightest, crispiest breadcrumb case, providing a clever contrast between the crispy outer and creamy interior all sitting on the slightly sharp lime yoghurt. With this my wife opted for a side of dauphinoise potatoes (£5.50) and sprouting broccoli, garlic, chilli and almonds (£4.50) which were lovely and crunchy. Having eaten those two courses, we decided to take a rest for a few minutes before tackling the desserts, as the portions are on the generous side, and we sat back enjoying our well-priced crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (£22) watching our fellow diners equally enjoying their lunches. The dessert menu is equally traditional and I opted for the Ashanti Chocolate Fondant (£9.50) with poached pear and salted caramel ice cream, and my wife chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding (£8.50). The fondant takes 15 minutes, but is well worth the wait and as I broke through the crunchy rind of the small chocolate cake the molten chocolate cascaded out - pure heaven. Accompanying this chocoholics dream was a smooth salted caramel ice-cream of which my only complaint was that there wasn’t enough of it, it was that good!. My wife’s Sticky Toffee Pudding was equally moreish and the light sponge soaked in toffee sauce, worth leaving room for! This restaurant is situated in the heart of the City, but caters for more than just those on expense accounts. The mantra here seems to be quality ingredients, cooked well, in wonderful surroundings, and this has served them well as they have been going strong for 20 years and I suspect they will continue for many years to come. WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
15 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AL Telephone: 020 7839 1101 Despite having been around London for more years than I care to remember, the true testament to what a wonderful place it is, is that it still has the ability to surprise and delight me. I have always thought of the St James’ area as the place to be if you were visiting your London Club or the perfect place to pick up that bespoke suit or a selection of fine wines, as this is where many tailors and fine wine merchants are to be found, along with some very exclusive art dealers. But found amongst these high end shops, is an equally high end restaurant nestling in the back streets, going by the name of Ginza Onodera. From the outside it doesn’t look that special, but that changes the moment you leave the cold London air and are confronted by a large granite sake bar separating a shiny black and white striped marble floor, resembling the most expensive zebra crossing in town! The bar was stocked with a wonderful selection of sakes, but we resisted the temptation to stay upstairs sampling the wide range of sakes and cocktails, choosing instead to go down the stairs to the main restaurant. This was like entering Dr Who’s Tardis, as the feeling of spaciousness was unexpected from a St James’ basement, as the clever use of mirrors and the lighting gives a lovely sense of space, along with a warm and welcoming feeling. The décor is high class and just what I suspect all the top restaurants in Japan look like, with the mirrors broken up by rich wood and a wall of Japanese family crests perfectly complementing the subtle light and dark grey furnishings contrasting the light oak tables. A large granite bar flanks the shiny metal of a state of the art teppanyaki station, dominating one end of the restaurant, alongside the Robata grill and the sushi station where the wondrously fresh sushi is prepared. I am a true foodie and love all types of food, but I must confess that over the last couple of years I have started to love Japanese food more and more. This is because the food is light and wonderfully fresh and bursting with flavour. The 4
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offerings at Ginza Onodera are no different as they highlight all that is special about Japanese food with the occasional surprise. Our evening started with Black Kanpachi Carpaccio (£15) and some Japanese Wagyu Dumplings (£18). The Black Kanpachi was not only a treat to the taste buds, it was also a true visual treat, as the wonderfully textured slices of Cobia arrived in a vibrantly coloured light truffle and citrus sauce offset by slices of truffle topped by small droplets of pomegranate. Cobia is a flavoursome fish, and the offset of the citrus with the sweetness of the pomegranate worked perfectly. The wagyu dumplings were rich and meaty, surrounded by a dumpling which was soft on the top and crispy on the bottom, merging taste and textures to stimulate a number of your senses at the same time. For our next course we chose one of our favourites, and I was not disappointed with the Prawn and Vegetable Tempura (£18). Large succulent prawns and seasonal vegetables were perfectly cooked and were all encased in a light and wonderfully crisp batter. Before our main we opted for what is rapidly becoming another of my favourite dishes sushi. The sushi chefs expertly prepare the sushi in an open station, and when you see the dishes you know you are in for a treat, as they are visually stunning. We chose the Spicy Tuna Roll (£9), Crunchy Spicy Prawn Roll (£10) and the Spider Roll (£11). The tuna was fresh and meaty and lightly spiced, and the Crunchy Spicy Prawn Rolls were packed with avocado and panka buttered prawns, all spiced with a touch of Worcestershire sauce and topped with a luxurious spicy mayonnaise. My favourite, however, were the Spider Rolls, where the crunchy deep fried softshell crab offset the sticky rice perfectly, all flavoured by the slightly sharp pickled baby carrots. This mix of flavours and textures in one mouthful is what I love the most about sushi. Our final course before dessert was the Robata main course. Robata is actually a shortened version of robatayaki which literally means “fireside cooking”, and is style of cooking similar to barbecuing where food is cooked over hot coals in a flat open fireplace. The choice on the Robata is beef or seafood.
The beef selection is wide ranging, including Kobe Beef (£130), which is one of ‘the big three beefs’, so valued because of its tenderness and fatty well marbled texture. I however, chose the Black Angus beef (£39) which, because of the way it was cooked, was lovely strips of crisp on the outside, succulent on the inside, melt in your mouth beef. My wife loves Blackened Cod, and so the choice of Canadian Black Cod Saikyo-Yaki (£38) was an obvious choice. Fish can easily be overcooked, especially on hot coals, and lose its flavour and moisture, but the fish here was cooked to perfection and the strong white flesh was matched by the sweetness and slight charcoal outer layer. Despite such a feast we were still able to squeeze in a dessert, and we were grateful we did, as the Chocolate Gateau (£8) I had was nice and moist, and was served with a fresh raspberry ice cream. My wife had less room, and so chose a gooey and rich Chocolate Ice Cream and a crisp and fresh scoop of Lychee Sorbet (£6). Ginza Onodera is a wonderful addition to the culinary offerings London has to offer, and provides high class food in high class surroundings and is well worth a visit.
Le Pont de la Tour
36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE Telephone: 020 7403 8403 If you walk along the Thames on the South Bank from London Bridge Station, you may be as surprised as I was by the impressive developments in this part of London- not least the station itself which has had a £1-billion makeover. Then there is the new Bridge Theatre, the home of the London Theatre Company, with its sleek modern architecture in glorious contrast with Tower Bridge which stands a mere stone’s throw away. As you continue past the bridge you come to an area known as Shad Thames. I urge anyone with even a vague interest in London’s history to visit this area, as, in-spite of the expensive apartments and boutique shops, you can still get a flavour of what this area was like 150 years ago. Back then this area was filled with Dockers, transferring goods to and from the
Made In Italy
249 King’s Road, London SW3 5EL Telephone: 020 7352 1880
Le Pont de la Tour
riverside warehouses that served the busiest port in the world. The area is characterised by the wrought iron bridges that cross the tall, now converted, warehouses, at different heights, and it is this very area that Dickens chose as the setting for Bill Sikes’ death in Oliver Twist. Against this atmospheric backdrop sits Le Pont de La Tour, housed in an elegant 19th century former tea warehouse, looking onto the Thames and with stunning views of Tower Bridge. If we’re talking history, then two notable visitors to the restaurant were former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Bill Clinton who dined together here back in 1997. Since then, the restaurant has passed into different ownership, and underwent a refurbishment back in 2015. Le Pont de la Tour is more than just a restaurant as we discovered whilst searching for the entrance - there is a bar and grill, wine merchant, kiosk and food store, along with the famous terrace. Walking into the bar and grill you have the feeling of walking through an ocean-going liner - one inspired by the glamour of 1920s Paris. The whole length of the bar, grill and restaurant is flanked by large picture windows giving the most amazing views of Tower Bridge and the Thames - in fact it’s hard to tear your gaze away to look at the menu. The menu has been devised by head Chef Julien Imbert, who is fairly new to Le Pont de la Tour- but not new to Michelin star cuisine, having worked previously at several wellknown London restaurants. Julien’s style is traditional French cooking with a modern approach, using the very best produce sourced from small farmers that share his passion for flavour and quality. From the starter menu, we opted for the Cured Salmon, miso mayonnaise pickled cucumber and lemon gel and the stilton and chicory velouté with red port shallots. Full of flavour and with added sweetness from the shallots, this was a heavenly winter dish to start proceedings. My husband devoured the cured salmon, enjoying the melt in the mouth texture and lemon/miso combination. Alternatives include Jersey Rock Oysters, Ham Hock Terrine and a delicious sounding smoked baby beetroot with goats cheese foam. Starters range from £10.50 to £40.00 for the Caviar and blinis. WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
We were spoilt for choice when it came to the main course. In the end, I opted for the Gigha Halibut with curry velouté, mussels and gruyere crust. My husband chose Launceston Fillet of Lamb, braised shoulder with black garlic emulsion and lemon yoghurt. We chose to complement these with buttered French beans and new potatoes. My initial hesitancy about choosing another velouté was short lived. It was a deliciously unusual dish, full of texture. The lamb was equally well received, and I was treated to a sample of the tender meat. In hot competition with these dishes were the Beef Fillet, with fondant potato and braised ox cheek and the Cornish Line Caught Cod with truffle mash and mushroom ravioli, amongst others. In the end, it was advice from the waiter that helped us decide. Main courses range from £19 to £38. The dessert menu really offers something for every taste, from the traditional French classic Tarte Tatin, to the bold combination of Lemon Curd, Thyme Shortbread, Meringue and Liquorice Ice Cream. For the chocolate lovers, of which I am one, there is the rather tempting sounding Chocolate Delice, milk chocolate ganache, caramel cremeux and passion fruit ice cream. I was not disappointed, and the combination of caramel, chocolate and passion fruit was a winning one. If I could have licked the plate I think I would have. My husband was swayed by the Tiramisu, a favourite dessert of his. Once again there were empty plates all round. Desserts, including an artisan cheese selection are £7.50 or £8. On our visit, we enjoyed a pre-dinner glass of champagne and wine selected by the Sommelier to match the course. With a wine merchant in house, there is an impressive selection to choose from. One of the great things about Le Pont de la Tour, apart from the stunning setting, is the variety of menus to suit different budgets. You can dine in the Bar and Grill and enjoy a 3-course menu for as little as £20 including a glass of wine. There is also a theatre menu available in the main restaurant for £24.50 for 3 courses- making this fantastic spot right beside the Thames a wonderfully affordable place to enjoy delicious French cuisine on any occasion. I have logged it in my memory as a place to return to with friends and family.
The UK has so many Italian restaurants it’s sometimes difficult to choose which ones to go to, as pizzas and pastas are the same, right? Wrong! Really wrong, and visiting Made in Italy has reaffirmed this for me. This family owned and run restaurant chain has a rationale that just resonates with me, and if the Thursday night we visited is anything to go by, resonates with the locals of the cosmopolitan King’s Road as well. For a start, how many owners do you see rushing around serving and being so hands on, as well as having time to chat to every diner making them all feel welcome? Not many I would guess, and a cheery ‘bona sera’ started our culinary journey. From the outside Made in Italy doesn’t give any clue as to the delights inside, as it is like any other shop front. Indeed, when you open the door in front of you you are confronted by some stairs which looks to be for a flat, but as you turn right into the restaurant the décor is clever and shows a clear attention to detail, and the authenticity flows through to everything they do at Made In Italy. The ground level décor is like the outside of an Italian villa, with that warm terracotta colour and windows that feel so real you half expect them to be opened at any time, the lower level is the engine room with an open kitchen and a pizza oven where diners can watch the magic happening from a ring side seat, and the upper split level with its bricked arches gives the feel of an Italian wine cellar. I understand there is also an outside roof terrace for diners, but on a cold March evening it was surprisingly empty, unlike the inside of the restaurant that was packed and many tables were turned over twice! The tables are rustic with wooden seats and that just adds to the feel that this is not a synthetic chain, this is genuine, and you are really in a back street Italian restaurant in Naples rather than the swanky King’s Road. The menu also has those personal touches as instead of nibble/snacks to eat whilst you peruse the menu, here you have Sfizi (Italian for Whimsy) and Taglieri (Italian for breadboard) as well as the more common Antipasti section. Good as the Bruschetta with Sicilian cherry tomatoes and mozzarella (£6.90) is, or the Meatballs in rich tomato Made In Italy
Made In Italy
sauce (£4.50), you really must go nowhere except the Burrata section. Burrata is a fresh Southern Italian cheese similar to creamy mozzarella and this is made specially for them by their Italian cheesemaker in Battersea, to sell only in their restaurants and it is just sublime. The choice is so wide we couldn’t choose between the Burrata with Sicilian cherry tomatoes, basil and oregano (£7.50) and the Burrata Atomica (£8.90) where the buratta is wrapped in pizza dough and fried and then topped with pesto and parmesan shavings served in a rich tomato sauce. Made in Italy are proud of their product, and I can really see why. This cheese is so light and creamy with a wonderfully fresh taste and the sharpness of the fresh tomatoes are perfect with it, but it was the Buratta Atomica which was the star of the show. The contrast in textures between the light and creamy cheese and the doughy pizza bread along with the explosion of flavours is hard to describe. All I can say is you must try it. After such a first course I was struggling to see how things could get better, but again I was proved wrong. Made in Italy focus on their strengths, so for mains the choice is pasta or pizza, no Carne, but for a true carnivore it didn’t bother me as the choice is again wide and you will be struggling to decide as I changed my mind at least four times as I went down the menu. Because of this indecision, my wife and I decided to share our mains and opted for the Pappardelle, Mushrooms, Italian sausage, Truffle Oil (£10.90), and the La Bombazza pizza (£13.50) with Mozarella, Italian bacon, caramelised onions and whole buratta and chips. The pappardelle was fresh and slightly al dente and was well flavoured by the rich truffle all surrounding chunks of lightly spiced Italian sausage and meaty mushrooms, and was just what I would expect if I had ordered it in Italy. But for me the pizza are a must here. Made in Italy take the making of a pizza to an art form, as you don’t just select your toppings, you start with choosing the flour that will make your dough, and then the type of mozzarella, and it is this attention to detail that makes the pizza you are served so special. Once you try one of these I am not sure you want to go back to other less exacting offerings along the high street. I selected the Double OO flour which follows an old Neapolitan recipe and the homemade mozzarella, and that combination gave me a light crispy base upon which the salty Italian bacon vied with the slightly sweet 6
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caramelised onions for dominance. This is the best pizza you will have, and be warned the sizes are generous. If you can, do save some room for dessert as the Connollo, and the Deep Fried Pizza Crust with Nutella drizzled on top will finish your pizza dough experience the perfect way, but if you want something lighter I would suggest the fresh sorbets or ice creams. Wine is well priced and unsurprisingly unashamedly Italian and the choice will satisfy every taste. Made in Italy are also holding a special promotion between the 16th to the 19th April where you can pay what you feel the pizzas are worth based on 3 different prices which is even more reason to go. Although the Buratta is made in Battersea, and the pizzas/pastas on the King’s Road, the feel of this restaurant is authentically Italian, and the love and attention to detail is truly ‘Made in Italy’.
Hard Rock Cafe
150 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QZ Telephone: 020 7514 1700 Every time we have visited the Hard Rock Cafe London we have always had a great time as the atmosphere is lively and the food is good. It is always busy, and the day we visited was no exception. Our children were very excited to join us, and enjoyed the buzz and party vibe as we entered the restaurant. There were a number of other families around us also enjoying time out together. As some readers may already know, it started with an Eric Clapton guitar - back in the seventies, Clapton liked to eat at this quirky American diner in London called the Hard Rock Cafe. The place was this funky old building that used to be a Rolls Royce
dealership, and it was run by a couple of young, enterprising and music-loving Americans – Isaac Togrett and Peter Morton. Clapton became friends with the proprietors and asked them to save him a regular table, put up a brass plaque or something – and one of the proprietors said “Why don’t we put up your guitar?”. They all had a chuckle, and he handed over the guitar, and they mounted it on the wall. No one thought much more about it until a week later, when another guitar arrived (a Gibson Les Paul, by the way). With it was a note from Pete Townshend of The Who, which read: “Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete”. The young proprietors put it on the wall. After that, the guitars never stopped coming. Today there are more than 70,000 guitars, drums, pianos, harmonicas, microphones, shirts, pants, scarves, shoes, handwritten lyrics, cars, bikes, a bus and assorted rock memorabilia - by far, the largest, most valuable such collection in the world - on the walls of over 190 Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos in 61 countries around the world. With this history in mind, you would hope that the quality of the food matches the reputation of the venue, and luckily it does! The menu is extensive, with a wide range of choices, but again the friendly waiting staff are on hand to give useful advice. The starters include Nachos, Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings and Potato Skins. We started with the Jumbo Combo (£20.95) – perfect for a family of four, providing a good sample of the other starters on offer. It includes Signature Wings, Onion Wings, Tupelo Chicken Tenders, Southwest Spring Rolls and Bruschetta. This large platter was served with three delicious sauces – honey mustard, hickory barbecue and blue cheese dressing, for mixing and matching, offering a perfect accompaniment. We really enjoyed the spicy kick of the Signature Wings. There is a mouth-watering selection of Entrees, including Steaks, Fajitas, Grilled Salmon and Beer Battered Fish & Chips – from £14.75. There is also a list of Smokehouse, Salads and Sandwich options. The Burgers are priced from £15.25 (with a variety of toppings available at extra cost), and the Veggie Leggie is £16.25. The Original Legendary Burger is excellent for burger lovers (count me in on this one!), and was successfully cleaned up by our youngest son.
Hard Rock Cafe
EATING OUT I chose the St. Paddy’s Burger (available for a limited to time to celebrate St Patrick’s Day). Made with the Hard Rock signature burger patty, it was topped with Jameson bacon jam and succulent Guinness cheese sauce. What better way for me to celebrate this Irish national holiday; it was delicious, succulent and sweetened by the bacon jam, and I would definitely have this one again! Priced at £16.25 it was served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and Hard Rock Fries. Options from the Smokehouse menu are all smoked in-house. Our eldest son (a permanently hungry 15-year old), chose the Hickory-Smoked Barbecue Combo (priced at £16.75), which offered Bar-B-Que Ribs and Smoked Pulled Pork. This boy loves his meat, and unsurprisingly his meal was heartily enjoyed, proven by the empty plate! The Pulled Pork was a real hit due to its succulence and the accompanying sauce. My wife selected one of their Famous Fajitas (Grilled Shrimp, priced £18.95). Served with pico de gallo, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, fresh guacamole, sour cream and warm tortillas, she thoroughly enjoyed her choice. She was kind enough to let me sample one of the large, succulent Shrimps, as she knows the way to a man’s heart! Grilled to perfection, I would have been happy to sample a few more! There is also an extensive Kids menu and a whole menu dedicated to Gluten Free options. The wine selection offers plenty of choice, and we enjoyed a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc (£9.95 for a large glass). The large bar
also caters for a fantastic range of beverages. The boys washed down their meals with some delicious alcohol-free cocktails, recommended by our waiter. I knew we would have to save some room for dessert - we had promised the kids after all! The dessert list offers a fabulous selection, and we sampled the Homemade Apple Cobbler (£7.75) and the Cheesecake made with Oreo Cookie pieces (£8.25) – which I must say are two of the best, and most substantial desserts, I have ever enjoyed. This was comfort food at its best homemade, sweet and delicious. The portions, again, were huge, and I would be curious to see if one person could eat the Cheesecake on their own! Next time, we’ll give the Hot Fudge Brownie a go, as I endured food envy as I kept watching the glorious dish going past! As you enjoy your meal there is always something to entertain you, from the music videos or dancing waiters, to the memorabilia that surrounds you. The music is loud, and there are many tracks you will find yourself rocking along to. We enjoyed a broad range of classic rock hits, including tracks from Katy Perry, Prince, and Queen, just some of the ones I can remember. Radio Ga Ga had the whole restaurant clapping in time with the video. You will find yourself tapping your feet to most of these familiar tracks, and it is impossible not to be distracted by the amazing collection of rock and pop pieces that are displayed all around the restaurant and between the tables. The service throughout was very good, and
seems to work as a well-oiled machine. Staff are cheerful, pleasant and helpful with menu choices, and cater very well to the kids. Hard Rock Cafe undoubtedly houses some of the most fascinating and important pieces of rock and pop history. The Vault, in the basement of the Hard Rock Store over the road, is a must. They seemingly offer tours every 20 minutes or so. It is housed in an old Coutts bank vault (the vault doors and some of the safes are still in place). Whilst the kids hadn’t heard of some of the artists whose memorabilia is housed here, they were very interested to learn more. There are some fascinating original lyrics by John Lennon, one of Madonna’s bank cards, and a guitar used by Slash from Guns N’ Roses. Take your camera. It is a fun venue, which is more than just a restaurant. If you haven’t yet visited, add it to your list – either book before or get there early, as the queues can be long. Hard Rock Cafe
HOTEL REVIEW Cedar Falls Health Farm & Spa, Taunton, Somerset Having only just made it up the A30 before it was shut due to the snow and ice conditions mid-March, my two friends and I arrived at Cedar Falls, a quirky (in a good way!) Health Farm and Spa, located several miles from Taunton, Somerset. Built of locally quarried red sandstone, the country house, set in 44 acres of woodland and with 29 en suite rooms, dates from the 1700’s and is listed as being of architectural and historical interest. Originally called Watts House, it was built by Charles Winter whose ancestor, Sir William Winter, fought as one of Queen Elizabeth’s admirals against the Spanish Armada. Sir William’s son John was Drake’s Second in Command during the historical voyage around the world. Watts House was then purchased by the Boles family in 1902. They became noted for their lavish house parties which included visitors such as Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Baden Powell, who is best known as the founder of the Scouting movement. In fact, Churchill was so enamoured with the house 8
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that in 1951, when it became Connaught House School, he readily agreed to return and present prizes to the pupils. The house is now a family run hotel and spa, and this comes across as everything feels very personal, and the staff make you feel very welcome and at home. On arrival at Cedar Falls we entered a large reception area which has a very olde-worlde feel to it, with wood panelled walls, and older furniture. Our welcome was warm and genuine, and the receptionist offered us a tour of the hotel that we took, once we had carried our bags up to our rooms with the help of a couple of their lovely staff. This is a hotel of two halves, and although at first we thought this quite odd, it does add to the quirkiness of the hotel. The main house areas in the house - reception, lounge, drawing room and restaurant, are very antiquated, and have the feel of a manor house that hasn’t been updated in many years, which history lovers will really appreciate, whilst other areas of the hotel, and some of the rooms, have had
a complete makeover, in grey and white, which is very different to the wood panelling, gold settees and patterned carpets (some slightly threadbare) in other areas, so my suggestion would be to work out which style you would be more comfortable in, and when booking ask for a refurbished room, or an original room. The spa area is also made up of different styles. Many of the areas have been refurbished, and are completely to my personal taste with the grey, white and silver furnishings, walls and carpets, whilst other areas, including the sun lounger area, don’t quite match in colour or style. There is also a large stone, waiting area pre-treatment, which we felt was slightly Harry Potter-esque, with its cobbled floor, twinkly lights and bright red telephone box! Regardless of decor and colour schemes, what we all felt, and seemed to reflect in the other guests, was that everyone was completely comfortable and completely relaxed in their surroundings. It is not pretentious, and it is not a health farm in the
HOTEL REVIEW real sense of the words, as alcoholic drinks can be ordered and delivered to your sun loungers at certain times of the day, and the choices for lunch and dinner included pastry, cheese, deep fried food, clotted cream and other delicious desserts. I thoroughly recommend the local gins, that are served in large, round glasses, which we loved and had two of each day! Dressing gowns are worn by guests at breakfast and throughout the day, apart from at dinner, and can be changed several times a day should you so wish. On our arrival at the spa, we were handed our treatment itinerary. We were on a fantastic package of dinner, bed and breakfast, and the choice of an aqua float or a dry float, all for £99. As we were there for two nights we took advantage of trying both floats. The aqua float is incredibly relaxing, and I could have floated all day! You lie on what looks like a bed, are then wrapped in a material similar to a paddling pool plastic, and then lowered into really warm water, but the plastic stops you from sinking to the bottom (it is very shallow), and you are left to float for 20 minutes whilst looking up at the stars on the ceiling or nodding off to the gentle music. We were told that if you are able to fall asleep, that 20 minutes in the aqua float is comparable to 3 hours sleep in a bed! The following day we took advantage of the dry float, which is a similar type of bed, but this time you aren’t covered in anything but a blanket and again you are lowered into water but this has massage jets which run up and down your body. This treatment is noisier, so if you would like my advice and only have a choice of one or the other, then we all agreed that the aqua jet is the way to go, as it is fantastic! So much so, I would quite like one at home!! As we were at Cedar Falls for two nights, we all treated ourselves to extra treatments. I had a 20 minute back massage for £30, which relieved many of the knots I had in my
shoulder blades, whilst my friend Jude had a Clarins facial and manicure, and Emily had a luxury facial that lasted an hour. Following our treatments we all returned to our loungers, where we chatted, read magazines (and drank gin and tonic!). There is a kidney shaped swimming pool, which is large enough to swim in, a jaccuzi, steam room and sauna. The changing room areas have all been updated and again are in the modern grey and white colour scheme. There are over 20 treatment rooms and a large choice of treatments, and the therapists were all friendly and a pleasure to spend time with. After a hard day relaxing, we retreated to our rooms to get ready for dinner, which is booked at certain times in the evening. We opted for 8pm, which may be the latest time, and can have its downfalls as on the second night two of the dishes we would have chosen had run out, but don’t forget we were there in snow and sub-zero conditions, so this probably doesn’t happen often. Each evening there is a choice of four starters, four mains and slightly more desserts, and over the two nights we thoroughly enjoyed broccoli and cheddar soup, salmon roulade, deep fried brie, butternut squash curry, gammon, and sea bream, and for dessert, brandy baskets, fruit salad and clotted cream, panacotta, and creme brûlée, which were all really tasty and a huge relief for us, as well all love food, and were slightly concerned about the fact that we may only have been served salad! Lunch is a cold buffet, offering soup, slices of quiche and cold meats and salmon, with ten salads, crudités and dips, as well as dessert, all for £16.50. A wine list is also offered and we enjoyed two bottles of wine with dinner, one at £20 and the other at £15.50 (very reasonably priced in our opinion). The hotel also has a boutique that is open at certain times of the day, selling clothes, jewellery, candles and lots of lovely gifts. For the slightly more energetic, there are
exercise classes, walks around the beautiful grounds, a gym, tennis and golf, and in the summer you can enjoy the outdoor pool, which we are hoping to do next year, as we had such a great time we are already planning our return trip, this time hopefully minus the snow! For further information please call Cedar Falls on 01823 433904 or visit www.cedarfallsco.uk
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WEALTH MANAGEMENT Improving The Odds In Asset Allocation The question I currently find myself asked most frequently is: Should I sell US equities? It is a very good question, but in isolation its answer is insufficient to lead to an investment decision. Many investors agree that US equities are expensive and because of this believe the allocation should be reduced versus the strategic target. From a valuation point of view this is a good idea, as by most measures, such as the Price to Book ratio (P/B) or the Shiller Price to Earnings ratio (also called CAPE = cyclically adjusted P/E), US equities versus their own history have reached lofty valuation levels. At the same time, many investors overlook critical questions such as: 1. Should information beyond US equity valuations be considered? 2. How can tactical asset allocation insights like US equity valuations best be utilized in a portfolio context? Before we address each of these questions, let’s revisit the basic facts on asset allocation. Asset allocation is broadly understood as the exercise of allocating between different asset classes, such as bonds versus equities, and different market segments, such as UK bonds versus Eurobonds. Holding any asset allocation for a long period is called Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA). SAA has a huge impact on the return outcome as well as the return variability, also known as volatility. A famous study by Brinson, Hood and Beebower1 examines determinants of portfolio performance and its volatility. The key point to take away is that SAA on average determines over 90% of the return volatility. This is demonstrated in the following graph.
Corresponding results have since been confirmed by similar studies as Brinson et al2. A study by Ibbotson and Kaplan into the impact of SAA on the return level3, shows that empirically SAA was on average responsible for 100% of the return level outcome. Nowadays more and more investors focus their investment efforts on SAA and implement it with cheap, passive index tracking products. That is a very good starting point but should investors stop there? Both market timing and security selection represent active investment management. Market timing represents short term, Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) decisions, like temporarily underweighting US equities versus the strategic US equity allocation. Security selection keeps the strategic US equity allocation but varies the weights of individual US stocks within the allocation to US equities. TAA is traditionally implemented by tilting portfolios away from strategic weights during any year. This creates relative risk (tracking error) but also potential outperformance (excess return) versus the SAA portfolio. The relationship of both variables, excess return over tracking error, is measured by the information ratio, and the aim of TAA is for the information ratio to be positive. A 10% underweight creates a much higher tracking error than a 2% underweight but if the same good idea is applied (the same information ratio), there is potential for higher outperformance. Therefore, investors are required to have a very clear idea about how much tracking error they can withstand when
markets don’t behave as predicted and that TAA generates significant underperformance versus a pure SAA portfolio. Sizing an under- or overweight portfolio can have further implications on the absolute level of risk. For example, if an investor doesn’t like bonds versus equities because of low yield, should they reduce bonds from 50% strategically to 25% tactically? Alternatively, should the investor go all the way and not allocate to bonds at all; in other words switch to 100% equity? The latter will cause a far less diversified and much riskier portfolio. The following graph shows a 50/50 combination of two hypothetical assets, which both have a Sharpe ratio of 0.5 and a volatility of 10%4: It illustrates a Sharpe ratio deterioration for tilting or switching, which is also larger for portfolios with more diversified assets or strategies (Fig. 2 lower correlations). Therefore, a portfolio including TAA faces an uphill battle just to match the Sharpe Ratio investors would expect from it if no TAA would be attempted. Let’s now look at using valuations in TAA decision making. In my opinion it is an absolute necessity to consider valuations. However, looking only at valuations can be equally as disastrous. For instance, some of you may remember the ‘TMT bubble’ at the turn of the century. The below graph displays the Shiller P/E for US equities for the period of January 1881 to November 20175. In December 1995 US equities reached a Shiller P/E level over 25, well above the average level of about 15, which any investor could have calculated from all the data history between 1881 and 1995. 25 was also a level achieved only twice before in a period longer than 100 years. (Fig. 3) Unsurprisingly in 1995 some investors believed that US equities were expensive and therefore started reducing their allocations to US equities. Unfortunately, in the following four years these investors had to experience significant performance headwind as valuation levels climbed even further! After reading all of this, how excited are you about TAA? Most likely not a great deal. Nonetheless, I suggest to pursue it but in a very different, modern way that until now has predominantly been utilized by sophisticated, institutional investors. It involves the following: (Fig. 4). Modern TAA combines many characteristics that all serve the main objective: to create WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
Main Developed Markets
Includes Emerging Markets
Includes Currencies and Commodities
Fig. 4 positive risk-adjusted returns in most market environments. Firstly, modern TAA strategies are much more diversified. Gone are the days where a manager just shifts money between a few major equity markets or simply allocates between US equities, US bonds and US cash. Nowadays, TAA strategies explore global equity markets in much greater detail as they trade on country or regional equity indices from around the world, including liquid emerging markets. In bonds, futures on different parts of a yield curve are traded. Some strategies even explore credit spreads. Modern TAA strategies additionally allocate between different commodities, from energy contracts to agricultural, precious and industrial metals. They also pursue investment decisions between currency pairs, sometimes including currencies from emerging market countries. Some TAA strategies even trade volatility. In summary, modern TAA strategies have many options in which to invest. All these investments are pursued using derivatives. What sounds scary to an investor who has little or no experience with derivatives, is music to the ears of sophisticated, institutional investors around 12
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the world. Most of those derivatives have been used by investors for decades and many of them are standardized instruments traded on exchanges. They bring substantial cost advantages, as liquidity in most derivatives is very deep, sometimes even deeper than the physical market they are linked to. The crucial advantage here is that trading costs are relatively low, which in turn allows a manager to trade more frequently. Derivative usage also allows TAA investors to ‘short’ a market. This means that if the investment thesis is that the price will fall, establishing a short position makes it possible to turn such an idea into a profitable strategy. With shorting you can therefore significantly increase the number of ideas a manager can implement. Now let’s talk about leverage. While leverage can often be a polarising topic, we believe there is a strong case for allowing it to achieve superior risk management. If an investor wants to have a noticeable impact on overall portfolio returns, modern TAA strategies would need very significant portfolio allocations, if those strategies would only target a small amount of risk. However, if modern TAA strategies can target a high
amount of risk, investors allocating to them achieve a much greater degree of capital efficiency, as they can make much smaller allocations and nonetheless achieve the desired level of risk-adjusted return impact. Without leverage, that desired high level of risk could only be achieved by taking on much more equity risk than let’s say interest rate risk. With leverage, however, this objective can also be achieved but with exposing the portfolio to a high concentration of equity risk. Instead, modern TAA strategies can balance out the different risks they decide to hold in their portfolios. Lastly, modern TAA strategies don’t focus all their attention on valuations any longer. Instead, they are multi-factor strategies that also seek to benefit from momentum, quality and/or low risk as well as carry concepts. Below an explanation for each idea: • Value – The tendency for relatively cheap assets to outperform relatively expensive ones • Momentum – The tendency for an asset’s recent relative performance to continue in the future • Carry – The tendency for higher-yielding assets to provide higher returns than loweryield assets • Quality, Low Volatility – The tendency for lower risk and higher-quality assets to generate higher risk-adjusted returns than high risk and low quality assets. Going into more detail on each of these may be a topic for future articles. At this stage, it is critical to understand that a multi-factor approach is introducing an additional layer of diversification beyond the typical asset class dimension. This makes the return stream from modern TAA strategies even more robust. Modern TAA strategies are a real improvement versus TAA strategies most people so far have had experience with. Still, no investment strategy can claim to be the ‘Holy Grail’ of investing as each strategy will undoubtedly have patches of negative performance and what is ‘state of the art’ knowledge today might not be tomorrow - modern TAA strategies are no exception. At this stage, however, I am confident that some of these institutional style, sophisticated strategies stand a decent chance to improve the odds of long-term positive returns of investors. Sources 1 Brinson, G., Hood, R., and Beebower, G., (1986) “Determi- nants of Portfolio Performance”, Financial Analysts Journal, vol. 42, No. 4, pp 39-44. 2 Brinson, G., Singer, B., and Beebower G., (1991) “Determi- nants of Portfolio Performance II: An Update”, Financial Analyst Journal, vol. 47, No. 3, pp 40-48 3 Ibbotson, R., Kaplan, P., (2000) “Does Asset Allocation Policy Explain 40, 90, or 100 Percent of Performance?”, Financial Analysts Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1:26-33 4 AQR, “Alternative Thinking”, Fourth Quarter 2014 5 Online Data Robert Shiller: http:// www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/data.htm
Risk Warnings And Important Information
All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice and are not intended to be a guarantee of future events. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities nor does it purport to be a complete description of our investment policy, markets or any securities referred to in the material. Opinions expressed herein are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results or investment advice and are subject to change without notice or based on market and other conditions. Any reference to model portfolios, which is used for internal purposes, is purely illustrative. The value of investments and the income from them may fluctuate and can fall as well as rise. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. You may not recover what you invest. Although information in this document has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, MASECO LLP does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness and accepts no liability for any direct or consequential losses arising from its use. Throughout this publication where charts indicate that a third party (parties) is the source, please note that the source references the raw data received from such parties.
MASECO LLP do not provide tax or legal advice and levels and bases of taxation can change. Investments or investment services referred to may not be suitable for all recipients. In the UK, certain services are available through MASECO LLP (trading as MASECO Private Wealth and MASECO Institutional) which is registered in England and Wales, number OC337650, with registered offices at Burleigh House, 357 Strand, London, WC2R 0HS, telephone +44 (0)20 7043 0455, email email@example.com. MASECO LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the conduct of investment business in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice or offshore investments. Messages and telephone calls to and from MASECO Private Wealth may be monitored to ensure compliance with internal policies and to protect our business. MASECO LLP is a FINRA/SEC Registered Investment Advisor in the United States of America. Helge Kostka, Chief Investment Officer Prior to joining MASECO Private Wealth, Helge helped to establish and grow the presence of Research Affiliates in Europe over the last 4 years. He began his career at Deutsche Bank in 1995, serving in a number of investment roles, including as head of qualitative alpha selection and
head of portfolio engineering. Helge started at Aviva Investors in 2009, initially heading up the product specialist team in the areas of investment solutions, equity, and multiasset and later establishing the respective product management function. Helge holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Hogeschool, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and a Diplom Betriebswirt from Fachhochschule für Oekonomie und Management in Essen, Germany. Helge also graduated with an Executive MSc in risk management and investment management from EDHEC-Risk Institute. Helge is considered an expert in Smart Beta and quantitative investing, and has spoken at various conferences around the globe. Having worked with HNW individuals as well as large institutions in different jurisdictions, his rich experience allows him to bring institutional investment practises into the private client world. In 2016 the Financial Analysts Journal (FAJ) published Helge’s co-authored research around factor and smart beta exposures. In March 2017 CFA Institute named Helge and two co-authors as the winners of the 2016 Graham and Dodd Award of Excellence via CFA Institute; it is the first time that a Chief Investment Officer at a UK Private Wealth Management firm has received such honour. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
TAXING ISSUES Retirement and Estate Planning between the US and UK No matter what your age, it’s always a good idea to evaluate your retirement strategy throughout your career. Americans living in the UK in particular must pay attention to the potential US tax challenges that can stand in the way of a comfortable retirement. The types of tax issues that can arise in the US cover the three-legged stool of retirement: Social Security and other government pensions, UK employer pensions, and private UK pensions. Estate tax, possibly in both countries, is also a factor to consider.
Perhaps the most reliable part of retirement planning, it’s very important to determine you qualify for Social Security in the US. This is true whether you plan to receive benefits early (age 62 in the US) or wait until full retirement age (roughly 66 in 2018 – the exact number of years and months depend on the year of your birth). To become eligible for any benefits, a taxpayer must have earned at least 40 “quarters of coverage” (QC) during their lifetime. A worker can only earn up to 4 QCs per year - you can find out how many QCs you have in the US by obtaining your Social Security Statement either online or you can request a copy to be mailed to you. If you find that you do not have enough QCs after receiving your statement, you may be able to receive retroactive credit for the work you performed in the UK. This is possible because the US and UK have a totalisation agreement. This is in essence a Social Security treaty ensuring you do not pay into two government retirement systems at the same time. The treaty also prevents the situation where you end up not paying into either Social Security and Medicare system. The good news is, your UK work history is automatically used to determine if you can qualify for the US benefit so long as you have at least 6 but less than 40 US credits. This does not mean that your UK contributions are transferred to your US account, but they are used solely to determine if you qualify for a US benefit and if so, how much of a benefit. One more thing to remember - you can continue to receive US Social Security benefits even after you become a UK citizen.
The second leg of the retirement stool is employer pensions. These are similar to, but not the same as, 401(k) plans in the US. For purposes of the discussion below, there is no 14
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difference between a defined contribution or defined benefit pension scheme. The benefit of UK employer plans is that they are typically treated the same in the US as they are in the UK, under the income tax treaty that the two countries have in place. There are some exceptions to this general rule, however.
The types of tax issues that can arise in the US cover the three-legged stool of retirement: Social Security and other government pensions, UK employer pensions, and private UK pensions. Estate tax, possibly in both countries, is also a factor to consider QROP Offshore Plans
Many taxpayers may consider transferring their UK pension to a QROP, or qualified retirement overseas pension scheme. This is especially useful if they are thinking about retiring outside the UK. Transferring your UK pension to a QROP is similar to a tax-free rollover of one US qualified retirement plan to another US qualified retirement plan. However, the transfer from a UK pension does not receive the benefit of a tax-free rollover for US tax purposes.
This is because tax-free rollovers are only allowed between US retirement accounts, or between UK based ones by virtue of the treaty. In the US, the transfer of your UK pension offshore will be fully taxed even if it is a tax-free transfer to a QROP under UK tax law. No matter which country you decide to hold your QROP, the transfer will remain subject to US taxation. The only provision in the US-UK income tax treaty that protects against taxing the full amount of the pension upon a rollover of a UK plan focuses solely on transfers between UK plans.
Lump Sum Payments
Many soon-to-be pensioners elect to receive a lump sum distribution from their pension instead of a monthly distribution. This is an attractive option in the UK, where you can receive the first 25% of your distribution taxfree. However, after working in the UK for many years and accumulating a sizeable pension, US citizens receiving a lump sum can be in for a surprise when they find out that this distribution is fully taxable in the eyes of the IRS. UK lump sums cannot even enjoy the benefit of tax deferment if they were rolled over into a US retirement vehicle or other investment account. Much like the QROP situation discussed above, tax deferred rollovers are available only between US retirement plans, or between UK plans, but not when you cross them over. Hence, if you do receive a lump sum distribution from a UK based plan and do not want it taxed at that time, you must roll over the full amount to another UK qualified retirement plan. Any part of the distribution that is not rolled over will be subject to US tax.
The third and final leg of the retirement stool is private pensions and investment accounts. Examples of private pensions include SIPPs (self-invested personal pensions), ISAs (individual savings accounts), and many people also have investment portfolios.
Perhaps the biggest surprise that US expats experience as they file their annual US tax return is when they have foreign mutual or index funds (passive foreign investment company or PFICs). In fact, most types of pooled investments fall under the PFIC umbrella if they are held outside of a treaty qualified plan. This can be a common occurrence if a US
TAXING ISSUES citizen or green card holder has an investment account with a foreign financial institution. Unlike a US mutual fund where sales are subject to capital gain tax rates, all income from a PFIC, whether from dividends (both realised and reinvested) or capital gains, are taxed under a punitive tax structure. Adding to this complexity is the fact that all transactions within each PFIC must be tracked every year, which can be a timeconsuming and expensive process.
Of course, no amount of retirement planning is complete without making arrangements for your estate Not only are non-US mutual funds vulnerable to PFIC reporting – ISAs and foreign investment accounts also often consist of foreign mutual funds. Even mutual funds held
by a foreign financial firm that consist of US investments are considered PFICs. However, the PFIC rules do not seem to apply to SIPPs and other individual pension schemes. This is due to beneficial treatment received under the US-UK tax treaty. The various intricacies of PFICs make them a challenging investment from a US tax perspective, and one you should try to avoid as much as possible.
Estate Planning Considerations
Of course, no amount of retirement planning is complete without making arrangements for your estate. US citizens or residents who died in 2017 and left a gross estate (including adjusted taxable gifts and specific exemption) of more than $5,490,000 in worldwide assets, must have an estate tax return filed by their executor within nine months after the date of the decedent’s death. A similar form must be filed for those nonresident aliens whose estate totals at least $60,000 in US-situated assets at the time of death. You may additionally need to consider the estate tax rules in the UK. However, there are helpful provisions in the US-UK estate tax treaty that allows for dual estate tax relief. For 2017, the US estate tax rate can start at 18% and rise all the way up to 40%. Careful planning well ahead of time can minimise the effects of the US estate tax that can be owed. Retirement and estate planning need not be
a solitary undertaking – let an experienced tax advisor help you explore your options in order to choose the best course of action just for you. Letitia McGuigan, JD is a Senior Tax Advisor with H&R Block Expat Tax Services. Before joining the Expat Tax Services team, Letitia worked on a tax research team that focused on healthcare inquiries. Prior to coming to H&R Block, Letitia was an elder law attorney and she also has a background in consumer finance. In her spare time, she likes to travel, knit and see movies and live music. Visit: www.hrblock.com/expat-tax-preparation/ united-kingdom
LEGAL MATTERS UK Legal Guidelines For Expat Entrepreneurs And Business Owners The following is designed to provide general immigration and business law information for those independently relocating to or residing in the United Kingdom and does not constitute legal advice. As with all legal issues, seeking tailored advice from qualified counsel is advisable.
UK IMMIGRATION OPTIONS
It goes without saying that if you intend to work in the UK or remain for any extended period of time, you will require a visa. The most straightforward path to obtaining a visa granting such privileges is through support from an employer, a college or university, or a family member. Yet in the absence of such opportunities, other options, although limited, may still be available. Entrepreneurs, individuals with exceptional talent, and those looking to invest substantial amounts in UK markets may be able to relocate to, or extend their stay in the UK, irrespective of sponsorship from a family member or employer.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
If certain requirements are met, this visa may be available to those with access to £200,000 to invest into a UK business who can demonstrate they are able to support themselves while residing in the UK. Individuals with funding through select competitions, the UK government, and certain venture capital firms can qualify for a reduced funding requirement of £50,000. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can be held for three years and four months and allows holders to bring their spouse or partner and children. The visa can be extended for another two years, three in certain circumstances. After five years of presence in the country on this visa, it may be possible to apply for settlement in the UK, which grants the privilege to remain indefinitely.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
Similar to the standard visa for entrepreneurs, students in the UK are able to apply for visa privileges through a less costly option. Only £50,000 in funding is required for the business and the visa is available for one year, with a one-year extension period. This visa on its own does not permit 16
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settlement in the UK but does provide a clear path for transition to the standard entrepreneur visa. One of the primary benefits of this option is that it can be pursued with only £50,000 in funding, as opposed to the £200,000 that would otherwise be required. Investments made to the business within the prior 24 months can satisfy the funding requirement, potentially eliminating any need for additional capital when changing visa types. Given these relaxed funding standards, as you can expect, the application process can be highly competitive. A limited number of visas are issued each year and candidates must obtain a letter of endorsement from UK trade authorities or an institution of higher education in the UK attesting to the applicant’s entrepreneurial capabilities and the merit of their business opportunity.
Tier 1 (Investor)
This visa requires an investment of at least £2,000,000 into the UK rendering it an option only for those with substantial financial means. To be eligible, the investment must be made in UK government bonds or active and trading UK registered companies. The funds are largely prohibited from investment in the real estate industry. It can be maintained for up to three years and four months and extended for another two years, with settlement available after five. The settlement timeline is reduced to three years with an investment of £5 million and two years with an investment of £10 million.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
To qualify for this visa, you must have been endorsed as a recognised or emerging leader in the fields of science, medicine, digital technology, or the arts. As with the graduate entrepreneur visa, the application process is highly competitive and only a limited number of visas are granted each year under this category. Before applying, an endorsement must be sought from the Home Office attesting to your status in your field of practice. If ultimately granted a visa under this category, you will be able to stay in the UK for up to five years and four months and can extend for another five years. As with other categories, settlement is available after five years. Rigidity of visa guidelines go a long
way to ensuring that expats arrive in the United Kingdom with vetted business plans, verified talent, and financial means to handle the transition smoothly. The downside is that the financial thresholds and competitive nature of the application process may place most of these visas out of reach for many expats, forcing reliance on support from employers or family members to obtain UK visa status. While the battle is uphill, the hardworking expat entrepreneur with a promising business idea and a bit of wind in their sails may very well be able to access UK market opportunities in a manner that ultimately leads to settlement and residency status. If this describes you, deciding how you will structure your business is the next step.
BUSINESS FORMATION IN THE UK
When doing business in the United Kingdom, your activities can be structured in various ways. It will be important for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants to select a business structure that will balance tax and administrative efficiency against legal protections provided by more formal arrangements. Of importance, the decision to form a UK business may not require expats to consider how such arrangements will be taxed by their country of nationality. Unfortunately, due to the worldwide tax and information reporting regime in place in the United States, American expats must actively consider cross border tax and reporting obligations that their businesses will encounter. Notably, recent changes to the US tax system brought about by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act have created a dynamic environment where American business owners operating overseas will want to revisit any ongoing tax planning or compliance strategies. This legislation establishes a new tax on certain foreign income that can have a profoundly negative impact on individual shareholders of certain foreign corporations. Planning opportunities are available to minimise exposure to this new tax, but existing businesses should take action quickly as these rules are applicable to tax year 2018. While there are numerous other UK business structures designed to achieve specific funding or operational goals, the information below covers the most common methods for operating UK business activities.
Without question, operating as a sole trader provides the easiest option for setting up and managing the ongoing administration of your UK business affairs. Sole traders simply register their independent business activity with HMRC and are ready to begin business. Note, however, that many businesses selling products or engaging in other regulated activities will still maintain the responsibility to register for Value Added Tax (VAT) and any other relevant licenses that may be applicable to their business. The notable drawback of operating as a sole trader is that no limited liability protection is provided. This means that you would remain personally responsible for debts and other liabilities of the business. Given this lack of protection, operating as a sole trader would be a risky option for most business owners.
A partnership in the UK is formed when a group of at least two individuals collectively engage in an activity with the goal of producing a profit. A nominated partner is tasked with registering the business with HMRC and each partner will need to register for self-assessment on their partnership income. Income tax is calculated at each partnerâ€™s individual tax rate based on their respective share of partnership income, as if they were sole traders. A partnership agreement is not required but is recommended in all situations, irrespective of personal or family dynamics that may characterise the business relationship. As is the case with sole trader status, no limited liability protection is offered to owners of these traditional partnerships. Moreover, as partners could potentially be responsible for the business debt attributable to other partners, the risk of operating without limited liability here is even greater than it is for sole traders. Those wishing to maintain certain tax and operating features of a partnership while ensuring limited liability from debts of the business may want to consider organising a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). LLPs are required to register with the Companies House, must submit annual financial reports, and are regulated in a similar way to private limited companies described below.
Private Company Limited By Shares (LTD)
Private limited companies are widely popular among UK business owners and are available for both individual owners and group ownership structures. No minimum capital requirement is applicable and limited liability is offered to shareholders, protecting WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
their personal assets from debts of the business. This structure may be desirable for expats who do not want the risk of operating without limited liability, but accounting for tax attributes will need to be a crucial part of the decision. Establishing a private limited company is relatively straightforward and requires that Articles of Association, along with several other documents, be filed upon formation. The business is not obligated to hold meetings, but financial statements must be submitted annually within nine months of the companyâ€™s financial year-end. Smaller companies may qualify for simplified reporting and all private limited companies are subject to annual corporate tax filing responsibilities. Private limited companies are required to have at least one company director who must be a natural person, but it can be the sole shareholder of the company. Shares in a private limited company cannot be offered for sale to the general public and a transfer of shares can only occur through a private agreement of the shareholder.
Public Limited Company (PLC)
Businesses that want the ability to offer shares of the company for sale to the public are required to organise a public limited company. This type of entity is characterised by significant organisation and administrative costs as well as strict formalities around meetings, voting, and other activities of the business enterprise. Ultimately, while private limited companies will be the most common operating structure for expat entrepreneurs and business owners, the details of every business arrangement must be closely considered. Tax and immigration laws as well as the ongoing costs of compliance and administration should be factored into the broader decision-making surrounding the appropriate structure for the business. If you are an American entrepreneur or investor contemplating a new business or a move to the United Kingdom, our firm can assist with developing an effective strategy and ensuring you maintain compliance on both sides of the pond. Expat Legal Services Group offers unique legal services for American expatriates and foreign nationals with financial interests in the United States. Our firm serves the expat community in the areas of international tax, immigration law, and cross border business and estate planning using a suite of modern technology solutions. Contact Expat Legal Services Group today at email@example.com or visit the website at www.expatlegal.com. The choice of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.
The American Hour If you would like to be invited to the events we organise for Americans living in the UK, please sign up for The American Hourâ€™s Monthly email newsletters, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address you would like the information sent to, and your nationality. Our monthly email newsletters are sent out on 1st of each month, and include useful information, special offers and details of events we think you might be interested in. We will send you separately invitations to Networking Events and Tax Seminars that are organised by Helen and are free of charge for our readers. We look forward to hopefully seeing you at an event in the near future.
AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
TRANSATLANTIC BUSINESS On March 23th 2018, Robert Wood Johnson, Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland stated on Twitter that it is “Great to see agreement between the UK and EU27 on the Brexit implementation period”. He continued to say that “This is a positive step towards an orderly Brexit” and “in everyone’s interests, including the USA”. This statement was well received by the transatlantic business community in Britain. First, it was noted because until recently leading US Government officials seems to have been fairly cautious to publicly comment on the status of the Brexit negotiations since the referendum took place on June 23rd, 2016. Second, the statement highlighted the importance of the agreement made on March 19th, 2018, between the British and European Brexit negotiators on a transitional period. With the UK officially leaving the EU in March 2019, transatlantic businesses had been calling early on such a period so to minimise disruption and allow for a fully negotiated framework to be completed. It was clear from the beginning that the time set aside for the withdrawal would not be enough for businesses and people to adjust. The transitional period agreed in March 2018, will still mean that the UK will no longer be a EU Member State as of March 30th, 2019, and no longer participate in the decisionmaking process of the EU. It will, however, maintain all the advantages and benefits of the Single Market, the Customs Unions, and EU policies until December 31st, 2020, when the transitional period ends. Third, the Ambassador’s statement emphasised a commonly known fact and reality: The UK is an extremely important economic partner to the US. Available data shows that more than 40,000 US firms export to the UK. 7,500 US businesses are active in the UK. Those businesses employ over a million people in the UK. No other country receives more American foreign direct investment (FDI) than the UK. Almost 200,000 US citizens are residents in the UK; forming a vibrant American community there. This impressive commercial foot print does not come as a surprise: The US and the UK share a historic cultural and political link and friendship; the UK is considered to provide a business-friendly environment, with a solid track record and leading institutions in innovation and research. For many US firms, the UK had been the first foreign market where they established operations outside America. In addition, through its membership of the EU, the UK has offered access to a market even WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
bigger than the UK, the European Single Market. Indeed, the EU accounts for the highest share of total exports from UK-based firms. Many foreign businesses, particularly US businesses, had come to the UK with the attraction to use the country as a gateway to a much larger market and consumer base. At the same time, businesses in the UK had enjoyed the access to talent from all over Europe. We know that the UK’s departure from the EU will change the UK’s current access to the EU market and talent.
This is a positive step towards an orderly Brexit” and “in everyone’s interests, including the USA It is in that context that American businesses in particular, as the largest investor in the UK, follow quite closely the developments in the Brexit negotiations. It is in that context, among others, that the Ambassador expressed that an orderly Brexit is in everyone’s interest, including the USA. It emphasises how an event like Brexit does impact not only the UK and the EU; but it matters to everyone who has a strong relationship with this part of the world, particularly the US. There is no doubt, the UK’s decision to leave the EU continues to present transatlantic businesses with a great challenge. It is a rupture to existing political certainties and business models. Leaving the EU, in whatever form that may be, will come with an economic and operational cost for businesses as they need to re-visit if and how they can best service their customers in the UK and the EU. It will also come with a cost to people who now may have to consider the new border between the UK and the EU in their personal planning for the future. Yet, while the final details of the UK’s departure have yet to be agreed, there is also reason to be optimistic: First, the UK economy has done better than predicted since the 2016 referendum result. The UK Government is now working actively to build and implement a credible plan for a postBrexit innovative, competitive and growing UK economy, which, among others, will hopefully include a smart and reasonable immigration system for EU and non-EU workers.
Second, the Brexit talks, while no less complex in nature, seem to be back on track after much time had been lost on the way in 2017. With the transitional period agreed, the danger of a ‘cliff edge scenario’, in which the UK would have broken away from the EU in March 2019 without any agreement, has luckily been avoided. Third, while sorting the future relationship for the UK and the EU will remain the biggest political and economic priority for the months to come, there are promising signs that the UK and US will also seek to further tighten their economic relationship. Since July 2017, both the US and the UK Governments have convened regular talks in form of a US-UK Trade and Investment Working Group. The talks are meant to explore tangible measures that help businesses to trade across the Atlantic and to lay the groundwork for a future bilateral trade arrangement. While generally high-level in nature, the tangible outcome of these talks so far is worth noting: On March 20th, 2018, both Governments launched a Small Business Dialogue that is meant to discuss ways to deepen trade and investment for smaller and medium-sized enterprises in particular, to identify resources currently available from both Governments to assist them, and to hear from companies and relevant stakeholders directly as to what the specific challenges and opportunities are when trading bilaterally. This initiative should be very welcome. It builds on what is the largest and most successful economic relationship between two countries in the world. It is an encouragement to companies who are thinking about going abroad, that the UK and the US are good places to do business, no matter the political times of changes we are in. Emanuel Adam is a Director at BritishAmerican Business (BAB), overseeing the organisations policy & trade portfolio in the UK and the US. BritishAmerican Business (BAB) is an exclusive corporate network and the voice of transatlantic business, dedicated to advancing economic growth for companies with operations in the US and the UK. They provide their members with first class networking opportunities to enable them to meet people that will help their business, including potential suppliers, customers, competitors and relevant people from government. Visit www.babinc.org/membership-london. WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
ST JOHN’S WOOD ... A ‘Home Away From Home’ For American Families
I’ve heard this statement on numerous occasions and when one examines the neighbourhood it comes as no surprise. Apart from the fact that NW8 is home to the American School, it is also home to the world renowned Lords Cricket Ground, a microcosm of all things British. With its elegant buildings, boutique coffee shops and vast expanses of pristine green grass, it provides visitors and residents with their very own piece of quintessential England without actually being in the midst of the hustle and bustle of London. In addition it is perfectly located for quick access into the West End and the City of London where London’s businesses, theatres and restaurants can be found. A few stops on a bus or underground train from the Art Deco style St Johns Wood Underground Station gets you into the heart of London, and when you return back home from the inner London frenzy you are back in this well-established friendly community reminiscent of a Home Counties village. Clearly for visitors from the USA, The American School here is a big draw. It was originally founded in 1951 but has undergone massive changes over the years by incorporating adjoining buildings and completely redesigning its exterior and interior creating a spectacular environment for its pupils to study in. The school has an impressive track record of success and now teaches students from more than 50 different nationalities. Moving home is always troublesome, but moving to a new home in a different country is understandably a hugely emotional time for families. However, in my conversations with my American clients, I am told that the expat WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
American community find that living close to other people who are in a similar situation can be extremely comforting and, of course, having the spectacular Panzers Deli round the corner, which prides itself on having a wealth of American foods, is the perfect cure for feeling homesick.
Apart from the fact that NW8 is home to the American School, it is also home to the world renowned Lords Cricket Ground, a microcosm of all things British
in 1574; the estate was later given by him to his foundation, Harrow School, on trust to maintain the roads between London and Harrow in good repair. Hence, a number of local road names reflect these links. John Lyon’s Charity is today one of London’s leading endowed educational charities. When building began in this area at the beginning of the nineteenth century, St John’s Wood became the first part of London to move away from the typical terraced houses and instead began to showcase the semi-detached villa. This somewhat revolutionary move was later copied in other districts of London. Despite many of the original houses and gardens not surviving the Second World War bombing raids, the area has still managed to preserve its original character. As well as its history and the aforementioned famous cricket ground, there are many other attractions which draw both tourists and local residents to the area. Regent’s Park is just a stone’s throw away and is the largest open space for sports in Central London. The park not only hosts the world famous London Zoo, but also the highly acclaimed open air theatre where popular plays are regularly performed. In modern times St John’s Wood became home to the most famous recording studios in the world, the Abbey Road Studios, often used by The Beatles who brought the area into the public eye with the iconic album covering featuring an image of the group on the zebra crossing outside the studios. Today tourists from all over the world dodge the traffic in an attempt to recreate this iconic cover shot. If moving to London is on your agenda and you want to discuss the St Johns Wood location further please don’t hesitate to contact me for more in depth information or just for some local restaurant suggestions. Paul J Bennett, Proprietor, Behr & Butchoff, 105 St. Johns Wood Terrace, London, NW8 6PL Telephone: 020 7722 7222 Email: email@example.com
Historically, St John’s Wood was once part of the Great Forest of Middlesex, and until the end of the eighteenth century it remained in agricultural use. Apart from a small portion around Barrow Hill, which was owned by the Portland Estate, most of St John’s Wood had been acquired by the Eyre family in 1732. A second, smaller estate, nestled alongside Edgware Road, was acquired by John Lyon WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
THEATRE Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker The Birthday Party at the Harold Pinter Theatre
Harold Pinter, one of Britain’s greatest playwrights, wrote The Birthday Party in 1957. London theatre audiences did not know what to make of the play and it closed within a week due to terrible reviews. Luckily, since that time, it has been acknowledged as a classic of British theatre and, as shown by Ian Rickson’s excellent production, still has the power to shock. Set in a run-down boarding house on the South coast, run by flighty Meg and her deck chair attendant husband Petey, The Birthday Party shows the dark underside and dread that can exist in the most normal circumstances. Despite it being “Very well known as a very good boarding house for visitors, it’s on the list”, according to Meg, they only have one boarder, grumpy and rumpled Stanley. He seems to be treated as a family member by the couple, until we see him alone with Meg. She alternately flirts with or babies him while he either appreciates the attention or quietly terrorises her. From the start, we sense that Stanley has a dark current running through him and that his stories of his past may be less than truthful. Not that Meg cares, as she isn’t listening very carefully, and her devotion to Stanley knows no limits. When Petey announces that two men he met on the beach are coming to rent a room, things become even more sinister. The black suited gentlemen, Goldberg and McCann, clearly have another reason for being there than a holiday, and Stanley is worried. As Meg has mentioned it is Stanley’s birthday, although he doesn’t believe it is, she wants to celebrate and has got him a gift. Goldberg insists they must have a party for him that very night, supplying many bottles of whiskey. Nothing that happens in this house is normal. Meg’s gift to Stanley is a child’s drum which he beats maniacally. McCann sits at the table tearing strips of newspaper for no reason but gets very upset when anyone touches them. Goldberg charms Meg by saying she will look like a tulip when she dresses up for the party. The language is startling in its absurdity, which juxtaposes the very real menace that is always present. The birthday party for Stanley, for which Meg has dressed to the nines but Petey has ducked out of, gets quickly out of hand as the gorgeous young neighbour Lulu is seduced by Goldberg while McCann sings a sad Irish ballad and Meg gets blindingly drunk, unaware of the events around her. A game of Blind Man’s Buff soon becomes frighteningly 22
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Peter Wight (Petey) and Zoe Wanamaker (Meg) in The Birthday Party. Photo by Johan Persson
dangerous, as everyone’s true intentions become clear. The Birthday Party is a quintessentially British play, and yet Pinter obviously was much inspired by absurdists such as Jarry, Ionesco and Beckett. When McCann and Goldberg interrogate Stanley, their accusations turn into a nonsensical list which would be funny if the threat of physical violence were not always there. We can sense that the job Goldberg and McCann are there to do involves something horrible and unspeakable happening to Stanley, but no details are ever mentioned. One can almost see inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s films such as Pulp Fiction with its sordid violence and comic gangsters. One of the joys of the West End is seeing on stage actors who are familiar to TV audiences. This production is full of superb actors whose faces may be known to American audiences if not their names. Zoe Wanamaker shines as the clueless Meg, a woman who comes across as a lovely, innocent girl despite being in her sixties. She thrills at being “the belle of the ball” and flirting harmlessly with Stanley with whom she is clearly in love. The extraordinary Toby Jones, most recently seen in The Detectorists, plays Stanley as both a child-like victim and a tormentor, you never know whether to feel sorry for him or worry that he’s going to kill someone. Stephen Mangan, known on both sides of the Atlantic for the sitcom Episodes, is truly frightening as Goldberg, despite being genuinely funny, as is Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as the unpredictable McCann. In the smaller roles, and as the only people who seem rooted in reality, Pearl Mackie, of Dr Who fame, was sympathetic as the flirty hard done by Lulu. Peter Wight, recognisable to anyone, is a Mike Leigh
fan, was brilliant as Petey, a good-hearted man who just wants a normal life without any trouble. Pinter has a reputation for writing pauses in his plays but this early work races along with brilliant, bizarre and memorable dialogue, starting out like a kitchen sink drama and turning into something quite different. Even if you are not a Pinter fan, I would urge you to go see this extraordinary, if unsettling, production. For tickets visit www.thebirthdayparty.london or call 0844 871 7622.
John at the Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre
American playwright Annie Baker has been dividing audience opinion since she wrote the three hour long, Pulitzer prize-winning The Flick, which was critically acclaimed but apparently had some audience members walking out in boredom. Ms Baker tends to write a lack of dialogue that puts Pinter’s pauses to shame. I went into John, her new three-hour production at the National Theatre, expecting a long, tedious evening. Instead I was completely mesmerised and could not wait to see what happened next. Similar to The Birthday Party, John is set in a bed and breakfast and also deals with guests interacting with their hosts. However, the similarity ends there as John is a much more humane and spiritual tale about relationships and how we connect with the people in our lives. Mertis runs a bed and breakfast on the outskirts of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania which could be considered quaint if it weren’t for all the dolls lining the walls, staircases and any nook that can be found. A Christmas tree is
THEATRE already displayed despite it being only one week after Thanksgiving. The breakfast area is named Paris, and decorated like a French café with croissants for breakfast. Into this strange world comes Jenny and Elias, a young couple from Brooklyn who are stopping over on their way from Ohio. We sense from the start that all is not right, as prickly Elias seems to be constantly picking an argument with Jenny, yelling at her from upstairs, or demanding to know if she hates his loud eating and then accusing her of anti-Semitism. He is intent on seeing all the historical sites Gettysburg has to offer, while Jenny has to duck out due to debilitating period pains. After an aborted trip around the town, Elias goes off on a ghost tour of a cemetery, leaving Jenny alone with the sympathetic but unusual Mertis. It is at this point that we start to learn more about who these people are. Mertis has a husband, George, whom we never see, as he is too ill, of what we never find out. Jenny writes questions for a quiz show. Mertis kindly invites Jenny to join her for dinner with her blind friend Genevieve. After much wine is drunk, more revelations emerge, but always eked out throughout the play, emerging naturally as the characters eventually feel like revealing them. Although it sounds like not much happens, everything happens as we discover the truth about Elias and Jenny’s relationship, hear about her dread fear of her childhood doll Samantha, a replica of which sits on a shelf in the bed and breakfast. Mertis asks both Elias and Jenny
JOHN (Anneika Rose as Jenny and Tom Mothersdale as Elias). Image by Stephen Cummiskey.
separately if they ever feel watched, to which they both have very different responses. This is a house which may be haunted, as Christmas tree lights mysteriously turn on and off and a player piano spontaneously bursts into song. And why won’t Mertis let the young couple sleep in the Jackson room? The cast are nothing less than extraordinary. American actress Marylouise Burke who plays Mertis is a highly-experienced stage performer who is completely unknown here but won’t be after this. She embodies the elderly and quirky Mertis so completely in her every move and slightly sing song way of speaking. We are fascinated watching her slowly climb the stairs or set breakfast, happy in her routines, yet clearly harbouring so much more
beneath the surface. June Watson is superb as the caustic and outspoken Genevieve, who may be a bit psychotic or a bit psychic, it’s never clear which, but it is unimportant to her friendship with Mertis who accepts her as she is. Tom Motherdale as Elias and Anneika Rose as Jenny were also excellent, inhabiting the moments of silence as much as the words in their painful interactions with each other. This production feels like an interactive experience where the audience is totally immersed in the world of the play, drawn in bit by bit through clues about the characters’ lives, droplets of information said in passing or blurted out suddenly. This is theatre at its finest, don’t miss it. To book tickets visit www.nationaltheatre. org.uk/shows/john or call 020 7452 3000.
AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
TAKE FIVE Hands Across The Water By Judith Schrut The upcoming royal wedding of American Meghan Markle to British Prince Harry brings fresh meaning to the celebrated US-UK ‘special relationship’. Judith Schrut steps back in history to explore some fascinating British-American connections from our shared past.
1. Princess Pocahontas, the Original American in Britain
Did you know that over 200,000 Americans live in the UK, according to the last national census? In fact, Americans have made Britain their temporary or permanent home ever since the very first expat, Princess Pocahontas, came to live here in 1616 with her British colonial husband Richard Rolfe and infant son Thomas. Born to an Algonquian Indian Chief in Virginia around 1596, Pocahontas met and married Rolfe there, converted to Christianity and became known as Rebecca. Legend tells us that Rolfe, a wealthy tobacco grower, married Pocahontas both for love and to “save her soul”. Once in Britain, she was wined and dined by the cream of society, held up as a successful example of how American natives could be ‘civilised’, and to show that it was safe for Europeans to venture, live and invest in the New World. Pocahontas spent her expat days in Brentford, London, and at Rolfe’s country home in Norfolk. Tragically, this period did not last long. In 1617, within a few hours of setting sail from London for Virginia, Pocahontas fell seriously ill on board ship. She was taken to
the nearest Thameside town, Gravesend, Kent, where she died within a few hours. The cause of her death at the tender age of 21 remains wrapped in mystery - some say it was smallpox, others tuberculosis. There have even been suggestions she was poisoned. Pocahontas was buried in St George’s Church, Gravesend and is honoured to this day by locals. Further information: www.stgeorgesgravesend.org.uk/history/ pocahontas
2. Ben & Tom: A Tale of Two Friends
Whether posing for selfies with Lord Nelson and his iconic pigeons, visiting nearby Buckingham Palace or spending an afternoon enjoying the treasures at the National Gallery, every American in London surely passes through Trafalgar Square at one time or another. But how many of us have ventured the few steps off those well beaten tracks to the door of Benjamin Franklin’s house? Here, behind the 18th century façade of 36 Craven Street, one of our favourite Founding Fathers lived and worked for over 15 years. This historic building was saved from dereliction in 2006, was painstakingly restored, and is
Image Source, Alamy Stock Photo
now a wonderful small museum dedicated to the exceptional Ben’s life and achievements in history, science, philosophy and politics. Ben truly embodied the concept of a polymath. He was a writer, newspaper publisher, oceanographer, chess player, linguist and alphabetician. He helped draft the American Declaration of Independence, served as Ambassador to France and became the first US Postmaster General. As a scientist and inventor he gave us bifocals, the lightning rod, the eco-friendly Franklin stove, the glass (h)armonica and, last but not least, the flexible urinary catheter. His is the face on the $100 bill. Less well known were Ben’s prolific talents as a musician and songwriter. He played
Benjamin Franklin, 1767 by David Martin, photo White House Historical Association
Take My Hand - Pocahontas Statue, photo courtesy St Georges Church Gravesend
violin, harp and guitar, and wrote drinking songs to friends, love songs for his wife and songs of political protest. Several of these were re-created and broadcast by the BBC for an imaginative programme called ‘Benjamin Franklin’s Ipod’. Nearly 100 miles northeast in Thetford, Norfolk is the birthplace of Ben’s friend, contemporary and fellow American Founding Father, Thomas Paine. Paine was a hugely influential writer, radical politician and revolutionary thinker who challenged authority and injustice throughout his life. Emigrating to the US in 1774, Paine arrived in time to play an important part in the American Revolution. Probably best known as author of The Rights of Man and for giving us countless quotable phrases like “these are the times that try men’s souls”, Paine was also an imaginative inventor who designed an iron bridge and a smokeless candle. Unlike Ben Franklin, Paine was a controversial hero, panned by some in his time for advocating free thinking, votes for all, abolition of slavery and a minimum wage. Although no museum yet honours Paine in his home town, visiting fans can trek the Thomas Paine Trail or salute Thomas Paine Day with locals every June 8th. Further information: www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org www.thomaspaineuk.com
3. Art and the Expat Whistler and his Famous Mother
“As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight”. So proclaimed James MacNeill Whistler, born in Massachusetts in 1834, but who lived much of his life in London. Here, he mixed with the foremost artists and society people of the day, linked up with the French Impressionists, and painted his most famous works. In his younger years he was known for being eccentric and bohemian, a wearer of strange hats, monocles and flamboyant moustaches. In his mature years, Whistler became president of the Society of British Artists and had numerous admirers, including Queen Victoria. His mother Anna followed him to London in 1864 and thus was available at short notice to pose for Whistler’s most celebrated painting, Whistler’s Mother, copyright Musee d’Orsay, Paris
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Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, better known as Whistler’s Mother. Unfortunately for Whistler however, when his strict and religious mother moved in, his long-time mistress and creative muse moved out. The story goes that Whistler’s model failed to turn up, so out of desperation he asked Mom to pose instead. At first, she had to stand while he painted her. But Whistler’s painstakingly slow and careful painting methods soon exhausted his mother. So down she sat, and that renowned profile was born. Nonetheless, Mom had to sit dozens of times before he considered her portrait complete. You can trace Whistler’s London footsteps to his homes in Hampstead Heath and Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, where he died in 1903, and where he is remembered with a blue plaque and nearby statue. A good selection of his works can be seen at Tate Britain, although if you want to see Mom you’ll need to make a detour to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. If you’re a serious Whistler scholar, the place to go is University of Glasgow’s Centre for Whistler Studies. It’s astonishing collection of Whistleriana includes over 10,000 dinner invitations, telegrams, legal documents, business, family and love letters. Further information: www.gla.ac.uk/services/ specialcollections/collectionsa-z/ whistlerarchive
4. World War II and the Special Relationship
As well as those eagerly awaited royal nuptials, Spring 2018 marks the 72nd anniversary of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1946 ‘special relationship’ speech, in which he publicly bravo-ed the close US-UK cultural and historical ties. Although that relationship has been celebrated, tested, challenged and changed over the decades since, there is no doubting the many strong and enduring American Air Museum, Duxford, copyright IWM
British-American connections. Whether you have an academic or more personal interest in World War II US-UK links, the American Air Museum near Cambridge is a highly recommended must-see. With striking, award-winning architecture by Norman Foster, the Museum houses the largest collection of American aircraft outside the USA and is a fitting tribute to the 30,000 Americans who died after flying from UK air bases during the war. You can also pay a visit to the nearby Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, where thousands of American military personnel are buried or honoured. This includes over 5,000 names engraved in stone on the Walls of the Missing. And it’s always worth a detour to Cambridge itself, where we recommend a pint at The Eagle, the city’s oldest pub and steeped in historic charm. Be sure to check out the pub’s unique RAF Bar, where American and British fighter pilots socialised before setting off on their dangerous missions. Although many never did return, their names and moving messages are etched forever into the ceiling with Zippo lighters, candles and lipstick. There are lots of other memorials to noted Americans dotted around the UK. We’ve mentioned those to Pocahontas, Tom Paine and Whistler. You’ll also find statues of FDR and Ike in Grosvenor Square, Abraham Lincoln in Parliament Square, George Washington The amazing RAF Bar, Eagle Pub, Cambridge
TAKE FIVE outside the National Gallery, and Martin Luther King as one of the 20th century Christian martyrs carved above the doorway of Westminster Abbey. Virginia Quay Settlers Monument in Blackwall, East London, remembers the 105 “adventurers”– men, women and children - who sailed from here in 1606 in three small ships and went on to found Jamestown, the first English colony in North America. Further information: www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/ europe/cambridge-americancemetery www.americanairmuseum.com
5. Swinging Back To the Sixties Nighttime at Handel & Hendrix in London Jimi Hendrix’s bedroom, Handel & Hendrix in London
Are there any crusty readers out there who, like the author, recalls Roger Miller’s hit song ‘England Swings’? That was the 1965 US pop chartbuster with vivid, stereotyped lyrics, telling of bobbies on bicycles, rosy red-cheeked children and dapper gents with derby hats. Britain’s groovy reputation in the Swinging Sixties was a magnet for American musicians and artists, as well as young tourists by the charter plane load. They came to play, sway and in many cases, stay. American celebrities who have spent significant time living here include musical icons Tina Turner, Susie Quatro and Madonna, actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin
Spacey and Gillian Anderson, and writers Bill Bryson and Francesca Simon. Jimi Hendrix, born in Seattle, was one of the greatest rock legends to live, love, write and perform in Sixties London. He also infamously died here in 1970, from an accidental drugs overdose. You can visit his Mayfair flat at 23 Brook Street, which shares Georgian walls with the former home of composer George Frideric Handel. Together these make up the fascinating Handel & Hendrix in London museum. Jimi’s carefully restored bedroom is on the top floor, complete with hippy-style decor and his favourite black hat, feather boas and acoustic guitar. If you’re in the mood for more swinging, there are plenty of Sixties themed tours out there, like the Ultimate Swinging 60’s Experience Tour on a Routemaster Bus or FreeTours-by-Foot’s acclaimed Rock‘n Roll London. Those with deeper pockets may prefer the luxury Rock N Rolls Tour of Swinging London, in a Rolls Royce of course. Further information: handelhendrix.org www.freetoursbyfoot.com www.rock-n-rolls-tours-london.co.uk Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. The author always welcomes your ideas and comments, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHARING YOUR ALLEGIANCE WITH ANOTHER FLAG How it Feels When You’re an American by Karen Storey
My 19 year old dual national daughter doesn’t get it. She was born and raised in Britain but has always been an American citizen through me. Indeed, this was the only passport she held for the first 18 years of her life. Last year, she finally applied for, and received her British passport. She can’t understand why I still haven’t gone for mine. I can’t fully understand it either. It seems I have some strange emotional block in taking this final step. I came over to the UK when I was 20 years old. At the time I hadn’t intended to stay, but life took over and 36 years later, I’m still here! ”You have lived here longer than you have in America.” She says to me “Why don’t you just do it?”. As I search for an explanation I find myself fumbling with the answer, that maybe it has to do with spending my childhood pledging my allegiance to the American flag. She finds this odd, as kids in England don’t have an equivalent ritual. I describe how every morning at school my classmates and I, hands on heart, recited this pledge. Yet, nowhere in the Pledge of Allegiance did anyone ever say “I pledge my allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and any other country that I 28
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happen to somehow end up living in one day”. I tell my daughter that for me, it feels disloyal to take another citizenship. “Well then, isn’t it disloyal of you to be living here?” she asks. She has a point. So I say, “Perhaps, in my head, I’m sort of balancing it out by holding on to my sole nationality and passport.” That is the crux of it. My instilled sense of loyalty from my childhood is the impractically sentimental reason why after 36 years, I still hold only an American passport with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain. I was curious to see if I was alone with this feeling, so have been talking with a few other American expats settled in Britain. Cate Linforth is originally from Chicago and has been living in the UK for over 12 years. She came to the UK for University. Now, married to a Brit, she finally decided to apply for British citizenship in April 2017. She tells me: “I’d been struggling with the decision ever since I got my ILR back in February 2013. Part of me didn’t want to get it because of the amount of money I’d already paid to the Home Office, and I didn’t technically NEED to. However, once I met
my now husband and started to realise that I didn’t really have any intention of moving back to the US, I decided that it made sense to think about citizenship, not least because of the recent change in politics in the UK, as well as Brexit. It no longer made sense to be living and working in the UK, but not having any say in political changes happening over here”. Cate goes on to say that she had to fight to stay in the UK because of changes in legislation. She explains “I think that previously I’d thought that under my ILR I was invincible, but the reality is that if I had to move out of the UK for 2 years, for whatever reason, and wanted to return to the UK, I’d be back to starting point.” I had asked her if applying for dual nationality brought up any mixed emotions, and she tells me “I think even now I still struggle with the idea of being a British citizen. I’ve never been particularly patriotic, but something inside of me, valid or not, thinks that if I become a British citizen, it would almost make me less American. I’ve been losing my accent gradually over the last several years, no longer easily tan (hello permanently pasty skin!) and not least I really struggle to identify with the general populous sometimes in the US, but I had a real internal struggle about what it would mean to get my citizenship”. I completely identify with the thought that
SHARING YOUR ALLEGIANCE WITH ANOTHER FLAG somehow obtaining a British passport could make one feel less American. Having lost my own New York accent gradually over the years, sometimes it feels like the only part of me left that’s still American is the blue passport in my drawer. Cate continues: “I really struggled internally about getting my citizenship. I don’t identify as British, I’ve always felt like a settled American in Britain. Getting my citizenship felt permanent to me. My whole adult life, I’ve been foreign. Whether it’s not quite fitting in to the UK because I sound different, or being seen as foreign by my own friends and family back home because I’ve picked up British phrases and colloquialisms, I’ve not just felt ‘normal’ for a very long time. I was wary about how my citizenship would change that. I don’t think that was helped much by my friends and family in the UK saying ‘Well, you’ll be British now’. I didn’t, and still don’t feel ‘British’. I don’t sound British. I think by resolving it I had to remember that it was a formality for me. It meant that no one could ever make me feel anxious about my immigration status in the UK again, and that perhaps I would feel better about politics and government, knowing that I could start to do my bit to make a difference. And I wouldn’t have to sit in one of those hideous lines at the airport anymore. And let’s be honest, by choosing to live in the UK for the last 12 years, I kind of have pledged allegiance“. I ask Cate about her citizenship ceremony and she tells me: “My ceremony was in December 2017, and I felt really apprehensive in the lead up to it. My husband unfortunately wasn’t able to come because of an international work trip, so two of my best friends from University decided
to be there to support me. I was excited to finally be at the end stage, after so many years and so many thousands of pounds spent on immigration. I never had to worry about how the government’s immigration changes would affect me again. But would it make me feel less American? Would I no longer be able to say with such confidence that I was American? I wasn’t sure if it would taint any of my American-ness if that makes sense. The ceremony itself was actually quite emotional, as one of the Deputy Lieutenants for the West Midlands was an immigrant herself. She showed such empathy for the struggle that everyone in the room had gone through and the opportunity this brought to us. She really validated what a tremendous achievement it was. My girlfriends both made such a special day of it, going out for cocktails and lunch as well“. Cate reflects on becoming a dual national and tells me: “I’m pleased that I’ve done it. I’m pleased that I can now vote in any future elections, and hold office if I so choose as well. I’m pleased about the doors that open in terms of easier access to commonwealth countries“. Christina Davies, another American expat, now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and four children. She has also been here for 12 years. Her children are already dual nationals. She and her husband are in the process of applying for their British citizenship. Christina tells me: “We’ve invested a lot in our lives here and they really are here when I think about it. My husband and I started our married life here. My children were born here. We have paid through the roof for visas and ILR for the privilege to be here. And of course, I finally got a Land Rover!”.
She continues, “My husband and I both travelled extensively (domestically and internationally) as children and into our adult lives before coming to the UK., but England has still opened a world for us that we wouldn’t have known existed without living here. It has had a large part in moulding us into the people that we are today. For all of that, I am grateful“. Christina adds: “Don’t get me wrong. I am proud to be American. I am grateful for my country and I proudly defend it almost daily. I flexi-school my children, and do an American curriculum on the days they are with me because of how important it is to us that they understand the incredible history and amazingness of the country that they are a citizen of, that they hold a passport for, that they explore a few weeks a year, and for a country where their entire extended family lives. I think we live in a state of confusion. When we get on a plane to fly Stateside we say we are ‘going home’, and then when we board a plane to fly to the UK, we also say ‘we are going home.’ But I also think we are extremely blessed, to be able to say that we are home in more than one place, in more than one country, on more than one continent. That is why we are applying for citizenship”. It’s these final words from Christina that have got me thinking that dual citizenship perhaps does make sense emotionally, not just practically. She tells me, “We will be truly home whichever side of the Atlantic we are on. I will always consider myself to be an American, but with the extra privilege of also being a citizen of the UK. God Bless America and God Save the Queen!”.
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY National Army Museum There are museums and then there is the National Army Museum in London, situated adjacent to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the “Chelsea Pensioners”. Established by Royal Charter in 1960, the site has recently undergone a complete transformation and presents itself as a light, airy and inviting venue. Each of the three floors are divided into an upper and lower level, and glimpses of these different levels as one enters the building conveys a sense that it is much larger than it initially appears. As is the way with contemporary museums these days, the National Army Museum eschews a continuous time-line of events, and chooses instead to present different aspects of soldiery history at the different levels within the building. These different aspects are referred to as ‘galleries’. The most traditional is called Battle. Here one can view the skeleton of Marengo, Napoleon’s surprisingly small horse (14 hands) which carried him through four battles, including Waterloo, before dying of old age in England in 1831. Alongside Marengo is a lock of Napoleon’s hair - a fascinating link to the man who dominated European politics for 20 years or so. The other galleries specialise in the relationship between society and the military, the experiences of soldiers themselves, and finally the origins of the army and its impact on global history. Younger visitors are well catered for as each gallery has its interactive delights. Boys and girls will surely be persuaded to put away their hand-held devices and instead adopt a hands-on attitude as a crew member in the interactive tank battle taking place in Normandy in the Second World War. And when they’ve won the war, they can hone their experiences on the interactive parade ground, and if they’re still full of beans they can expend it all on the real assault course in Play Base!
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There is currently an excellent exhibition - Special Forces: In the Shadows. This new exhibition presents ideas of security and secrecy through the lens of the Special Forces, where visitors can discover who these soldiers are, the skills they need, and the operations they’ve undertaken at home and abroad. Originating in the Second World War, the Special Forces is made up of five elite units, each with a unique role in British security and military operations. The exhibition looks at the work of these units as well as the skills and dedication needed to make the cut. Although technology has changed the way the units operate, visitors will be shown some of the intense physical and psychological preparation that still plays an important role in how these soldiers are chosen. The varied work of the services, including real-life events such as the iconic Iranian Embassy hostage siege and modern-day
security, are shown alongside objects from across the 70-year history. The exhibition also looks at how these units are portrayed in Popular Culture from films and posters to the media. This is an excellent and fascinating exhibition. The National Army Museum’s excellent cafe provides hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks at reasonable prices. All successful campaigns rely on the quartermaster to do his duty, and the National Army Museum is no exception. National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT. Closest tube: Sloane Square. Victoria station 20 minutes’ walk or 170 bus. Website www.nam.ac.uk Special Forces: In the Shadows link www.nam.ac.uk/specialforces
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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS The Junior League of London We are excited to share the results of our work in the first half of our fiscal year, demonstrating our impact in the London community. We love working with our community partners and are grateful that we can contribute to programmes that work to eliminate poverty in London. The Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is a poverty awareness and fundraising campaign that started on 12 March that challenges participants to wear 1 black dress for 5 days in a row, to raise funds for the Junior League
of London, an organisation committed to promoting voluntary service, developing the potential of women and improving the community, through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Now in its 5th year, LBDI seeks to raise awareness about the limits poverty can play on choices of expression and opportunities for employment. By leveraging the iconic “Little Black Dress” and participants’ social media channels, we shine a spotlight on the issues surrounding poverty, while seeking to raise funds for programmes that improve the lives of Londoners in need.
We would love your support. Hold a clothing drive at your office/school or church. Donate to the cause and support the ladies wearing the dress. Learn more here: www.justgiving. com/campaigns/charity/juniorleaguelondon/ lbdi2018. Also, join us for an evening of fun recognising some community partners, supporting the campaigners and a good glass of wine! All you need to enter is a piece of clothing to donate. The Marylebone, 93 Marylebone High Street, 6-8pm. We are very excited to formally welcome our Spring New Member Class of 2017-2018! We have over 25 new members, representing several countries, and from a wide range of backgrounds, work and interests, including women from Dubai, Hungary, and some locals from the UK. We have an MBA candidate and an editor from a major publishing house. We kick off our New Member programme with Super Saturday. The new member class met at Restart Lives in South Kensington for a day of introduction to the League, its leadership, and its purpose, followed by a volunteer project and then some socialising to get to know each other. Restart is a charity partner that aims to help homeless people regain their lives. They encourage guests to visit the drop-in centre and provide support to those who are ready to find employment and housing. During Super Saturday’s volunteer activity, members assembled 117 survival amenity kits including snacks, clean socks, tissues, etc. for Restart’s guests. These women are charged up and ready to serve our London community and we can’t wait to see them accomplish great things for the League. Welcome Ladies! Do you know your Shakespeare from your Dickens? Your Bee Gees from your Beatles?
If the answer is yes, then you’ll want to save the date for the Junior League of London’s 4th Annual JLL Pub Quiz on Wednesday 18 April. Teams of up to six will be arranged and rounds include Pop Culture, Sports, History and lots more. This is known to be a very fun event and you won’t want to miss it! Tickets go on sale soon so check back on our website for more information: www.jll.org.uk/pubquiz-night/. Join the Junior League of London and discover the secrets of the Churchill War Rooms during an evening of fun, all for a good cause. Held on Saturday, 12th May, our annual Spring Soirée fundraiser will feature entry to the museum at your leisure with a threecourse dinner, drinks, dancing, and more! We have some exciting items secured for our live and silent auctions and all funds raised will go to fund the JLL’s mission and our work in the community. You won’t want to miss it! More information is available on our website. We hope to see you there!
Hampstead Women’s Club (HWC) Interested in making new friends, having a full calendar of events and activities to choose from, exploring more of London and having volunteering opportunities? Then join the Hampstead Women’s Club! You can live anywhere in London to be a member, you don’t have to live in Hampstead - many of our members don’t. The HWC has been very busy this Winter growing community outreach. President, Stacy Popovici’s goal in her term was to grow the charity and outreach aspect of the club and Chairs Laura Cox and Liz Wright have stepped up to the challenge by organising many opportunities within
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the surrounding Hampstead area for our members to give back. In December, we collected hundreds of toiletries and hygiene products for the Little Village to help struggling mothers have a little something to take care of themselves. Also this Winter, we donated hours helping organise donations and sending thank you notes for Knit For Peace on Back Lane. On Saturdays some members are helping serve breakfast at Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Church as part of C4WS, a community of churches in Camden who provide a place to sleep and breakfast to homeless guests. The HWC has also partnered with Henderson Court, an Age UK day centre for adults with and without dementia. Some members visit monthly and bring cakes, sing, do hand massages and just be a friendly visitor. Other recent social highlights of our club include a Russian Banyan evening, a private prepared Mexican lunch and cooking demonstration from Chef Gabriela Arellano, an Oxford Circular hike, a Grand Tour of Royal Albert Hall and a wellness event learning about losing weight through intermittent fasting and hypnotherapy!
Upcoming events: In addition to our ongoing regularly scheduled activities like our creative writing group, golf, book club, tennis, running, Heath walking, hiking and yoga, here are a few fun events lined up: • Fortnum & Mason Delicious Histories Tour • Wine Tasting at Vagabond • Our Annual Spring Fling all member party • Lunch at Kiln and Barrafina • Private tour of the V&A British Galleries The calendar is still getting filled up so these are just a few of the MANY activities we will have this Spring. We’d love for you to join our club! Come to one of our upcoming Link-up events. They are a casual way for non-members to meet members and learn more about the club. They are either coffee mornings or evening drinks. The next one is 21st April and then again on 18th May. Time and Place TBD. Contact Sumi at firstname.lastname@example.org for addresses and more information. The Hampstead Women’s Club (HWC) is a multinational, social organisation for women living in the London area. Our purpose is to provide a sense of community through social, educational and charitable activities. To find out more about the HWC in general, visit our website: www.hwcinlondon.co.uk or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
North American Connection, West Midlands We are excited that Spring has finally arrived! This means that we will be planning lots of fun events like our popular Cinco de Mayo evening whereby we will be raising money for our various charities. Last year’s Cinco de Mayo party was well attended by NAC members, their husband’s and partners as well as British friends who had never experienced Cinco de Mayo before! This year we are planning another great event complete with quiz, home made Mexican Cuisine and an array of different flavoured margaritas! This February just gone we organised another successful charity event, a ladies’ Valentine’s tea in aid of SoLO (Solihull Life Opportunities),
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS spring we expanded our relationship with Ronald McDonald House by moving our regular activities to their premises. We’ve been gathering monthly to prepare a meal for the guests of Ronald McDonald House to support families of seriously ill children who are being treated at the Evalina Children’s Hospital. AWC also sponsored the Angel Tree Project at Christmas which provided gifts for the children in hospital and their siblings who were celebrating the holiday at RMH. With a regular presence at Ronald McDonald House, our members feel even closer to the crucial mission of providing a free “home away from home” for the families of children being treated at the hospital. AWC members are currently collecting Easter eggs for the RMH annual East Egg Hunt. AWC will again donate a percentage of the funds they raise at the Founder’s Day auction in April. Celebrating the AWC: Founders Day Tea The Annual AWC Founders Day will be an Afternoon Tea at the Garden Museum on Friday, April 20. Founders Day is our annual event to come together and raise money to support our growing list of charities: The Soup Kitchen at the American International Church, Ronald McDonald House and the Doorstep library. We’ll be holding a live auction for large ticket items, including a week’s stay in a 3-bed, 3-bath condo in the heart of Breckenridge, Colorado. Our silent auction will include various wines, personal training sessions, gift cards, and themed baskets. Guests will also enjoy a look back through AWC history as we’ll be showcasing the historical archives recently organised and photographed from our former office on Old
a charity that provides social opportunities and events for children and adults with learning difficulties. During Spring we will be organising our business clothing drives for Smart Works and Suited for Success, two great charities who provide interview support and job interview outfits for people currently out of work. Also in Spring, we have our ever popular Bunco night, a crazy dice game that involves a lot of excitement, laughter and sometimes quite a bit of wine too! In addition to all of these charity events, we also have some relaxed and entertaining social days and evenings out planned. For example, our monthly coffee mornings, our afternoon pub lunches and our Thirsty Thursday evenings, plus many other events! Our group is here to provide friendship, support and integration into British life for new expats. But we are also here for long-term expats or ‘lifers’ who simply want to reconnect or stay connected with a bit of North American culture. Most of our members live within an hour’s radius of Birmingham, including Solihull, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Stratford upon Avon and Staffordshire. We would love WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
to meet you and welcome you to one of our upcoming events. You can join us for a friendly event or two before deciding whether or not you would like to become a member of NAC. Please do have a browse through our website and get in touch! www.naconnect.com.
AWC London What do Lady Randolph Churchill (mother of Winston); Lady Astor, the Duchess of Marlborough; Mrs. Selfridge; and Mrs. Herbert Hoover all have in common? They were all members of the AWC London! This year we’re celebrating 120 years of the AWC, and the club is still as vibrant as ever and dedicated to supporting charitable efforts and building a community of women throughout London.
AWC Mah Jongg: A pot luck hosted for the regular AWC Mah Jongg group
Strengthening ties with Ronald McDonald House The AWC London is strengthening our ties with Ronald McDonald House this year. AWC raised funds at the annual auction last year to fund a room for a family at RMH, and this WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
Brompton Road. We’re excited to feature over a century of history while looking to the future with our fundraising efforts. Weekend Getaway to the South of France The AWC is hosting a special weekend getaway to Chateau Canet, a family run wine and olive domain in the Mervois region of the Langeudoc, South of France. We’ve reserved the May 4th-7th Bank Holiday weekend for this perfect weekend away with significant others or girlfriends. Stay in the original winemaker’s cottages, which have been converted into luxury accommodations. The owners Floris & Victoria live on site with their family and love to share their passion for wine, French culture, and amazing food. They’ll welcome guests and offer the chance to learn about wine making, taste award-winning wines, and tour the cellars. This is a fantastic chance to escape the city, experience the tranquil pace of life on a working winery, and enjoy a sampling of the French way of life. Get in touch with the AWC if you’d like to learn more about the trip! About the AWC Founded in 1899 as the “Society of American Women,” the American Women’s Club of London has provided a welcoming atmosphere to American women living in London for over 100 years. The American Women’s Club of London is a founding member of the Federation
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of American Women’s Club Overseas (FAWCO) and is a member of the Federation of International Women’s Associations in London and the greater London area (FIWAL). We welcome all US citizens as well as persons with close ties or affinity to the United States. We look forward to welcoming you as a New Member. Please visit our website at www. awclondon.org to learn more!
FIWAL (Federation of International Women’s Associations in London) FIWAL is an umbrella organisation of 30 clubs with an aggregate membership of nearly 2,000 individuals. Our aim is to broaden international friendship, understanding and communication amongst the international women’s associations in London. FIWAL’s Valentine’s Tea was graciously hosted by the spouse of the Malaysian High Commissioner at her Residence. The event was attended by 90 members and friends who
appreciated the delicious Malaysian High Tea of savoury and sweet dishes and enjoyed the entertainment especially several songs from the ‘Singing Ambassador’. Thanks to everyone’s generosity £2900 to be donated to the ‘Sponsor a Kid’ programme in Malaysia. Fiwal Biennial Conference - Women’s Voices Heard: Equality & Empowerment From Around The World Friday, 27 April 2018 at Churchill Hotel, 30 Portman Square, London W1H 7BH. 9:30 – 10:30 Coffee & Registration; 10:30 Programme; 13:00 Lunch. Speakers: Dr Justina Mutale - African Woman of the Year 2012, Founder and President, Justina Mutale Foundation for Leadership Hana Satriyo - Director for Gender and Women’s Participation, Indonesia for The Asia Foundation; spouse of the Indonesian Ambassador to the UK Haifa Zangana - Iraqi novelist, author, artist, political activist and lecturer on women’s empowerment. Best known for writing Women on a Journey: Between Bagdad and London. Talyn Rahman Figuero (Moderator) - Executive Director and Founder of the Grassroot Diplomat. Tickets are £50 - includes 3-course Lunch (subsidised by FIWAL). To attend, contact FIWAL, c/o Mary Jane Eckert. 6 The Square, High Pine Close, Weybridge KT13 9EZ or email email@example.com by 19 April 2018. Visit fiwal.org.uk
MEET THE ARTIST
MEET THE ARTIST Gregory Tingay - A long way out of Africa From Zimbabwe to North London, by way of the Isle of Wight
By Dr Susan House Wade There is little chance of confusing the ceramic production of Studio Potter Gregory Tingay (1965-) (Fig 1) with that of anyone else. His often complex designs, seemingly informed by time spent in Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Seychelles, and in various parts of England, including the Isle of Wight, has led to a mix of patterns and shapes which are striking, inspired and always unique. Situated on a mostly residential street in North London, not far from Highgate Cemetery, is the studio from which Tingay is currently working (as of this writing). Dartmouth Hill Pottery has been his centre of production for the past 10 years. It is from here that Tingay produces both his monumental as well as his smaller scale works, many of which are strongly influenced by the forms and motifs which he has observed, not only via his lifelong connection to Zimbabwe, but which also owes much to the observations he has made of Korean and Chinese ceramics at the British Museum, with particular attention to the outstanding Choson Dynasty full moon jar there. He counts, too, the indigenous subSaharan basketry style known as Binga (Fig 2) as a particularly relevant design source. Tingay was born just one day before the then-British colony of Rhodesia became independent, and took on its new identity with the name Zimbabwe. His family’s legacy in Africa dates to the 1920s, when his maternal grandfather first built and operated a sizeable ranch known as Dube. This outpost Fig 1 Gregory Tingay with lampbase now in private collection of director of Frick Museum, Pittsburgh Photo: James M. Barrett
featured a fireplace in every room, with said grandparents dressing for evening meals, which were served in the dining room by white gloved staff members. Following on from this was a second, and larger ranch, Ingwezi, with some 32,000 acres, where Tingay’s mother spent her childhood. The ranch was sold in 1960, just a few years prior to Rhodesia declaring its independence from Great Britain. As a small boy, Tingay lived in the suburbs of the capital city, Harare, but the family moved to the Seychelles when he was around 10. He recalls with great fondness the two years spent on these remotely sublime islands, which have often been characterised as a living museum of natural history, replete with fauna such as giant tortoises and paradise flycatchers. It is Catholicism that has acted as the uniting thread that runs through much of Tingay’s life, and his family are all enthusiastically devout supporters. In fact, he credits the religious aspect of his formative years with the trajectory that his career has taken, then and now. Tingay’s education began at a Catholic prep school in Shropshire, and it was a coil pot which he made during his time there that really stimulated his desire to get involved with clay. During secondary school, back in Zimbabwe, he learned to throw pots, and some of these were exhibited and recognised locally. Here, Tingay was beginning to display some of the extraordinary artistic talent that was to forge the basis for his life’s work. At Trinity College, Cambridge, he read English Literature, and afterwards returned to Zimbabwe, where he taught European art history in Harare for a time. His awareness of, and interest in, the indigenous woven bark mats and rugs, as well as other traditional Rhodesian art production, was enhanced and stimulated at this stage. The local Shona sculpture and wood carving also captured his attention, an artisanal craft which has recently become known in Europe to the extent that it is now regularly offered up for sale at the Chelsea Flower Show. Drawing upon his lifelong Catholic faith, however, it was precisely at this moment that Tingay began to contemplate seriously the notion of engaging with a monastic way of life. He joined the brotherhood of Buckfast Abbey, in Devon, in 1990, where he first studied stained glass-making. Tingay, however, speaks of walking past the Abbey pottery on a daily basis, and this intrigued him to the extent that he shifted his focus of monastic
Fig 2 Binga baskets, produced in the Binga region of Zimbabwe Illustration: Holly Maslen
study to ceramics. This involved pot making with the highly regarded Mary Boys-Adams (nee Gibson-Horrocks) (n.d.a.), who had studied in St Ives under potter Bernard Leach between 1944 and 1947, and who ran the pottery at Buckfast. Now in her 90s, she is one of the last surviving students of Leach. Tingay studied and worked as a novice with Boys-Adams for nine years (19901999), until relocating to Quarr Abbey, an ancient Benedictine monastery on the Isle of Wight. In its present form, the monastery structure dates to 1912, and it was designed by French architect and monk, Dom Paul Bellot (1876-1944). Acclaimed by Architectural Historian Nicolas Pevsner as Bellot’s greatest achievement, its style draws heavily upon Middle Eastern influences, (sometimes characterised as Syrian) and on Byzantium; and some of these striking design features have also appeared in Tingay’s works (Fig 3). In fact, he resurrected the pottery making tradition at Quarr; first purchasing basic equipment from another pottery, and then discovering abandoned notes as to formulations of earlier Dutch glazes which had originally been utilised by a predecessor. From these notations, he was able to concoct new and unique glazes, which he quite successfully used in his own work. Tingay’s production at Quarr ran the gamut from water jugs (which could have easily emerged from the late 19th century Arts and WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
Crafts movement), to contemporary, Japaneseinspired tea cups, with Africa and the Middle East somewhere in between. He was extremely prolific during his stay there, drawing upon the inspiration of the sylvan beauty and solemnity surrounding the Abbey. Several years after arriving at Quarr, Tingay arranged to meet local Isle of Wight potter Molly Attrill, at the suggestion of the Abbot. In fact, he carried a few of his pots to her studio, several miles away, on one of his monthly designated walkabouts from Quarr, by way of an introduction. This led to a friendship which evolved into a mentorship via a highly sought after art grant. The two then began making the rounds of other potters’ studios in the south of England, and this included a trip to see his former Cambridge classmate and prominent potter and author of The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), Edmund de Waal; and later a venture to the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey, to meet with Kenyan-born British potter Magdalene Odundo, who offered up the suggestion to ‘draw upon your art historical knowledge’. Tingay’s relationship with Attrill led to a stunning exhibition of his work, mounted in the then-little-used Quarr underground crypt, which was followed by a joint exhibition at the Quay Arts Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight, which celebrated the centenary of the Abbey church at Quarr. In 2008, Tingay left the monastery, and set up shop in North London at Dartmouth Hill Pottery, a location discovered quite serendipitously by his brother-in-law. This is where he continues to practice and teach today, always incorporating intricate, innovative new designs and techniques to his distinctive shapes and forms. Exhibitions in London and further afield have been frequent, and have included a show at the prestigious Arts Club in Mayfair. Tingay’s versatility is impressive, and he Fig 3 Calabash with sgraffito decoration Photo: Dusan Todorovic
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easily shifts from one style and pattern to the next, always displaying the same highly superior technical precision. He remarked recently that the imagery found in his designs can be attributed to his own imagination. His recent black and white dish, shown in (Fig 4), for instance, conjures up motifs from Choson dynasty-era Korean ceramic production, while the calabash gourd shape in Fig 3 appears to pair a traditional sub-Saharan African shape with a design inspired by visions from the Arab world. The seahorse motif shown on the plate in (Fig 5), seems to draw on moments spent by the sea, with shades of blue reflecting a mid 20th century aesthetic, and exemplifying in a very real way Tingay’s self-professed penchant for
‘doodling’ with a sharp metal object into slip. Tingay teaches in addition to conducting his regular studio pottery practice. His work is available to view and to buy at Denmark Hill Pottery as well as at galleries throughout England. Note: As of this writing, Tingay has been offered a 2019 residency with the highly acclaimed international art gallerists Hauser and Wirth in Bruton, Somerset. See more of Tingay ’s work at www.gregorytingay.com Dr Susan House Wade is a design historian who specialises in East-West cultural exchange. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fig 4 Plate with calligraphic decoration Photo: Dusan Todorovic
Fig 5 Bowl with calligraphic decoration-Seahorse Photo: Dusan Todorovic
USEFUL CONTACTS EDUCATION - SCHOOLS AMERICAN SAT/ACT TUITION London W1B 3HH Contact: Elizabeth von Nardroff Email: Elizabeth@AmericanSATtuition.com Telephone +44 (0)20 7692 0766 Website: www.AmericanSATtuition.com Twitter: @elivonna American SAT/ACT Tuition is a small, independent company based in the London, UK area. Our focus is on the needs of American, British and International students applying to US Colleges/Universities or Prep Schools. We offer SAT/ACT/PSAT/SSAT advice, tutoring and bespoke online courses, as well as help with applications, admissions advice, and interview technique coaching. Our specialists are knowledgeable, experienced, and we love what we do! Plus we’ve shown results - past students now attend Yale, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, and other top US Universities.
TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: email@example.com Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic programme, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualised attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.
MOVING DWIGHT SCHOOL LONDON 6 Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Contact: Karen Strickland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +44(0)20 8920 0600 Website: www.dwightlondon.org Twitter: @DwightSchoolUK Dwight School London, formerly known as The North London International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and is one of the first schools in the UK to offer the full IB Programme. ISL GROUP OF SCHOOLS ISL SURREY Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY Contact: Admissions Telephone: +44 (0)1483 750 409 ISL LONDON 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Contact: Yoel Gordon Telephone: +44 (0)20 8992 5823 ISL QATAR Po Box 18511, North Duhail, Qatar Contact: Nivin el Aawar Telephone: +974 4433 8600 Website: www.islschools.org The International School of London (ISL) Group has schools in London, Surrey, and Qatar. The internationally recognised primary and secondary curricula have embedded language programmes (mother tongue, English as an Additional Language, and second language) which continue throughout the student’s stay in the school. A team of experienced and qualified teachers and administrators provides every student with the opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that respects diversity and promotes identity, understanding, and a passion for learning. WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
DT MOVING (A GOSSELIN MOBILITY GROUP COMPANY) 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: email@example.com Web: www.dtmoving.com DT Moving (A Gosselin Mobility Group company) is a long established and award-winning international moving company. Founded in 1870, we have vast experience in moving Americans to and from the United States and to other worldwide destinations, courtesy of our 56 global offices. With a customer satisfaction rating of 97% in 2017, we offer a quality service at competitive rates. First class storage facilities are available worldwide. FOX INTERNATIONAL 10 Somerset Road, Cwmbran, NP44 1QX Telephone: 01633 488100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.fox-moving.com Contact: Stephen Denning Fox International is one of the UK’s largest removal companies, offering a full range of moving and storage service to Americans throughout the UK, Europe and Worldwide.
TAXATION ADVANCED AMERICAN TAX Telephone: +44 20 3289 1040 Website: www.AdvancedAmericanTax.co.uk and Edinburgh.AdvancedAmericanTax.co.uk Email: Help@AdvancedAmericanTax.com Our international tax team has over 80 years’ experience and we are fully qualified and licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We are 3 independent but allied offices in the
United States, the United Kingdom and now Singapore. Our team is united in our drive to serve the US Tax needs of our clients.
US TAX & FINANCIAL SERVICES 3 Harbour Exchange Square, London, E14 9GE Telephone: +44 20 7357 8220 Contact: Joni Trulock, Group Marketing Manager Email: email@example.com Website: ustaxfs.com Twitter: @ustaxfs With 30 years’ experience, our US/UK expat tax specialists provide US and UK tax return preparation, planning, compliance, and expatriation as well as all US business tax services, wherever you are in the world.
WEALTH MANAGEMENT MASECO PRIVATE WEALTH Burleigh House, 357 Strand, London WC2R 0HS Telephone: +44 (0)20 7043 0455 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.masecoprivatewealth.com MASECO Private Wealth gives peace of mind by providing expert guidance to US families on how to simplify their cross-border wealth management needs. We serve and care for Americans living at home or abroad through the planning and implementation of rational, practical and tax efficient wealth management strategies.
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EMBASSY CORNER We’ve moved! January 2018 marked the end of an era for the US Embassy in London, and the beginning of an exciting new one. We’d been based in Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square since 1938 and at the iconic building designed by Eero Saarinen since 1960 - but on January 16, 2018, we opened for business in our gleaming new building, located at 33 Nine Elms Lane. Plans for the new Embassy had been underway for nearly a decade, and the end result is a modern, welcoming, safe, and energy-efficient building for the 21st century. We’re particularly happy about our new public areas for American citizens who visit us for US passports or other consular services. Our waiting room is bigger and brighter than before, and offers stunning views of London and the Thames. Meanwhile, our revised layout has made us more efficient and customer-friendly. Improved technology minimises the need for customers to stand in queues, and because our new space just works better, we can get you out and on your way more quickly than ever. Here are some important tips to help make your visit to the new US Embassy go smoothly: • American citizens requiring a routine consular service must book an appointment online through our website at https:// uk.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ • You are welcome to carry your mobile phone or tablet computer into the Embassy and use it while you are here • On the other hand, you will not be allowed to enter if you have a laptop computer, suitcase with wheels, or any other bag that is bigger than carry-on size. (Check the appointment guide on our website for additional prohibited items.) There is no storage available at the Embassy, so be sure to leave all prohibited items at home, or store them securely somewhere else • We’re just a ten-minute walk or two bus stops away from the Vauxhall tube station. Take Exit 1 from the station for a beautiful river walk with views of the London Eye and Battersea Power Station. If you’re taking the bus, head to bus stop E at Vauxhall and take route 156, 344 or 436. Get off at the 40
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‘Elm Quay Court’ stop and you’ll be right alongside the Embassy. Follow the building around until you reach the South Pavilion Consular Services entrance • When you enter the Embassy, follow the signs to American Citizen Services on level 2, where our friendly receptionist will be waiting to assist you. If you are in Scotland or Northern Ireland, our consulates in Edinburgh and Belfast are also available to assist you. Please check our website for instructions.
Applying To Renew A US Passport By Courier
Check Your Passport’s Validity!
While we’re on the subject of passport renewals, now’s a great time to check the validity of your and your family’s US passports. Many countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is good for another three or even six months, so if your passport is nearing expiration, don’t delay in renewing it. Please see our website at http:// uk.usembassy.gov/passports for step-by-step application instructions. Whether you’re applying for a passport by courier or visiting us in-person, the new US Embassy in London looks forward to serving you.
Not everyone needs to visit the Embassy in-person for a consular service, as some US passport applications can be submitted by courier. Consult our website to see if you’re eligible. To apply for a US passport by courier, the fee must be enclosed in the form of an international money order or banker’s draft, denominated in US dollars. Contact your financial institution for guidance, or view our payment FAQs at https://uk.usembassy. gov/passport-payment-faqs/. To protect your personal data, we can no longer accept creditor debit-card payment by courier, nor can cash or personal cheques be sent by courier.
EMBASSY INFORMATION US Embassy, 33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US uk.usembassy.gov Switchboard: (020)7499 9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American and UK holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, every day, for a life or death emergency involving a US citizen in the United Kingdom. Passport and Citizenship Services: By Appointment Monday - Friday Notary Services: By appointment Appointments available only online at uk.usembassy.gov Federal Benefits Unit: uk.usembassy.gov General Social Security information: ssa.gov Travel Advice: travel.state.gov
The Only Ball Marker for Golfers in Stormy and Inclement Weather Not only can it be used to mark balls in bad weather, it can also be used as a Nearest the Pin Marker, a Longest Drive Marker and a Locker Key Ring Looking for a New, Fun and Innovative Golf Gift for the golfer in your life? Tired of buying novelty golf presents they won't use? Why not buy a gift that he/she can use over and over again, but also has that fun factor? Be the first to buy the golfer in your life Stormarker, the New, Unique, Innovative and Exciting Multi-Purpose Marker, designed and created by Helen Elliott, Founder & CEO of American in Britain! Stormarkerâ€™s main purpose is to mark your ball if you have to leave the course mid-round due to bad weather, but it can also be used as a Nearest the Pin and Longest Drive Marker, and when not being used on the course its striking design make it a fun Locker Keyring. Stormarker is lightweight and easily portable, and as it is 20cm in height and distinctively shaped as a lightning bolt (with its own name tag attached) will clearly mark the place of golf balls if golfers have to leave the course. Because it is so visible from a long distance, it can also be used as a Nearest the Pin or Longest Drive marker. It is available in five bright, attractive, vivid colours - Red, Yellow, Pink, Orange and White. Golfers love nearest the pin and longest drive challenges, and if groups of friends, societies, charity days etc., want to add a bit of extra fun to the round, then all they need are Stormarkers, rather than the large, unwieldly, heavy metal markers that damage your golf bags when carried. Stormarker will provide a fun and useful alternative to golf balls, towels and tees for those looking for stocking fillers as well as Birthday, Christmas, Father's Day and Mother's Day presents. They are also great for charity day, golf day and society day gifts and prizes.
Price: ÂŁ9.99 For further information, or to purchase these markers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The recipient of your gift will be delighted with this product, as it has only just been created, so they will be the first to own one and will be the envy of their golf friends.
AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
The latest issue of American in Britain magazine includes Wealth Management: Improving The Odds In Asset Allocation by MASECO Private Wealth...
Published on Apr 3, 2018
The latest issue of American in Britain magazine includes Wealth Management: Improving The Odds In Asset Allocation by MASECO Private Wealth...