Monday, August 20, 2012

How do expat invest overseas - the most important thing to note

Photo by essygie

A friend of mine is in the process of moving from London to Singapore with his family for work. When he asked for relocation tips, the first thing that came to my mind was the need to have a relationship with an international bank.

International banking for expats is surely the first and most important step to starting life and investing in a different country. An expat needs a bank which offers international banking. Opening bank accounts in a different country can be a trying process when you have only just arrived but if you are an existing customer with a bank that operates branches worldwide they would be able to simplify the processes required for identification verification for you. Without a bank account, one cannot pay bills and simple day to day living would grind to a halt. Even directing where a pay cheque should be heading would be utterly impossible.

An international current account is a must especially for those who travel frequently for work or who is expected to relocate several times in the course of his career. While one will have a local bank account for bill and rent payment, an international current account allows an expat to have a central location for his monies wherever he may move to and provides the link between the account in his current location and where he is relocating to with minimal fuss.

An international bank account could be denominated in various currencies such as Euro, USD and Sterling which can be incredibly useful for an expat who has transactions across different countries. Further, the international bank account may be located in a tax haven and depending on an expat's individual circumstances it may offer certain tax efficiencies. The international bank should also offer an efficient means of funds transfer and preferential foreign exchange rates. Not only that, having a good relationship with an international bank also means lower fund transfer fees. This would allow an expat to move funds between different countries which would ensure an expat have access to his funds as and when required with minimal costs.

Lastly, international banks now also offer a guide to the new country covering aspects from tax and employment to culture, transport and schooling. I certainly would have found that useful when I first moved to London!

Read also 5 things to do within the first month of settling in London.

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