Offshore current accounts are offered by Britain’s largest banks and are perfect for expatriates who work, live or travel abroad but don’t want a current account based in their country of residence.
Have you ever considered utilising an offshore current account?
As an expatriate living abroad, finding somewhere to grow your hard-earned wealth should be an essential part of your financial strategy. An offshore bank account is simply an account located outside the depositor’s country of origin and our experience at Harrison Brook has taught us the ABC rule:
If you are from country A and you live in country B, you should bank in country C.
It is the most cost effective and convenient way for expatriates to manage their global payments and financial obligations and grants you complete geographical flexibility in any number of base currencies.
What Can an Offshore Current Account Offer You?
- A multi-currency current account service
- Discretionary investment service – segregated portfolios
- Discretionary investment service – collective funds
- A custody and nominee service
- An investment dealing service
- A fixed term deposit
- A foreign exchange service
- A flexible approach to lending
- Platinum Visa card
- Accumulation accounts
What are the benefits of an Offshore Current Account?
1. Peace of mind
The life of an expat can be hectic. Aside from travelling, increased opportunities and social obligations, you may also live and work in a country with laws which may be very new to you and complicated to understand. No one is going to care about your wealth as much as you, and placing it offshore, in a different jurisdiction from where you work, can give you some reassurance that it is safe, secure and easily accessible.
With offshore banking, you can better protect your wealth against economic and political unrest. For example, Argentina and Cyprus have taken depositors’ money, and the sale of bank account details to kidnappers is not unknown in other areas of the world.
3. Consolidated reporting
Offshore banking offers a uniquely integrated, open-architecture platform on which you can see your day-to-day banking, investments, pensions and insurance products, all in one place.
4. Estate planning
Estate planning should be an ongoing process, started as early as possible and amended as your situation changes. Ask yourself this question – are aware of the succession laws of where you live? If the answer is no, you should make finding out a priority. In the UAE, for example, Sharia Law, the local religious code, can apply to local accounts in the event of death, leaving your family unable to access funds, and faced by the tricky process of regaining access to frozen accounts. Immunise yourself and your loved ones against additional (and unnecessary) inconveniences.
5. Tax efficiency
Banking offshore can be more tax–efficient than banking on-shore, with features such as gross roll-up, which essentially means your wealth is allowed to grow tax free, at source. This could be subject to tax when or if you decide to repatriate, so you need to discuss this with a financial advisor.
Although offshore banks are typically in island locations, they are still regarded as ‘convenient’ for the expat – you can stay with the same bank, no matter how many times you move country. Save yourself having to completely restructure your finances every time you start a new adventure.
7. Choice of currencies
Any offshore bank account will have a set amount of currencies you can hold within it.
8. Expat expertise with English language / law
Expats can often have complex financial requirements and a regular bank may not be as well equipped to advise you on how best to structure your tax-efficient investments.
9. High levels of privacy protection
Your individual need for asset protection will be completely specific to you. You may live somewhere with a relatively young financial infrastructure (such as Dubai), an unstable banking system (such as Greece), or experiencing political unrest (such as Russia) – in these cases the benefits of holding and growing your wealth elsewhere are clear to see.
10. Outstanding service
In comparison with many domestic and international banks, for all of the reasons above, offshore banks usually offer a superior service.
Key Features of an Offshore Current Account
- Easy access to your money with sterling, euros or US dollars through the Visa debit card.
- Withdraw up to the equivalent of £2,000 in cash daily from a Visa ATM, subject to any lesser local limits being imposed, or over the counter where the Visa logo is displayed.
- Sterling accounts can have standing orders and direct debits set up within the British Isles. (Sterling standing orders can be maintained through our online banking service)
A choice of currencies
- The account can be denominated in any major currency.
- If you hold deposits in sterling, US dollars or euro, you can take advantage of Platinum Visa card facilities and a chequebook for sterling payments only.
- Commission-free foreign exchange dealing allows you to buy and sell in all major currencies, with no minimum or maximum size of deal.
Online banking service
- Our transactional online banking service provides access to your account 24/7. You can view all of your account information plus:
- Make payments
- Arrange internal transfers
- Setup standing orders