There are many advantages to moving your wealth overseas - but only if you choose the right offshore bank. Here are 6 great features to watch out for.
Offshore banking can confuse you with its range of options. These days it seems every small private bank and major retail bank are clamouring for deposits. The global situation is not encouraging either, with uneven recovery in America and slowdown in China.
So if you want to open an offshore bank account, keep your eyes peeled for these features:
1. Save in Multiple Currencies
Some offshore bank accounts, such as Citibank’s International Personal Bank (IPB) in Singapore, lets you keep money in multiple currencies - provided that each account meets the equivalent of USD 200,000 in that currency. So if you had AUD $70,000, NZD $112,000, and S$71,000, you can open a savings account for each and earn interest from it.
One reason for keeping money this way is to minimise the impact of foreign exchange (Forex) fluctuations.
Consider if you have two income sources in separate currencies: Malaysian Ringgit (RM) and Singapore dollars (SGD). If your bank account only holds SGD, you will have to convert RM to SGD. If the RM happens to be especially weak at the time, you could lose a lot of money.
With a bank that lets you save with ease, you could simply hold both currencies and make the change whenever it is ideal, even if that time comes years later (consult a qualified Forex broker for help with this).
2. Ease of Access
You would assume this is a fact in the Internet age, but this is not always true. Not all offshore banks allow ease of access - due to various internal protocols (many related to security) some banks can make things convoluted for you.
For example, some small private banks will not allow transactions above a certain amount, or of a certain type, without you being physically present. Whether this is “to your benefit” is entirely subjective. You may find it’s good for security, or you may find it’s impossible to make transactions or check your balances without spending an hour in front of a computer.
On an even more basic level, expatriates might want to think about the number of ATMs a bank has. No one should have to walk five blocks to make a withdrawal. So it is wise to bank with a bank with global presence and an extensive ATM distribution network globally.
Look for access features that you find easy - it doesn’t matter how many awards the bank’s system has won, if it takes you two hours and a dozen phone calls to get your money where you are.
3. Trading Features
Not all offshore bank accounts cater to traders. There are many clients who will never own or examine a single share in their life, so some offshore banks simply see no need to cater to them. Indeed, if you are one of these clients, you will not notice the lack of trading features.
If you have a more hands-on approach with your money however, look for banks that help with your financial approach. We have found that Citibank’s IPB takes no commission on first brokerage, and also comes with an e-brokerage account.
This robust online trading platform gives you instant access to the Singapore, Hong Kong, and US stock markets on your laptop or mobile. With the Citibank Brokerage integrated into your account, you can manage your portfolio wherever you are in the world and seize investment opportunities outside your home country.
4. Free Money Transfers
If you need to send money home or to children studying abroad, look for banks that will do it for free. Most banks charge a small fee with sending money to another country, even if it is to an account from the same bank. Fees vary widely - often 0.125% of the amount, with a cap of S$100.
This amount seems small but if you make multiple transfers or constantly move significant amounts, you can rack up a significant bill over the years.
5. Wealth Management Services
If you have at least USD 200,000 to deposit or invest, you want an offshore bank that provides superior wealth management services and a dedicated experienced relationship manager. Having this much wealth requires a whole team of specialists with the experiences and resources to help you reach your goals.
Look for a bank that goes above and beyond traditional financial services and provides a holistic approach to managing your account.
6. Economic and Political Stability
Before selecting a bank, consider the political and economic stability of its jurisdiction. Ideally, the bank’s jurisdiction should have strong regulations and transparent economic policies so you can grow and protect your wealth with confidence. Avoid offshore jurisdictions with an image of corruption or social tension.
Singapore is home to one of the fastest growing wealth management industries in the world, poised to overtake Switzerland by 2020. With its stable government, robust economy, and supportive banking regulations, offshore banking in Singapore is reliable and convenient.
Citibank International Personal Bank Singapore has all these features of a global savings account, with the advantage of being located in Singapore.
With a minimum deposit of USD200,000, you can open a Citibank IPB account online and make transactions without ever setting foot in Singapore. This also lets you enjoy exclusive banking privileges, such as a dedicated Relationship Management Team.
Regardless of what IPB account you have, all account holders benefit from Singapore’s stable banking infrastructure and receive access to trading opportunities in the country. With Citibank’s global presence, account holders can manage their savings, investments, and get instant access to funds wherever they are in the world.
Get started with offshore banking today!