International Banking Options

Discussion in 'Wealth Creation & Management' started by Dabloodymess, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    Hey there fellow stackers, I have a bit of a wealth management question I would like your input on.

    The situation is that I have just accepted a new job in Moscow, Russia. Obviously things aren't going so well for them right now and look a bit grim in the immediate future. To cut to the chase:

    -Will be paid in roubles, but tied to the Euro exchange rate (so the impact of currency fluctuations should not be a problem).
    -Will bank with Citibank in Russia.

    I would want to move my money out of roubles on a regular basis, but the question is to what currency and which country?

    I currently have accounts in Thailand and Aus and could open accounts in Singapore or Hong Kong before I leave Asia. Alternatively, I could just open a multi currency account with Citi in Russia, but I am not so sure if that is a safe option.

    I have also been interested in Estonian 'e-residency' for a while and if I get the e-residency, I can open an Estonian account and do my banking there.

    We are not talking millions of dollars, but I do want to make sure I protect the money I work hard to make. I respect the knowledge of the forum and would like to find out your opinion.
     
  2. ozcopper

    ozcopper Administrator Staff Member

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    What about buying gold or silver with it with a company like bullionvault?
     
  3. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    That is an option, but I couldn't do it with all my money. I am at a stage in life where I need some decent liquidity and if I am buying metals it is for holding long term (money that I wont need to access for at least 10 years).

    I learnt my lesson in the past when a lot of my money was tied up in metals and I had to liquidate at an inopportune time.
     
  4. Jislizard

    Jislizard Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    My Father-in-Law worked for a Greek shipping company and he refused to be paid in drachmas. He made them pay him in sovereigns and when he needed some money he just took them down to the bank in whatever country he was in and cashed them in for whatever the going rate was.

    We still have some, we still have some drachmas as well, we prefer the sovereigns :)
     
  5. Altima

    Altima Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    If you really needed to exchange the roubles, why don't you consider setting up like a currencyfair/ozforex/xetrade account?

    That way you can quickly convert the funds to any currency.

    I guess the next question is to which currency and which bank.
     
  6. JulieW

    JulieW Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Why not split it to Thailand and Australia depending on exchange rates and bank fees and buy USD traveller cheques and cash to carry away. Keep in mind the SWIFT system might be a problem with Russia before too long. Have you thought about SA Rand. Might be a place to store since they're onside with Russia and part of the russian replacement for SWIFT.

    You could always take Jim Rickards advice and buy some fine art there and ship it home. (Not that I know anything about fine art! But i know what i like - smaller denominations ;))
     
  7. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    I somehow don't think I can negotiate payment in sov's :)

    From my investigations, I can achieve this by banking with Citi. If I open a Citi account in Singapore/HK/Estonia/Aus/wherever and one in Russia, I can do a flat fee transfer between Citi accounts I own. Not sure if it is through SWIFT or their own internal systems though...

    I would only consider travellers cheques as a short term/emergency measure as I cant put the money to work in that format.

    I could just send it to Aus and I might just do that depending on what the exchange rate does in the next 6 months or so. If it is going to remain volatile though, I would prefer USD or GBP I think. I don't trust the Thai banking system one bit. IMO, they are set for a big fall as consumer debt and spending is completely out of control (and they don't have the benefit of being a world reserve currency). I will look into Rand...

    I also don't know anything about fine art, so I would almost certainly be ripped off!

    Thanks all for the input so far, definitely some food for thought. Keep the ideas flowing.
     
  8. petey

    petey Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Singapore: very hard to do in your personal name without opening with private banking (typical minimum $250,000). If you can transfer it into a company name, it will be much easier. Citi may be easier, but I personally wouldn't keep any meaningful amount of money in their accounts

    Hong Kong: Possibly the best bet if you can convert it into HKD in the process. Still talk of removing or repegging the HKD to the USD. Hard to see a downside unless (highly unlikely) China decided they wanted to cause trouble for HK. Probably still a PITA to do in your own name.

    Panama: Worthwhile considering at the least. Could work well with having Citibank there too.

    If you're going to open the account in your name, it's going to be a pain at the least without a legit visa/citizenship or a sizeable deposit. At worst you'll fly to Singapore and leave without an account.

    If you're doing it in a company name, you have a lot more options. I would consider incorporating in HK and opening an account with DBS Singapore. You can establish the company remotely for around US$1000, get the paperwork sent to you then jump on a plane to Singapore and bank with one of the safest banks in the world (claimed). You just planted 3 flags: working in one, company in another, assets in another.

    If you are willing to jump through hoops, open a trading account with iOCBC Singapore. Then get a referral from iOCBC, take it to OCBC and tell them that you need an account to make it easier to move your funds in/out of your trading account. AFAIK, it's probably your best chance at opening a bank account in Singapore on a travel visa without having a million in assets to your name.

    Note: I am not an expert, seek professional advice, etc.
     
  9. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    It is interesting to hear that Singapore may be difficult, as I have been in contact with standard chartered in SG and they said I just need:

    -ID (passport)
    -proof of my Thai address
    -last payslip
    -5k deposit

    And obviously I would need to go in person to their branch...
     
  10. petey

    petey Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Often the customer contact centres and the branches have two different things to say.

    That said, possibly with the fairly poor Thai banking system, it is acceptable for Thai residents to open personal accounts in Singapore.

    If I remember currently you are a dual national? This may help you as being an Aussie, Brit or Canadian makes you a half for them. If you are American you are going to struggle to get an account in most countries.
     
  11. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    Not a dual national, I only have an Aussie passport. They did ask about my nationality and residency status (Thai resident right now). What I outlined above was the reply I got from them, though it doesn't surprise me that it may be inaccurate.
     
  12. petey

    petey Active Member Silver Stacker

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    I don't want to discourage you but have a plan b. If you are opening in a personal name I would use the OCBC idea as a backup plan.

    Is probably cheap for you to get to Singapore so it's less of a hassle and worth a shot.

    Check out www.streber.st
     
  13. JulieW

    JulieW Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Did you mention australian passports?
     
  14. petey

    petey Active Member Silver Stacker

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    It doesn't matter. It is up to the banks discretion as to whether or not they will open you an account. The contact centre will likely always say "yeah sure, come and visit, it's super easy". When you get there you will need a very compelling reason to convince them you are worth the potential hassle and risk that you represent.
     
  15. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    Very cheap to get to Singapore, so it wont be the end of the world if it doesn't work out. Thanks for the link.

    I am actually most keen to pursue the Estonian option as the e-residency is a very interesting concept and a trip to Estonia would be easy (https://e-estonia.com/e-residents/about/).

    Yes, I was very clear about that. I am probably going to arrange a stop-over in Singapore en route to Europe to try and open an account. Wont be a big deal if it doesn't come through then as it will technically be 'on the way'.
     
  16. petey

    petey Active Member Silver Stacker

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    I saw the eresidency thing too. It's a great idea but i doubt it would satisfy the ATO for becoming a non resident for tax purposes.
     
  17. willrocks

    willrocks Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    I'd rather take a job paying monopoly money.
     
  18. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    I will still be paying taxes in Russia and there is a tax treaty with Aus.

    Thats actually immaterial anyway as I do freelance work through an ABN which all comes through my Australian account and this link is enough to maintain my tax residency.

    I will also be going down the path of Russian naturalisation and citizenship, as my soon to be wife is Russian-Ukrainian.
     
  19. petey

    petey Active Member Silver Stacker

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    If you earn a decent amount through your business and spend very little time in Australia it may be worth seeing an international tax lawyer. Sounds like there is good scope for legal minimisation strategies.
     
  20. Dabloodymess

    Dabloodymess Active Member

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    Not enough for that yet, but in the future maybe :)

    I have a basic grasp of internationalistation and 'flag planting' strategies, as a friend of mine allowed me to read one of these expensive (1k +) courses/books that are marketed at people looking to avoid sovereign risk and minimise tax exposure. I simply am not in a position to act on a large portion of the advice given as it is pitched at people with a LOT of $$$.
     

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