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International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

Pull up a chair, have a biscuit - discuss the site and general questions about the LemonFool
PinkDalek
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International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182379

Postby PinkDalek » November 22nd, 2018, 7:13 pm

Prompted by:

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:… I'm after the board here on TLF for S&P500, NASDAQ, US mature tech. stocks knowledge etc. …


The board title near the foot of viewforum.php?f=5 is "International & Expat Investors" with the sub-header "Financial discussion for any financial queries for Expats".

Is the somewhat quiet board intended to cater only for Expats or is it also to cover those who invest Internationally? If also to cater for the latter, which the main title suggests, can the sub-header be amended to something along the lines of:

Financial discussion for International Investors & Expats (I can't see that for any financial queries adds anything).

Merely a thought and, as always, I'm sure someone else can come up with an improved wording, if they agree at all.

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182400

Postby gryffron » November 22nd, 2018, 8:55 pm

IMO, and it is only an opinion, not an official answer, it is a about the practicalities of international investing.

e.g. How do I buy Zimbabwean shares? Which UK broker will accept a Moroccan tax resident? What is the tax treatment of Nicaraguan shares for someone based in UK? How do I transfer my Pension to Mauritius? A "Brokers", "Tax" and "Pensions" board for foreign investment if you like. To avoid foreign issues confusing the aforementioned boards which are thus restricted to UK-only.

So it IS intended to cover both outward bound advice and inward. "expats" works both ways ;)

It is NOT a general discussion board for foreign equities. Of which we don't really have one. Investment Strategies could be used for generic discussion e.g. US vs Germany. Share Ideas for any discussion on specific shares, regardless of their nationality.

Gryff

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182410

Postby dspp » November 22nd, 2018, 9:41 pm

The intention at the time of setting it up was for both types, i.e, investing internationally, and for expatriates.

regards, dspp

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182411

Postby mc2fool » November 22nd, 2018, 9:45 pm

That board came over from TMF (eventually) and is for investors living outside of the UK, be they UK expats or otherwise.

I.e. it's for investors that are "international" (not in the UK), not for UK based folks that are investing internationally. It's fairly self-evident if you look at the posts in the board.

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182425

Postby PinkDalek » November 22nd, 2018, 10:51 pm

mc2fool wrote:That board came over from TMF (eventually) and is for investors living outside of the UK, be they UK expats or otherwise.

I.e. it's for investors that are "international" (not in the UK), not for UK based folks that are investing internationally. It's fairly self-evident if you look at the posts in the board.


I know how the old board evolved, I even contributed a thing or two to the FAQ over there, but I’m not really querying what it is here; more what it could become before it is mothballed.

Yes it is self-evident but that may be because the sub-header mentions Expats only. Anyway, I’m merely suggesting it might be a good place to discuss foreign equities etc and it appears others don’t think there is a specific place in existence, whereas dspp suggests it was set-up to cover such matters.

Oh, and, this isn’t TMF. ;)

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182427

Postby mc2fool » November 22nd, 2018, 11:07 pm

PinkDalek wrote:Yes it is self-evident but that may be because the sub-header mentions Expats only. Anyway, I’m merely suggesting it might be a good place to discuss foreign equities etc and it appears others don’t think there is a specific place in existence...

It mentions expats 'cos that's who the board is for!

Not sure what's wrong with Share ideas for foreign equities in general, and Passive Investing for S&P500 etc, and as for "US mature tech. stocks" there is always Technology shares ...

But in any case, I'd think, rather than asking here, it'd be better to ask the denizens of the board what they think...

PinkDalek
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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182430

Postby PinkDalek » November 22nd, 2018, 11:36 pm

mc2fool wrote:But in any case, I'd think, rather than asking here, it'd be better to ask the denizens of the board what they think...


I’m asking what TLF intend(ed) for the board.

The board that had its last reply on 27 October. That in a topic where the previous reply was in July.

I’ll leave it to you if want to c/p back to here, at the board that includes both International and Expat in the title.

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182435

Postby mc2fool » November 22nd, 2018, 11:57 pm

PinkDalek wrote:I’ll leave it to you if want to c/p back to here, at the board that includes both International and Expat in the title.

"c/p"?

As I said, I believe the "International" refers to where the investors are rather than where their investments are, but in any case I don't have a stake in this as I don't follow or participate in that board, so was suggesting asking those that do, if you want to change the purpose of the board, as used.

I will say though that having been an expat myself for many years in the past, if I still were I'd want the board to stay as a place for discussing expat specific matters. I don't see that the board not being very active has much to do with anything, after all, it's not that the bits drop off if it's not used daily. ;)

If you really feel there is a need for an International Equities board then why not make the case for it and simply create an International Equities board?

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182436

Postby PinkDalek » November 22nd, 2018, 11:58 pm

Cross/post.

Out.

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182438

Postby DiamondEcho » November 23rd, 2018, 12:37 am

I used that board when I was a Brit expat (though now after a decade I'm finally home again in the UK). I understood it to be for discussing very specific issues that that Brits face when opening accounts and investing from abroad. This might be what brokers dealing in UK/major markets might take you on as a customer, sufficiently meeting hurdles re: ID/address etc to get an account open, and so on. The latter is far more onerous than UK resident clients might imagine, involving visiting the Brit embassy to certify copies of documents and so on.
For that purpose the group had real value, as we understood the hurdles others in our shoes faced. Although yes I understand there are probably not that many people who find themselves in those shoes, it's quite a minefield.

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182525

Postby Gengulphus » November 23rd, 2018, 1:07 pm

I've basically got nothing at stake on doing it either way, but I've always read "International Investors" in the board title as being about investors who are not UK-based rather than those who are interested in investing in non-UK companies. And that seems to me to be the more helpful option for readers, because as I see it, the main point of the board distinctions is to help readers (*) pick out threads of interest to them. As one example of how (there are others), the main use I make of them is that I subscribe to boards which are reasonably likely to contain threads of interest to me and have my notification options set to tell me when a new thread is created on a subscribed board. I then look at the thread and bookmark it if I am interested, and routinely read bookmarked threads that contain new posts. I un-bookmark them when I lose interest or I become reasonably convinced they've run their course.

Anyway, from that point of view, I don't see that there's any strong reason to believe that threads about financial issues faced by UK expats and other investors who live abroad (and especially those to do with emigrating from the UK or immigrating into it) are especially likely to be of interest to those readers who are interested in non-UK investments, nor vice versa. I.e. there will be substantial numbers of readers who are interested in one of those types of thread but not the other, and a board that lumps the two together won't do an especially good job of helping those readers pick out threads of interest to them. Separate boards for investors who are outside the UK and investments which are outside the UK would do a better job for those readers, and an entirely adequate job for those who are interested in both - they just need to subscribe to / read both boards.

I've also had a quick skim through the subjects of the 33 existing threads on International & Expat Investors, and it seems clear to me from those subjects alone that the vast majority (possibly all) of them are about issues for investors who are (or are contemplating becoming) outside the UK, not issues about investments that are outside the UK. I.e. whatever the intention was when the TLF board was set up, it is in practice about the former and not the latter.

The board name "International & Expat Investors" does have the ambiguity in it about what "international investors" means, and the existing subtitle "Financial discussion for any financial queries for Expats" doesn't really help (unless the fact that it only mentions expats is supposed to imply that "international investors" is synonymous with them - which seems unlikely, and even if it were the case, would imply that the board title could be simplified, shortened and clarified very easily!). I would suggest that could be improved by replacing the subtitle with something like "Financial issues that face investors who live outside the UK".

Finally, just to expand on the "basically got nothing at stake" comment at the start of this post: I'm not interested in either type of question at present, so am not subscribed to the current board. It's possible that I'll become so in the future, of course, but not IMHO especially likely. That outside chance and my general interest in the site being designed to run smoothly are why I've taken the time to write and post this. But I'm not all that interested in the outcome - basically, I'm happy to provide this input in case it helps the moderators and admins with their decision, but not to engage in extensive debate about what that decision should be.

(*) Readers rather than posters, because there are almost certainly quite a lot more readers of a thread than posters to it, and also because problems with posters posting to the wrong board can be corrected within the system by moving the thread, but problems with readers looking on the wrong board can only be corrected by trying to name and describe the boards as clearly as possible and by people being willing to reply helpfully to readers who nevertheless end up having trouble finding the right place to look.

Gengulphus

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182540

Postby Lootman » November 23rd, 2018, 2:28 pm

Gengulphus wrote: the main point of the board distinctions is to help readers (*) pick out threads of interest to them. As one example of how (there are others), the main use I make of them is that I subscribe to boards which are reasonably likely to contain threads of interest to me and have my notification options set to tell me when a new thread is created on a subscribed board. I then look at the thread and bookmark it if I am interested, and routinely read bookmarked threads that contain new posts. I un-bookmark them when I lose interest or I become reasonably convinced they've run their course.

That is certainly one way to use this site. But there are others. So for example the way I use the site is completely independent of the boards. Rather it is topic-focused. When I sign in I scan all the new or unread topics since the last time I signed out. This is easily done via the "Quick Links" pull-down menu.

So like you I have no skin in this particular game but for a different reason. I will see the topic regardless of which board it is on, with one caveat. And that is that the topic has a meaningful title which will catch my eye. And anything about US investments will catch my eye since that is where most of my portfolio is invested.

This approach has the interesting effect that I sometimes engage in a topic for some time without either knowing or caring which board it is on. In fact PinkDalek pointed out to me that I had engaged a topic on the VCT board (a topic in which I have zero interest) because the topic was erroneously posted there. I had not even noticed that. Even so, the topic was of interest but a board-focused approach to using TLF would have missed it.

So the "which board" question only arises for me when I top post, which I rarely do.

Anyway my point is that it might be useful to know how users typically access the site. The more users do it my way rather than your way, the less these board designations matter anyway. TLF has far fewer boards than TMF and I can't say I've seen any downside to that at all.

To the more general question, we do not differentiate any of the boards by UK versus foreign, so it might be a slippery slope if we start doing that now. I have for instance seen foreign-listed funds discussed on the funds board, foreign shares discussed on the HY boards, and so on.

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182549

Postby dspp » November 23rd, 2018, 2:52 pm

To be honest the Int & Expat board can be used as people like. Ditto Share Ideas. So anywhere that works for users is fine.

regards, dspp

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182551

Postby Lootman » November 23rd, 2018, 2:57 pm

dspp wrote:To be honest the Int & Expat board can be used as people like. Ditto Share Ideas. So anywhere that works for users is fine.

regards, dspp

Maybe if it was named something like "Cross Border Investing" then it might satisfy:

1) UK expats overseas
2) Foreign investors living in the UK
3) Anyone who wants to invest in a country other than the one he/she lives in

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Re: International & Expat Investors - what's it for?

#182790

Postby Gengulphus » November 25th, 2018, 9:07 am

Lootman wrote:
Gengulphus wrote: the main point of the board distinctions is to help readers (*) pick out threads of interest to them. As one example of how (there are others), the main use I make of them is that I subscribe to boards which are reasonably likely to contain threads of interest to me and have my notification options set to tell me when a new thread is created on a subscribed board. I then look at the thread and bookmark it if I am interested, and routinely read bookmarked threads that contain new posts. I un-bookmark them when I lose interest or I become reasonably convinced they've run their course.

That is certainly one way to use this site. But there are others. So for example the way I use the site is completely independent of the boards. Rather it is topic-focused. When I sign in I scan all the new or unread topics since the last time I signed out. This is easily done via the "Quick Links" pull-down menu.

Yes - but how I use the site is just an example of how board distinctions helps some users. Not the only one - another example would be someone who just goes to the site's home page, picks the appropriate board for what they happen to be interested in and either skims through the list of existing threads looking to see what's already been said about it or starts a new thread about it. That method would probably make most sense for someone with no intention of systematically reading the site or parts of it, just of dropping in from time to time when they have a particular issue.

Your method of using the site is similarly an example of how board distinctions fails to help other users. Indeed, it must be at least a mild hindrance for you, as you say that the "which board?" question only arises for you when you have to pick a board for a new thread you're starting, and that must seem like a bit of pointless extra work for you. And I suspect strongly that it's also an irritation for you when you post something that wanders off-topic for a thread's board, due to not paying attention to which board it is, and you get stopped short by the moderators - I know it is for me when something similar happens to me!

But equally, from my point of view, having tried using "New posts" and "Unread posts", I found them distinctly irritating, for a number of reasons (for instance, too poor a signal-to-noise ratio). The fact is that different users have different wants, and if the site starts letting its policy be dominated by those of any one group of users's wants, it will simply drive the others away...

It seems to me that the net result is that having board distinctions is something that's very useful to some users (like me) and somewhat irritating to other users (like you). From the site's point of view, that seems to me to be a net benefit... Or put another way, irritating just about everyone a bit, in differing ways, is just part of the price the site pays for being attractive to a wide range of users. The reasonably achievable goal is not to irritate anyone too much, rather than not to irritate anyone at all.

One point I should clarify: I said in my last post that "Separate boards for investors who are outside the UK and investments which are outside the UK would do a better job for those readers, and an entirely adequate job for those who are interested in both - they just need to subscribe to / read both boards." That could easily be read as suggesting that a new board should be added to the site, but I didn't intend that - I simply failed to see that reading at the time. What I meant was that using "International & Expat Investors" for investors who reside outside the UK, and the appropriate one of "Share Ideas", "Gilts and Bonds", "Investment Trusts and Unit Trusts", etc, for non-UK investments (alongside the corresponding types of UK investment) does a better job IMHO than using "International & Expat Investors" for both investors who reside outside the UK and non-UK investments. And indeed, it is a better match to your statements that "To the more general question, we do not differentiate any of the boards by UK versus foreign, so it might be a slippery slope if we start doing that now. I have for instance seen foreign-listed funds discussed on the funds board, foreign shares discussed on the HY boards, and so on.", which I agree with: it's just that it seems to me that the idea that "International & Expat Investors" is intended for discussing non-UK investments is the start of that slippery slope...

To sum that up, I wasn't trying to suggest adding more board distinctions, just clarifying the existing one. This thread has highlighted that fact that some are reading "International & Expat Investors" as intended just to discuss issues facing investors who live outside the UK, while others are reading it as also intended to discuss non-UK investments. Whichever is the intended reading, I think that clarifying which it is will help both users who use the board distinctions and those who don't use them but do have to pay attention to them when posting a new thread. And it does seem to me that the first of those readings is the better for the site, though it doesn't help me much because I've little interest in either emigrating or investing significantly abroad (current interest, that is - there are various obvious reasons why things might change in the future!).

Gengulphus


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