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Offshore Brokers

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TahiPanasDua
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Offshore Brokers

#118513

Postby TahiPanasDua » February 16th, 2018, 8:29 am

Given that the Labour Party has admitted to having already started investigations into currency transfer restrictions, does anyone have a suggestion for a safe offshore brokerage that accepts UK shares, ITs and ETFs? (remember the 30? quid max you could take abroad in the 60s?)

Having been until recently an expat I already have 2 non-UK brokers but each has a problem. HSBC Hong Kong deals only in Hong Kong and USA shares. I will simply keep my existing investments with them. The real problem child for me is Internaxx in Luxembourg. Previously owned by TD International, they were bought last year by JC Flowers a USA private equity firm. I don't trust them for the long run and there have been doubts cast on their custody arrangements.

It is possible to open an account in Singapore with say DBS Vickers, a solid outfit, but while transfers in are free, transaction costs for UK shares are horrendous. Not too bad for a lifetime buy and hold. Like Hong Kong, there are no taxes to pay

Apologies for not posting on the Expat board but it is, for all practical purposes, dead.

TP2.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118615

Postby Liberty360 » February 16th, 2018, 3:00 pm

Saxo Singapore has been good for me in the past...can be expensive depending how much you hold with them, though. Service is tiered and OK and I'd recommend them.

I'm very interested in your comments re Internaxx. I have an account with them too! Why don't you trust them...and what's up with the custody arrangements? :o

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118624

Postby Lootman » February 16th, 2018, 3:29 pm

TahiPanasDua wrote:Given that the Labour Party has admitted to having already started investigations into currency transfer restrictions (remember the 30? quid max you could take abroad in the 60s?)

Even if Labour wasn't admitting that it is looking at reintroducing exchange controls, it is a fair bet they would implement them if there was a massive outflow of capital and a run on sterling in the event of a new Labour government. They'd just use the excuse of a "crisis".

So whatever Labour decides about this, the risk remains. I actually have the same question and am curious about recommendations. I also wonder where it's even safer to get a broker outside of the EU and British territories since those jurisdictions are more likely to cooperate with the UK government.

A bigger decision would be whether to close down ISAs so that you can move that value out of the UK as well. Seems a shame but then there is a good chance that Labour would make ISAs much less attractive anyway.

And yes, I remember when you could only take thirty quid out of the country, although that was enough for a holiday back then. There was a section in the back of your passport to record the transactions.

TahiPanasDua
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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118649

Postby TahiPanasDua » February 16th, 2018, 4:29 pm

Liberty360 wrote:Saxo Singapore has been good for me in the past...can be expensive depending how much you hold with them, though. Service is tiered and OK and I'd recommend them.

I'm very interested in your comments re Internaxx. I have an account with them too! Why don't you trust them...and what's up with the custody arrangements? :o


Thanks Liberty360.

I'm afraid I am about to depress you a bit.

1. Why I don't trust Internaxx.

Basically, as a long term buy and hold investor, I look for brokers that are solid financially and are in it for the long term. With impending mental frailty, I need to be able to buy and forget. Private Equity firms don't fit that scenario. My knowledge of them is quite poor but as I understand it they buy and sell companies for a profit having usually pumped the target company up with debt. Apart from the relatively short time horizons they operate under, the current environment of plentiful and cheap funds may be about to change and some PE firms could be forced to act to reduce their exposure. it's all too iffy for me.

2. Their custody arrangements.

I happened upon an article a few months ago which suggested, but without detail, that Internaxx's custody arrangements were a bit unusual. I contacted the broker and got a load of overly generalised feel good waffle which put the fear of death in me. It wasn't a simple explanation such as "We use State Street Custodial Bank"

3. Saxo Singapore.

Thanks for the suggestion. I looked into them briefly some time ago and wasn't impressed. Saxo Bank has a Danish banking license but does not provide regular banking services. They seem to be heavily into forex trading. In their 20 years history they have had run-ins with the Danish Financial Services Authority, and had court cases before the name change to Saxo. To be fair, they were cleared of wrong doing but I got the impression that such complaints are a bit too numerous. Also, last year the Chinese car manufacturer Geely was about to buy 51% of their shares. It all sounds a bit tenuous to me.

Maybe I should just cast my lot in with Comrade Corbyn and the New Venezuela!

TP2.

GeoffF100
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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118685

Postby GeoffF100 » February 16th, 2018, 7:24 pm

I doubt whether moving your money abroad would help. Remember Argentina. Their citizens were made to repatriate their assets. Corbyn is not exactly poor. Unless you are very rich, there are worse things that can happen to you than having to pay more tax. Unfortunately, both the main parties have become very extreme, and that is not going to do anyone any good.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118688

Postby Lootman » February 16th, 2018, 7:41 pm

GeoffF100 wrote:I doubt whether moving your money abroad would help. Remember Argentina. Their citizens were made to repatriate their assets. Corbyn is not exactly poor. Unless you are very rich, there are worse things that can happen to you than having to pay more tax. Unfortunately, both the main parties have become very extreme, and that is not going to do anyone any good.

There is no way to legally make a citizen repatriate assets from overseas. It might be possible to do that with residents, however.

Also, most nations do not comply with UK court orders. The UK government would have to get a court order in the nation where the assets are, and that usually would not be granted.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118689

Postby GeoffF100 » February 16th, 2018, 7:48 pm

There is no way to legally make a citizen repatriate assets from overseas.

They could change the law and put you in prison if you do not comply. I think that is what they did in Argentina. I doubt whether it will come to that though.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118696

Postby Lootman » February 16th, 2018, 8:15 pm

GeoffF100 wrote:
There is no way to legally make a citizen repatriate assets from overseas.

They could change the law and put you in prison if you do not comply. I think that is what they did in Argentina. I doubt whether it will come to that though.

Like I said, the ability of a nation to put you in prison depends on your residency and not your citizenship.

For a serious crime the UK could seek extradition if it is a country with an extradition treaty with the UK. But not for a tax demand.

And if you acquire the citizenship of that other country, which is trivially easy in some cases, then extradition typically will not prevail.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#118708

Postby GeoffF100 » February 16th, 2018, 9:06 pm

Like I said, the ability of a nation to put you in prison depends on your residency and not your citizenship.

For a serious crime the UK could seek extradition if it is a country with an extradition treaty with the UK. But not for a tax demand.

Sorry, I misunderstood you there. If you leave the country and your assets are overseas, you should be beyond reach.

However, if you stay, a hard Brexit, followed by a Corbyn government could be a bad combination, even if you have moved your money overseas.

Nonetheless, it looks as though the government does want a trade deal with the EU, in which case the Irish border should remain open, and there will be nothing to stop you leaving. You might then be better of with your assets overseas.

If we stay in the single market, of course, you should not have a problem. You can leave and take your money with you whenever you want.

It is ironic that the right wing wants to strip you of your rights as an EU citizen, so that the left wing can fleece you.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#123935

Postby DiamondEcho » March 11th, 2018, 1:00 pm

Re: the OP/TP2

I've looked at this before, from the position of being a Brit long-term living abroad who is shortly going to return to the UK.
I have my brokerage account with Interactive Brokers, and opened it when we living in Germany. The jurisdiction/entity my a/c fell under was the closest regional office IB had, IDR now it was years ago, either London or Germany.
We later relo'd to Asia, they flipped the entity to Hong Kong. We relo'd to the Middle-East, there was MUCH discussion on jurisdiction/entity initiated by them, what entity I should be flipped to, to be honest IDR the outcome now, maybe the discussion eventually fizzled out as I've something on a non-standard resident status. But what I do know, or very strongly suspect, is the moment I return to the UK and declare myself as legally resident then IB will flip me back to the UK entity with parallel impacts such as auto with-holding tax and so on... [?]

My experience of looking at Singaporean Brokers is it's difficult>impossible to open an a/c with them unless legally resident. Same goes for regular bank accounts IME.

My sense is that opening an a/c in a country in which you aren't resident is for most people effectively no longer possible. [IDK, I'd be interested to learn that I'm wrong on that]. Like the 'death of Swiss banking' having now gone global, and for parallel reasons.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#123949

Postby Lootman » March 11th, 2018, 2:16 pm

DiamondEcho wrote:My sense is that opening an a/c in a country in which you aren't resident is for most people effectively no longer possible. [IDK, I'd be interested to learn that I'm wrong on that].

I would think that is true except for the offshore banking centres that were set up precisely for this purpose, i.e. allowing people to move around the world whilst their banking, savings and investments were in one safe place, and governed by appropriate laws and regulations to reassure you.

Switzerland was only ever for the high rollers anyway, but places like Jersey, the Isle of Man, Bermuda etc. has always catered to Anglo-Saxon folks who are mobile and have excess funds.

Are you saying that those centres no longer offer brokerage and custody services?

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#123975

Postby DiamondEcho » March 11th, 2018, 3:16 pm

Lootman wrote:Switzerland was only ever for the high rollers anyway, but places like Jersey, the Isle of Man, Bermuda etc. has always catered to Anglo-Saxon folks who are mobile and have excess funds. Are you saying that those centres no longer offer brokerage and custody services?


Hmmm. I understand Germany - 'I mean the EU' - effectively killed off Swiss banking privacy some years ago now, and hence the point of having an a/c there for most people, or at least citizens of the EU, US, etc.
Jersey and Isle of Man. Maybe I'm confusing matters; I'm considering anonymity, no auto-deduction of withholding taxes, no mandatory tax reporting by them to your home tax authorities. Without that what is the remaining advantage, an a/c based in a relatively stable jurisdiction? But if it were the latter current-day offerings seem to charge an arm and leg for their supposed 'safe-haven' offerings.

Now if there were a decent discount broker offering in an offshore jurisdiction that didn't auto-deduct w/h-tax, or do reg-reporting to home country I'd be interested to hear. I looked into this but could find none that would take non-residents. IIRC TD Waterhouse Luxembourg looked promising initially, but then IIRC a couple of years ago they got subsumed in some kind of take-over and popular opinion was -ve at the time on the outcome.
My current broker (IB) absolutely will not allow me to pick my own jurisdiction, shame as if I spent $$$ on a financial lawyer etc I expect I could figure out how to structure/route via them - [understandably IB decline to offer advice on the matter :)]

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#124056

Postby scrumpyjack » March 11th, 2018, 8:01 pm

I think the issue is whether you can move your shareholdings abroad so that if exchange controls are introduced, the assets are already overseas and so not hit by the new restrictions.

That is a separate issue to whether a UK resident can hide assets abroad and illegally not report the income on them. A very dangerous path to go down IMO.

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Re: Offshore Brokers

#124060

Postby Lootman » March 11th, 2018, 8:12 pm

scrumpyjack wrote:I think the issue is whether you can move your shareholdings abroad so that if exchange controls are introduced, the assets are already overseas and so not hit by the new restrictions.

That is a separate issue to whether a UK resident can hide assets abroad and illegally not report the income on them. A very dangerous path to go down IMO.

I agree that those are two separate issues. However, one can desire privacy regarding one's assets without necessarily being guilty of tax evasion. Overseas assets do not need to be declared - only any income or gains deriving from them. So if you have a foreign bank account that pays no interest or an overseas home that you do not rent out, then there is no obligation to tell HMRC. Likewise if you have shareholdings overseas that do not pay dividends, including roll-up funds.

Where I think it would get interesting is if Corbyn slapped on punitive taxes and people who had recently moved overseas with their assets were caught in the net. Would those emigrants then just refuse to co-operate with HMRC on the basis that the UK government had lost all legitimacy and, anyway, has no jurisdiction overseas?

That is where it would get really interesting. Although that said, DE is returning to the UK so he is in the perfect position to be Corbyn-proof but is choosing not to be :D

TahiPanasDua
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Re: Offshore Brokers

#124402

Postby TahiPanasDua » March 12th, 2018, 11:42 pm

DiamondEcho wrote:Re: the OP/TP2

I've looked at this before, from the position of being a Brit long-term living abroad who is shortly going to return to the UK.
I have my brokerage account with Interactive Brokers, and opened it when we living in Germany. The jurisdiction/entity my a/c fell under was the closest regional office IB had, IDR now it was years ago, either London or Germany.
We later relo'd to Asia, they flipped the entity to Hong Kong. We relo'd to the Middle-East, there was MUCH discussion on jurisdiction/entity initiated by them, what entity I should be flipped to, to be honest IDR the outcome now, maybe the discussion eventually fizzled out as I've something on a non-standard resident status. But what I do know, or very strongly suspect, is the moment I return to the UK and declare myself as legally resident then IB will flip me back to the UK entity with parallel impacts such as auto with-holding tax and so on... [?]

My experience of looking at Singaporean Brokers is it's difficult>impossible to open an a/c with them unless legally resident. Same goes for regular bank accounts IME.

My sense is that opening an a/c in a country in which you aren't resident is for most people effectively no longer possible. [IDK, I'd be interested to learn that I'm wrong on that]. Like the 'death of Swiss banking' having now gone global, and for parallel reasons.


Hi DE!

You definitely can open a trading account with Singapore banks. I have been in correspondence with DBS Vickers and they have even reviewed my portfolio and agreed I can open an account. There are 2 problems that I can see. The first is that you have to open an account by physically attending a branch in Singapore. The procedure is rather straightforward. A combined Singapore and Penang holiday coming up! Secondly, while transfer-in is free, they charge a stonking 0.4% for transactions in UK stocks. This is not such a great problem for me as I would be transferring in the 20% of my portfolio now held by Internaxx which is in ETFs and which I consider lifetime holdings. The ETFs are, of course, technically Irish not UK entities. They wont make a fortune out of me! Another 20% has been long term in an HSBC share account in Hong Kong and will stay there.

To comment on another post above, the object is not an illegal tax subterfuge by hiding assets overseas. If, as increasingly seems likely, comrade Corbyn comes to power, I will legitimately have assets beyond his capital exchange controls and likely huge tax increases. As a former expat of 42 years in 8 different countries, I will have little hesitation in increasing the total to 9, with Portugal or Penang likely candidates. Some people will do anything for money!!!!!!!

TP2.


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