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Expat Investor : September October 2009
Serving expats for more than 16 years expatinves J In this issue The three major international banks have been asking a lot of questions recently. HSBC Bank International, Lloyd TSB Offshore and Halifax International have conducted a series of major statistical surveys of British expatriates to find out what makes you all tick. As a result, we now know much more about the British expatriate community worldwide than ever before. For example, thanks to HSBC Bank International's Expat Explorer survey we know that the three locations in which expats have been most affected by the credit crunch are the US, Thailand and South Africa, where significant reductions in spending on essential and luxury items, general household maintenance and the money allocated to savings and investments have been noted. But the largest reduction in spending on essential day-to-day items was seen in Spain, where almost two-thirds of expats say they have cut back. The good news is that despite the economic crisis, expats say they are generally wealthier and are saving more than they could were they back in the UK. Paul Say, Head of Marketing and Communications for HSBC International, says, "As the world continues to undergo a significant economic shift, we are seeing some interesting patterns amongst the expat population, particularly in the changes to their spending habits." Despite many expats, particularly in the US, admitting they were considering a move home, the survey found that the majority of expats are staying put regardless of growing employment uncertainty across many regions. In case you're wondering, Asia is Who do you think you are? Investor EXPAT Sept/Oct 2009 Bringing advisers and investors together New face of expat banking Ten offshore banks spill the beans on how they are attracting your custom. Expat retirement Squaring up to the tax, pension and investment necessities of retirement. Healthcare issues News and developments in from the providers of IPMI. Offshore percentages Best buy savings accounts and offshore funds. Expat mortgages Where have all the tracker mortgages gone? 2 18 22 www.expatinvestor.com After decades without a scrap of official data on the worldwide British expatriate community, we are suddenly being treated to a flurry of surveys undertaken by the banking industry telling us everything we needed to know (and more) about who we are, what we're doing, earning, spending, saving, investing -- even thinking, planning and dreaming. Hannah Beecham summarises the latest findings. To subscribe to Expat Investor, fill in the form on page 20 or visit: expatinvestor.com www.expatinvestor.com To register for Expat Investor digital edition, visit the website at www.expatinvestor.com 6 where the world's highest paid expats are based, with one in four earning more than US$200,000 per year. But on an individual country basis, the survey found that Russia, Japan and Qatar are the locations for the wealthiest expats, those defined as earning an annual income in excess of US$200,000 with a monthly disposable income of more than US$3,000. Belgium and Australia, are home to the least well-off expats, with almost two-thirds in Belgium and 63% in Australia reporting an annual salary of US$100,000 or less. Halifax International's survey also highlights the squeeze overseas. According to its Expat Mood Monitor,over half of you have noticed a decrease in your disposable income since the beginning of 2008 -- with 44% detecting a drop of 10% or more -- and almost two-thirds of you have seen a fall in the value of your investment portfolios. Despite these findings, as many as 63% of expats worldwide believe that the economic situation in their current country of residence is better than in the UK. What's more, they report that property values abroad have suffered less than those back home. One third of expats state that the value of their property overseas has remained the same since January 2008. And over half of expats renting their overseas homes report no change in their rental payments. Halifax International's research also reveals that 41% of expats worldwide have no plans to return to the UK-- ever. The main reasons for leaving (in priority order) are: better quality of life (56%) work (44%) the weather (27%) crime and the UK's decadent youth culture (20%). Lloyds TSB International's expatriate survey found that 30% of Brits who took a job overseas for more than a month did so to experience a new culture, whilst nearly a quarter saw it as an opportunity to enhance their career. One in four made the move because they were required to do so by their employer. But, says the Bank, the average Brit's appetite for travel isn't waning. Almost half of non-retired respondents reported that they would like to work abroad in the future. And more than half of those who have yet to take the plunge thought meeting new people would be one of the advantages of an expatriate lifestyle, 45% considered learning a new language would be a positive step, whilst the same proportion cited getting away from the UK's weather as their main motivation. Not everyone takes to a new environment like a duck to water, however. Lloyds TSB International's survey uncovered the statistic that more than a third of Brits who worked abroad for more than a month found being away from friends and family one of the most difficult aspects of their time overseas. Other hurdles included the need to speak a different language, diverse working practises and cultures and missing things they had previously taken for granted, such as their local pub or a favourite television show. And nearly 20% of Brits found managing their finances 12 Now celebrating our 21st anniversary troublesome whilst abroad. Opening a bank account, organising a mortgage and keeping track of finances at home all presented difficulties. Stephanie Cousin, Head of Operations at Lloyds TSB, comments, "We're certainly a nation of intrepid travellers, and whether it's to gain international work experience or simply to escape the weather, it's clear that many of us may be working overseas for part of our careers. Living away from home can be stressful, so you need to do your homework and sort out the important things, like finances, before you depart." Experience of working abroad can certainly assist Brits in demanding a higher salary once they've returned home. Lloyds TSB International's survey found that higher salaried Brits are more likely to have worked abroad, with almost half of those earning more than £60,000 having done so. The Bank's research also shows: men are almost twice as likely to have worked overseas as women (42% vs. 22%). women are likely to spend longer working abroad than men (14.6 vs. 12.1 months), on average. men are more likely to have worked in Asia (25% vs. 12%) and the Middle East (24% vs. 6%). 21% of 18--24-year-olds who worked abroad for more than a month have worked in Asia, compared with nine per cent of 45--54-year-olds. technology/IT (50%) and Professional Services (43%) industries have the highest proportions of overseas worker. Tu rn to pages 16 and 17 to read more about HSBC Bank Inter national's Expat Explorer survey.