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Expat Investor : September 2007
deposit, which can be from as little as £50 up to £5,000, paid by direct debit. "This makes it an easy way to save as, once the account has been opened, there's no need to worry about remembering to post cheques or arrange monthly electronic transfers," confirms Britannia International. As well as the deposit-taker's promise of "attractive" rates of interest paid on all balances from £50 upwards, there's an extra 0.50% interest bonus made available each year. This bonus is paid where monthly payments have been maintained throughout the year and no more than one withdrawal has been taken. The Regular Saver account is just one of a range of accounts for expatriate savers on offer from Britannia International. Also available are easy access, notice and fixed rate accounts, as well as a Deferred Interest account which allows savers to choose when interest is paid -- especially useful in relation to their tax liabilities -- anytime after a two-year investment period. Other accounts on offer from Britannia International cover notice terms, base rate trackers, easy access, and fixed rate bonds. Those who can lock away their savings for at least a 60-day period, will be interested in the new Income 60 Tracker account launched by Derbyshire Offshore.This account, we are told, bears the same features as the deposit-taker's Base Rate Tracker account but with a monthly interest option offering savers a regular income stream. The Income 60 Tracker has no interest rate tiers so savers earn the same "high rate of interest irrespective of the balance level", explains Derbyshire Offshore. Savers must abide by the 60 day notice period in order not to be penalised with loss of interest by making withdrawals outside this term. However, there is one penalty free withdrawal allowed every three months of up to 20% of the capital and accrued interest balance. Being a tracker account, the Income 60 Tracker's interest rate will follow, within a margin of plus or minus 0.25%, the Bank of England base rate, making the return to savers easy to follow. The margin against the Bank of England base rate is guaranteed until 31 December 2008. Savers should note that the minimum balance required to open and maintain this account is £10,000. Derbyshire Offshore has a wide range of accounts covering notice periods, fixed rate bonds, money market accounts, and other investment bonds. Zurich Bank International is a relative newcomer to the Isle of Man offshore savings sector, but has quickly taken a place in the best buy league tables with its high paying range of accounts. The Bank tells Expat Investor that it is currently experiencing record savings balance receipts which it puts down to a combination of "good products and a buoyant market for high interest sterling accounts." Mark Waterhouse, Head of Banking at Zurich, explains that the recent increase in market rates has encouraged more expats to move ISLE OF MAN September 2007 EXPAT INVESTOR 15 Fast Facts 77012 their savings into sterling retail deposit accounts. High interest rate products, such as the Bank's 6.25% One Year Fixed Rate Bond, and concerns as to whether the stock markets have peaked, are encouraging customers to open traditional deposit accounts as opposed to other investment products or the direct purchase of stocks and shares. People are also doing their sums, explains Mr Waterhouse, and realise there is a positive margin between lending and savings rates. Instead of Continued on page 16 paying money off their mortgage or other loans they now prefer to save in high interest accounts. This is especially the case if they have been fortunate enough to secure a low fixed rate loan deal. Zurich offers current accounts and various term deposits, as well as easy access deposit accounts in a number of currencies, including euros and US dollars. The Bank draws attention to its Reward Account which offers "easy access to funds and a double guarantee to track the Bank of England Base Rate." The minimum balance for the Reward Account is £5,000 and customers are offered 10 free BACS (3 day) transactions per year. Nationwide International has been talking to Expat Investor about its recent company developments. Managing Director, Carl Gandy, says, "We're continuing our drive to deliver truly excellent service -- the best. As the subsidiary of the world's largest building society, we've no shareholders to worry about, so looking after our customers really is our number one priority." Mr Gandy believes expats are interested in Nationwide International's savings products because the company offers "fairness and transparency" when dealing with its customers. "Our accounts are open to all, and from the outset we make it abundantly clear what customers can expect. Taking our Base Rate Tracker, it has an ongoing, guaranteed link to the Bank of England's base rate, which means that our customers know what their return will be in relation to base (rates) one, two or even five years down the line." Mr Gandy is keen to stress another important point. "We emphasise to expatriates that they should ensure they're comparing like-with-like. Of course, we all shop around, and the highest rate can, and does, woo many investors, but it's important that expatriates scratch beneath the surface of what's on offer. Digging down into product features may take a little time, but it's well worth the effort. There are numerous accounts that have started with a great headline rate, only to be discontinued or have their rates hacked down to 1% or 2% after the initial offer period has ended." "Instead of paying money off their mortgage or other loans they now prefer to save in high interest accounts."
July August 2007