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Expat Investor : March 2008
OFFSHORE BANKING expatinvestor.com 8 EXPAT INVESTOR March 2008 banking instructions with a smartcard and card reader, which generates a unique password for each individual transaction. "For many expats that can only access the internet on a public computer, the smart card and reader is vital. If a fraudster manages to access an account as a result of a user not logging out of their session properly, then any transactions are unable to be made by the fraudster, as this can only be done in conjunction with the card and the reader, which the customer takes with them. Likewise, should a customer unwittingly respond to a 'phishing' email, purporting to be from their bank, again, the fraudster is unable to take any money out of the account as a result of the card and reader not being present," says Mr Gouge. "The ibanking technology also means that NatWest International customers can make sterling payments in real time, without waiting for three days for a payment to process. These payments are also free of charge, meaning an end to fees for transferring money abroad. This is made possible because the systems are still part of the UK clearing system, BACS. Users are still able Continued from page 7 to undertake normal everyday transactions as if they were in the UK, but with the additional security built on top to allow immediate global payments." Private bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander (IOM) launched its online banking service back in 2000. "Our philosophy is that online banking should only be seen as an additional product or tool, one to complement our existing extensive banking service. Clients still require a personal service which they can rely on, not just for transactions but also for enquiries, information, and so on. The obvious advantage of online banking is the ability for clients to have instantaneous access to their account 24/7, combined with the knowledge that at Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander they continue to benefit from a very personalised service," explains Managing Director Aidan Doherty. The Bank points out that its online banking system is designed to deliver what it describes as a streamlined, easy- to-use platform that enables its international clients to perform all their banking functions 24 hours a day. "It was important for us to make the system intuitive and, where Reflecting the trend for increased 'internationalisation', many people have more than one place they call 'home' and this is why Lloyds TSB Offshore's International Banking Service extends its appeal to expatriates wherever they relocate. This Bank offers an international personal banking service which brings together a range of accounts and services, including current accounts, savings accounts, mortgages and loans. The benefits of the International Account, designed to fit with an international lifestyle, include: Choice of accounts in three currencies -- sterling, US dollar and euro Debit cards in all three currencies 24/7 telephone and internet banking Sentinel International -- card cancellation service Discounts on health insurance Discounts on travel insurance for customers in the EU Concierge Service Fr ee country guides A quarterly magazine -- Shoreline Representatives in offices around the world. Lloyds TSB Offshore confirms that its customers can receive help with general tax and finance enquiries as well as a referral system if they need banking facilities from a local bank abroad. Royal Bank of Canada (Channel Islands) says it Expatriate Choice Account offers something a little different, as it combines the benefits and features of a traditional notice account with that of a fixed term deposit. "The account has a maximum lifespan of five years and, at the end of this period, it will be closed and the money returned, together with the credit interest earned," explains Managing Director Chris Blampied. "Rates are competitive and set on a monthly basis, linked to one- month money market rates. For larger deposits, preferential rates are available and further deposits may be added during the term." Mr Blampied adds that this Bank understands that a client's personal financial circumstances can change at any given moment. "That is why the Expatriate Choice provides the opportunity to give 90 days notice to close the account at any time. Unlimited withdrawals are also permitted, providing the minimum balance is maintained. "Other notable benefits include availability in major world currencies, a choice of how and when to receive interest to suit your circumstances and secure online access." What's more, as a client of Royal possible, operations are 'one click', or the user is guided through in much the same way as one would use an iPod. A good example of this streamlining is our online payment process, which is very comprehensive and covers all types of international payments. We also have payment 'templating' functionality, where clients can save formats for regular payments, which further reduces the need to re-key information. "Further innovation was required when building our platform, as our client base is made up of a mixture of private and institutional clients. Consequently, we ensured that our platform permitted multi-user authorisation and workflow management for corporate account holders; once again designed with efficiency and flexibility in mind," says Mr Doherty. Security is vital to Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander (IOM). "We endeavour to remain ahead of the curve. We were the first, by a number of years, to introduce 2- phase PIN based security which provides protection against so called 'key-logging' viruses. All payments are inspected by staff and we have sophisticated pattern detection technology to flag up suspect activity." But what about the actual money tools that offshore banks are offering today's expat market? These products are every bit as important to efficient money management as the means to access them. John Coyle, Managing Director of Standard Bank Isle of Man, insists that a tailored bank account is an essential for every expat. This Bank has designed what it calls "a flexible range of bank accounts" to hold cash in any major currency. "Our Expatriate Savings Account pays a high interest savings rate but still permits one withdrawal of up to one quarter of the account balance, without notice or penalty in any given quarter. Further withdrawals are permitted but 90 days notice has to be given. If notice is not provided, 90 days interest on the amount withdrawn is forfeited. "The account requires a minimum opening balance of £10,000, US$25,000 or 25,000 and is available as an online banking service. An extra feature of the account is the optional ability to defer receiving interest until the time the account is closed, which can be helpful if an expatriate is planning to move to a more favourable tax jurisdiction. "For those that need to make regular transactions, we recommend that the Expatriate Savings Account is combined with the Optimum Account, a flexible interest bearing demand account, also available online, which has the optional benefit of a debit card. If the account is in sterling, it's also possible to have a personalised chequebook. Interest is paid quarterly and an opening balance of only £3,000, US$5,000 or 5,000 is required to open the account. Test driving the workhorse of all expat finance products "If a fraudster manages to access an account as a result of a user not logging out of their session properly, then any transactions are unable to be made by the fraudster, as this can only be done in conjunction with the card and the reader, which the customer takes with them. " "Most people these days acquire, over time, a complex network of product and service providers which can often be costly and time consuming to manage, but there is a simpler way to organise your banking and investment needs. "
January February 2008