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Expat Investor : April 2008
NEWS expatinvestor.com 2 EXPAT INVESTOR ? April 2008 Fast Facts 44111 Fast Facts 44113 Fast Facts 44112 Fast Facts 44110 Close unveils Advantage SPECIFICALLY targeting the internationally mobile and expatriate community, Close Wealth Management Group (CWMG) has launched Close Advantage – a range of bank accounts with integrated share dealing facilities tailored to meet the international banking requirements of clients. Advantage offers clients a range of account types, including current accounts for instant access, money market deposit accounts, notice accounts and interest bearing multicurrency accounts, available in sterling, euro and US dollars. Close confirms that the Advantage range offers “commission-free foreign exchange services and Visa Gold card facilities, as well as the ability to split capital and income. The range is further complemented by an international share-dealing facility, giving clients access to all major security markets for trading stocks and shares, unit trusts and other exchange traded instruments. Phil O’Shea, Head of the International Banking arm, tells Expat Investor, “In Advantage, we have created a ‘pick and mix’ approach. This flexibility allows us to meet our clients’ needs on an individual basis. Advantage offers real choice and clients can select from a range of features, benefits and account types that best suit them. An automatic account sweeping system ensures monthly account balances are maintained providing liquidity for our clients and avoiding overdraft charges.” The range is further underpinned by “a high level of service, delivered by a team of senior banking professionals, together with on-line reporting that gives clients total oversight of their consolidated range of bank accounts and investment assets.” This sophisticated range of bank accounts is available with a £20,000 minimum deposit, with accounts domiciled in Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Lloyds TSB opens way for Shariah compliant worldwide money transfers LLOYDS TSB has consolidated its position as a leading provider of Islamic financial services, by launching an account that allows banks to move money around the world on behalf of their individual and business clients, in keeping with Shariah law. The Islamic Nostro Account is the first of its kind to be offered by a mainstream Western bank and is a Shariah compliant version of the account used by all banks to distribute payments to customers across the world. Whenever individuals or businesses send money to other countries, the payments are made from one bank to another and are passed through a Nostro account in the process. The new Lloyds TSB account is designed to ensure that the UK’s two million Muslims and 100,000 Muslim firms can make and receive international payments without compromising their faith. Many of these customers regularly make, or receive, international payments through the estimated 250 Islamic banks worldwide. However, until now, the process of transferring this money between banks has not been in line with Islamic principles. Lloyds TSB confirms that its Nostro account adheres to the principles of Islamic law, because it does not pay interest on the money held in the account; it does not provide an overdraft facility, and it does not allow any of the funds held to be invested in industries – such as alcohol and gambling – which are prohibited under the rules of the faith. Diana Brightmore-Armour, CEO Corporate Banking and Co-Head Corporate Markets, says, “We’ve designed this account to help the growing number of Islamic banks across the world, which deal with our customers’ transactions. We’re providing the missing link in the chain, so now any person or business receiving payments from abroad into their own Islamic account knows the money will be dealt with according to Islamic law, from start to finish.” Simon Ratcliff, Head of Operations, Bank of London and The Middle East plc, said: “This account is a real milestone for banks like ours and means we can give our customers reassurance that their money is being dealt with according to Islamic law, from the moment it leaves their account to the moment it reaches its destination.” Standard Life enters discretionary investment management market Brits shrug off research time STANDARD Life has launched a discretionary investment management business to further broaden its offering in the UK financial services market. Standard Life Wealth will tailor investment portfolios to the individual needs of clients with at least £2m of investable assets (of which a minimum of £1m must be liquid). The target market for this new line of business is wealthy individuals, charities and small or executive pension schemes. Standard Life Wealth will give its clients access to investment techniques previously only available to institutional investors in Standard Life Investments funds. These “goals-based absolute return strategies” focus on more accurate targeting of client requirements, and the management of their tailored portfolios against an absolute return benchmark. Wealth Chief Executive Richard Charnock, says, “I believe that we have an exciting proposition for clients and for IFAs. Our investment expertise, client-focussed approach and competitive fee-structure will make us an important player in the discretionary investment management market.” Group Chief Executive Sandy Crombie adds, “Standard Life Wealth is another important development in our growth strategy and this is a market where we believe we can play an effective role. I expect Standard Life Wealth to make a significant contribution to our business, as well as providing excellent service for our clients in the coming years.” BRITONS spend almost twice as long planning their annual holiday as they do considering a mortgage is the shocking finding of research from independent personal finance website Fool.co.uk. With up to 1.4 million borrowers’ mortgages up for renewal in the next 12 months, their dedication to securing a holiday high over a low-rate loan could be costing them thousands of pounds a year, warns Fool.co.uk. The research quizzed over 2,000 UK adults and discovered over a third (36%) spend at least 10 hours selecting their ideal holiday but only a fifth (21%) would put the same time into choosing a mortgage. Just one in 10 (11%) would show the same level of commitment when selecting a bank loan. A worrying quarter (23%) admits to not spending enough time exploring their financial options, citing boredom and confusion as the top reasons why. In fact, almost half (45%) of people admit to being overwhelmed by the choices available to them and find it almost impossible to navigate their way around an increasingly complex money maze. David Kuo, Head of Personal Finance, tells Expat Investor, “Who can blame people for wanting to spend more time planning their holiday than pouring over financial products? But while a good holiday will recharge your energy levels for a few weeks, healthy finances can boost your bank balance for a lifetime. “By taking a bit more time considering such things as your mortgage, you could save up to £3,000 in one year to pay for the dream vacation you’ve yearned for but never quite been able to afford.” IFAs available EU-wide INTER-ALLIANCE WorldNet (IAW) has announced the launch of Inter-Alliance WorldNet Insurance Advisers (IAWIA), a business regulated in Cyprus, providing expats with access to independent financial advisers (IFAs) who are regulated and have compliance throughout the EU. The changes in regulation within the EU prompted IAW to launch the new company, which – through its services – enables IFAs to be compliant within the EU. Inter-Alliance WorldNet (IAW) can date its business roots back over 20 years and, with over 50 affiliate company members, covers a geographical presence throughout Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and South America. “With the growth of the company over the last few years, doubling in production and size, the launch of IAWIA enables us to move forward with one of the largest producers of financial services business in the world,” says Managing Director Stephen O’Leary. “Our target for 2008 will enable us to maintain our position as one of the pre-eminent IFAs on the world stage, and we believe will move us into third position in terms of world production.” Category Holiday Mortgage Credit Personal Insurance Bank Pension Average Card Loan Policy Account Utility Bills spent researching Average time 9hrs 14mins 5hrs 8mins 3hrs 21mins 3hrs 8mins 4hrs 48mins 4hrs 40mins 4hrs 4mins 3hrs 18mins spent choosing Brits that spend 10+ 36% 21% 11% 11% 15% 15% 15% 9% hrs choosing…
May June 2008