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#1 2015-02-08 21:28:18

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

International Banking Options

Hey there fellow stackers, I have a bit of a wealth management question I would like your input on.

The situation is that I have just accepted a new job in Moscow, Russia. Obviously things aren't going so well for them right now and look a bit grim in the immediate future. To cut to the chase:

-Will be paid in roubles, but tied to the Euro exchange rate (so the impact of currency fluctuations should not be a problem).
-Will bank with Citibank in Russia.

I would want to move my money out of roubles on a regular basis, but the question is to what currency and which country?

I currently have accounts in Thailand and Aus and could open accounts in Singapore or Hong Kong before I leave Asia. Alternatively, I could just open a multi currency account with Citi in Russia, but I am not so sure if that is a safe option.

I have also been interested in Estonian 'e-residency' for a while and if I get the e-residency, I can open an Estonian account and do my banking there.

We are not talking millions of dollars, but I do want to make sure I protect the money I work hard to make. I respect the knowledge of the forum and would like to find out your opinion.

Last edited by Dabloodymess (2015-02-08 21:34:37)


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#2 2015-02-08 21:34:01

ozcopper
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From: Australia
Registered: 2009-07-16
Posts: 14,061
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Re: International Banking Options

What about buying gold or silver with it with a company like bullionvault?


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#3 2015-02-08 21:38:38

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

ozcopper wrote:

What about buying gold or silver with it with a company like bullionvault?

That is an option, but I couldn't do it with all my money. I am at a stage in life where I need some decent liquidity and if I am buying metals it is for holding long term (money that I wont need to access for at least 10 years).

I learnt my lesson in the past when a lot of my money was tied up in metals and I had to liquidate at an inopportune time.


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#4 2015-02-08 22:21:56

Jislizard
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From: Australia
Registered: 2011-04-07
Posts: 7,479
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Re: International Banking Options

My Father-in-Law worked for a Greek shipping company and he refused to be paid in drachmas.  He made them pay him in sovereigns and when he needed some money he just took them down to the bank in whatever country he was in and cashed them in for whatever the going rate was.

We still have some, we still have some drachmas as well, we prefer the sovereigns smile


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#5 2015-02-08 22:24:06

Altima
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From: Canada/Singapore
Registered: 2013-02-07
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Re: International Banking Options

If you really needed to exchange the roubles, why don't you consider setting up like a currencyfair/ozforex/xetrade account?

That way you can quickly convert the funds to any currency.

I guess the next question is to which currency and which bank.


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#6 2015-02-08 22:24:08

JulieW
Silver Stacker
From: Australia
Registered: 2010-10-14
Posts: 11,132

Re: International Banking Options

Why not split it to Thailand and Australia depending on exchange rates and bank fees and buy USD traveller cheques and cash to carry away. Keep in mind the SWIFT system might be a problem with Russia before too long. Have you thought about SA Rand. Might be a place to store since they're onside with Russia and part of the russian replacement for SWIFT.

You could always take Jim Rickards advice and buy some fine art there and ship it home. (Not that I know anything about fine art! But i know what i like - smaller denominations wink)

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#7 2015-02-08 23:23:50

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

Jislizard wrote:

We still have some, we still have some drachmas as well, we prefer the sovereigns smile

I somehow don't think I can negotiate payment in sov's smile

Altima wrote:

If you really needed to exchange the roubles, why don't you consider setting up like a currencyfair/ozforex/xetrade account?

That way you can quickly convert the funds to any currency.

From my investigations, I can achieve this by banking with Citi. If I open a Citi account in Singapore/HK/Estonia/Aus/wherever and one in Russia, I can do a flat fee transfer between Citi accounts I own. Not sure if it is through SWIFT or their own internal systems though...

JulieW wrote:

Why not split it to Thailand and Australia depending on exchange rates and bank fees and buy USD traveller cheques and cash to carry away. Keep in mind the SWIFT system might be a problem with Russia before too long. Have you thought about SA Rand. Might be a place to store since they're onside with Russia and part of the russian replacement for SWIFT.

I would only consider travellers cheques as a short term/emergency measure as I cant put the money to work in that format.

I could just send it to Aus and I might just do that depending on what the exchange rate does in the next 6 months or so. If it is going to remain volatile though, I would prefer USD or GBP I think. I don't trust the Thai banking system one bit. IMO, they are set for a big fall as consumer debt and spending is completely out of control (and they don't have the benefit of being a world reserve currency). I will look into Rand...

JulieW wrote:

You could always take Jim Rickards advice and buy some fine art there and ship it home. (Not that I know anything about fine art! But i know what i like - smaller denominations wink)

I also don't know anything about fine art, so I would almost certainly be ripped off!

Thanks all for the input so far, definitely some food for thought. Keep the ideas flowing.

Last edited by Dabloodymess (2015-02-08 23:25:56)


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#8 2015-02-09 01:02:12

petey
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Registered: 2010-05-18
Posts: 1,149

Re: International Banking Options

Singapore: very hard to do in your personal name without opening with private banking (typical minimum $250,000). If you can transfer it into a company name, it will be much easier. Citi may be easier, but I personally wouldn't keep any meaningful amount of money in their accounts

Hong Kong: Possibly the best bet if you can convert it into HKD in the process. Still talk of removing or repegging the HKD to the USD. Hard to see a downside unless (highly unlikely) China decided they wanted to cause trouble for HK. Probably still a PITA to do in your own name.

Panama: Worthwhile considering at the least. Could work well with having Citibank there too.

If you're going to open the account in your name, it's going to be a pain at the least without a legit visa/citizenship or a sizeable deposit. At worst you'll fly to Singapore and leave without an account.

If you're doing it in a company name, you have a lot more options. I would consider incorporating in HK and opening an account with DBS Singapore. You can establish the company remotely for around US$1000, get the paperwork sent to you then jump on a plane to Singapore and bank with one of the safest banks in the world (claimed). You just planted 3 flags: working in one, company in another, assets in another.

If you are willing to jump through hoops, open a trading account with iOCBC Singapore. Then get a referral from iOCBC, take it to OCBC and tell them that you need an account to make it easier to move your funds in/out of your trading account. AFAIK, it's probably your best chance at opening a bank account in Singapore on a travel visa without having a million in assets to your name.

Note: I am not an expert, seek professional advice, etc.

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#9 2015-02-09 01:33:17

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

It is interesting to hear that Singapore may be difficult, as I have been in contact with standard chartered in SG and they said I just need:

-ID (passport)
-proof of my Thai address
-last payslip
-5k deposit

And obviously I would need to go in person to their branch...


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#10 2015-02-09 01:41:21

petey
Silver Stacker
Registered: 2010-05-18
Posts: 1,149

Re: International Banking Options

Often the customer contact centres and the branches have two different things to say.

That said, possibly with the fairly poor Thai banking system, it is acceptable for Thai residents to open personal accounts in Singapore.

If I remember currently you are a dual national? This may help you as being an Aussie, Brit or Canadian makes you a half for them. If you are American you are going to struggle to get an account in most countries.

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#11 2015-02-09 01:45:22

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

Not a dual national, I only have an Aussie passport. They did ask about my nationality and residency status (Thai resident right now). What I outlined above was the reply I got from them, though it doesn't surprise me that it may be inaccurate.


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#12 2015-02-09 01:51:43

petey
Silver Stacker
Registered: 2010-05-18
Posts: 1,149

Re: International Banking Options

I don't want to discourage you but have a plan b. If you are opening in a personal name I would use the OCBC idea as a backup plan.

Is probably cheap for you to get to Singapore so it's less of a hassle and worth a shot.

Check out www.streber.st

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#13 2015-02-09 01:58:09

JulieW
Silver Stacker
From: Australia
Registered: 2010-10-14
Posts: 11,132

Re: International Banking Options

Dabloodymess wrote:

It is interesting to hear that Singapore may be difficult, as I have been in contact with standard chartered in SG and they said I just need:

-ID (passport)
-proof of my Thai address
-last payslip
-5k deposit

And obviously I would need to go in person to their branch...

Did you mention australian passports?

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#14 2015-02-09 02:05:03

petey
Silver Stacker
Registered: 2010-05-18
Posts: 1,149

Re: International Banking Options

JulieW wrote:
Dabloodymess wrote:

It is interesting to hear that Singapore may be difficult, as I have been in contact with standard chartered in SG and they said I just need:

-ID (passport)
-proof of my Thai address
-last payslip
-5k deposit

And obviously I would need to go in person to their branch...

Did you mention australian passports?

It doesn't matter. It is up to the banks discretion as to whether or not they will open you an account. The contact centre will likely always say "yeah sure, come and visit, it's super easy". When you get there you will need a very compelling reason to convince them you are worth the potential hassle and risk that you represent.

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#15 2015-02-09 02:07:27

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

petey wrote:

I don't want to discourage you but have a plan b. If you are opening in a personal name I would use the OCBC idea as a backup plan.

Is probably cheap for you to get to Singapore so it's less of a hassle and worth a shot.

Check out www.streber.st

Very cheap to get to Singapore, so it wont be the end of the world if it doesn't work out. Thanks for the link.

I am actually most keen to pursue the Estonian option as the e-residency is a very interesting concept and a trip to Estonia would be easy (https://e-estonia.com/e-residents/about/).

JulieW wrote:

Did you mention australian passports?

Yes, I was very clear about that. I am probably going to arrange a stop-over in Singapore en route to Europe to try and open an account. Wont be a big deal if it doesn't come through then as it will technically be 'on the way'.

Last edited by Dabloodymess (2015-02-09 02:08:05)


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#16 2015-02-09 02:10:51

petey
Silver Stacker
Registered: 2010-05-18
Posts: 1,149

Re: International Banking Options

I saw the eresidency thing too. It's a great idea but i doubt it would satisfy the ATO for becoming a non resident for tax purposes.

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#17 2015-02-09 02:12:54

willrocks
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From: Yesterday
Registered: 2012-05-10
Posts: 7,635
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Re: International Banking Options

I'd rather take a job paying monopoly money.


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#18 2015-02-09 02:20:26

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

petey wrote:

I saw the eresidency thing too. It's a great idea but i doubt it would satisfy the ATO for becoming a non resident for tax purposes.

I will still be paying taxes in Russia and there is a tax treaty with Aus.

Thats actually immaterial anyway as I do freelance work through an ABN which all comes through my Australian account and this link is enough to maintain my tax residency.

I will also be going down the path of Russian naturalisation and citizenship, as my soon to be wife is Russian-Ukrainian.


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#19 2015-02-09 02:24:29

petey
Silver Stacker
Registered: 2010-05-18
Posts: 1,149

Re: International Banking Options

If you earn a decent amount through your business and spend very little time in Australia it may be worth seeing an international tax lawyer. Sounds like there is good scope for legal minimisation strategies.

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#20 2015-02-09 02:28:27

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

petey wrote:

If you earn a decent amount through your business and spend very little time in Australia it may be worth seeing an international tax lawyer. Sounds like there is good scope for legal minimisation strategies.

Not enough for that yet, but in the future maybe smile

I have a basic grasp of internationalistation and 'flag planting' strategies, as a friend of mine allowed me to read one of these expensive (1k +) courses/books that are marketed at people looking to avoid sovereign risk and minimise tax exposure. I simply am not in a position to act on a large portion of the advice given as it is pitched at people with a LOT of $$$.


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#21 2015-02-09 02:57:54

whinfell
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From: Australia
Registered: 2012-03-22
Posts: 3,328
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Re: International Banking Options

This is probably similar to the Citi account you mention, but there's a HSBC multi-currency account available in 10 currencies including AUD, EUR, USD.  Details here:

https://www.hsbc.com.au/1/2/personal/sa … i-currency

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#22 2015-02-09 03:50:42

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

whinfell wrote:

This is probably similar to the Citi account you mention, but there's a HSBC multi-currency account available in 10 currencies including AUD, EUR, USD.  Details here:

https://www.hsbc.com.au/1/2/personal/sa … i-currency

I am back in Aus for a little while in April, so I will inquire about this HSBC account. If I move to them, then I will want to do all my banking with them... so hopefully I can link a VISA debit card with the multi currency.


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#23 2015-02-17 07:37:49

Caput Lupinum
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From: Silver Stackers forum
Registered: 2012-06-17
Posts: 4,964
Trades :   11 

Re: International Banking Options

Is it an actual functional company or a shell company?

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#24 2015-04-16 21:13:03

aleks
Silver Stacker
From: Karl-Marx-Allee
Registered: 2010-10-14
Posts: 2,392
Trades :   27 

Re: International Banking Options

Those Citibank and HSBC accounts are rubbish, the FX rates are terrible and if you want service outside of the country you have set up the account in person at a bank they won't want to know you unless you have a citibank gold or HSBC premier account. These accounts minimums in the $200K range, (sometimes alot less in developing countries) and offer you zero interest on the balance, the cost of not investing that money essentially means you are paying thousands of dollars a year for reasonable customer service overseas.

Dabloodymess have you considered opening an account with a broker like Interactive Brokers? It looks like they service Russia, so you have can convert your rubbles tongue to USD/EUR gold etc

Last edited by aleks (2015-04-16 21:21:56)


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#25 2015-11-08 01:45:40

Dabloodymess
Member
From: Russia
Registered: 2010-07-07
Posts: 1,376
Trades :   30 

Re: International Banking Options

I just remembered this thread today an thought I would update.

I gave up on a Singapore of HK account and am taking the risk of keeping a big pile of roubles right now.

My salary is denominated in euros but paid in rouble. They fix the EUR/RUB exchange every three months. So far this has worked brilliantly for me as they fixed it at 74RUB  in September and it has since dropped to around 68RUB, while I continue to be paid at the higher rate.

The interest rate for savings is also 9% at the minute. Because I am not talking massive amounts of money, a guaranteed 9% seems worth the risk of keeping it here... for now. I am actually quietly confident that the rouble exchange rate wont get too much worse in the short term and there is the possibility of it getting significantly better if they sort out the Ukraine mess and Europe lifts sanctions.

On a related note, I have received possibly the best service I have ever had from a bank opening accounts here in Russia. Representatives from Citi came out to my workplace to do all the paperwork etc. I have yet to set foot in one of their branches. Decent online system as well and free real time text alerts whenever a charge is made to my account.


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