Why use a foreign exchange service when buying property abroad?

Buying property abroad is a popular ambition in the UK. The option of living a life of leisure in a place that offers guaranteed sunshine, or just having a holiday home at your disposal at all times, can be hugely tempting. Some might be drawn to the money-making opportunities foreign real estate can offer, either from rental income or from capital growth.

Regardless of precisely why you are buying a property in another country, you are unlikely to achieve your desired goals unless you have planned everything very carefully – including the process of exchanging currency to pay for your purchase. After all, this is a highly costly and complex transaction, and nobody wants to end up paying over the odds unnecessarily if they can possibly help it.

Expert help

Sometimes, overseas property buyers can be easily swayed by their emotions, with their natural eagerness and excitement clouding their judgment. As a result, they can end up making very expensive mistakes, so it might be a good idea for you to get a foreign exchange service involved in the transaction.

They not only have extensive expertise and know-how on the finer points of purchasing real estate abroad, but also offer highly competitive exchange rates when compared with traditional banks, and they generally don’t charge commission either. This can potentially lead to considerable savings, freeing up cash that you can put towards other vital expenses.

Dealing with changing rates

In these turbulent economic times, exchange rates can be highly volatile and if you’re purchasing a foreign property, you can’t spend all your time monitoring fluctuations in order to decide when you should start transferring money. However, a foreign exchange specialist will be able to determine exactly when is the right time to start making international payments for a property purchase, so you can be confident of getting the best possible deal.

They can also offer you a forward contract that enables you to fix your exchange rate for a certain period of time. This guarantees some stability in these uncertain times, so even if a massive economic shock occurs and leads to chaos on the worldwide currency markets, it will not affect the cost of your transaction.

Changes in currency rates can add thousands of pounds to the cost of any deal and, in the worst case scenario, can end up making your dream of buying a foreign property completely unaffordable. So, securing your exchange rate and sticking to a particular figure can act as a valuable safety net to stop this happening. It also allows you to keep on top of your wider finances, as knowing exactly how much your property is going to cost will let you plan for other expenses, such as tax and insurance.

Ease the stress

Purchasing a property at home can be incredibly stressful and buying abroad can be just as difficult, if not more so, given the fact you have to consider exchange rates, rules and regulations in different countries, and the likelihood of key legal documents being written in another language.

Foreign exchange specialists can take some of the stress of managing such a complex transaction away and offer valuable support throughout the process. Experts will have good knowledge of the area in which you are purchasing and will be well-placed to answer any questions you may have. The advice you get won’t be of the one-size-fits-all variety and will instead be specifically tailored to your individual needs – and be straightforward and easy to understand.


UK prime minister pledges referendum on EU membership

The UK faces years of uncertainty over its place in the European Union, critics claim, after Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on membership of the EU.

In a long-awaited speech today on Europe, Cameron said that he wanted to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and then ask people to vote on whether they think the country should remain part of the alliance. He also called for a more “flexible, adaptable and open” relationship between all EU members, seeking a more flexible cooperation between the partner nations instead of “compulsion from the centre.”

The prime minister said that a commitment on the renegotiation and referendum would be included in the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the next general election.

Nick Clegg, leader of Cameron’s coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, spoke out against the plans, saying that the extended period of uncertainty caused by the proposals would hit jobs and economic growth and “was not in the national interest”.

Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, together with Labour and Liberal Democrat colleagues in the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the European Parliament, wrote a letter to the Guardian, advising against putting in question Britain’s membership of the EU.

A number of business groups took a more positive view of the speech, with the CBI’s director general, John Cridland, claiming that there are benefits to be gained from retaining membership of a reformed EU. He said that the CBI will work closely with government to get the best deal for Britain.

John Longworth of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also said that Cameron is right to renegotiate Britain’s place in Europe, pointing out that the country starts with a strong negotiating position as the UK runs a trade deficit with the EU. However, the BCC director general feels that a shorter timescale for negotiation and referendum would be better, with the aim of securing a cross-party consensus and the outline of a deal during the current parliament.

Support for renegotiation also came from the Institute of Directors, whose director general, Simon Walker, said that the prime minster’s approach is “realistic and pragmatic.”

Addressing the matter of the uncertainty brought about by the plans, Walker said that the issues need to be dealt with and British business is resilient and flexible and can cope with change or uncertainty. “The eurozone crisis is the source of far more uncertainty than a referendum,” he added.

QROPS for USA Residents

Thousands of people make the decision to relocate to the USA from the UK every year, yet there are many who make the decision without being in possession of all the facts surrounding the taxation of their pension funds. The decision to leave the UK to enjoy retirement in a country that offers a better quality of life is often driven by the heart. However, retirees need to be absolutely certain that their pension will cover the entire length of their retirement. Leaving the UK to enjoy the latter years of life will remove the safety net of the British welfare system, and that can have devastating consequences.

Unfortunately, QROPS pension rules in the USA are more complex than in most other countries in the world, and this means that a foreign-based pension fund cannot simply be ‘plugged in’ to the American system. However, recent changes to the regulations mean that QROPS USA is now live, and there are a number of schemes that have recently been brought to the market. Several US 401K pensions have now been officially registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), but there are still various compatibility problems seem to originate in the USA.

Problems of incompatibility arise when USA residents have accrued their pension funds in the UK or another foreign jurisdiction. Foreign pension funds are not recognised by the American government, so contributions and investment growth may be subject to taxation from the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) in the States. The IRS has extremely stringent guidelines governing the reporting of taxation issues, so a new breed of QROPS is needed specifically for expats living in the USA. Thankfully, there are now pension products that comply with the reporting requirements of both the HMRC and the IRS.

The benefits of transferring pension funds to a QROPS pension with American compatibility are wide-ranging, but the most significant involves the protection of investment growth from US Federal Income Tax. This type of overseas pension fund will also enable people to draw a tax-free initial lump-sum of up to 30% of the fund’s value. USA residents can also be confident that their pension incomes are not subject to UK taxes, and that is an issue that can allow people to plan their financial future accurately. The advantages and benefits of QROPS USA are extensive, but both the HMRC and IRC websites contain detailed information for fund-owners.

Under the British taxation system, a 55% charge is levied on unused funds that still remain in a pension fund; however, American-compliant pension funds incur absolutely no charges. This type of pension scheme incurs no tax on funds that pay regular benefits, and funds which aren’t in drawdown are also free from taxation. A QROPS also falls outside of UK inheritance tax laws, so there really are several benefits to setting up such a pension arrangement.


A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme is open to foreigners wishing to reside in the USA, American nationals who have been working outside the USA and American nationals who currently live outside the USA. It allows retirees to take control of their finances, as they can protect their pensions from the unfair or unnecessary tax burden imposed by the country of their origin. For more information, please visit – http://www.whichoffshore.com/qrops




Search company Yahoo! acquires social bookmarking service Snip.it

Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) has acquired domestic social bookmarking service Snip.it, the US search engine provider said.

The terms of the transaction were not revealed.

Technology blog AllThingsD was the first to report the takeover of Snip.it, which was established by former Khosla Ventures investor Ramy Adeeb in 2011. The acquired firm enables users to create and share collections of news articles on the Internet.

Snip.it said in a blog post it was terminating its current service and was in a process to incorporate its capabilities within Yahoo!, without elaborating further.

The move matches Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer’s drive to acquire young firms and attract new talent.