Cannes It Be? Don’t Expect Your Pounds To Go Further Than The Euro On Cote D’Azur

Whilst enjoying some late season sun in Cannes, France, I’ve noticed that my pounds and my euros are virtually interchangable.

Let’s start at the beginning. Flights to the Cote D’Azur with the likes of Ryanair are, in our humble opinion, currently Europe’s biggest travel bargain. Tourists love the South coast of France, and France loves having them here – provided they are not too rowdy and don’t jump in the fountains – that is, after all, what the sea is for. Read more “Cannes It Be? Don’t Expect Your Pounds To Go Further Than The Euro On Cote D’Azur”

Fast Internet, Cashless Payments & Social Media Spying: The World’s Digital Havens Uncovered

This week at The Money Cloud we are taking stock of the latest Internations Annual expat survey. Yesterday we explored the global networking and event company’s overall country ratings, which saw Bahrain emerge for the second year running, as the top rated destination for expats, with Taiwan a close second, Ecuador third, and reality checks for the likes of the UK, India and Saudi Arabia.

But how do the world’s countries rank for all things digital? From always-on South Korea, to the cashless Nordics, to Estonia, the digital nomads paradise, let’s examine Internations findings more closely. Read more “Fast Internet, Cashless Payments & Social Media Spying: The World’s Digital Havens Uncovered”

This Gulf State Has Just Been Voted Best Expat Destination For The Second Year Running

Anybody considering life as an expat should pay special attention to Internation’s latest Expat Insider survey. The international networking and events group for people living overseas questioned more than 18,000 people to compile its annual list of the best and worst destinations for expats, based on factors such as Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, and Personal Finance. Read more “This Gulf State Has Just Been Voted Best Expat Destination For The Second Year Running”

Breaking Down The World’s Wealthy: How They Live, What They Buy, And Where They Hang Out?

If you are one of the world’s 15.8 million high net worth individuals, then you may well dream of becoming one of its 584,000 multi-millionaires, or even one of just 2,252 billionaires that exist in the world today. Read more “Breaking Down The World’s Wealthy: How They Live, What They Buy, And Where They Hang Out?”

Where Do All The Millionaire Migrants Go? New Report Reveals All, Including UK’s Abandonment Issues

When things starts to go wrong for a country, economically, politically, or socially, its wealthiest citizens are usually the first to know, and also the first to jump ship and migrate somewhere else, research from AfrAsia reveals.

The bank recently published its Global Wealth Migration Review for 2018,  in which it argues that a trend of departing millionaires, billionaires, and mass affluents, is nearly always a sign that a country fortunes could be in decline. According to the reports authors:

“If a country is losing a large number of HNWIs to migration, it is probably due to serious problems in that country (i.e. crime, lack of business opportunities, religious tensions etc.). Conversely, countries that attract HNWIs tend to be very healthy and normally have low crime rates, good schools and good business opportunities. “

Unlike ordinary immigrants, who can be perceived by some sections of society as taking a toll on public services and claiming benefits without contributing enough to a country’s infrastructure and society in return, wealthy immigrants are generally welcome as they very rarely take jobs from locals, and almost never claim benefits, preferring to educate their children privately, use private healthcare, and pay for their own housing.

The report goes on to suggest that “in our view, the only possible negative of taking in a wealthy person is that they can push property prices up to levels that locals cannot afford.” Some might take issue with this statement, arguing that a wealthy immigrant could have the power to upset social norms, influence local politics, or deny locals access to public land by buying it up; such circumstances have pushed New Zealand, for example, to introduce a law preventing foreigners from buying property in the country (but not before some notable Silicon Valley billionaires bought huge estates in the country and even claimed citizenship).

Of the world’s 15 million High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), AfrAsia calculates that some 95,000 migrated in 2017. Their preferred destination? Australia, which attracted 10,000 HNWIs, followed by the US, 9,000, Canada, 5,000, and the United Arab Emirates, 5,000. The Caribbean, Israel, Switzerland, New Zealand and Singapore all attracted more than 1,000 wealthy immigrants.

In terms of net outflows, more wealthy Chinese left their country of birth than any other, although given China’s vast population of more than 2 billion, this represents a tiny percentage of the population, and may not reveal much about the state of the country’s economy, although it is worth remembering that the Chinese government has recently imposed strict controls on Chinese moving money overseas, which may have prompted some HNWI’s to skip town altogether.

Australia represents a convenient location for Asian HNWI’s as it puts them near to the original source of their wealth, has low inheritance tax, is safe, and provides a high standard of living. Compared to the US, AfrAsia notes, wealth has grown 83%, versus 20%. That said, the US is described as a “steady performer” when it comes to attracting the world’s wealthiest immigrants, and Australia is sometimes regarded as being too much of a “nanny state”, with complex rules and regulations, by some HNWIs.

In the UK, traditionally an attractive destination for incoming HNWIs, the country experienced its first ever net outflow in 2017, with some 5,000 wealthy citizens leaving, and only 1,000 HNWIs arriving. Factors that have affected this trend reversal may include the introduction of new taxes for non-doms, high inheritance taxes, rising crime, and, of course, the threat of Brexit.

AfrAsia cited the main reasons for HNWIs decision to migrate to be schooling, financial problems, lifestyle, safety, work and business opportunities, taxes, healthcare, religious tensions and overall standard of living.

This content is sourced and brought to you by The Money Cloud – comparing the best rates for sending money overseas offered by hand-picked, regulated brokers and money transfer agencies.

From The Highest & Mightiest, To The Humblest “Unbanked”, Everybody Makes International Money Transfers!

It’s often said that “money makes the world go round”, but in today’s connected world, it may be more true to conclude that, in fact, the world makes money go round.

A Buzzfeed expose this week focused on the now famous – for all the wrong reasons – meeting at Trump Tower on June 9th 2016, between a publicist named Goldstone, a lawyer named Kaveladze, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, the now President’s son-in-law, and at least two other attendees, including the now disgraced Trump aide Paul Manafort. Read more “From The Highest & Mightiest, To The Humblest “Unbanked”, Everybody Makes International Money Transfers!”

3 Expat Friendly Destinations To Consider Now That Winter Is Here

Now that the light is starting to fade and the temperature is dropping across the UK and Europe, it may be as good a time as any to reimagine those dreams of emigrating abroad.

Many of us have thought about, or perhaps been given the opportunity to relocate abroad. Whilst there are many good reasons; children at school, family at hand, the language barrier; to name a few, not to take the plunge, there are just as many persuasive reasons why 2019 might be the perfect year to seize the opportunity for a new and revitalising life experience.

To get you started, let’s look at 3 destinations that contain an enticing blend of culture, opportunity, and life-learning. Read more “3 Expat Friendly Destinations To Consider Now That Winter Is Here”

TransferWise Records First Ever Annual Profit, Pledges To Maintain Bank-beating Prices

Amongst the many disruptive fintech startups that have mounted a sustained attack on banks and money transfer operators’ share of the international money transfer market, TransferWise may be the best known, and certainly the noisiest, trumpeting their bank beating rates via PR campaigns and flash mobs, everywhere from the City of London, to the streets of Singapore and now, as far afield as Sydney.

Today the company announced another historic moment in their short history, recording their first ever annual pre-tax profit. Read more “TransferWise Records First Ever Annual Profit, Pledges To Maintain Bank-beating Prices”

Ripple Attacks SWIFT Market Share In India, Announcing New Partnership With TransferGo

Last month, we looked at the fragmented Indian payments and overseas money transfer market, which, thanks to its size, estimated at over $70 billion, is attracting competitors from Silicon Valley tech giants, disruptive mobile startups, domestic players, and the might of China, a country that is truly mastering micro-payments.

We also suggested that blockchain based international payments could be a coming force in India, and news reaches us this week that European digital payments provider TransferGo is announcing a new partnership with Ripple, the California based blockchain platform designed for real-time payments.

TransferGo CEO Daumantas Dvilinskas declared himself “delighted” to be able to offer remittance customers the ability to send payments in real time, using banking partners based in India, a service that Ripple’s considerably larger, in terms of market share, rival SWIFT is unable to offer.

SWIFT has been the market leader when it comes to providing the “plumbing” for international money transfer since the 1970’s, but in Ripple, which has developed its own decentralised blockchain system, it maybe encountering a genuine rival.

Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product at Ripple has given some insight into the way Ripple is thinking big in India by revealing that “We realised that if you get the top three banks in India onto Ripple, you get 80% of the market share.” Easier said than done perhaps, but Ripple has already overcome some major hurdles, as we have written about here in the past, and has worked with the likes of MoneyGram, and Santander, to revamp and accelerate their overseas payments infrastructure.

Another major attraction that Ripple has to offer is its price. In their press release, Ripple and TransferGo announced that they want to make sending payments from India to Europe, or vice versa, free of charge, which would place SWIFT under further pressure, to try to be as competitive. Granted, Ripple cannot deliver both superfast payments and free money transfers, as its free service, which uses the mid-market rate, takes 2-3 days, but it is an advantage in itself to be able to give customers the opportunity to either save money, or speed up their transfers. 

And then there is mobile. Ripple realises that the way people send money is changing, moving to mobile rather than through banks or traditional Money Transfer Operators (MTOs); after all, even amongst India’s “unbanked” population, most own a mobile phone or at the very least have access to one, and if you can set up a digital wallet and start sending and receiving money in a few swipes and taps, why make the trek to your nearest bank, which could be a few hours travel away?

Ripple has described its market penetration in India as “high”, as its free service, which offers “zero fees and a mid-market rate,” will take at least 2-3 business days to send the cash to its destination.

Marcus Treacher, SVP of Customer Success at Ripple, commented that “TransferGo is a great example of a forward-thinking payment provider that’s leaning in to new technology to facilitate real-time, cross-border money transfers for their customers. That’s a big step forward.”

Whilst there is no disagreeing with that, and Ripple  will doubtless be encouraged by TransferGo’s declaration that the partnership “opens up new horizons for TransferGo to develop additional products and services”, the Californian company with the big ambitions will have to set their sights higher and capture a significant portion of India’s $70 billion dollar  if they really want to frighten SWIFT.

WorldRemit Makes Move Into African Market For International Money Transfers, Partners With Safaricom

London based international money transfer company WorldRemit has seen its volumes of transfers to Africa increase by 80% in the past year, and is now sending more than $1.6bn at an annualised rate.

The company says that its new proprietary service, launched this week, will reduce the costs of sending money between countries in Africa, which they say are currently prohibitive, although a recent continent-wide free trade agreement signed by 44 African countries has provided hope that the situation can be improved in that regard. Read more “WorldRemit Makes Move Into African Market For International Money Transfers, Partners With Safaricom”