The World Bank’s latest findings indicate that countries are innovating like never before to make it easier to do business globally in today’s connected world. Read more “UK Ranks Ninth Overall in World Bank’s Latest Ease Of Doing Business Report; Usual Suspects Grab Top Rankings”
To use a straightforward example, isn’t it strange that, in a tech-mad world, we still need to employ advanced mental arithmetic skills to work out how much money we have in our bank accounts. Read more “Flavors of Fast? 40 Countries Now Using Faster Payment Schemes As Business Case Becomes Unarguable”
Emmanuel Macron is an ex investment banker which may explain why the French President is pursuing an aggressive strategy to try to relocate fintech startups and financial services companies to Paris in the aftermath of Brexit. Can he succeed? Read more “Revolut Rejects Macron Overtures But Can London Stay Ahead Of Paris For Fintech?”
The “Maybot” was given a fresh new outing today as British Tory Prime Minister Theresa May danced her way onstage to deliver the annual speech at the Conservative Party conference. But did the international trade and finance community or those of us with personal finance interests abroad learn anything new about the party’s plans for Brexit and foreign policies? Read more “Dancing Queen or Brexit Screen? May’s Annual Conference Speech Dissected For International Traders”
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”
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.
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400,000 British businesses believe they have the capability to export goods, but are not doing so, whilst at the same time, international demand for British goods is growing, the government revealed yesterday.
Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary has used these figures; and the news that British overseas exports have grown by £26 billion year on year; to reinforce his belief that British exports can meet his target of contributing 35% to UK GDP, after the UK leaves the EU at the end of March next year.
Last year British companies sold some £620 billion worth of goods to overseas buyers, which accounted for 30% of GDP; a record high, according to the Department for International Trade. The government is keen to build on this recent success, and has responded to calls from businesses with a new Export Strategy that will look to encourage and inspire more businesses to export, place “increased focus on amplifying the voice of existing exporters”, “facilitate peer-to-peer learning, and “inform businesses by providing information, advice and practical assistance on exporting.”
The government will work on converting its Greatgov.uk website into a one-stop-shop for exporters, helping to connect UK based businesses with overseas clients, working with larger companies to build the capability of supply lines, providing financial incentives, and supporting SMEs as they enter new markets.
The Department for International Trade also wants to launch an awareness campaign to alert British businesses to an estimated £50 billion of export finance and insurance support available from the UK Export Finance organisation, as well as 250 International Trade Advisors based all over the UK who support what the government refer to as “Export Champions”, and invite more companies to join the nationwide network of exporters, using the slogan “if we can, you can”.
Dr Fox told reporters in a speech that “as we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve”, adding that “UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.
Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department of International Trade, also commented that “As the world’s sixth largest exporter, we do punch above our weight, however, we also punch below our potential. This Export Strategy sets out to change that and to increase exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%, taking us from the middle of the G7 to near the top. This is ambitious, but achievable.”
From a currency perspective, the Brexit effect has been nothing short of disastrous, with the pound dropping nearly 30% against the euro and the dollar since the referendum on 23rd June 2016. All the more reason for always looking to get the best deal when you are making transfers of money overseas. Using The Money Cloud to discover the best rates offered by leading brokers and money transfer agencies could save you as much as 80% on fees, per transaction. Aimed at businesses and individuals, it’s easy to use and guarantees you get all the facts before making a decision that can save you a substantial sum.
Augmentum, a specialist VC firm that focuses on promising fintech opportunities, made 2 investments last week into early stage, London based companies focused on the SME payments market, as well as a third investment into Duedil, which compiles information on unlisted early stage companies. Read more “3 London Based Fintech Firms Pick Up Funding In Rounds Led by Augmentum Providing Boost For Disruptive SMEs & Startups”
The world’s best footballers tend to earn jaw dropping sums of money, and their tax affairs tend to be complex, to say the least. In the past couple of years, in Spain, several, including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who play for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively and together share the mantle of “world’s best footballers” have tangled with the Spanish tax authorities over undeclared income. Read more “The Non-Dom Tax Rule: Understanding Remittance vs Arising Taxes (& How It Could Save World’s Best Footballers Millions)”
In his introduction to the government’s controversial Brexit white paper; the country’s first attempt to try to explain on paper how leaving the EU by March 29th, 2019 might work; new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab talks about how “technological revolutions and scientific transformations are driving major changes in the global economy.” Read more “Brexit White Paper Deep Dive: What Does British Industry Really Want, & Why?”
Yesterday, we described the circumstances relating to the release of the UK governments much anticipated White Paper, which outlines how the UK intends to go about leaving the EU on 29th March 2019, and briefly described some of the ways that Brexit is expected to disrupt international trade between the UK and EU. Today let’s look at financial services in more detail. Read more “Brexit White Paper Deep Dive – What Are The Implications For UK and EU based Financial Services?”
Even by Brexit standards, it has been a tumultuous week for UK politics. A much-publicised meeting at Chequers took place over the weekend to discuss the White Paper that Theresa May has spent the past 2 years preparing, describing under what specific terms exactly the UK will complete its divorce from the European Union. The discussions resulted in the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, 2 key “Leave” campaigners who helped swing the referendum in favour of Brexit. The White Paper has continued to attract outspoken criticism from both hardline Brexiteers like Jacob Rees Mogg and Iain Duncan Smith, the opposition Labour party, and the EU itself.
It has been a difficult start for Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, but looking beyond the chaos, we feel it is more than worthwhile to review the White Paper in detail and try to understand what the implications are, starting from an international trade perspective. There is, after all, much to be learned from this 108 page document, some of which has even met with approval from a majority of stakeholders! Read more “Chequers, Brexit & The Long Awaited White Paper; How Will The UK Trade Overseas After Leaving The EU?”
Figures from the Department for International Trade (DTI) for the year to March 2018 reveal that exports of UK goods have hit record highs, with the combined sales of goods and services overseas exceeding £620.2bn. Read more “Demand For “High Quality” British Goods Boosting Exports To Record Levels & Narrowing Trade Deficit, Says DTI”
Now that it is all but official that the UK will leave the EU on the 20th March 2019, there will doubtless be a flurry of activity by firms, particularly within the financial sector, to try to establish what the various scenarios and implications of Brexit will mean for them. Read more “Will The UK Remain In Single European Payments Area Post Brexit? EPC Issues New Guidance”
Amidst all the recent discussion and hand-wringing around the new GDPR regulations, it’s easy to forget that it was only in January this year that the updated Payment Services Directives, a set of EC-wide regulations designed to make it easier, faster and less expensive to for customers to pay for goods and services, by promoting innovation, came into force.
If the introduction of PSD2 has gone a little under the radar, a new report from PWC, in association with the Open Data Institute, argues that the effects of the Open Banking “revolution” certainly won’t. The report estimates that “Open Banking has the potential to create a revenue opportunity of at least £7.2bn by 2022 across retail and SME markets.” Read more “PWC / Open Data Institute Investigate State Of “Open Banking” Revolution In New Report”
The Department for International Trade has published its annual set of figures outlining the number of foreign direct investment projects currently being operated in the UK. The total of 2,072 projects represents a 9% year on year drop, and whilst the total number of jobs created, 75,968, represents a 1% increase on 2016-17, the number of safeguarded jobs, the DTI reveals, has fallen by 54% to just 15,063. Read more “DTI Reveals Inward Investment Into UK Responsible For 76k Jobs in 2017-18, Led By US”
In a recent article in Finextra, Lakshmi Narayanan at Travelex discusses the contrasting approaches taken by the Pakistan and India governments to the problems inherent in their countries remittance industries.
India is the largest market for inbound remittance in the world, receiving more than $72bn of inbound money transfers from overseas, whilst Pakistan also has a large inbound remittance market worth around £19.3bn. Read more “Cheaper, Faster Overseas Money Transfer Options Are Inspiring Customers To Embrace Digital MTOs”
Prince William told The Times last week about how he recognises the importance of Britain’s SMEs trading overseas, and praised the Commonwealth, describing it as “the mother” of all business networks. Read more “Duke Of Cambridge Gives Exporting SMEs Royal Seal Of Approval Ahead Of International Business Festival In Liverpool”
Britain may be on the verge of leaving the EU, but figures from the Office of National Statistics show that Brits made more trips abroad in 2016 than ever before; more than 70.8 million; whilst Britain itself attracted more tourism; 37.6m visits; from overseas, with total tourist spending also at a record high; over £22.5 billion. Read more “Pre-Brexit Britain Attracting Record Tourism Whilst Brits Travel Abroad More Than Ever Before”
Donald Trump rose to power in the US in large part due to his promises to revitalise and grow the country’s economy, and business and trade and industry infrastructure. Whilst, where Trump is concerned, it is almost impossible to separate the reality from the “fake news”, many indicators have provided evidence of an upturn. Read more “The World’s Most Competitive Economies? A Superpower, Followed by 2 City State’s, IMD Rankings Reveal”