British expats believe that British banks are best and many prefer to keep their savings in Sterling, a survey has found.
Their confidence in the British financial system is maintained even after living abroad for many years with 55% of those who have been overseas for over five years still having a UK current account and 80% still holding money in Sterling, the survey from Lloyds TSB International shows.
The survey of British expats, living in France, Hong Kong, Spain, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the US, also shows that confidence in sterling is high in comparison with other currencies, with four times (44% versus 11%) as many respondents believing that sterling is stronger than the euro for their savings. Only 3% of those now living abroad cite weakness in sterling as a factor most likely to contribute to having to return home early.
‘It is reassuring to see that so many British expats are confident in the future of sterling which, after depreciating over the past few years, has stabilised as the economic recovery has taken hold and measures to improve the public finances have been laid out. In part their behaviour has been a reflection on what has occurred in the wider financial markets with the flight from more indebted economies,’ said Jakob Pfaudler, managing director of Lloyds TSB International.
Gordon Maddock, who has lived in Almeria, Spain since 1995, agrees with the findings of the survey. He decided to move abroad on his retirement and take the opportunity to establish himself as an author, artist and composer. He has since published three books and exhibited art in Germany, Spain, America and the UK.
He holds his savings in sterling and has confidence in its increase over the next six months, whilst believing that sterling remains a strong currency in the Western economy. Maddock also has a current account with BBVA in Spain and has found that bank charges are higher in Spain for all accounts and he would only consider moving his money when conditions demand, rather than for better investment.
For Maddock sterling is also convenient as he has a government pension and has to declare taxation matters in the UK. ‘I would recommend joining the Overseas Club and using a personal adviser for all financial matters in these rapidly changing times. I use my current bank, as I have held accounts with them since 1958 and have always been happy with the service they provide,’ he explained.
Nick and Sally Middleton have lived in Greece since 2005 having fallen in love with the relaxed way of living after visiting every Easter and October. They came into some land as a result of their son’s marriage to his Greek wife and took the opportunity to build their own house.
They have a sterling/euro account and also have a savings and a premium account based in the UK that they have had for more than 30 years. ‘We don’t regret moving to Greece at all. If we hadn’t moved, we would have been left wondering and talking about it, wishing that years down the line that we had taken the opportunity,’ explained Sally.
Keith Leigh-Monstevens, who lives in Detroit, Michigan, with his wife, Teresa, and 14-year-old son, Phillip, concurs with the findings of the Lloyds TSB International survey. ‘Having an international account means that we can use cheques and ATMs when we return to the UK. We can also maintain our property in Leamington with ease. Our children’s accounts are useful in allowing family and friends to transfer money for Christmas and birthdays,’ he explained.