British expats prefer British banks and sterling, international banking survey shows

by Ray Clancy on October 28, 2010

Expats prefer British banks and pound sterling

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.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaques November 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm

The forces which have kept the pound sterling strong are more traditional than real. On three occasions it has been reduced to virtual destituiton other than in World Wars, immediately following Waterloo, in recent times under the actions of Soros.IIt is now realised by people who see the trends of currency are manpulation rather than random events colliding that a return to a positive standard, gold is often mentioned,ould be of major benefit instead of the ring a rosie system designed to empower one country over another.Recent events where needlessly a collapse in the USA affected the whole world indicate a deliberate action to cause that effect.It was neither random events colliding nor accidental.

The desire for expat british to hold to the sterling does less than nothing to inspire and enable confidence and strength in the currency of the country chosen by those british as being the one who's benefits they most want to enjoy.(continued)

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Jaques November 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm

2)Rather than to work into a system of advancing the country they are looking to their own security. That is immediately understandable, most people can't competently work using uindependant integrity, they must stay a part of the crowd, a part of a family and are unable to ever let go of their mother's hand. The internal results can be brutal, the appalling actions for example of soccer louts is not because they are manly but because they are "mummy's boys" who transfer self disgust into violence. Other expats do it more by migration joining a community or country which gives them a seratonin boost but always consider themselves a higher status than the locals. The currency issue is a part of that, rather than let go of Boadicia's hand and work towards nation building in the new country, which they do influence quite seriously, they take the advantage but not the risk.With some imperfections a return to the gold standard would remove such issues. The problem is that the family which owns most of the world's currency also owns most of its gold. (continued)

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Jaques November 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

3) Clancy wrote "It is reassuring to see that so many British expats are confident in the future of sterling ". I see that as terrific if you live in UK or one of its colonies using sterling however I don't at all applaud the holding on to the perceived advantage of a currency in terms of emotional migration and practical commitment to the country of who's advantages an expat now advantages themself him or herself. Those people never mature in change. To re-iterate, or re-state, though the world is geared now to countries of higher security advantaging themselves via currency and their wealth, of the fragility of the currency of countries who's primitivity and beauty are not despoiled by greed and "development" I think that whenexpats are taking the advantages of wealth feeding off poverty it would be the decent thing to play a part in contributing to the moral of that new country. Whether any of this can ever be cured without an underlying and always determinable wealth (which can be gauged in term of "liquidation" at precisely the same intrinsic value as every other country of the word is of course arguable. My view is it cannot. (completed)

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Gordon D.S. MADDOCK November 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I am proud of being British but carry no guilt living my retirement in Spain. I am a guest in their country and appreciate their hospitality. I don´t live in an Ex-Pat community and give more than I receive to the Spanish economy in financial and real terms. Unfortunately, recent news concerning the financial fate of Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain requires a degree of understanding of all the world currencies v.v hard earned investments. Investing in GB is no bad thing to keep it afloat! After all, I did contribute to all UK´s financial requirements prior to retirement re. NI contributions, pensions etc and even now, re. Revenue/ taxation,etc all of which I paid and still pay in UK.

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