Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

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vu8
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2018 10:15 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by vu8 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:00 pm

Hi good day mates, right now I am in the US with Vanguard and Merrill. Let's day if I move to Thailand, Hong Kong or Tokyo in 10 or 20 years, what would be some of the best expat friendly brokerages that won't raise drama and close accounts if I move to those aforementioned desirable locations?

Such as IB and Schwab, which I heard they love expats and do not give them a hassle.

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happyisland
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by happyisland » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:33 pm

Schwab has gotten more finicky recently, so I think you'd be best off with IB.

Skiandswim
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by Skiandswim » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:48 am

Vanguard and Fidelity have been fine, as long as we retained a US address (not PO box) for the accounts. Schwab has international services available and may direct you to move your accounts from US to their International services. We have had no big issues as we define our moves as "temporary"

Article on the problems for expats: https://www.americansabroad.org/mutual- ... trictions/

typical.investor
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by typical.investor » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:27 am

Schwab has less ability to open accounts for residents of anywhere. IB can do it for anywhere.

IB pricing is a little more complicated and support perhaps lacking.

I would call Schwab and ask if you open a US account and then move, will they transfer you? My understanding is that they can’t open an account for residents of some countries, but they don’t have to close your account if you move there because they are set up to offer only ETFs in their international account. Other places like Vanguard aren’t, and close your account because mutual funds are off limits. It really depends though.

QuantOfAsia
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by QuantOfAsia » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:34 pm

I've heard Schwab has a list of countries whose residents they will open accounts for (e.g. China, Hong Kong, UK), and countries whose residents they will not open accounts for (a list I heard currently includes Singapore and France, among other countries), and may close your account if you move, though would grandfather you if their list changes and you don't move.

I've used IB for much longer as a US person living in HK and have had a far simpler experience with them.

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billthecat
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by billthecat » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:55 pm

At what point are you considered an expat? If you're traveling the world, slowly, 2 mos. here 3 most there, is that considered an expat?

And if you are an expat, why not just maintain a US address and phone number? Even without an address, a number of states will aggressively consider you a resident, so even without an address why couldn't you still be resident for your purposes too?
We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust our sails.

QuantOfAsia
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by QuantOfAsia » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:19 am

billthecat wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:55 pm
At what point are you considered an expat? If you're traveling the world, slowly, 2 mos. here 3 most there, is that considered an expat?

And if you are an expat, why not just maintain a US address and phone number? Even without an address, a number of states will aggressively consider you a resident, so even without an address why couldn't you still be resident for your purposes too?
Some might say an American becomes an expat in years they qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion, either by spending 330 days outside the US, or making another jurisdiction your "tax home" (and paying local taxes there as a resident).

Many Americans overseas (including myself) still maintain a home and address in the US, but many don't, especially those that have never lived in the US.

German Expat
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by German Expat » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:49 am

We moved to Europe almost 5 years ago and kept a US address (sold our house and condo though). As far as Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard are concerned we have an address in the US and use it for all correspondence. All our investments are in the US as well and we also have a lot of US credit cards. It is a grey zone and there were a lot of previous posts about it. Worst case Vanguard does not allow you to invest new money from what I gathered. In the rare circumstances I have to call I use the US IP phone we have at our current home. For incoming SMS messages (e.g. 2 factor) I use google voice (ported our US home number there to not loose it).
Also don't forget that it is a pain to invest in a local bank or brokerage abroad with all the PFIC and other rules. E.g. years ago my German bank sold all my individual stocks (this was before bogleheads) that I still had and told me that they will keep my checking account active but I can not invest anymore except in a savings account.

sonosoldi3112
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by sonosoldi3112 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:28 pm

I would stick with Schwab as you get excellent 24 hour customer service plus the debit card and checking account and the no atm charges when using foreign ATM

While you can maintain a USA address and thus your account when you move to HuaHin or wherever .... I would opt for the Schwab International customer account as you do not need to hide anything from them or use vpn or other stuff like that. All you need to have is an existing US Schwab account and when you move they will convert it over for you ie some countries eg Ireland .. they might not open a new international account for you .. but if you have an existing Schwab account .. you are grand fathered in ...... you get new debit card and have access to all the features you already have at Schwab. The good news is that you keep all your existing etf's and mutual funds .... you will become restricted in so far as you may not be able to buy new mutual funds or add to the mutual funds you already own but say you have Vanguard Wellington ( closed at Schwab) but you may transfer your Wellington Mutual Fund ( Vwenx) to Schwab from Vanguard Brokerage and you can continue to collect and spend the dividends and may also sell shares. ..... just cannot add .... as to eft's no restrictions as of now. Search Schwab International and they USA number you can call and they will fill you in on all the current details

Another bonus is that you have no foreign bank reporting as Schwab International is based in USA to the best of my knowledge.

Boun Viaggio!

oslocal
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by oslocal » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 pm

Does Schwab respect withholding certificates based on tax treaties? I have read that some institutions seem to ignore it and withhold the max regardless. Wife and I will be moving to Norway in January, and we're thinking of what moves we need to make. Currently with Vanguard and Merrill Edge, but may close out everything and move it to Schwab for simplicity. Would appreciate any advice.

We're also somewhat concerned about tax implications of bonds vs. money market (capital gains and losses for bonds as measured in FX may be vastly different, whereas money market is simple interest).

Does Schwab have reasonable foreign transfer options?

oslocal
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by oslocal » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:41 pm

Just spoke to them. Apparently they will not do business with Norwegian residents unless the accounts were opened domestically at least 6 months prior.

lynneny
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by lynneny » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:51 pm

I moved to Mexico last year from U.S., and this is what has worked for me:

1. I kept my retirement accounts (IRA and Roth IRA) at Vanguard. They are fine with me being in Mexico as long as I DO NOT buy anything, apart from dividend reinvestment. I can keep current investments. I can sell current investments. I can reinvest dividends. Since I'm retired and can no longer add to retirement accounts, that works for me.

2. I closed my brokerage account at Merrill Lynch. They aren't expat friendly.

3. I opened new, U.S. brokerage account at Schwab about 8 months before I left U.S., and followed their suggestion to switch to international account after moving to Mexico. Schwab is a bit more liberal than Vanguard; I can buy ETFs, but not mutual funds (apparently U.S. firms aren't licensed to sell mutual funds outside U.S.). Schwab is the account I use on a daily basis -- for ATM withdrawal (Schwab debit cards don't charge a foreign transaction fee, and do reimburse you for any local bank fees), to pay my monthly bills, and for both domestic and international wire transfers when I need larger sums of money.

Having said that, none of our advice here is really of any use if you aren't moving abroad for 10 or 20 years. Things change. A decade or so from now, maybe no banks will want to work with expats. Or, maybe banks will have gotten used to the U.S. compliance laws that had the unintended consequence of punishing expats, and we'll be welcome again. But who knows.

expatjp
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by expatjp » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:40 am

Regarding Japan, I just spoke with a rep at Schwab and they informed me that Japan is a restricted country for international residents. As a resident of Japan, I am not able to open any new accounts. Also I am no longer about to transfer money into my existing accounts, and they will be closing out my Schwab Bank checking account.

It's unfortunate, but I guess it's their right to decide which markets they want to serve.

typical.investor
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by typical.investor » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:07 am

expatjp wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:40 am
Regarding Japan, I just spoke with a rep at Schwab and they informed me that Japan is a restricted country for international residents. As a resident of Japan, I am not able to open any new accounts. Also I am no longer about to transfer money into my existing accounts, and they will be closing out my Schwab Bank checking account.

It's unfortunate, but I guess it's their right to decide which markets they want to serve.
Schwab must abide by International agreements and I believe Japan has restrictions on what non-Japanese brokers can offer Japanese residents.

Interactive Brokers is set up in Japan and so they are operating under different rules.

Money Market
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by Money Market » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:54 am

Interactive Brokers is the only brokerage I've found that allows US citizen expatriates to hold and trade taxable brokerage accounts and IRAs without restrictions. They're very welcoming. However, you have to use their IBKR Pro account since IBKR Lite is for US residents only, though they told me over the phone that you're welcome to open a Lite account if you have a US address.

michoco911
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Re: Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

Post by michoco911 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:29 pm

For a non resident alien, when you invest in ETFs based in Ireland with IB, does this remove the risk of estate/death tax?
With international IB, where is the actual checking account? Europe? Or only US?
30% VWRD 30% VUSD 40% AGGG until further notice

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