Expat friendly brokerages as of April 2019?

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vu8
Posts: 254
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
Posts: 434
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:36 pm

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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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:24 pm

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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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:17 am

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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Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:57 pm
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?

QuantOfAsia
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Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:57 pm
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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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:49 pm

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!

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