UK savings

  • Grahame
  • 11/10/08 n/a (free)
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Posted: Wed, 12/08/2009 - 13:14

Below is a letter that I have just sent to BBC Moneybox

Hello

Perhaps you would be interested in following up this story. To give you a little background knowledge.
I am 65 years of age and for the past 22 years have lived in Spain. Twelve years age we purchased a second home here in the UK. I have a UK passport and driving licence. Myself and my wife own both houses. For the past number of years we have had a HSBC currant account in the UK.

Last October we lost most of our savings in the KSFIOM. Since then we have heard the Government say that people saving offshore were avoiding tax, and that British citizens should have invested in the UK where they would have been covered for these losses up to a certain figure. I am a British Citizen although resident in Spain.

I am back in the UK on holiday for three months which I do every year, so I thought that I would take Gordon Brown's advise, safeguard what monies we have left, and invest here with British Building Soc's and Banks. I should have realised, that most of what Brown tells us is not the truth. I have called on a number of Building Soc's and they will NOT allow us to open a savings bond account. What really takes the biscuit is Northern Rock which is in State ownership. Today they have told me that I have to be resident in the UK for at least six months before they will consider an account for me. Quote "it is our policy"

HSBC say it is against FSA rules for them to offer me financial advise! How the present Government can say what they have said about investing offshore since last October, is an absolute nonsense and needs to be brought to the publics knowledge. I am a member of DAG fighting for our rights in the KSFIOM situation, and what I have heard in the last few weeks from Banks etc only adds fuel to the fire of the complete incompetence of the FSA, Government and financial institutions here in the UK.

I really would appreciate any comments that you may have..

Regards

Grahame

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Abbey bank account

  • Equus
  • 14/10/08 08/06/09
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 06:40

We moved to France a year ago to retire (aged 67 and 61) and what a nightmare this year has been. We have been able to keep our Abbey current account in the UK and we can operate it to a limited extent on line (we only have a small amount of money in this). Unfortunately we closed our other savings accounts in the UK, and on the advice of financial advisers, put the money from the sale of our house in the UK £200,000 into KSFIoM. (were they getting 'incentives'). In France we rented a property while looking for a house to buy and had just found one and were about to put a deposit on it on October 8.
Meanwhile we had put the rest of our savings £350,000 into KSFIoM after getting cold feet about an investment package we were offered by the financial advisers. Before we did this we tried all the banks and building societies where we had had savings accounts before to re-open these but no luck (Abbey, Britannia and Coventry BS).
We have no other savings or pensions, as we only lived in the UK as adults for 14 years, and have not accummulated enough for a pension. We only have the £20,000 from the EPS which we brought to France to live on. It seems unlikely we'll ever be able to buy a home again.


NatWest and HSBC from Spain

  • ng
  • 11/10/08 31/12/20
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 23:35

When I moved to Spain at the end of 1997 NatWest very quickly advised (or insisted?) that I move my account to their Jersey branch. Later I spent some months resident in the UK during which time I opened an HSBC account. Later returning to Spain, HSBC maintained the account for a few years. However they closed it suddenly (without prior notice nor my agreement) for reasons which still mystify me and which, I suspect, would not have caused them to close the account had I been resident in the UK.

Conclusion: It's not easy to maintain a UK account if you move outside the UK, and it's very difficult to open a UK account if you are not resident in the UK, even if you are British.


RBS and HSBC

  • sad
  • 10/10/08 31/10/09
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 01:25

i opened a RBS current account while resident in the UK and they let me keep this account now i've moved out of the UK, they send statements, cheque books and cards to my address in Hong Kong. I also opened a HSBC savings account (crappy interest rate)this summer while back in the UK for a holiday, i do have a HSBC acount here in HK-not sure if that helped me get a UK account.


SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS

  • conned
  • 13/10/08 n/a (free)
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 15:39

The Government advises ex pats to bank offshore, then calls them TAX DODGERS. This was a deliberate attempt by Darling to rubbish us in the eyes of the public and it worked exceedingly well. This school for scoundrels trains in telling outrageous lies and the public are so naive they fall for it.


Bank accounts for non residents

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 13:46

Well done Grahame. I hope they will follow this up.

When I left the UK and moved to France 25 years ago, it was my local branch of Barclays who said I 'should' move my account to their IoM branch - which I did. I don't remember if it was compulsory, but it was certainly standard advice at the time. Years later, wishing to open a further "British" savings account, I naturally looked to the IoM and settled on the Debyshire as a subsidiary of a solid British Building Society. By this time I was aware that opening a mainland account was well-nigh impossible. The rest is history!

Two years ago, having recently retired, I moved to another part of France and sold my house to some English friends as a second home. They remain resident in the UK and spend on average about 10 days per month in France. They needed an account here in euros to pay the bills. So I accompanied them to the local branch of my French bank. We spent about an hour with one of the bank staff, showed her the papers she needed and filled in the necessary forms. Within a few days their account was up and running. Easy as pie! I guess it's the same in most European countries (or not?). Why can't the British do likewise? Why do they force us offshore?


anrigaut

  • arny
  • 15/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 14:23

I live in France, but can keep a current account in the uk. What would be interesting is whether your friends were/are able to open a savings account in France whilst being taxed in Great Britain.


@arny -UK/France accounts

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 17:32

I checked with my friends and yes, they did open a savings account (compte d'epargne) in France, with no problem, while being resident for tax purposes in UK. They also say they have a lot of difficulty trying to help foreign students living in UK for a year as language assistants (to whom they give lodgings) to open bank accounts in the UK. They say it's got more and more difficult.


Savings accounts

  • arny
  • 15/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Fri, 14/08/2009 - 07:49

Thank you anrigaut. I didn't know this was possible. How much mileage can DAG get out of this fact?


@arny - savings accounts France vs UK

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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  • Fri, 14/08/2009 - 08:46

"How much mileage can DAG get out of this fact?"

Not much I suspect, unfortunately. Especially as there's no law against doing the same in UK. What good for the goose ... !


I thought that a major thrust

  • expatfrance1
  • 15/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Fri, 14/08/2009 - 08:57

I thought that a major thrust of the EU was open markets. How is it therefore that the UK banks can operate in such a restrictive way and prevent UK citizens living and working in another EU country from opening and maintaining bank accounts. Surely there is a case to be answered at the European level or is it just another case of the almighty bankers being able to do whatever they want.


EU Directives?

  • cerberus
  • 12/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Mon, 17/08/2009 - 09:08

I too thought that the EU was intended to do away with such cross border restrictions and limitations in order to enable its citizens to operate as seamlessley as possible within the EU zone. Does anyone know of any EU Directives which may be useful to us in challenging the banking limitations we are currently experiencing?


Bank account opening

  • zigzag
  • 14/11/08 31/05/09
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  • Fri, 14/08/2009 - 13:42

In the last ten years or so it has become increasingly difficult to open / maintain a bank account in one country whilst living in another, irrespective of the identity documents willing to be provided. These restrictions seem to apply irrespective whether one lives within or without the European Union.

In view of the almost uniform obstruction it seems to me the UK government may have been applying pressure to both domestic banks with offshore branches, and the governments of other countries, to deny bank account facilities to UK nationals.


Human Rights Appeal Case

  • arny
  • 15/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Fri, 14/08/2009 - 09:53

Are DAG building up a dossier for an appeal? I feel that this UK restriction is just one of many points we could raise. Your thoughts please everyone. A comment DAG?


Human Rights case

  • Anonymous
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  • Sun, 16/08/2009 - 19:44

DST are aware of a possible Human Rights Act (HRA) case. Without going into too much detail, a HRA case would derive from the unlawful deprivation of property by a government institution.

Since the deprivation in this instance would be of KSFIOM's property (and not depositors' property), the case would need to be brought against the UK authorities by KSFIOM and/or KSFUK. It is unlikely that a case could be brought along these lines in the IoM.

In summary, it is therefore a case that the Joint Liquidators need to bring in the UK on behalf of KSFIOM, and we will be asking PwC whether they have done so.

DST


UK accounts

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 15:39

Good point.

You say you can "keep" a current account in UK, by which I understand that to be an account you had before leaving the UK? I know some banks allow that (though I believe some don't). But I don't think you could now "open" a current account in the UK without a UK address.

As far as I know, my friends opened only a current account in France, but I can ask next time I'm in touch with them. I didn't have the feeling it would pose any problem to open a "compte d'epargne" (and maybe they did - I just don't know). I know they have a French visa card.


UK Saving & bank account

  • Grahame
  • 11/10/08 n/a (free)
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  • Sat, 15/08/2009 - 16:14

I have a permanent address in the Uk. A currant account is not a problem as bills have to be paid, so why not a savings account?


UK Accounts

  • tonycBrisbaneOz
  • 12/10/08 31/05/13
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 22:25

Hi,

I've been able to keep my Barclays current account (opened in 1981) but I'm sure they'd like to be rid of me. They won't let my change my Australian address, I've tried several times, and they pay a derisory amount of interest, about 70p per year net. I can't use telephone banking, I can use the internet fortunately and I have a cheque book.

Hopefully it's costing them more to keep the account open than they pay in interest.

But of course it costs me money to keep the mail re-direction on.

I'd rather not move what little I have left to the IOM, Guernsey or Jersey

Regards, TonyC


Barclays

  • brianbrasil1
  • 17/11/08 n/a (free)
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 22:55

I still have an account with them (with a south American address) and no problems. I have internet and telephone banking But, but.. they won't make overseas transfers on line (or by phone) from the UK, so it's of limited use.


Known Your Customer

  • ItsTheft
  • 10/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 21:29

This appears to differ for different people.

For example, once we had moved to Australia I tried to change out address with B&B, HSBC , NafWest and Cahoot. Every single one of them got back to me saying I had to close my account. Cahoot, HSBC and NafWest were the most aggressive - threatening to forcibly close my accounts, so I transfered all the money to the B&B (On the wider scale, not most, £150K. But it was the proceeds of 30 years hard work and miserly saving - never been in debt except for a 50% Mortgage, never gambled etc etc...) account to give me time to think what to do next.

I couldn't find any UK based bank that would let me open an account with a couple saying that the UK Government's Anti-Terrorism laws meant that they were not allowed to accept overseas accounts. I have subsequently found this is not strictly true; the Government did indeed change the banking laws in 2007 tightening the rules covering customer identification but it didnt say the banks could not accept non-domiciled account holders. However, it made the identification process so costly for the banks that it made it uneconomical for them to use - hence they just had a blanket ban of overseas customers. The rules were not entirely clear - in usual HMG garbled gobbeldy gook - and so it seems that different branches of the same banks (and even different employees with the same branch!) interpreted the rules differently. Hence some people were lucky and were able to keep their accounts, some branches allowed customers living within the Eurozone and some allowed accounts when the customer sent Solicitor authenticated identity documents.

Eventually B&B got fed up with me (fair do, I had prevaricated for nearly 3 months!) and sent me a bankers cheque, through the post, for the full amount while shutting my account. As you can imagine, i was fuming at them sending a cheque though the post (not even registered!) with my entire life savings on it. The rest is history; we decided to take an exchage-rate hit, transfer the money to us here and break all ties with the UK. I opened an account with the bank that came top in money-reviews and bank credit-ratings (thinking it would be the safest) - KSF IoM - and sent the cheque (by insured courier!) to Kirsty Skillicorn at KSF. Once the cheque cleared, Kirsty kindly sent me an e-mail saying the money was available and I could go ahead with the exchange. After buying the Aussie Dollars using Ozforex I sent a fax with the instructions but, of course, it never happened and life has been a sheer hell ever since.

So, it appears to differ for different people. But I personally will continue my (often lonely) crusade against Darling, Pearson, Myners et al as these are the people who were directly and personally responsible. The Treasury, & Darling, ignored the offshore savers they would destroy (hoping that being offshore, the screams of agony would not be loud enough for the British voters to hear), were unaware of the affect their 2007 Anti-terrorism money laudering laws had had, and went ahead with what they thought was right. Ever since then, and being intelligent people, they have kept a policy of silence. The old addage of 'ignore them and they will go away' is very apt and in general has worked - we have gone away and blindly attacked the easier target of the IoM (without actually knowing exactly what the IoM could do). The Conservative & Libdem parties - in general - dont want to get involved as they broadly agreed with Darling's action; that is why in General our MP's have been reluctant to more than shuffle paper and pass letters on. For every 100 emails I send to MP's (each written bespoke) I probably get 1 or 2 positive replies; out of those replies only a small percentage have any real substance. Bl**dy disheartening, but that is exactly what they want! With me personally it will not work though, and I will continue my fight. The reasons have changed (I dont care about the money anymore, any I get will go to my now distant family) and now it is crystal-clear pure cold revenge - I WILL NOT let Darling, Pearson, Myners and the rest of the self-serving prats in Parliament get away with this. Anyway, sorry, got carried away there.....


Welcome back Matt,

  • mikepapa
  • 10/10/08 n/a (free)
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 17:54

Welcome back Matt, :-)

Kind regards,

Mike


Fight Theft can you give us

  • chd
  • 13/10/08 30/09/09
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 08:52

Fight Theft can you give us the relevant e-mails (Darling, Pearson, Myners etc ) to write to? I've had no reply whatsoever from Darling at the Treasury. Maybe you've got a better address?


@Swiss - re Treasury

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 10:28

Hi Swiss,
This is the nearest I've ever got to Treasury. Back in May I wrote to n° 10 who simply forwarded my letter to Treasury, whence I eventually got the old standard blurb. I replied (on 28 June) saying that this had helped me not one jot & told me absolutely nothing I didn't already know. After two reminders I got the following on 28 July :

" I would like to apologise for the delay you have experienced in receiving a response to your e-mail.

Our aim is to reply to all correspondence within 15 working days of receipt. However, the current economic and financial situation has given rise to a big increase in the volume of related correspondence, which has created a long backlog . We are now working very hard to clear the backlog quickly and to ensure the necessary processes are in place to deal with higher volumes of correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs P Wright
HM Treasury
Correspondence and Enquiry Unit"

So they have a backlog!! Nothing since then - I shall soon write again. Of course it doesn't get anywhere near Darling - but I did request that they pass it up the line to get some proper answers to my questions! The address for what it's worth (to add to their backlog!) is CEU [dot] Enquiries(?)hm-treasury [dot] x [dot] gsi [dot] gov [dot] uk

Good luck!


Getting Thefts mixed up

  • ItsTheft
  • 10/10/08 31/05/09
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 10:01

Swiss, you are getting your Thefts mixed up :-)

I have never got a direct reply from any of them. None of the emails i sent 'bounced' so they were either just deleted or re-directed to the Junk-Email boxes of their PA's.

The responses I've had back have been from the MP's who forward my emails to the relevant departments.

Go to http://www.writetothem.com/ to contact MPs. Search on google maps or http://www.upmystreet.com to find postcodes and use that to contact as many MP's as possible. Most dont check the electoral roles to see if you really are a constituent. Yep, it is dishonest. But i dont care anymore, what they did was more than dishonest.


Lord William Wallace

  • bellyup
  • 10/10/08 09/01/10
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  • Thu, 13/08/2009 - 10:37

Not Braveheart but a lib dem peer who is taking some interest in the offshore islands at the moment.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8197234.stm

No direct contact so use

http://www.writetothem.com/


duplicated

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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  • Wed, 12/08/2009 - 13:47

Sorry - duplicated by mistake!