The British Pound rose against the Euro on Monday after BMG and Survation polls confirmed expectations of a Tory win in the general elections on 12 December. Both polls showed that the Conservative Party was leading the polls, with Labour suffering losses.

The Independent’s BMG poll showed the Conservatives gaining points to 41% and Labour losing 1 point to 32%. ITV's Good Morning Britain Survation poll showed the Conservatives gaining 2 points to 45% and Labour losing 2 points to 31%. Leading by 7 points means that the Tories will win with a majority, while a 14-point lead shows a clear-cut win.

With a Tory majority clearly confirmed by the polls, and fears of a hung parliament receding, the pound rose to a 31-month high against the euro, while against the dollar, the pound was a little bit less than last week’s 7-month highs.

The Survation poll was conducted between 5 and 7 December by telephone with 1,012 respondents. The positive news for the pound is also that Labour is losing rather than gaining points, showing that there is a healthy gap between the two parties and that that gap would be impossible to close in the next three days. Richard Pace, options analyst with Thomson Reuters, said that "Polls continue to show the Conservatives on course for a majority government after Thursday's UK election, which would end the Brexit uncertainty and prove the most favourable outcome for GBP." It appears that a Tory majority is almost now certain, but many traders are waiting to see as the high number of undecided voters could affect the election outcome.

Undecided voters

According to Elsa Lignos of Royal Bank of Canada, undecided voters could really change the election outcome. As she said: “There are two main possible outcomes for this week’s election which will shape the UK for possibly decades to come: (1) A Conservative majority government (exit from the EU at end-Jan on terms of Withdrawal Agreement and then still TBD, the free trade agreement that has to be negotiated by the end of the transition period); (2) A hung Parliament that would see a further delay to the UK’s EU exit and potentially a second referendum. Bookies odds show a Tory majority as a near certainty, in line with the steady gap in most (but not all) opinion polls. But there is a historically high number of undecided voters which could affect as many as 80 marginal seats. We will be neutral GBP going into Thursday and look to trade the outcome.”

Final push

The Telegraph reported that Boris Johnson will visit on Monday Leave-supporting constituencies in England and Wales to urge them to reject Jeremy Corbyn’s “great betrayal” of Brexit and Labour politicians “who sneer at your values and ignore your votes.” He is expected to tell voters in Sunderland later on Monday that "The Labour party has let you down," while Parliament has "bent every rule and broken every convention as it has delayed, diluted and denied Brexit.” Johnson’s message will be that a vote for his party is a vote to "get Brexit done and unleash Britain's potential.”

On the other hand, Labour, will turn towards the economy by highlighting their radical programme of nationalising utilities and the Royal Mail, as well as investing in public services, and creating new rules for businesses and homeowners in the first 100 days of a Corbyn administration.

UPFX

If you are moving funds overseas and want to secure access to the best exchange rates possible, get in touch with a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX has years of experience in transferring money overseas, fast, securely and with low costs. With their online payment platform for 24-hour international money transfers and experts monitoring the market, UPFX is the best choice for your international money transfers. From managing market volatility and protecting your money from currency fluctuations, UPFX’s team will provide you with the certainty you need.

Starting a new life abroad is a dream scenario that poses a wealth opportunity and endless possibilities. For many, the destination of choice for that restart is the beautiful country of Dubai.

Dubai is one of the most popular cities in the United Arab Emirates. So much so that Dubai has one of the largest percentages of expats in the entire world.

In fact, an incredible 80% of Dubai’s population is comprised of expats, which is great news for Brits looking to relocate.

However, moving to Dubai is no small feat. The application process can be a laborious task, while there are numerous cultural differences to keep in mind as well.

To keep the culture shock to a minimum, we’ve created this guide to help make your move to the “City of Gold” a truly priceless experience.

Dubai Visas

Once you’ve made up your mind and your heart is set on moving to Dubai, the next step is identifying the relevant visa to apply for.

As a rule of thumb, there are four primary visas that apply for expats looking to relocate to Dubai. These are:

Dubai Employment Visa

Arranged by your employer, this visa allows you to enter the country for work purposes once the appropriate work permit has been issued.

Dubai Dependant Visa

Designed for those whose partners or parents are already residing in Dubai, this visa permits entry to spouses and offspring.

- Dubai Student Visa

For those looking to enrol in Dubai university, a student visa is required to allow you to legally study in Dubai.

Dubai Investor Visa

As the name suggests, this visa is exclusively for expats looking to invest in companies based within the United Arab Emirates.

 

In order to complete the application process, there is also an extensive amount of paperwork and admin required, including provision of passport, educational documentation and subsequent attestation of certification.

In addition to the above, the visa process also requires a compulsory health check. Once this has been completed, you will be issued with an Emirates ID Card which confirms your eligibility to work and remain in the UAE.

Money in Dubai

The designated currency of Dubai is the AED, which stands for Arab Emirates Dirham. This is also commonly abbreviated to Dhs or DH. 

Much like British currency, AED banks notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50; however, unlike British currency, they also extend to 100, 200, 500 and 1000.

As of writing, £1 sterling is the equivalent of approximately 4.75 United Arab Emirates Dirham, meaning a single AED equates to roughly 21p.

Good to Know

While the population does have a large contingent of foreign immigrants, it’s important to remember that Islam is still the national religion and the codes and conventions of that religion are rigidly enforced.

As such, there are notable restrictions on various aspects of daily life that are deemed perfectly acceptable in the UK. A notable example of this is clothing and what is deemed as acceptable clothing in the UK may not be viewed the same in Dubai.

While the dress code in Dubai is quite liberal in comparison to other UAE destinations, outlandish attire may land you in trouble. These restrictions are particularly evident when it comes to female clothing, with significant exposed skin a risky fashion choice.

Alcohol in Dubai 

Drinking laws are considerably different in the UAE, with stringent alcohol restrictions in place. While the drinking age is 21, you can only drink in approved venues which hold a relevant alcohol license (typically hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs).

For tourists, it’s an offence to buy alcohol from an off-license; however, a 30-day tourist pass can be obtained by completing a form and signing a declaration that states you will follow UAE alcohol rules and regulation.

For residents, in order to purchase alcohol, you must hold a UAE alcohol license. Alcohol licenses are available to non-Muslim UAE residents of 21+ and allow the cardholder to buy, consume and store alcohol at home.

Alcohol licenses can be obtained online or in person at select alcohol retailers across Dubai. These cost AED 270 (roughly £57) and take approximately three weeks to process after application. The license itself is valid for a year and needs to be renewed annually for continued use.

Crucially, it’s illegal to drink and/or be under the influence of alcohol in a public place and British nationals have been arrested and charged in the past for such a misdemeanour. That includes the beach too.

Driving in Dubai

While Dubai does have its own metro connecting most parts of the city – which will be music to the ears of many relocating Londoners – driving in Dubai will be a goal on the list of many would-be expats.

Luckily, for those already in possession of an existing UK driving license, driving in Dubai is relatively easy to arrange. UK drivers are able to convert their UK driving licenses to a UAE driving license.

To do so, all you’ll need to do is visit Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authorities. Once there, you’ll be asked to submit a series of documents (including original license, Emirates ID, etc.) and pay a set fee to complete the transfer.

Once mobile, Dubai residents will also find that fuel costs are considerably cheaper than they are domestically in the UK and it’s not unusual for a litre of petrol to cost around 40p in UK money.

Transferring Money to Dubai

During the moving process, you are probably going to need to send money to Dubai to pay for goods and services; including living necessities such as accommodation, various license fees, etc.

At Universal Partners FX, we can help you to transfer money to Dubai quickly, easily and hassle-free. Best of all, our swift online process includes no hidden fees or nasty surprises along the way.

If you’re looking to send money to Dubai, all you need to do is follow our simple three-step process:

  1. Register for free
  2. Secure your exchange rate
  3. We make your payment

Our services are available 24/7 and regulated by the FCA. We’re even backed by a 5-star rating from independent review site Feefo, giving you further peace of mind from those in the know.

For more information on how to send money to Dubai quickly, safely and securely, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 020 7190 9559 top speak with one of our experts or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

Contact Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying property in Canada is very attractive to expats, considering the affordability of Canadian housing prices, the good healthcare system as well as the country’s natural beauty and safety.

Who can buy property?

Everyone can buy property in Canada, and foreigners or non-residents who stay less than six months a year in Canada can do so without the need to apply for residency. However, if you buy property and plan to stay longer, then you have to immigrate and apply for permanent residency. If you don’t plan on living in the country, then you can rent your property and pay a 25 per cent withholding tax on your rental income which will be deducted from the monthly rent.

Fees and Taxes

In general, though, everyone, whether a Canadian or foreigner, must pay the same fees and taxes when buying real estate. However, different rules might apply when it comes selling your property or buying property in certain jurisdictions where higher property or land transfer taxes exists. Taking a mortgage will also need to be at a Canadian bank and will require you to pay a 35 percent of the purchase price as a down payment compared to the five or 10 per cent paid by Canadian residents.

Housing market

The housing market in Canada is ideal for buying property as prices have dropped, making even larger and more expensive cities such as Vancouver and Toronto appealing. From the East Coast, to Central Canada and the West Coast, expats have many choices, including affordable cities such as Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Ottawa.

From detached homes, attached townhouses or apartments, there is a wide range of choices so it is wise to start searching online to get an idea of what you prefer and what properties are available.

 According to the Chief Economist of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Gregory Klump, “It’s a full-blown buyer’s market or on the cusp of one in a number of housing markets across the Prairies and in Newfoundland. Homebuyers there have the upper hand in purchase negotiations and the mortgage stress-test has contributed to that by reducing the number of competing buyers who can qualify for mortgage financing while market conditions are in their favour.” Following statistics released this month by CREA, home price trends have stabilised in Calgary and Saskatoon, but home prices in Edmonton and Regina dropped. On the other hand, in Greater Vancouver (GVA) and the Fraser Valley, prices have started to slowly recover. Price growth also continues to recover in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

In a Huffington Post article, originally published in Livabl, it is argued that in the new year home sales in Canada are expected to rise, which is good news for those buying property in the next few years.  After rising in 2016, and falling in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is now forecasting that the market will see a surge. With the release of its 2020 outlook for the national market, CMHC expects sales to continue in Ontario and British Columbia’s major markets due to “disposable income increases for the two provinces that exceed the national average and strong demographic-driven demand for housing.”

Despite the housing market’s decline the last two years, CMHC believes that home prices will soon rise, especially in Ontario and Quebec which are expected to drive growth in 2020, and British Columbia in 2021.

Buying property in Canada: your finances

If you are getting a loan as a non-resident, then you will need to provide a down payment of 35 percent and get a loan at 65 percent of the purchase price. Any mortgage would have to be raised by a Canadian broker or bank, as foreign banks cannot register mortgages in Canada. As is the case generally, you will need the services of a Canadian lawyer or notary so all documents regarding the mortgage and land registration are prepared and submitted. As you are borrowing funds, you will need to organise your finances and consider the overall costs, which includes the purchase price, property transfer tax (one percent of the first 100,000 CAD, and two percent on the balance), bank appraisal fees, inspection fees, insurance costs and closing legal fees.

If you are considering buying property in Canada, you will also need to discuss how to transfer your funds with a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX will offer invaluable help when transferring large amounts of money internationally, especially in a volatile market which can affect the value of your transfers. UPFX’s foreign exchange specialists can navigate the complexities of currency markets and ensure that your funds are transferred without any hidden costs and in then most cost-effective manner. Give them a call today to find out how much they can save you on your international payments.

Prime minister Boris Johnson wants to “get Brexit done,” but with Brexit the unresolved issue of the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU and other countries still remains and is expected to be one of the big concerns at the end of 2020.

If Brexit does happen, the UK will need to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU so it continues to enjoy tariff-free access to its market after the transition period, and will also need to negotiate and sign new trade deals with countries such as the US.

According to Johnson’s withdrawal agreement, the UK will continue trading with the existing terms until the end of the transition period which is due on 31 December 2020. He has already stated that, if he wins a majority, he will negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU which will come to replace the current arrangement at the end of 2020. The deadline for next year is considered among economists and politicians a very challenging one, as the time frame is limited and the subject matter demanding and complicated. As it is usually the case, trade negotiations take years, so it is similarly expected that Johnson’s trade agreement will be a difficult task, impossible to deliver as promised. Of course, it will be possible to extend the transition period, but this should be decided by 1 July.

As a Financial Times article notes, it is difficult to see the EU and the UK reaching a deal in as little as five months, especially when there’s legal and translation issues involved. A draft for an EU-Japan deal took four months and 10 days to prepare, “including ‘legal scrubbing’ and translation into 24 official EU languages — and this is viewed in Brussels as an example of the bloc moving at breakneck speed.”

In the case of Canada’s deal with the EU, this took more than five years to complete and another three before it came into force. For some, the UK-EU trade deal will be even more difficult as the two sides will attempt to establish a new relationship that seeks to replace an older one, while for others, the negotiation will be fast and quick as we are already in sync with EU regulations.

What is an FTA?

An FTA is a multinational trade agreement that creates a free-trade area between different states and determines the tariffs and duties on imports and exports in order to eliminate trade barriers, such as trade taxes or tariffs. While a customs union is more encompassing and requires all parties to have the same external tariffs, a free-trade agreement allows countries to establish whatever tariffs they wish, otherwise adopting a preferential treatment system.

If the EU and the UK are unable to reach a trade agreement within the specified time frame, then the UK will revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) terms – which means British exporters would have to face the same tariffs as other countries as the US or China. But even with a trade agreement, the privileges that are currently enjoyed under the customs union will be lost.  A trade agreement will mean more costs and more bureaucratic control for UK companies, which is why economists are warning that Brexit will damage the UK economy.

The UK is also in the process of rolling over the EU’s existing free trade deals with other countries in order to avoid losing tariff-free access to the EU after Brexit. The UK has signed 19 continuity deals with 49 countries. The UK’s biggest trading partners are the US and the UK, with the US being the UK's biggest single trading partner, and the EU accounting for 46% of UK exports. The problem with striking an FTA with the US is the obvious standards in food products, especially when in the US regulations are not as strict as in the EU, with the most obvious examples being genetically modified foods and chlorinated chicken.

At the moment, one of the most important Brexit outcomes is considered to be the resolution of a trade agreement with the EU by the end of next year, as the scenario of leaving without a trade deal will not only result in a political crisis for the government, but also an economic one for the whole of the UK.

Imports and exports

If you are a British importer or exporter, you would have experience with fluctuating exchange rates and currencies. Universal Partners FX is the best option for your foreign exchange needs as they can transfer your international payments fast and securely, help you with your regular payments and offer expert information. Get in touch with their foreign exchange specialists to find out the most opportune time to transfer your funds or get access to the best exchange rates and hedging strategies to protect and grow your business.

For many people, moving to Singapore is something they can only dream of. The lifestyle, the quality-of-life, the city, the food. There is so much that makes Singapore the perfect place to pack your bags and leave to; which is why so many people do.

Singapore is an efficient and clean Asian city that possesses much of the charm from the days it was a British colony, whilst at the same time offering a cutting-edge, advanced environment that attracts so many from overseas. Located on the southern tip of Malaysia, it has developed into one of the most important finance and trade centres in the whole of Asia, making it one of the wealthiest places in the world and one of the most popular places for expats to live and work.

An expat destination

As a result of its safe, modern and welcoming culture, expats from all over the world move to Singapore each year in huge numbers to both live and to work. Offering high-quality education, low priced homes and strong levels of security, it has become an ideal place to move permanently and raise families. The standard of living is notoriously high with healthcare facilities being rated second-to-none and low crime rates making it a safe place to explore day and night. With such a huge influx of expats in Singapore, you’ll never be too far from expat groups and clubs for a variety of nationalities, making your transition to life abroad an easy one.

So, if you’re planning on becoming one of the many Singapore expats, here are a few of things you will need to keep in mind before making the move, whether it’s for a short-term or long-term stay.

Getting the right visa   

Before you can jet off to start your expat life in Singapore, you’ll need to apply for a visa and the right visa at that. The length of your stay and the reasons behind your move will ultimately determine which visa type you will need to apply for. One thing you’ll be glad to hear, however, is that visa requirements in Singapore are mostly based on salary, making it a much simpler process than most other countries.

  • Permanent Residence Visa – This visa is for expats who are planning on making the Lion City their long-term home and comes with a number of benefits including lower education fees, ability to purchase public housing and participation in the social security system. Expats can apply for permanent residency in Singapore under the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme (PTS) pretty much as soon as they acquire their P, Q, or S Work Pass
  • Work Permit Visa – There are different types of work permits for Singapore, which are determined by your purpose and length of stay. Your monthly salary will also determine the type of Employment Pass you’ll need. Generally speaking, Employment Passes apply to those who earn at least 3,300 Singapore Dollars (SGD) per month, and work visas are designed for workers with a lower income.

Expat jobs & career opportunities

If you are highly educated and/or have a strong level of work experience, you will find job opportunities in Singapore far easier to come by. However, the level of competition is fierce as Singaporeans are themselves well-educated. It is recommended that if you are planning on moving to Singapore, either short or long-term and are not transferring with your current employer, you should have a job lined up before you arrive.

Once you have arrived in the country, networking may the best way to land yourself a job, with a significant amount of people finding work through who they know as opposed to through job advertisements. For expats specifically, there is a substantial amount of jobs available in the finance and banking sectors, as well as the electronic, IT and shipping industries.

Finding accommodation

With a visa and job hopefully lined up, the next thing on the Singapore expats list is to find somewhere to stay or live. Your choice of accommodation in Singapore may depend on your citizenship, so as an expat, you will be limited to the type of housing you can buy and the conditions of your stay.

Singapore citizens are able to buy new public housing and get financial help to buy a home, while permanent residents can only buy resold public housing and are not eligible for financial assistance. Before you can become a permanent resident, however, you are classed as a foreigner and will only be able to rent a flat or a room from a local landlord.

  • Renting – Unless you are planning on buying property in Singapore, which, due to a shortage of real estate and land for expats, can be very expensive, short-term rentals might be the best solutions. The average price for temporary rentals in Singapore differs depending on how central the property is, its size, facilities, special services, and more. A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, for example, could cost 2,645 SGD. Whereas a one-bedroom outside the city centre could cost 1,511 SGD.
  • Buying - Understanding how to buy a property as a non-resident in Singapore can be complicated, but as long as you understand the rules and regulations on non-nationals purchasing properties, the process should be smooth. Research has shown that the most expensive properties in Singapore’s 28 neighbourhoods varied in price from 1.4 million SGD to 110 million SGD. Whereas in the cheapest neighbourhoods, the top prices went from 200,000 SGD to 2.2 million SGD. Read our guide to buying property abroad here to learn how to prevent exchange rates impacting your purchase.

Cost of living

One of the main attractions for expat life in Singapore is the very high standard of living, however, this can come at a price. In Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, Singapore was rated as the third most expensive region to live in the world. Expats who are looking for living conditions similar to what they experienced in their home country, may find that the cost of living is very high in comparison. As well as house prices which have already been discussed, alcohol is also taxed at a high rate along with cars. Foods and groceries are reasonably priced with local stalls and shopping malls offering very cheap dining options.

Language

The official language of Singapore is Mandarin Chinese; however, English is the most common language which is used for business and trade. School generally teach students in English but will also expect children to learn Mandarin as well. Other common languages include Tamil, Malay and Cantonese. An additional thing to note is that many Singaporeans speak a language that has come to be known as Singlish; a mixture of English and other languages. This can be difficult for English speakers to understand but on the whole, they seldom experience any real problems communicating with people in Singapore.

Climate

As Singapore lies close to the equator, it enjoys a tropical climate with no sharply divided seasons. It possesses a year-round temperature as well as high humidity and large levels of rainfall. The temperature can range from 22 °C-34 °C, with humidity levels capable of reaching 100% with increases in rainfall. Singapore’s hottest months are June and July, with its monsoon seasons coming in November and December.

Facts every Singapore expat should know

  • In Singapore, you are required to pay tax in order to own a television.
  • There is a restriction on which breeds of dog you can bring into the country.
  • There is a limitation on the number of animals you are allowed to own depending on the type of building you live in.
  • Left-hand drive cars are not allowed in Singapore.
  • You may drive in Singapore using your own license from your native country for up to one year but after this period you will be required to convert to a Singapore license.
  • It is warmer and drier in Eastern Singapore.
  • Public holiday range from the Christian holiday of Good Friday to Vesak Day; a Buddhist holiday.
  • Singapore also has its very own National Day during which it celebrates Singapore’s independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.

Sending money to Singapore

Working or living as an expat in Singapore, you’ll most likely want to open a local bank account in order to receive your salary in SGD. However, if you want to send money back to your native country, or even make a payment into your Singaporean bank account from outside the country, you should pay particular attention to your foreign exchange needs.

Making an international payment through your bank to a Singaporean bank account could incur additional transaction fees, which you’ll most likely want to avoid. In addition to the extra cost, you could be given a poor exchange rate, which will impact the amount you’re getting for your money on the other end of your transfer. Fortunately, with Universal Partners FX, you can receive an extremely competitive exchange and zero transaction fees, getting your expat life in Singapore off to the best possible start. Simply sign-up for a free account with us today to get started.

Register for a Personal Account >

For more information on how Universal Partners FX can help with your expat life in Singapore, be sure to get in touch with one of our foreign exchange experts today.

After a Kantar poll showed that Labour was gaining support, with the Conservatives leading by 43 percent and Labour closing the gap at 32 percent, the pound reacted by falling lower.

FXStreet’s Yohay Elam could not have put it better: “Bearded Corbyn is bringing the bears out." While the chances are low, the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn being the next PM has spooked the pound.

Up until now, the pound has reacted positively in accordance with the possibility of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party winning at the UK general election. With polls mostly showing that the Conservatives’ lead has been growing, analysts have been anticipating a majority of seats for the Conservatives, which will significantly boost the pound. This is based on the belief that Johnson will “get Brexit done” before the deadline of 31 January, which means that an orderly Brexit will come hand in hand with the pound trading higher.

However, after the Labour party released its manifesto last week promising to increase both spending and taxes, support pensioners and nationalise industries, alongside the pledge of a confirmatory referendum on Brexit, support has surged for the main opposition party, something which is now reflected in the polls.

The Kantar poll

Kantar surveyed 1,097 people online between 21-25 of November. According to the poll, which took place after both parties had published their manifestos, support for the Conservatives fell 2 points while Labour gained 5 points.

The Kantar poll was published on Tuesday following Monday's poll by ICM for Reuters which also showed that the Conservative's lead is threatened by Labour, supporting further the possibility of a hung parliament. A hung parliament will be negative for Sterling as it will create uncertainty over Brexit and hurt businesses and financial markets’ sentiment.

Markets are wary

If Labour continues to perform well in the polls and the gap between the two main opposition parties tightens, then the pound might be unable to maintain its steady upward trajectory. Analysts are cautious now as the risks for the pound are increasing due to markets being too confident that a Conservative majority was the most certain outcome. With the campaign entering its last two weeks and undecided voters (most possibly Labour voters) changing current certainties, risks are definitely on the rise over the coming days.

Investors are wary of the latest Labour bounce, but if Conservatives continue to poll well, then things will change again and the market will become more confident over a Conservative majority scenario.

According to CNBC, Opinium’s latest voter intention poll gives the Conservatives a 19-point advantage over Labour, but “this could be too good to be true,” as BMO Capital Markets Head of European FX Strategy Stephen Gallo said. Gallo also stated that the outlook for GBP was binary. He said: “We’d much rather be looking for value in selling the GBP on a 1-3 month basis, on the view that hung parliament odds are ‘underpriced’ by the FX market, and even with a comfortable (Conservative) majority, the remaining U.K.-EU negotiations on an FTA (free trade agreement) will probably raise the odds of a ‘no deal’ exit from the transition phase in 2020.”

Whether the pound continues to retreat due to polls showing a Conservative lead shrinking, it remains to be seen.

However, you can take control of your finances by getting in touch with a leading foreign exchange specialist such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX offers competitive rates and helps you transfer your funds at the most optimal time and at the best possible rates. UPFX’s currency specialists can offer invaluable market insight and tailored strategies so that you make the most of your money.

The world of currency exchange can be a foggy landscape to explore for an outsider, filled with alien jargon and complex topics.

One such term that may fit into all three of those categories is the phrase “spot rates”. To help demist this hazy phrase, we’re shining a spotlight on spot rates to clear up any confusion.

What is a Spot Rate?

At its simplest, a spot rate can be defined as a contracted price for a transaction that is taking place immediately (i.e. providing the on-the-spot price there and then).

Spot rates are also sometimes known as “interbank rates” as they are the rate banks and large financial institutions – such as brokerage firms and credit unions – charge each other when trading large sums of foreign currency.

Calculating Spot Rates

Also known as the spot price, the spot rate is based on how much buyers are willing to pay and how much sellers are willing to accept, essentially reflecting supply and demand.

Spot Rates vs Forward Contracts

When discussing spot rates, it’s important to not confuse this with forward rates. Forward rates can best be described as the opposite of a spot rate, typically used to quote a transaction that will take place down the line at a future date, based on the predicted value at the time of settlement.

What is a Spot Contract?

A spot contract is the legally binding agreement relating to the spot trade deal, representing a sworn obligation to buy or sell at the rate agreed between the two parties.

Due to the immediate nature of the valuation, the spot contract usually dictates that a transaction occurs one or two business days from the initial agreed trade date. The date the transaction is initiated on is commonly referred to as the “horizon”.

Spot Rates and Currency

A foreign exchange spot transaction is where one party agrees to purchase one currency by selling another, at a specific price on a set date. This is sometimes referred to as an “FX spot”.

FX spot rates differ from the exchange rate you would see at a typical bureau de change due primarily to the volume of currency exchanged in business vs civilian usage. Think of it as the same way that wholesale prices differ from retail prices.

For more information on spot rates, why not get in touch today and speak with one of our foreign exchange experts? Call now on 020 7190 9559 or send us a message online using the button below.

Contact Us >

 

 

If you need to send money abroad, the transfer process can sometimes be a bit of headache, particularly if you’re a novice and don’t know where to start.

After all, not everyone is a financial expert and separating acronyms like SWIFT and IBAN can leave many a civilian more than a little befuddled.

That being said, transferring euros throughout the European Union can be a fairly straightforward process, thanks primarily to the introduction of SEPA transfers.

What Are SEPA Transfers?

In a nutshell, SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. A payment initiative of the European Union, SEPA transfers are specifically designed to simplify bank transfers denominated in the currency of euros and improve the overall efficiency of cross-border payments within the EU.

The aim of SEPA transfers is to make an international transfer of euro payments the equivalent to money transfer within your own country. Naturally, this is only applicable to participating countries, predominantly featuring those that comprise the EU, and SEPA doesn’t cover payments in currencies other than the euro.

Essentially, SEPA allows for smooth borderless payment within the Eurozone. For example, you could send money quickly and easily from Paris to Berlin much like you would a payment from Birmingham to Bromley, with no strings attached.

Payments typically take between 1 and 2 working days to complete.

Which Countries Participate in SEPA?

In a nutshell, SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. A payment initiative of the European Union, SEPA transfers are specifically designed to simplify bank transfers denominated in the currency of euros and improve the overall efficiency of cross-border payments within the EU.

The aim of SEPA transfers is to make an international transfer of euro payments the equivalent to money transfer within your own country. Naturally, this is only applicable to participating countries, predominantly featuring those that comprise the EU, and SEPA doesn’t cover payments in currencies other than the euro.

Essentially, SEPA allows for smooth borderless payment within the Eurozone. For example, you could send money quickly and easily from Paris to Berlin much like you would a payment from Birmingham to Bromley, with no strings attached.

Payments typically take between 1 and 2 working days to complete.

Which Countries Participate in SEPA?

As of November 2019, the list of SEPA countries is as follows:

  • Åland Islands
  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Azores
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canary Islands
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guernsey
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Réunion
  • Romania
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Martin (French part)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom 

Are SEPA Transfers Free?

Transfers between banks accounts in different SEPA countries should cost the same as domestic transfer and incur no inflated fees, despite the international nature of the exchange, as per EU regulations.

For more information on SEPA transfers or to make an EU transfer with Universal Partners FX, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 020 7190 9559 to speak with one of our expert advisors or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

Get in Touch > 

Universal Partners FX Joins Movement to Shine a Spotlight on Fraud

International Fraud Awareness Week kicks off Nov. 17, 2019 worldwide

Fraud costs organizations worldwide an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues, according to a study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse analyzed 2,690 occupational fraud cases that caused a total loss of more than $7.1 billion.

The seriousness of the global fraud problem is why Universal Partners FX announced that it will be participating in International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 17-23, 2019, as an official supporter to promote anti-fraud awareness and education. The movement, known commonly as Fraud Week, champions the need to proactively fight fraud and help safeguard business and investments from the growing fraud problem.

Universal Partners FX joins hundreds of organizations who have partnered with the ACFE, the world's largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education, for the yearly Fraud Week campaign.

During Fraud Week, official supporters will engage in various activities, including: hosting fraud awareness training for employees and/or the community, conducting employee surveys to assess levels of fraud awareness within their organization, posting articles on company websites and in newsletters and teaming up with local media to highlight the problem of fraud.

“We are committed to doing as much as we can to combat all types of fraud across the world.” Said Universal Partners FX Director Oliver Carson. “As a financial company, we pride ourselves on keeping money safe and ensuring best practices are always adhered to. The awareness created by Fraud Awareness Week is key to protecting people from all around the globe from fraudulent activity”.

ACFE CEO and President Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA, said that the support of organizations around the world helps make Fraud Week an effective tool in raising anti-fraud awareness.

“Fraud is an issue that unfortunately affects people from all walks of life around the world and it takes many forms,” said ACFE President and CEO Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA. “Whether it’s a trusted employee stealing from a small business, or organized rings of fraudsters targeting seniors in our community, most people know someone who’s been victimized by fraud. That’s why it’s so important for organizations to join in this fight together in order to raise awareness during this week. It is a serious problem that requires a proactive approach toward preventing it and educating people is the first step.”

For more information about increasing awareness and reducing the risk of fraud during International Fraud Awareness Week, visit FraudWeek.com.

The 2018 Report to the Nations is available for download online at the ACFE’s website: ACFE.com/RTTN.  The Report is in PDF format.

About the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
Based in Austin, Texas, the ACFE is the world's largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. Together with more than 85,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud worldwide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession. For more information, visit ACFE.com.

 

For Immediate Release                                                                        

For More Information Contact:

Jack Scorgie

E-mail: jack@upfx.co.uk

Arguably one of the most popular countries in the world, the USA has long been a destination of choice for many globetrotters and travellers worldwide. Unsurprisingly, this fact also extends to Brits looking to relocate outside of UK shores.

Heralded as “The Land of Opportunity”, the USA poses many exciting possibilities for those looking to emigrate to the US. However, moving to the US is no small feat and requires a great deal of planning, preparation and paperwork.

Whatever your reasons for moving to the USA, if you’re serious about upping sticks and heading Stateside, there are a number of things you’ll need to get in order before you do.

US Visas

In the post-9/11 landscape, national security in the US is understandably a very delicate and serious subject. Naturally, the United States Government is very cautious about who they allow to come into the country and, as such, moving to America requires a lot of due diligence.

The very first thing you need to consider when moving to America is getting a visa. Visas allow you the legal right to live, work and stay in a foreign country and the “Good Ol’ US of A” is no exception.

That being said, there is no “one size fits all” solution to travelling to the US and visas can be muddy waters to navigate, particularly when you stumble across tourist-related entry like the Visa Waiver Program and ESTA or student-related academic admin like the F-1 or M-1 visas.

With several different variations of the US visa to choose from, it’s important to know exactly which one applies to you before you begin your application. As a general rule, there are two primary forms of visa that are applicable to those looking to move to the USA.

- Nonimmigrant Visas

If you wish to move to the USA to work temporarily, the nonimmigrant visa is probably the one for you. That being said, according to the US Department of State, there are over 20 nonimmigrant visa types for those travelling to the US temporarily.

The US Government doesn’t issue work visas for casual employment, so a nonimmigrant visa application will often need to be accompanied by correspondence between your prospective employer and

For additional information on which nonimmigrant visa may be applicable to you, check out the following information from the UK US Embassy.

Immigrant Visas

Commonly referred to as a “green card”, immigrant visas are typically applicable to those looking for permanent residence in the United States.

While the entry criteria can vary, common routes of qualification include an offer of permanent employment from a US company or sponsorship from an existing family already stateside.

However, while possession of a green card does grant permanent residency in the United States, it doesn’t allow you to stay in the US indefinitely. Even if you are authorised with a green card, you will still be required to renew it every ten years in order to maintain your status.

That being said, once you have lived in the US for at least five years, you may be eligible to apply for US citizenship; however, this naturally comes with a long list of terms and conditions attached.

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

In addition to the above, there is a third, less common option that is applicable to a small minority of those in the UK looking to apply for a US visa – namely the Diversity Visa (DV).

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is open to those from countries where there are historically low rates of US immigration and involves a random selection process.

The program itself is limited to just 50,000 annual entries, distributed among 38 countries in six geographic regions. No country can receive more than 7% of the DV allocation in any one year.

While UK citizens are generally excluded, those from Northern Ireland are not. Additionally, there are also possible exceptions if your spouse is a foreign national.

While the above information is a handy overview to follow for your, be sure to check with the official US Embassy & Consulates for the most up to date details at the time of your trip. Meanwhile, for more information on the types of immigrant/nonimmigrant visas available, visit the Travel.State.Gov for the full rundown.

Moving to America Checklist

Sadly, the application process for moving to the US can be a notoriously lengthy and frustrating process, meaning plenty of waiting around and prolonged periods of transitional purgatory.

Even after you have overcome that sizeable hurdle, don’t begin baking that apple pie and belting out the “Star-Spangled Banner” just yet – there is still plenty of work to do before you touch down on American soil and wave “Old Glory” with pride.

Accommodation

Before you can begin living the American dream, you’re going to need somewhere to live full-stop.

While this can be done online, relying on web images and second-hand accounts isn’t always the best course of action – especially when it comes to permanent accommodation.

As a stopgap, you may want to arrange temporary accommodation to live in when you arrive. That way, you can check out potential permanent residence in person before you commit to a property.

Social Security

Another thing you will need to address once you arrive in the USA is an application for a social security number.

An SSN is a nine-digit number issued to you by the US Government that’s used to keep track of employment details, such as earnings and years worked.

If you have a US work visa, this process can’t be done in advance; however, it can be arranged easily in person at your local Social Security Admin office once you arrive.

Health Insurance

Unlike in the UK, healthcare in the USA is privatised. As such, health insurance is required to cover the costs of any treatment you may require during your stay.

It’s not unusual for employers to contribute towards US health insurance costs, so be sure to check with your employer if they have you covered before you take out any unnecessary additions.

Moving Possessions

If you are planning on taking many of your homely possessions with you, arranging transport for these items before you leave will be a necessary part of the process.

Naturally, this process will depend largely on what you plan on taking with you and your living arrangements once you arrive. Having a three-piece suite shipped over in a cargo freight to a hotel probably isn’t a good idea.

That being said, there are plenty of services online that can ship over boxes and suitcases full of smaller items. Better still, a lot of cargo companies will also handle customs clearance for you, which can make the process considerably easier.

- Driving

Driving in the US is a lot more than just getting used to using the other side of the road. In fact, for UK ex-pats, it’s going to unsurprisingly involve even more paperwork.

While short-term visitors may be able to get away with their UK driving license accompanied by an International Driving Permit for rentals, UK citizens taking up permanent residence in the US will be required to get a driver’s license for the state they will reside in.

For additional information, check out the relevant state page on the Department of Motor Vehicles website for further details.

- Tying Up Loose Ends

While upping sticks and disappearing into the night may seem like a memorable way to make an exit, leaving without notifying the appropriate people can be a costly error.

To avoid accruing unnecessary bills for services you haven’t used long after you leave, be sure to sever ties with the relevant channels. Pay up your bills, inform any service providers and close any accounts you no longer need.

Money in the US

Like any big relocation, one of the main factors you will need to take into account when planning your move to America is how you plan on handling your money before and after.

Setting up a bank account in the US before you arrive can be a mammoth task to add to an already mammoth list. As such, it’s probably an avoidable chore you could do without and one best left for when you arrive.

In the interim, you will probably need to send money to the US before you leave, whether you’re paying for services, accommodation or simply transferring funds to a loved one on the other side.

Luckily, this is one part of the process that is refreshingly simple. With the help of Universal Partners FX, you can send money to the USA quickly, easily and hassle-free.

Our easy-to-use system allows you to achieve a safe, secure transaction in a swift and cost-effective manner. No hidden transaction fees, no strings attached.

To transfer money to the US, all you have to do is follow our simple three-step process:

  1. Register for free
  2. Secure your exchange rate
  3. We make your payment

At Universal Partners FX, we know that moving to the US is no easy feat and we’re more than happy to do the hard work for you when it comes to transferring money to the US.

Backed by a 5-star Feefo rating, you can rest assured that, with us, your money is in safe hands, leaving you to concentrate on making your American dream a reality.

 

For more information on moving to the US or to find out more about sending money to America, why not drop us a line today? Call 020 7190 9559 now to talk with one of our expert advisors or get in touch online by using the button below.

Get in Touch >