Offshore banking options narrow as Nationwide International set to close


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If you have an account with Nationwide International, you will need to look for another home for your savings. Should you move to another bank or consider an alternative investment plan?

Nationwide International is closing its door this year, so if you have an account with them you need to look for another home for your savings. Should you move to another bank or consider an investment plan based around your needs and risk profile?

Many British expatriates close their UK bank accounts and open new ones in offshore centres once they leave the country. They may not have a choice if their bank does not allow non-UK residents to hold accounts. Nationwide International in the Isle of Man is a popular choice for expatriates, but it has announced that it is closing its doors in summer 2017.

The bank will start closing customer accounts from the beginning of 2017. It has sent out an initial letter to clients advising them of the news, but will be writing again with important information and dates regarding the closure of their specific accounts.

In the meantime, it suggested that since looking for a new home for their savings can take time, clients should start looking now.

If you have accounts with Nationwide International, you can choose to close them right away or wait until you have the closure dates. The bank has removed any notice requirement on its accounts, and fixed rate bonds can also be closed before the scheduled maturity date, with no penalty.

You can continue to deposit money into your accounts until you close them, but cannot open any new ones. Nationwide assures clients that their money remains in safe hands.

The bank’s decision to close came following a strategic review of its operations and was based on a number of factors including falling customer demand, running costs and changing market conditions.

This only affects Nationwide International in the Isle of Man. Accounts held with the Nationwide Building Society in the UK are not affected and the business continues as usual.

Looking for a new home for your savings

This is a good opportunity to review your savings and consider if a bank is the best place for your money.

The Bank of England interest rate has been at historic lows since March 2009 and was cut to an even lower 0.25% following the Brexit referendum. If you need your savings to provide an income, preferably without withdrawing much capital, or are looking for capital growth to keep pace with inflation over your retirement years, seek advice on how you may be able to generate better returns from your savings.

How long do you need your money to last?

This is a sobering question and not one most people can answer with certainty. Underestimate this, however, and your money could run out too soon, leaving you unable to live the lifestyle you want. Life expectancy has been increasing and you need to make sure that your savings will provide the income you need right to end of your and your spouse’s retirement years. No-one wants to be forced to reduce their quality of life, especially in their later years.

You therefore need to establish a strategic savings and investment strategy to preserve the value of your wealth and income.

Remember to factor in the effect of inflation on reducing your spending power each year. Say, for example, you typically spend €5,000 a month. Assuming an inflation rate of 3% a year, in 10 years’ time you could need about €6,720 a month to maintain the same spending, and €9,030 in 20 years.

Time not timing

The uncertainty over Brexit has been making some people cautious about investing. However, trying to time when to buy and sell investments has plenty of risks – but the biggest one may be the risk of missing out.

To illustrate this point, a hypothetical £10,000 investment in the FTSE All-Share index for the 10 year period to 31 December 2015 would have earned a profit of £7,197 if invested the whole time. If the five best days were missed, the profit would be considerably lower at £1,831. Missing the 10 and 30 best days would have resulted in losses of £607 loss and £5,269 respectively. (Source: Russell Investments)

Short-term declines or uncertainty should not detract from the long-term potential of stockmarket investing. Looking at the FTSE All-Share index from 1996 to 2015, although there were average intra-year declines of 15.7%, annual returns were positive for 15 out of the 20 years. A hypothetical lump sum investment of £100,000 at the start of 1996, with dividends reinvested, would have been worth £367,525 at the end of 2015. (Source: Russell Investments)

It is important to ensure that your portfolio is built around your risk profile, and with strategic asset allocation and diversification to reduce risk and meet your objectives. You want to ensure that your portfolio is suitable for you. Take specialist advice and build a good relationship with your financial adviser so they understand your needs and guide you through the Brexit years and into the future.

At Blevins Franks our investment advice is personalised for each client. We take the time to get to know you, your situation and objectives, and use sophisticated means to establish your risk profile ensuring we recommend a portfolio that you are comfortable with. Investments can be in Sterling or Euros or a mix of currencies, and you can switch currencies at a later date.

We have been providing trusted financial advice to British expatriates in Spain for over 40 years, only recommending funds that have been carefully vetted for performance and security. We would be happy to have a free, no obligation discussion with you to outline your options and explain how we can help you.

Contact us to arrange an appointment

These views are put forward for consideration purposes only as the suitability of any investment is dependent on individual circumstances; take individual personalised advice. The value of investments can fall as well as rise. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance.


Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.