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Moving 700kUSD to GBP; advice please

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
2 replies 519 views
Tardigrade1Tardigrade1 Forumite
19 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments

A friend of mine has bought a house in the UK, and is paying for it from an inheristence residing in a small regional US bank right now (actually in munis and equities). She needs the money by 17 March. I got involved as I'm very worried the bank is talking about curency hedging, remaining invested and taking out a large loan so as to disinvest more gradually etc - I can only imagine the fees, and the "investment advice" sounds appaling.

Key question
What's the best way of executing the FX? My immediate thought was eg Transferwise, but I think there are banks now that will take in international transfers and convert at the inter-bank rate with veyr low fees. Names / thoughts welcome.

Other more nuanced questions for a second opinion!
1. Timing the market for FX due to brexit. Her bank is telling her to take out a loan and a hedge, and drip deed tranches over a period of time. My view is this is crazy, as the known costs of a bank doing this are likely to demolish any value /risk reduction gained. My thoughts are to transfer in eg 5 chunks, with a few days to spare. This allows a little time for parliament votes to crash the GBP, if it is going to happen. I don't fear (more) upside surprises too much. My initial advice was to transfer asap and not to time at all on the basis that she knows she has enough to cover the liability now, so why take risk. But she is very conscious of the money that would be lost should GBP crash.
2. She has munis, paying 4% income end of march. Income is tax free, but as she has capital gains losses, capital gains would be too if she doesn't wait for the distribution - but the bank is telling her to take out a loan and wait for the income before disinvesting(!). This seems absurd. Anyone think of what I might be missing?


  • ReaperReaper Forumite
    7.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic
    It's a matter of opinion and whatever you decide there will invariably turn out to be have been a better option with hindsight.

    I don't know munis but I gather they pay a small tax free income. I'm sure they would not cover the cost of a replacement mortgage, hedging and fees to make up for the shortfall if they were not cashed in so that advice sounds plain wrong to me. Except from the point of view of the bank where it allows them to earn fees and spreads out a sudden large withdraw (which might hurt a small regional bank with limited liquidity).

    The rest of the plan seems to involve timing the market which is also a bad idea in my opinion. Right now sterling is neither at its highest or lowest. Yes it could dive if we get a no-deal Brexit but equally it could rise if there is a postponement and a new referendum.

    If it were me I would just do it all in one go.
  • Thank you - nice to know my gut feeling is sensible.
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