Overseas property investors lose an average of £4,000 on foreign exchange

‘Mystery’ calls to high street banks reveal foreign exchange is best left to the specialists

/EIN News/ 26.08.09 – The high street banks are squeezing overseas property investors for an average of more than £4,000 for every €200,000 they ‘buy’ according to foreign exchange broker Foremost Currency Group (www.foremostcurrencygroup.co.uk).

As the global economic situation appears to stabilise and investors tentatively return to the overseas property market, Foremost Currency Group is releasing findings from a series of ‘mystery’ calls to a selection of high street banks and foreign exchange specialists, disclosing the exchange rate offered to individuals wanting to ‘buy’ €200,000 (the approximate price of a 2/3 bed villa in rural France). The findings will not make for happy reading for investors that entrust international payments to their high street banks; buying a property worth €200,000 will cost them on average £178,303.09 versus £174,211.47 with a specialist broker.

Commenting on the findings, Robin McEwen, MD, Foremost Currency Group says, “Overseas property investors know that the quick returns characteristic of the late 90s and the ’00s are a thing of the past, for the time being at least. However investors on tight budgets taking a long term view are returning to the market and financial institutions should be encouraging them to do so. By taking such a large margin on foreign exchange the high street banks are doing exactly the opposite.”

The ‘mystery’ calls were conducted on 22.08.09 from 10.30 to 10.45am (within a 15 minute window to prevent movements in the money markets skewing the results). Again there is a marked difference between what is on offer from a high street bank and a specialist exchange broker.

McEwen continues, “It’s not just the prospect of saving thousands that should tip the balance in favour of a specialist. A broker’s day job is to specifically monitor the money markets; high street banks on the other hand are split across a number of key remits and foreign exchange is not their primary focus.”

Getting through to an individual at the bank that could offer a genuine exchange rate was also difficult; it took more than 20 minutes to reach someone that could discuss foreign exchange in one case. McEwen comments, “By its very nature playing the exchange game requires swift action – if the markets move in your favour then you don’t want to wait an hour for the bank to confirm a rate they can actually stick to.”

“At Foremost Currency Group we have returned to the old-fashioned way of banking, where clients are allocated a personal account manager to look after their transaction from start to finish.”

Foremost Currency Group has a variety of overseas buyers that have used its services to save money on foreign exchange, including:

The Canadian Ranch Hands: The Athas – a family from Leeds that set up a dude ranch in British Columbia

The Money Woman: Catherine Harris – a chartered accountant that bought a holiday home / investment property in Florida

The Overseas Retiree: Bill Williams, who uses Foremost Currency to make regular transfers, bringing his UK pension over to France

The French Renovators: Sylvia and Lyal Grey, retirees who are currently converting a 2 bedroom 1830s house in rural France

The Entrepreneurs: Neil King and Jason Smith who didn’t buy a property but did buy a magazine company in Spain…!

For further details or interviews with any of the above Foremost Currency Group customers or an interview with Robin McEwen to explain in greater detail how individuals can successfully play the exchange game and exactly how specialists are able to offer more competitive rates than the banks please contact:

Tom Flisher / Merry Molony

Octopus Communications

[email protected]

0845 3700 655

About Foremost Currency

Launched October 2005, Foremost Currency provides a specialist foreign exchange service for individuals buying or selling property abroad, emigrating and transferring regular payments overseas, and businesses importing and exporting goods. Foremost Currency’s dedicated team members specialise solely in the foreign exchange markets, ensuring the best foreign exchange price and service. The company has grown in turnover by 100% year on year and seen 50% staff growth year on year. It launched the Foremost Property Group in January 2008, www.foremostpropertygroup.co.uk, and EfirstFX, an online trading platform, in April 2009 www.efirstfx.co.uk.

For more information, visit: www.foremostcurrencygroup.co.uk or call: 0800 781 0601