When you move large sums of money abroad, it’s essential to use the right foreign exchange broker and get the correct help. This way, you can gain the maximum value out of the transaction.
You likely have experience exchanging currencies for holidays and international travel. In these cases, not having a foreign exchange strategy in place is generally fine. You may not get the best exchange rate, and there may be added fees. But by and large, this isn’t the end of the world when it’s a limited amount of money at stake.
The story changes when the money increases. When you’re transferring large amounts of currency, not having a solid strategy in place can end up costing you thousands.
Your funds can become subject to poor exchange rates and the volatility of the currency markets. You could end up getting substantially less than you put in.
In this article we’ll talk about how to avoid this scenario. We’ll explain how to find a great rate, how to make sure your funds are safe, and we’ll go through some of the foreign exchange strategies you can use.
At Privalgo, we specialise in larger currency conversions. It’s our firm belief that if you’ve worked hard to build up assets in one country, you deserve to bring the maximum value of those assets into another.
Through tailored solutions and a client-centred personal service, we help thousands of individuals save money, time and stress on their currency exchange.
Book a free appointment to speak with a foreign exchange expert today.
Why would I exchange large amounts of currency?
There’s a variety of reasons why someone may move lump sums abroad. One of the most common is international relocation.
The expat life is fantastic — but it does come with its chores. Namely, finding a way to move your money from one country to the next without it taking too much damage along the way.
Moving abroad has its expenses. The obvious one being purchasing foreign property. If you’re paying for real estate with money that’s in another country, then you need to exchange all the required funds.
These funds include the money for the property itself. But there’s a lot of other costs to consider, such as property taxes, lawyer fees and notary fees.
Once you’ve bought a foreign property and you’re living as an expat, there could be times when you’ll want to transfer large sums of money in the future. Many expats convert currencies for home renovations or international school fees.
There may even come a time when you decide to return home. If this is the case and you sell your foreign property, you’ll need to transfer the sale money back to the currency of your home country — along with any other assets you’ve built up while away.
Where can I find the best exchange rates?
To get the best exchange for large currency exchanges, it’s recommended that you use a foreign exchange specialist. Also look for one with no hidden fees.
We will go into some of the costs involved with transferring large amounts of money here. And how to save money on your transactions.
A good, reliable foreign exchange specialist should be able to get you a rate that’s closer to the ‘mid-market rate’ than a high-street bank could. The mid-market rate (also known as the ‘interbank rate’) is the rate at which banks exchange currencies between themselves.
It’s the exchange rate that you see when you read about currencies on the news.
High-street banks tend to offer poor exchange rates. Their rates are far below the mid-market rate. This means you get less value when you exchange currencies.
Foreign exchange brokers are usually able to get you a better rate, meaning you’ll get more value out of your transaction.
Why do FX brokers often provide better ranks than banks? It’s because foreign exchange makes up such a miniscule part of a bank’s overall revenue, they don’t have to be competitive. On the other hand, foreign exchange brokers need to offer competitive rates as it’s their entire business.
As we said before, when you’re moving large amounts of money, having a good exchange rate is key. A rate that is just few percentage points in the wrong direction can mean a significant decrease in the value of your funds after the currency exchange is done.
Along with exchange rates, you’ll also want to check to see if your foreign exchange broker or bank charges any fees. Some brokers charge flat fees, others charge a percentage of the exchange.
Some foreign exchange brokers charge a transaction fee, like 0.5%. Others charged a fixed fee, like £25 for each transaction.
What’s more, certain banks and foreign exchange brokers add several small charges to hide the real cost of the fees. It becomes hard to understand exactly what you’re being charged.
The smart thing to do would be to seek out a broker with minimum fees. Or better yet, use Privalgo. We charge no fees.
Book an appointment with a Privalgo Relationship Manager today to find out more.
What are the risks of converting large amounts of currency?
As we mentioned before, exchanging currencies becomes a different story depending on whether you are transferring £100 or £100,000.
As such, it comes with more risks. We’ll go into market volatility, long-term transactions and security here.
Currency markets are constantly moving. From one day to the next, exchange rates move up and down. This can seriously affect you when you move large amounts of capital abroad.
Here’s an example. In March 2020, when the economic impact of coronavirus on the UK became clear, GBP/EUR fell 5% in just one day. For someone moving over a large amount, like £500,000, they could have been seriously stung by the volatility of the currency markets if they had exchanged the money after they had moved.
The global pandemic is an extreme example, but it does show how events that you have no control over can seriously affect the value of your money when you exchange currencies.
Where we see market volatility really impact individuals is when they’re undergoing a transaction that lasts over a long period of time.
A big one for our clients is foreign property purchases. When you buy real estate at home or abroad, there can be a significant time gap between agreeing the price of the property and making the purchase. The period between these two actions can last months.
The issue comes when we consider market volatility. If there are adverse developments in the currency markets in the time between you agreeing the price and sending the money, you could end up paying significantly more than you first agreed.
A good foreign exchange broker should be able to help you protect your funds against this volatility when transferring large amounts of money. We’ll touch on some the strategies that are used later in this article.
You’ll know that whenever you deal with money, security is key. But this becomes even more critical when you move large amounts of it. This is not only for your own financial protection, but also for your peace of mind.
While many foreign exchange companies implement safeguards for your money, not all do. If a company that doesn’t have these safeguards goes bust, there’s no guarantee you will be compensated. This is a nightmare scenario when you’re exchange lump sums of currency.
When you use a foreign exchange broker, ensure that they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. This will mean, among other safeguards, that your money will be kept separate from the firm’s money.
Should the business go bust, your money will be protected.
Privalgo is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. One of the many measures we take to ensure our clients’ money is safe is separating it from the company’s funds. Should anything happen to Privalgo, your money will be secure.
Call, email or book an appointment with a Privalgo Relationship Manager to talk about how we provide our clients and their funds with maximum security.
What’s the best strategy for converting large amounts of currency?
When moving significant capital from one country to the next, you will likely benefit from a foreign exchange strategy.
A strategy will enable you to use solutions that can help you save money and protect yourself against market movements.
Privalgo offers several solutions — and we specifically tailor each one to your requirements, chosen currencies and timeframe. None of our solutions come with any extra or hidden fees. We’ll go into how they work below.
Privalgo’s spot contracts are an easy way to quickly take advantage of our leading exchange rates.
This solution involves you agreeing a rate with us, and us delivering the currency up to five days ahead. As soon as we receive your money, we will be able to buy your chosen currency on your behalf.
It’s an incredibly simple and fast transaction. It’s a smart choice if you want to capitalise on a favourable rate here and now. It’s a good solution to use if you need to make a transaction quickly.
Example of a spot contract
Say you are buying a property is Spain. At some point, you’ll need to pay a deposit for the reservation agreement to take the property of the market. You’ll want to do this at some speed to ensure that the real estate doesn’t get snapped up by another buyer.
A simple spot transaction would likely be the right choice.
Privalgo’s forward contracts allow you to secure a favourable exchange rate for delivery on a later date. They effectively allow you to lock in a good rate, so you can use it when you need to make a transaction.
These solutions can be invaluable if you’re undergoing a long transaction, like we mentioned earlier in the article.
Example of a forward contract
Let’s go back to the example of somebody buying a property abroad. As we said, there’s a risk here that your exchange rate could change in the time between agreeing price and making a purchase. You could end up paying more than you originally agreed upon.
A forward contract is a great solution for this issue. It would allow you to lock in an exchange rate when you agree a price. It will mean that this rate stays the same for the entire duration of the transaction. This means you will not be subject to any nasty surprises that could come from market volatility.
Privalgo’s market orders allow you to capitalise on future, potentially favourable exchange rates without having to put in any of the work in yourself.
This works by you telling us the rate at which you want to make a transaction. We’ll then closely monitor the markets. When your desired rate is achieved, we can exchange the funds on your behalf.
As we’ve pointed out, the markets are tricky — it’s hard to constantly stay on top of them. But we do, because it’s our job. Our expertise and innovative technology allow us to immediately take advantage of market movements.
Example of a market order
When would this solution be advantageous to you? Say you want to make a transaction, but the time you need to make it isn’t fixed. You may want to buy some building supplies to renovate your foreign property and you’re paying the costs with money that’s in your home country.
In this scenario, let’s say that the current exchange is not in your favour. In other words, you wouldn’t get much value from the transaction if you were to convert currencies now. However, you think that a more favourable exchange rate will happen in the near future.
We can securely hold onto your funds, transfer the funds when your target exchange rate is achieved, and deliver the currency to you immediately after.
This means you can leave the hard work to us. Rather than monitoring the currency markets, you spend your time doing what an expat should be doing — enjoying themselves.
If you’re planning to transfer a large amount of currency, book a free call with one of our Relationship Managers. They can take you through the leading exchange rates, security and tailored solutions we’ve mentioned here.