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London Banks and Financial Companies

Relocating to another country is a daunting and exciting prospect at the same time. Money is a key motivator for becoming an expat, however you need to be able to manage your money effectively and securely, which creates a serious issue when it comes to choosing a bank to transact business with overseas. You also need to ensure that you and yoru family are properly protected should a medical or health emergency arise. Both of these issues are closely intertwined in the financial scheme of things. But how do you choose an offshore bank and insurer when the standards and rules can be so very different from what you expect back home?

The Offshore Banking Decision

First of all, you should look for a bank which provides multi-currency accounts. Multi-currency accounts denominate deposits in several currencies, which is useful if you are earning US dollars but need to pay bills in Euros for instance. You can draw money out of your bank account in a range of different currencies too, which is essential if you are also traveling frequently and need currency which is acceptable to local retailers and service providers in whatever country you happen to be in that day.

If you are looking for a home for your expat savings, you should look for banks which pay interest gross of tax. This means you account for the tax based on the tax jurisdiction you are subject to, and in many cases this will mean you escape paying any tax at all and quite legally. The position is always complicated for US taxpayers who should always consult a specialist professional on US Expat Tax before they fail to disclose offshore income.

You should also expect your offshore bank to supply you with the full range of banking facilities you have come to expect. For instance, local credit and debit cards, checking and saving facilities, an extensive branch and ATM network with online banking facilities and automated bill payment. In many instances you will be able to find a bank to satisfy all of your local and international needs quite easily if you shop around. Some of the largest names in the expat banking community are likely to be well known to you – Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds TSB International are just a sample.

The International Health Insurance Decision

Expat healthcare is a serious issue to cover before you depart from your home country. Your existing health coverage is unlikely to provide you with healthcare and medical benefits when you are overseas, except in the most exceptional of circumstances and it is not practical to rely on home country medical benefits. You must put into place a healthcare policy which will either supplement the socialized medical care in your new country (if there is such a thing) or will provide you with access to medical facilities and treatment if there is none.
Expat healthcare policies are much different from standard private medical insurance policies. Typically, your choice is restricted to the providers stipulated by the insurer, so it pays to look into the small print and see exactly what kind of treatment you can expect and how much freedom of choice the policy will provide. Typically, under an expat PMI you will find that you are either covered for a condition or you are not – there is little scope for interpretation, which means you also must spend a lot of time ensuring you have a policy which covers the risks you want covered or face having no coverage.

Deductibles also vary widely, so you should pay careful attention to these too. Typically, deductibles will start at around USD $250 and increase to USD $25,000 depending on the company, the policy and the condition which is being covered. Always check your policy before you sign up to it – when you are in the hospital is not the time to find out you have a $25,000 deductible!
You should also consider just who is going to be covered on your expat healthcare insurance. Will it just be you, you and your spouse or entire family? What geographic coverage is provided – for instance, are you covered in just the host country, the host continent or region, or indeed, do you have global coverage? In addition, you should look at the options for adding dental and eyecare riders to your policy.

Here are the direct links to all majors banks in London.

Banking hours are 9:30a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday - Friday; 9:30 - noon, Saturday. ABN Amro Asia Securities Ltd.
250 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AA
Tel: +020 7678-8000
Fax: +020 7678-5474

Bank of America International Ltd.
Bank of America House, 1 Alie Street, London E1 8DE
Tel: +020 7174-4000

Barclays Bank Plc
54 Lombard Street, London E4 3AH
Tel: +020 7699-5000
Fax: +020 7699-2460

Barclays Stockbrokers Ltd.
First Floor, Murray House, 1 Royal Mint Court, London, EC3N 4HH
Tel: +020 7977-7777
Fax: +020 7977-7070

Bear Stearns International Trading Ltd.
1 Canada Square, London, E14 5AD
Tel: +020 7516-6000
Fax: +020 7516-6030

Chase Manhattan International Ltd.
125 London Wall, London EC2Y 5AJ
Tel: +020 7777-2000
Fax: +020 7777-4165

Citibank International plc
Citibank House, 336 Strand, London WC2R 1HB
Tel: +020 7500-5000
Fax: +020 7500-1695

Citicorp International Securities Ltd.
Citibank House, 336 Strand, London WC2R 1HB
Tel: +020 7500-5000

City of London Options Ltd.
Marc House, Great St Thomas Apostle, London EC4V 2BB
Tel: +020 7236-9000
Fax: +020 7236-9999

Credit Lyonnais Securities
Broadwalk House, 5 Appold Street, London EC2A 2DA
Tel: +020 7588-4000
Fax: +020 7588-0290

DLJ International Securities
99 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3YF
Tel: +020 7655-7000
Fax: +020 7655-7231

FleetBoston Robertson Stephens International Ltd.
39 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0EH
Tel: +020 7798-6600
Fax: +020 7798-6690

Goldman Sachs Equity Securities (UK)
Peterborough Court, 133 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2BB
Tel: +020 7774-1000
Fax: +020 7774-5011

HSBC Investment Bank Plc
Thames Exchange, 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BL
Tel: +020 7336-2000
Fax: +020 7621-0496

ING Baring Futures & Options (UK) Ltd.
75 King William Street, London EC4N 7EE
Tel: +020 7410-9944
Fax: +020 7360-9460

King & Shaxson Bond Brokers Ltd.
Cannon Bridge, 25 Dowgate Hill, London EC4R 2GN
Tel: +020 7337-3500
Fax: +020 7623-0777

Merrill Lynch International Bank Ltd.
33 Chester Street, London SW1X 7XD
Tel: +020 7867-6227
Fax: +020 7867-6193

Morgan Grenfell & Co Ltd.
1 Great Winchester Street, London EC2N 2EQ
Tel: +020 7545-8000
Fax: +020 7545-6155

Morgan Stanley & Co International Ltd.
25 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QA
Tel: +020 7425-8000
Fax: +020 7425-8990

National Westminster Bank Plc
135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3TP
Tel: +020 7375-5000
Fax: +020 7375-5050