Overseas property investors lose

Overseas property investors lose an average of �4,000 on foreign exchange. According to a survey conducted by Foremost Currency Group, foreign exchange is best left to the specialists.

In a series of anonymous calls, the currency broker discovered that overseas property investors will pay �4,000 more for every €200,000 they buy through a high street bank. On average, €200,000 costs �178,303.09 via a high street bank, versus �174,211.47 with a specialist broker.

Commenting on the findings, Robin McEwen, MD says: “Overseas property investors know that the quick returns characteristic of the late 1990s and the 2000s 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). 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. “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.”