, Offshore Banking Expert at The Q Wealth Report
Do you know how anyone, regardless of credit history, can borrow money offshore at only 1% interest (or even less) with no scheduled repayment date, then simultaneously reinvest it for a much higher return elsewhere?
Of course not – because the rock-solid European banks routinely making such loans are not allowed to advertise these deals in your country. Your government calls this “investor protection.” Here at The Q Wealth Report, we call it “protecting the cosy domestic banking cartel.”
Foreign currency aribitrage is one of the areas where you can make money even in a falling market. Currencies will always go up and down, and there will always be big differentials in interest rates. Trading “pips” in the forex market, where you can make or break your account in a matter of minutes, is not every investor’s idea of fun. Slower moving and less risky (though of course not risk free), the types of foreign currency arbitrage programs we are writing about here offer an attractive alternative for more conservative investors.
The arbitrage or investment loan is a fairly standard wealth creation offering from European private banks, albeit little known. The gearing of the initial deposit, together with the currency arbitrage, makes it possible to invest a larger amount in a currency with high interest rates, thereby increasing the prospects of high returns.
Typically you will have to invest about USD/EUR 250,000 in a private offshore bank to get that facility. This can then be leveraged from one to five times, depending on the risk level of the currency you are buying into. If the initial deposit is USD 250,000, a loan of up to USD 1,000,000 can be contracted and then a proportion of that can be invested in a high income Bank CD in a currency paying a much higher interest rate.
The loan will typically be taken in a low interest currency s0 at the moment, USD, EUR and GBP would be perfect… although traditionally most loans have been taken in Swiss Francs or Japanese Yen. To spread risk, you can also choose to take the loan in a combination of two or more currencies. Then, you take the loan proceeds to buy another currency, paying a higher yield in CDs – typically in a multi-currency account at the same bank.
A variation on the same theme, of course, would be investing in gold. You can certainly borrow money against CDs or electronic gold to invest in other products offered by your private bank. Whether they would allow you to borrow against physical gold? I doubt it, unfortunately. In this case you might just be better off buying Perth Mint Certificates and asking your friendly offshore banker for a loan secured by that. Alternatively, hedge your investments by borrowing against US dollar investments, in US dollars, but using the loan proceeds to buy gold. That way you get the best of both worlds.
(Note – I normally recommend only physical gold – see my article How to Buy and Hide Gold Bullion Offshore. But, if someone is lending me money at 1% interest in fiat currency, and I can buy gold with it, I might not be so fussy…)
The profit factors, to summarize, are as follows:
- Exchange rate factor: Raising a loan in one currency and investing in another can lead to exchange rate gains as wells as losses.
- Interest rate factor: Where investments are made in bank CDs, the interest rate level of the currency of CDs can affect the return on the investment.
- Gearing factor: The return on investments is improved by the gearing of the initial deposit. The gearing factor plays an important role again if there is a loss. (You lose more!)
Of course, like any investment, you should do your due diligence very carefully. The good thing is that this, when done correctly (read those last three words again!) this makes a standard, conservative bank deposit that much more exciting. In these times of low interest rates on major currencies, we could certainly all use a little more excitement like that, couldn’t we?
How do you go about getting an Invest-Loan? Not, as you’ve probably guessed, from your local high street bank. If your existing banker won’t lend you money for things like this, it’s time to think about moving your investments to a different bank. A good place to start with the Practical Offshore Banking Guide 2009, available free for download to our members. I’m happy to make personal referrals to private banks who will carry out Invest-Loan transactions, at no extra charge to all Q Wealth members as part of the free consultation that members are entitled to. Just contact me via the Q Wealth London offices. If you’re not yet a member, you can join now to gain immediate access to these privileges.