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Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

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aster
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Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby aster » Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:53 pm

Anyone have any good experiences to report in terms of running a foreign currency account for a company, especially in EUR?

Not sure where to look but I'd prefer to stick to one of the major, local banks. I had HSBC but they decided to ditch small companies so I had to move to DBS, but they had a hefty min. balance so the fees were quite high (now I see that they have some better account options in terms of fees so things have improved).

OCBC have lost their marbles as they're charging 500 Euros just to open a EUR account which is ridiculous.

That leaves UOB as a last, local option, even with a 20 Euro/mth fee that might surpass the OCBC opening fee eventually. But are they any good? Does anyone have/manage a company account with them in other currencies?

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby rajagainstthemachine » Tue, 04 Apr 2017 6:58 am

Tried bank of China or standard chartered yet?
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aster
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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby aster » Wed, 05 Apr 2017 1:54 am

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Tried bank of China or standard chartered yet?


The first isn't on the cards and SC has quite high min. deposits and min. balances to avoid their hefty fees, as I'd like to have both SGD and EUR accounts at the same place preferably.

Seems like I'll have to give the big 3 another look again and compare.

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby Girl_Next_Door » Wed, 05 Apr 2017 1:19 pm

I can't recommend the best bank but I can explain why it is enormously difficult for you to open such accounts.

All the banks are being whacked by MAS since 1MDB. Company accounts are one of the most difficult and expensive accounts that banks are maintaining, largely because of the number of transactions that are passing through, and inability for banks to keep track if the funds are legal or illegal. 95% of the accounts are used for legal means, by proper business owners like yourself. 5% of the accounts are used for illegal means, and banks are expected by regulators to ensure this 5% becomes 0%. This drives up compliance cost, and hence, the cost are passed down the account holders like yourself. Beside the fact of additional cost, you will be receiving ALOT of calls from the bank for business transactions that you will be putting through, and its a matter of time before banks start asking you to provide supporting documents to evidence these are legitimate business transactions. If you are not cooperative, the banks will close your account, send you a cheque and blacklist you. This is non-negotiable because banks do not want to spend additional time or money on smaller business owners who are not cooperative.

There was an outcry in Hong Kong a couple of months ago, when small business owners feedback to HKMA on banks shutting their accounts or charging obscene amount of money to maintain a simple business account. Google
- Hong Kong cautions banks on heavy handed customer due diligence
- Is the Hong Kong Monetary Authority being two-faced on bank accounts?

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby aster » Thu, 06 Apr 2017 1:41 am

Interesting read, but barring cash transactions why is this such a problem for the banking sector?

It doesn't seem logical to stifle banking for companies/entrepreneurs in some sort of witch hunt when every local business relies on banking for everyday matters just like you need an electricity provider.

Surely there are agencies that check every transfer above 10k just to check it doesn't stand out as strange, and banks can this this as well internally without getting too bogged down.

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 06 Apr 2017 8:49 am

aster wrote:Interesting read, but barring cash transactions why is this such a problem for the banking sector?

It doesn't seem logical to stifle banking for companies/entrepreneurs in some sort of witch hunt when every local business relies on banking for everyday matters just like you need an electricity provider.

Surely there are agencies that check every transfer above 10k just to check it doesn't stand out as strange, and banks can this this as well internally without getting too bogged down.



You need to understand the concept of "good revenue" vs "bad revenue" in terms of the FCPA and other anti bribery/corruption/laundering acts. When a single transaction (in the case of WFT under $10,000) can lead to $150MM in fines, 5 years of paying for the DOJ to have 20 lawyers in your firm and endless losses (including no doubt the eventual failure of WFT in time) then 'bad revenue' is revenue that costs you an infinite amount and isn't worth touching. Where I now work we routinely forgo large and small deals than even have a whiff of non compliance because the costs of getting it wrong mean the end of the business; no revenue, esp from itty bitty no name companies, is worth the risk. Good revenue is revenue from people and firms you trust, who have reputable names, who have traceable and compliant income streams; we are headed back very quickly to the days when the only way you could open a bank account was to be recommended by someone else the bank trusted AND I DON'T BLAME THEM.
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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby aster » Thu, 06 Apr 2017 1:41 pm

PNGMK wrote:we are headed back very quickly to the days when the only way you could open a bank account was to be recommended by someone else the bank trusted AND I DON'T BLAME THEM.


This shows a broken system if ordinary people cannot get basic services because of some great, all-powerful fear of mind-bending fines and constant visions of every company being a possible vehicle for dodgy transactions.

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby rajagainstthemachine » Thu, 06 Apr 2017 9:12 pm

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 06 Apr 2017 9:38 pm

aster wrote:
PNGMK wrote:we are headed back very quickly to the days when the only way you could open a bank account was to be recommended by someone else the bank trusted AND I DON'T BLAME THEM.


This shows a broken system if ordinary people cannot get basic services because of some great, all-powerful fear of mind-bending fines and constant visions of every company being a possible vehicle for dodgy transactions.


Except, there are a lot of people willing to use the banking system for dodgy transactions. Tax evasion, laundering of ill-gotten money... these regulations wouldn't be in place except for the fact that far too many people are willing to be dishonest in their dealings.

Other than costs, I don't see this as an issue for you. It's the folks that want to open bank accounts in multiple countries, then use EFT for transactions that have the biggest problem.

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby aster » Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:45 am

Yeah, but the same could be said for allowing companies to be incorporated at all, or even for cash transactions to be allowed.

Ideally the law should provide for non-discrimination and access to all facilities, unless a financial institution deems a high probability of criminal activity after which it should be legally forced to inform the relevant authorities to make a judgement as to whether to pursue a case or clear the entity of any wrongdoing.

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby Super Mario » Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:57 pm

If you post one more post promoting your bank, I will permanently ban you and delete all your posts.

STOP SOLICITING BUSINESS IN THE FORUMS!

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby aster » Sat, 08 Apr 2017 12:47 am

I'm going to go about this logically, and because I need a SGD account I might as well stick to the "Big 3."

I need EUR too, but if push comes to shove I can always set that up in Europe for a Singaporean company.

But ideally I would like of course for the EUR account to be set up here along with the SGD one. I'm gonna give UOB a look first, then DBS, and lastly OCBC because of the 500 EUR setup fee which seems scary right now.

If anyone wants to pitch in and steer me in either direction to help then please do. No foreign banks/other options though. I just want to choose between the core banks in Singapore.

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Re: Best Bank for Company Foreign Currency Accounts??

Postby Mila Smith » Thu, 20 Apr 2017 9:20 pm

hi everybody,
so no recommendation of bank to open an SGD + EUR/USD account? :?
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