British Expatriates - Managing Forex
A large part of an expatriate's earnings, expenditure and savings are likely to be in a foreign currency, and managing foreign exchange deserves serious attention throughout an expatriate assignment, and not just when a large repatriation of funds is scheduled.
In fact, we very much argue against expatriates trying to "time the market" when it comes to repatriating funds - preferring that expats repatriate and convert funds on a regular basis throughout an assignment. If anything however, this puts added emphasis on making sure that exchanges and transfers are handled efficiently and cost effectively.
First, however, you should consider foreign-exchange earnings within a broader financial planning context. For example, if you plan to retire outside the UK, or if some of your liabilities are in foreign currencies, you may take a different approach to remitting your earnings to the UK, and to the currencies in which you hold your investments.
The following sections do not focus on the investment issues surrounding foreign currencies, but more on the transactional issues that expatriates will encounter, and how they might avoid some of the substantial costs that attached to foreign currency transactions, and which may not be altogether obvious.
OFX provides a very wide range of tools - including access to historical rates for currencies going back to 1990, some of which we have included in historical foreign exchane charts. Like shares, historical forex movements provide no crystal ball in terms of future movements but often provide a useful comparator.