We'll begin by saying that in light of market changes in the coming months and years this post may be out of date almost as soon as it is published.
Also, we'll talk about the difficulties of you and I on 'main-street' to deal in and with certain currencies even though those in the finance and banking sphere may be able to transact in certain countries in a way you and I cannot. This is not a technical post...but, just a short list of those currencies it isn't that simple to work with. Give us a call if you would like more precise guidance.
1. It is difficult to confidently transmit your money to India, converting it to Indian Rupee (INR) before it arrives, happy in the knowledge it will definitely arrive without fees deducted, on the day you expect - we've not heard of this being easily done, ever.
It is also not possible for us to agree to exchange INR in to any other currency because we cannot be assured that INR is what will arrive with us from the sending party, whether that be you or a client of yours.
Nothing but pure speculation at this stage, but, we would expect broader global proliferation of the Rupee following the UK's exit from the EU. At the moment a variety of different local markets exist. Cash. Tourist. Regional. We wouldn't expect all of these to fade away, but, a unified central banking system that appeals to international or direct capital investment is a must if India wants to court the sort of investment and attention is't BRIC peers are gearing towards garnering.
2. Russian Ruble (RUB) and one's ability to buy it in exchange for another currency, or sell it in to another currency should it be what we expect to receive, has had a very fluid narrative. It is the currency of the Russian Federation, the two partially recognised republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Recent sanctions mean that although it could be done on the supposition the various extremely convoluted compliance requirements are met, it is a currency you won't find yourself able to confidently transact in in the near-term.
3. Nira, the local currency of Nigeria, has a strange relationship with the international banking community. Steps are being taken to make it far more widely available outside the country and across the banking and international free trading worlds and we expect improvements in access to trickle down to the retail space because of the rapid growth Nigeria and many East African countries represents, but, issue over the source of funds and the compliance of it's accumulation, coupled with inconsistent sentiments on the part of the Nigerian Central Bank, mean there is still a way to go.
4. Most Carribean currencies are pegged to the US dollar, or indeed the pound in some instances. Local banks want the internationally liquid dollar and there has emerged a two tier currency market in some territories (British Sovereign or not). This means sending money to these destinations may simply result in the local trading entity asking to receive USD rather than any other dollar derivative.
This can be frustrating because, if you're doing building or maintenance work, buying property or repatriating rental earnings (on your home over there or from your business interests), you don't accurately know what the conversion or price point should be.
5. The various iterations of main land and offshore currencies used when dealing with and extracting capital from China mean the process can be confusing, hard and convoluted.
Parties involved in business development both in the UK and in China are working hard to codify what is expected of businesses and ex-pats in pursuit of a more fluid banking arrangement and we have certainly see greater numbers of specialist business advisers who can explain the variations on this theme, but, it is still tricky and can be frustrating for individuals and businesses alike.
USD is commonly used and arguably this is one of the benefits of globalisation and supply chain advances, but, in our view things can only get easier.