The majority of referrals we receive from the legal sector relate to the purchase of London property.
The overriding consideration for us when referred to someone bringing capital into the UK is the actual country or jurisdiction in which the client resides at the point of registration.
Our dealings with a referred client might be rather brief if they live and hold their capital in a country we aren't able to deal with from a regulatory perspective. It largely comes down to what information we are able to verify and how comfortable we are with the profile we are able to create for and of our prospective client.
Due to the reciprocal nature of tax visibility with certain global jurisdictions (or lack thereof), there are some countries that we just cannot deal with when it comes to where a client lives.
Until the end of 2018, one such country was the United States.
Whilst a large number of our private client referrals are people living in the US, it is usually the case that their capital is either lodged outside the US or they have a qualifying exemption - for instance they split their time between the US and another country, they already have residential or primary property in the UK, or they are simply exchanging US dollars rather than actually living in the United States themselves.
If you are in pursuit of a better rate of exchange or you are advising someone considering a property purchase, early engagement of a currency broker can save you thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds.
Even if we cannot conduct the exchange for you, our free advice and guidance may shed light on ways of improving your rates, margins and control over a transaction.
The reason I say that Prime Cap was unable to deal with US residents until late 2018 is because, from that date, we began working with a US FINCEN and FATCA license holder whose reach meant and continues to mean that we can now register and work with US resident private clients and US incorporated entities. This is a huge result for a firm of our size and age and places us squarely ahead of competitors whose focus is only EMEA.
If you're buying property in the UK but funding, or part funding, from assets you hold in currencies other than sterling, the GBP amount you need to achieve will invariably be fixed as and when your offer is accepted.
This means that from that moment the sterling value of the foreign currency you hold will be changing with the market.
Rates of exchange fluctuate around 52 times a minute. Wholesale global interbank rates of exchange underpin the sort of rate movements a client might be affected by.
There is a very simple solution to getting rid of the extent to which you might be affected (for good or ill) by movements in the rate of exchange - it is called forward buying - and we tend to find that a client would much rather fix their foreign currency cost rather than leave themselves at the mercy of the market's movements - buying the currency you need as close to the time your offer is accepted is the best way to make sure you have the foreign currency amount you need by the time you have to settle for a purchase, and buying forward is a way of doing this but just deferring paying for your currency until your completion date.
So, what we mean by the above is that with a firm like Prime Cap you do not need to have all your capital liquid in order to lock in a rate.
We can use a combination of tools and contracts to limit your exposure to adverse movements in a rate.
When the UK buying process requires you to provide a percentage of the purchase cost as and when contracts are exchanged between the parties involved, many of our clients view deposit and balance payments as two separate exchanges.
This of course means that two different rates of exchange may be involved and, depending on directions in the market's movement, more or less of a foreign currency will be required for those two payments.
Buying all the currency you need on one contract means the foreign currency cost will neither climb nor fall with the market.
Therefore, we ask our clients which option they would prefer:
An 'on the spot' exchange for the deposit payment and an on the spot exchange for the balance payment - with the chance that either of the two rates might be better or worse than the former or latter.
One rate for the entire purchase and the ability to settle the booking with us at a date convenient to the timeline of the purchase.
It is as simple as that.