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Why Lawyers Should Consider Currency Exchange In Cases With Overseas Assets

It is becoming increasingly common for lawyers to come across cases where funds need to be sent to or received from a foreign country. For example repatriation of foreign assets in an estate matter, debt recovery where assets are located overseas or acquisition of a foreign company.

The best way to transfer these assets between countries and currencies is however often not properly considered by lawyers who are therefore inadvertently and unnecessarily costing their client several thousands of pounds.

Dealing with a case involving foreign assets? Contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470339 or email info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk. We can advise regarding the best way to transfer the funds and can make sure that you get the best exchange rate for your client, helping you to save your client thousands. 

If money is to be sent to or received from overseas,  the foreign currency will therefore need to be converted before in can be received into your firm’s client account or sent to the recipient’s account.

To ensure that you are acting in your client’s best interests and to ensure as much of these funds as possible are preserved for client, proper consideration should be given to the best way to receive the funds. The rate of the currency exchange can have a massive impact on the overall amount received/paid however it is often overlooked by lawyers when dealing with overseas transactions.

When repatriating foreign assets or sending funds abroad, many lawyers often just blindly entrust the transfer to the bank allowing them to convert the money into the required currency without considering the rate offered by the bank and the impact this could have on the overall amount received / paid.

Exchange rates are however one of the ways in which High Street banks make enormous profits at the expense of their customers, including law firms.

Bank exchange rates tend to be very uncompetitive and may also be accompanied by commission charges just to transfer the money overseas. This rarely achieves the best result for your client and can often end up unnecessarily costing the client a significant amount. 

What is the best way to send/ receive money internationally?

The most cost effective way of receiving or sending money internationally is to use a recommended currency exchange specialist to assist you with transferring the money and exchanging the currency rather than receiving or transferring the funds directly into a high street bank account. The services of a good currency specialist are usually free but can save a significant amount.

The reason for this is because currency exchange specialists typically offer currency exchange rates that are 3-5% better than high street banks meaning 3-5% more of the funds will be preserved. For example, if you were transferring the equivalent of £100,000 you could costs your client up to £5000 by transferring the funds directly into your client account and allowing the bank to convert the currency.

In addition to this, high street banks often charge fees and commissions just to move the money from overseas. The service of a good, recommended foreign exchange specialist however is free.

Worldwide Lawyers can recommend a Currency Exchange Specialist who is used to assisting lawyers and their clients with international money transfers. All Currency Specialists recommended by Worldwide Lawyers are registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as well as fully regulated by HMRC.

The reason that currency specialist companies are able do this is due to the volume of foreign currency transfers they make and the fact their sole aim as a business is to offer superior exchange rates compared to the banks.

Currency specialists can also advise you about the timing of the currency transfer to help you ensure that you help your clients receive the most from their funds.

Currency Specialists Vs High Street Banks

Example

You are dealing with an estate where there is a bank account in Germany with a balance of €200,000. You are based in the UK and need to receive the funds into your UK client account. You will therefore need to convert your €200,000 into Pounds Sterling.

  High Street Bank Rate Currency Specialist Rate
€200,000 @ £1.10 €200,000 @ £1.14
Amount received in £ £220,000 £228,000

By using a currency specialist instead of a bank your client would have received £8000.00 more. 

As set out in the example above, a small amount of research and planning can make a vast difference to the amounts actually received and can add a considerable amount of value for your client. By helping them receive / make payments  in the most cost effective way, you can often save your client more than your fees have actually cost them, adding real additional value for your clients!!

It is recommended that anyone repatriating foreign assets or arranging to transfer money abroad, contacts a currency specialist rather than risk leaving the transfer to the banks. A good currency specialist will be happy to give you some no-obligation information about the best way to deal with the currency exchange and how they can help you save your clients money.

Currency Exchange and the Regulatory Obligations of Lawyers

In relation to currency exchange services the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority in England and Wales have provided the following guidance:

If the solicitor is aware that funds will need to be received or sent abroad he may wish to discuss with his client at the outset how this will be achieved.

If he is aware of such a service which would result in a considerable financial benefit to the client then, as he has an obligation to act in the client’s best interests (SRA Principle 4) and an obligation to disclose all relevant material information to his client (Outcome O(4.2) of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011) he should discuss the possibilities and any risks with his client and take the client’s instructions.

However if he has discussed the issues and risks with his client, the client is then in a position to consider the risks and benefits and to give instructions as to how they wish the funds to be transferred.”

For details of a recommended currency exchange specialist and to discuss how they can assist you and your clients, please get in touch with Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470339 or email us at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk. 

All Currency Exchange Specialists recommended by Worldwide Lawyers are registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as well as fully regulated by HMRC.

Worldwide Lawyers can also assist should you require details of a recommended foreign lawyer to assist you in dealing with legal aspects of your international matter. 

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