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Navigating foreign exchange as an essential element of offshore diversification

The many uncertainties of our times demand meticulous planning and sophisticated investment strategies to protect and grow one’s wealth. The key has always been diversification of one’s investment portfolio, which prudently should include a substantial offshore investment allocation.

This immediately also brings to mind the complexities of the foreign exchange environment and finding efficient foreign exchange solutions that will best serve one’s investment portfolio.

Within any diversification and offshore investment strategy, foreign exchange could be a significant, and often costly, component. To maximise the potential benefits while safely navigating the many complexities and limiting the costs involved, it is absolutely essential to work with a specialist in the field.

Considerations before you invest offshoreInvest Offshore with Foreign Exchange Specialists at Carrick Wealth

High net worth individuals and other investors that are considering offshore diversification which may entail a substantial foreign exchange element will be asking themselves:

  • how do I meet all the regulatory requirements;
  • how do I cope with currency fluctuations and volatility;
  • what about all the red tape and paperwork;
  • what are the tax requirements;
  • how much money am I allowed to transfer out of the country;
  • and last, but perhaps most importantly, how do I keep down the costs involved in foreign exchange transactions?

The costs associated with foreign exchange transactions at retail level could be substantial, especially when large sums of money are being transferred. But they can be contained. Traditionally many people purchase foreign exchange through their bank, but that could be a costly route, and not necessarily the best one.

For any high net worth individuals (HNWI) or other investors living in the rand Common Monetary Area (CMA), there are many good reasons to consider investing offshore. Among these are political and policy uncertainty, regulatory changes, potential new and higher taxes, global developments that adversely impact the region or emerging markets like South Africa, and increased likelihood of further rating agency downgrades.

Amounts allowed when investing offshore

The current foreign exchange rules administered by the South African Reserve Bank now allow a tax-payer in good standing, who has obtained a Tax Clearance Certificate, and who is over the age of 18 years, to invest up to R10-million outside the CMA per calendar year. In addition, in terms of the single discretionary allowance rule, you may transfer up to R1-million abroad within each calendar year, without the requirement to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate.

This has significantly opened the way for South Africans to utilise offshore investment solutions such as an international pension, or to build up a foreign currency reserve.

There is no monetary limit on the amount that can be transferred offshore by a registered private, public, and listed company (excluding sole proprietorships, partnerships, close corporations, and trusts), for foreign direct capital investment purposes to countries outside the CMA.

However, requests for investments exceeding R1-billion per calendar year must be submitted to the Financial Surveillance Department. In addition, a pre-requisite is that the SA business entity must acquire at least 10% of the targeted foreign entity’s voting rights.

Therefore, while investing offshore through foreign exchange is an attractive and prudent option, anyone living in the rand CMA and who has done so, will know about all the complexities and risks involved.

On top of that, the rand’s notorious volatility since the global financial crisis of 2008, exposes one to additional uncertainty and risk. Balancing this with the periodic fluctuations of other major global currencies like the dollar, pound or euro due to various global or national political and economic shocks and triggers, will make expert assistance absolutely imperative.

So the question to ask is, how does one make foreign exchange transactions as pain-free and cost-efficient as possible?

Carrick Concierge and our foreign exchange specialist partners

To assist clients in need of intelligent, bespoke foreign exchange solutions, Carrick Wealth has, through its unique Concierge service, partnered with authorised and regulated specialists in the field of foreign exchange.

Through Carrick Concierge and this partnership, our clients can benefit from the services of specialists in foreign exchange and international remittance to and from every major global destination, whether they are high net worth individuals, people in a professional or corporate capacity, or companies and other legal entities.

Through this partnership we can provide better rates of exchange on a global network of currencies for all international transactions. We also ensure there are no transfer fees or account set-up fees and provide a range of spot, forward, and market order options. Carrick Concierge members will thus benefit substantially from highly competitive volume-based and preferential rates because of Carrick’s relationship with its foreign exchange specialist service provider partner.

Carrick’s personalised Concierge service and our dedicated service provider will also take care on your behalf of the substantial volume of documentation required by the SA Reserve Bank and SA Revenue Services. In addition, through Carrick’s Concierge service you will have secure access anytime, anywhere, to your personal profile and investment portfolio with real-time market valuations. You will be able to edit your profile as well as request service from your dedicated adviser.

Through partnerships with industry leaders in the fields of foreign exchange, tax, international property, offshore bank accounts, trusts, wills, estate planning and international education, we are able to cater to your offshore and onshore investment needs by providing you with access to the highest levels of service for your financial planning requirements.

Our holistic, personalised approach in partnership with specialists in these various fields, ensures that Carrick clients are assured of peace of mind while experts take care of everything: from simple transfers to complex, large transactions, and delivering bespoke solutions that will minimise our clients’ currency exposure and take care of all the complexities.

To find out more, contact your Carrick adviser today or email us at


Carrick Wealth is a registered South African financial services provider specialising in South African and international financial planning. Carrick is also licensed in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and holds three global licences in Mauritius. Carrick at all times maintains its independence with regard to product providers and asset managers, and provides bespoke risk assessment, financial planning and other services to high net worth individuals (HNWI). Through partnerships with industry leaders in the fields of foreign exchange, tax, international property, offshore bank accounts, trusts, wills and estate planning, Carrick is able to provide the highest levels of service for your financial planning and investment requirements, both offshore and domestic.

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