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I was working in the UK for several years and managed to save about 60k GBP in my Santander UK account before moving to France in 2017. I left the money in this account when I left. Today, with the Brexit situation being totally unclear I do not feel comfortable keeping my money in a UK bank. I have a GBP bank account in France to which I could transfer all that money without doing any currency exchange (I do not envisage using the money, so no need to exchange it to euros).

Is it sensible to do this transfer or are there better options for this situation?

Given this option to be the best, how can I minimize inter-banks transfer costs?

Thank you.

  • Any money held in GBP, anywhere in the world is indirectly held in a bank in UK. – Dheer Jan 14 at 1:53
  • I do not feel comfortable keeping my money in a UK bank Why exactly ? And if you don't intend to convert to EUR, I see no reason for the need to transfer. – DumbCoder Jan 14 at 10:11
  • It does make sense to do a cheap intra-EU transfer while UK-FR is still intra-EU. Currently it should be a simple SEPA transfer, "shared costs". (I.e. you pay the normal UK costs for initiating a transfer and the normal FR costs for receiving) – MSalters Jan 15 at 11:48
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Let's assume the risk of Santander UK defaulting is very close to zero. Let's also assume the Bank of England is not going broke any time soon. So our default risk is effectively zero.

As the other answer notes, there is no big difference between where the GBP is held. If you're looking for a way to transfer GBP to EUR, I like Transferwise, but you might be able to have your bank in France give you a great rate after transferring the GBP over to them. Or they might price gouge you on the exchange rate. Be careful. In order to minimize the inter-bank transfer costs, minimize the number of times you make this type of transfer. You will get hit once if you do it, so try and keep it at a minimum.

The real risk here is currency devaluation, as well as inflation risk. If your GBP depreciates significantly vs. the Euro, your purchasing power will go down, all else equal. If you leave your money in a checking account and earn less than the inflation rate, once again your purchasing power will go down as it is worth less in the future.

I am in an extremely similar situation myself, although with GBP and USD. The bottom line is that you need to answer the question, "Where does it make the most sense for your money to be? Which country and currency? What makes the most sense for you?"

After you decide what you are saving for, and which currency the funds should be in, you'll want to think about how to invest that money to earn a higher return. Here is a very basic overview on investing. Before you begin speculating on the long-term health of GBP vs. EUR, you should seek to gain a very modest return by investing in something relatively low-risk, and appropriate for your time horizon, such as money-market funds or low cost ETFs.

DISCLAIMER: If you have any doubts as to the merits of what I have said you should seek advice from an independent financial advisor.

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This does not make sense. What exactly are you afraid of? What Brexit most likely will mean is a change in the value of the pound in respect to euros. This can be dealt by buying euros with your pounds.

Accounts in the UK are protected up to 85k in the case of defaults. So generally speaking you have too little money to worry about.

  • It's always worth asking about counter-party risks with guarantees like this. However if the UK government runs out of money, it will just print more pounds to pay out the 60k. Of course that will decrease the value of the GBP, but the OP has already said they don't want to convert out of GBP (which is the only defence). – Martin Bonner Jan 14 at 16:39

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