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Wealth Management for Expats in Thailand

Submitted: August 2014

There is a growing private banking industry in Thailand. Private banking services may be available from local banks as well as foreign banks, unlike personal banking services.

Do not assume that private banking is only for multimillionaires. In Thailand, you could consider applying for any premium-like services if your assets total at least USD30,000.


Should you look for private banking services?

Generally speaking, you should look for a wealth manager if you think you need help with financial planning. A financial institution is prone to offer you more sophisticated services when you are or get wealthier. These services range from traditional lending or investment management to inheritance tax planning or asset protection.

Common reasons for signing up to private banking in Thailand include:


Finding the right deal

When you are offered a financial product from a wealth manager, you should anyway check:

Instead of opting for a commission-based pricing structure, you might wish to consider fee-based private banking services. This option can be helpful if you need to ensure service quality and if your investable wealth is high enough.

In Thailand, commission-based pricing structures are still reported to be the main rule. The advisory segment has yet to develop.


Issues for expatriates

Financial planning complexity increases dramatically when you become an expatriate, as additional cross-border issues must be taken into account. These include, but are not limited to:

It is essential to check if your wealth manager is qualified enough to deal with your specific cross-border issues. As an expat in Thailand, a Thai wealth manager is likely to be the most qualified to help you optimise your finances during your stay in Thailand. This applies no matter if you are already the client of an offshore private bank.

In all cases, be wary of:


US taxpayers

It may be harder for US citizens to find a relevant wealth manager outside the US. This is because US citizens remain subject to US tax rules, even when they are resident outside the US.

If you are a US taxpayer, you are likely to need a specialist wealth manager, i.e. with the appropriate qualifications for advising US citizens resident in Thailand.



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