Author Topic: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU  (Read 1650 times)

BikeLover

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ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« on: February 26, 2019, 12:50:47 AM »
As a US citizen residing in the EU, I expect to be living in the EU for the next working years, and to retire either in the EU or in the USA. I have an account with Interactive Brokers, and ideally would put my money in two ETFs: VTI and VXUS. Unfortunately, these and most US-domiciled ETFs are not available to investors classified as retail clients, as the Key Information Document (KID) regulated by European regulation is not provided by these ETFs.

I see the following options:
(1) purchase ETFs domiciled in the EU, for example, CSSPX, which tracks the S&P 500. As I understand, this would be classified as a PFIC, with a resulting high and complicated tax burden, highly undesirable.
(2) apply for classification as a professional at Interactive Brokers; in general, one must have over 500,000 EUR, which I am far from having. Another possibility might be to seek to have myself registered as an investment advisor (on this thread: https://www.elitetrader.com/et/threads/priips-kid-on-ib.322160/page-17)
(3) invest in a variety of individual stocks, attempting to roughly match an index, or at least minimize sector risk. This is what I've done since no longer being able to purchase the US-domiciled ETFs.

Is anyone else in this situation? Are there are another options I may have overlooked? Or, if anyone in this situation has chosen the third option, do you have some strategy for selecting a small group of stocks that together should tend to correspond to the overall stock market?

Update: I don't know when the change happened, but as of April 1, 2019, IB allows me to purchase many US domiciled ETFs, including VTI.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 12:29:38 PM by BikeLover »

beltim

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 03:27:54 AM »
Some brokerages allow US citizens to keep or even open accounts on the basis of their last address in the US.  I'm a bit surprised Interactive Brokers doesn't, to be honest.  This way you can more easily satisfy US and European regulations on owning US-domiciled funds.

So, option 4: switch brokers to avoid the problem.

Hula Hoop

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 06:00:22 AM »
I'm also an American living in an EU country.  I've been strongly warned by my US tax accountant that as a US citizen it is much better for me to only own ETFs domiciled in the US.  the FATCA/FBAR regime for a US citizen owning ETFs domiciled outside the US is, apparently, punitive.  I haven't really looked into it as I trust my accountant but try doing some googling. 

It's true that many US based financial institutions require a US address.  I use a relative's address for my US financial institution and I suggest that you do the same.

pmac

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 05:05:52 PM »
Don't give up your US address. Not worth the hassle.

Bryan_in_Ger

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2019, 03:51:16 AM »
Another American in the EU chiming in:

Didn't start investing until I moved overseas, so I am in the same situation.  If you choose beltim's suggestion and go with Option 4, Charles Schwab offers American Expats brokerage services with a starting balance of $25,000.  I decided to go with them since I chickened out opening an account at Vanguard with my parents' address when they asked for employer information during the application; for me, being "creative" with the address was one thing, but lying about employer (and who knows what other questions were going to come up in the application) was too much.

TL;DR: Open an account with Schwab.

Good luck!

BikeLover

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2019, 08:28:13 AM »
Charles Schwab offers American Expats brokerage services with a starting balance of $25,000.  I decided to go with them since I chickened out opening an account at Vanguard with my parents' address when they asked for employer information during the application; for me, being "creative" with the address was one thing, but lying about employer (and who knows what other questions were going to come up in the application) was too much.

Similar thing here. When I started investing (2016), I had read a number of accounts of persons who had had their brokerage accounts frozen after the broker discovered that they were actually residing overseas, despite having given an US residential address. Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers seemed to be the two big brokerages that were explicitly open to American expats, I chose Interactive Brokers on account of its lower fees ($1 per trade and no monthly or yearly fees for balances over $100,000).

But after Interactive Brokers locked out EU residents from american domiciled ETFs the past summer, I considered opening an account at Vanguard after all, using an address I maintain with relatives in the USA, and which is associated with a couple of american credit cards and bank accounts of mine. I started the application for an account at Vanguard, but stopped when they asked for the address of the employer, as I expected putting a foreign employer to result in scrutiny and difficulties, and was unwilling to lie about employer on the application.

Does Charles Schwab International still allow purchasing ETFs such as VTI? Or are you investing in Schwab's own funds?

BikeLover

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2019, 08:37:24 AM »
Some brokerages allow US citizens to keep or even open accounts on the basis of their last address in the US.  I'm a bit surprised Interactive Brokers doesn't, to be honest.  This way you can more easily satisfy US and European regulations on owning US-domiciled funds.

So, option 4: switch brokers to avoid the problem.

Thanks, I will look into opening an account with another broker with my US address (where I have relatives, and associated with my US bank accounts and credit cards).

I only begin investing while residing in the EU. It might have been possible at the time to give my last US address to Interactive Brokers, however if I recall correctly the application form explicitly asked about additional tax residency in any other countries than the USA, and they definitely asked for my employer's address. At the time I was concerned about possible future complications such as freezing of the account or forced liquidation if they discovered I was residing in the EU and had only stated US residency.

daverobev

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 10:31:33 AM »
Interactive Brokers

a) allows you to select from a biiig list of stock exchanges

b) allows fairly easy transferring of account from one country to another, assuming you plan on ever moving country

I would not open accounts using an address you are not resident at, honestly.

beltim

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 10:56:32 AM »
Interactive Brokers

a) allows you to select from a biiig list of stock exchanges

b) allows fairly easy transferring of account from one country to another, assuming you plan on ever moving country

I would not open accounts using an address you are not resident at, honestly.

Did you read the original post?  The OP has an account at Interactive Brokers but can't use them to buy the ETFs he wants.

daverobev

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 12:55:39 PM »
Interactive Brokers

a) allows you to select from a biiig list of stock exchanges

b) allows fairly easy transferring of account from one country to another, assuming you plan on ever moving country

I would not open accounts using an address you are not resident at, honestly.

Did you read the original post?  The OP has an account at Interactive Brokers but can't use them to buy the ETFs he wants.

I tend to skim read, and I didn't realise one couldn't just buy whatever they liked if they have trading ability on a given exchange. But, it does appear I can't buy VXUS, VTI, VT, IVV, ITOT, while I can buy - for example - KHC.

Which I find really odd because VXUS is one that reports to the UK government, so it is actually treated as something that can have capital gains and dividend treatment. What use is that, if you can't buy it?!

Well, you learn something every day.

https://www.justetf.com/uk/news/etf/us-domiciled-etfs.html

Bryan_in_Ger

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2019, 09:44:45 AM »
I chose Interactive Brokers on account of its lower fees ($1 per trade and no monthly or yearly fees for balances over $100,000).

Schwab does not have any fees to maintain an account, one "simply" needs $25,000 to transfer into the account initially.  And even then, I think that money can be moved back out to a certain degree right afterwards.  As for trade fees, more on that in a second.

Quote from: BikeLover
Does Charles Schwab International still allow purchasing ETFs such as VTI? Or are you investing in Schwab's own funds?

I use Schwab's own funds: no trade fees, low expenses, good coverage of asset types (for me at least).  Schwab offers access to other ETFs (including VTI and VXUS since you mentioned them specifically), but the commission is $4.95 per order (buy or sell).

flipboard

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2019, 10:39:42 AM »
I chose Interactive Brokers on account of its lower fees ($1 per trade and no monthly or yearly fees for balances over $100,000).

Schwab does not have any fees to maintain an account, one "simply" needs $25,000 to transfer into the account initially.  And even then, I think that money can be moved back out to a certain degree right afterwards.  As for trade fees, more on that in a second.

Quote from: BikeLover
Does Charles Schwab International still allow purchasing ETFs such as VTI? Or are you investing in Schwab's own funds?

I use Schwab's own funds: no trade fees, low expenses, good coverage of asset types (for me at least).  Schwab offers access to other ETFs (including VTI and VXUS since you mentioned them specifically), but the commission is $4.95 per order (buy or sell).
Just curious: does your Schwab account have a EU address, and they're still letting you buy US ETF's?

If yes: that's interesting and good to know: IB have a similar setup to Schwab: both are US brokers, both have UK offices, both service EU customers via their UK offices. IB hold the opinion that they are therefore subject to EU law, but it sounds like maybe Schwab doesn't?

(IB seem like a much bigger player, so they're probably also a lot more aware of all the relevant local requirements?)

I have noticed that Schwab have an offer where you can get 200 free trades valid for 2 years, if you add at least $100k of assets to you Schwab account. That can be useful for anyone wanting to have free trades for a larger number of ETF's - although personally I find their in-house range sufficient.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2019, 11:24:55 AM »
I found this Vanguard page for investing in Europe which shows investor information kits for various countries (many in the native country's language, and English).
https://global.vanguard.com/portal/site/home

But Schwab is probably better for travelers / ex-pats owing to their "no fee ATMs worldwide", and 0% foreign transaction fees.
https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/banking_lending/checking_account

flipboard

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2019, 12:37:17 PM »
I found this Vanguard page for investing in Europe which shows investor information kits for various countries (many in the native country's language, and English).
https://global.vanguard.com/portal/site/home
If you take a closer look you'll notice most countries don't have any consumer info, and more significantly they only take into account Europe domiciled funds/ETFs, which is useless for the purposes of this thread.

Bryan_in_Ger

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2019, 06:56:44 AM »
Just curious: does your Schwab account have a EU address, and they're still letting you buy US ETF's?

If yes: that's interesting and good to know: IB have a similar setup to Schwab: both are US brokers, both have UK offices, both service EU customers via their UK offices. IB hold the opinion that they are therefore subject to EU law, but it sounds like maybe Schwab doesn't?

(IB seem like a much bigger player, so they're probably also a lot more aware of all the relevant local requirements?)

I have noticed that Schwab have an offer where you can get 200 free trades valid for 2 years, if you add at least $100k of assets to you Schwab account. That can be useful for anyone wanting to have free trades for a larger number of ETF's - although personally I find their in-house range sufficient.

Yes, I was able to use my EU address when applying and am able to buy US-domiciled ETFs.  Here is a link to the Schwab website for US Expats - https://international.schwab.com/public/international/us_investing/us_expat_essentials
So they know full well, that I am outside of the US and also a tax resident in Germany.  As for reporting capital gains and dividends, I just plug the total amounts into the appropriate spot in my tax form (corrected into EUR using the appropriate number provided by the German government) and am done with it here in Germany.  I've only filed two years of taxes with Schwab accounts up to this point, but the Ministry of Finance hasn't shown any interest in paperwork for any of my investments yet; my tax filing has been sufficient for them.  It could be a legal gray-area for Schwab as they are marketing US-domiciled products to investors outside of the US, but I doubt they are making large enough waves to bother any regulatory bodies here.

I found this Vanguard page for investing in Europe which shows investor information kits for various countries (many in the native country's language, and English).
https://global.vanguard.com/portal/site/home

But Schwab is probably better for travelers / ex-pats owing to their "no fee ATMs worldwide", and 0% foreign transaction fees.
https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/banking_lending/checking_account

As flipboard pointed out: EU-based Vanguard services aren't available for private investors in every country.  And what they do have here is definitely EU-domiciled, so not a great choice for Americans.

Schwab has been good for me as an Expat so far; my transfers have gone through at close to quoted exchange rates without any fees on top.  Schwab has banks in different countries to cover the several major currencies investors outside of the US need to exchange.  As a funny aside: my transfers sometimes raise questions at my bank, but that's because Schwab's bank for EUR-transfers is based in Germany (international wire transfers within one country is an odd request).  I don't use the Schwab banking products as I still have a US-based bank account for the odd time I need it; my German account takes care of the rest.

BikeLover

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2019, 01:57:21 AM »
Just curious: does your Schwab account have a EU address, and they're still letting you buy US ETF's?

If yes: that's interesting and good to know: IB have a similar setup to Schwab: both are US brokers, both have UK offices, both service EU customers via their UK offices. IB hold the opinion that they are therefore subject to EU law, but it sounds like maybe Schwab doesn't?

(IB seem like a much bigger player, so they're probably also a lot more aware of all the relevant local requirements?)


Yes, I was able to use my EU address when applying and am able to buy US-domiciled ETFs.  Here is a link to the Schwab website for US Expats - https://international.schwab.com/public/international/us_investing/us_expat_essentials
So they know full well, that I am outside of the US and also a tax resident in Germany.  As for reporting capital gains and dividends, I just plug the total amounts into the appropriate spot in my tax form (corrected into EUR using the appropriate number provided by the German government) and am done with it here in Germany.  I've only filed two years of taxes with Schwab accounts up to this point, but the Ministry of Finance hasn't shown any interest in paperwork for any of my investments yet; my tax filing has been sufficient for them.  It could be a legal gray-area for Schwab as they are marketing US-domiciled products to investors outside of the US, but I doubt they are making large enough waves to bother any regulatory bodies here.

For some reason, presumably regulatory issues that vary by country, US expats in some European countries, including Austria, where I have tax residence, are directed to Charles Schwab UK, whereas residents in other countries, such as Germany, can open an account with Charles Schwab International. (https://international.schwab.com/public/international/nn/acct_open_intro.html) The accounts even at Charles Schwab UK are said to be US-domiciled accounts, so that could work.

I found a discussion at Bogleheads (https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=255121) where some users recommended using a VPN to open an account at Charles Schwab International from Austria. I haven't seen anything explicitly, however, indicating whether or not Charles Schwab UK allows US expats to buy US-domiciled ETFs.

aspiringnomad

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2019, 11:25:03 AM »
I don't live abroad yet, but plan to soon and so have done a bit of research into the implications for my brokerage accounts. Also, my wife is a non-US citizen with her own brokerage account that I helped set up, so I have some experience dealing with foreign-related issues.

Based on all that, I'd also recommend Schwab. They have a good range of low expense ratio, free to trade ETFs to choose from (SCHB, SCHF, SCHE, SCHX, etc...), they are ex-pat/foreigner/traveler friendly (e.g., Schwab bank ATM reimbursements) and they offer much better customer service than Vanguard in my experience.

For those seeking a US address, have you tried setting up a virtual mailbox account? I ask because I'm considering this in lieu of burdening a family member with receiving my mail and having to notify me of any important looking envelopes.

flipboard

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2019, 08:37:32 AM »

Schwab has been good for me as an Expat so far; my transfers have gone through at close to quoted exchange rates without any fees on top.
  Schwab has banks in different countries to cover the several major currencies investors outside of the US need to exchange.  As a funny aside: my transfers sometimes raise questions at my bank, but that's because Schwab's bank for EUR-transfers is based in Germany (international wire transfers within one country is an odd request).  I don't use the Schwab banking products as I still have a US-based bank account for the odd time I need it; my German account takes care of the rest.
I would strongly suggest you look very carefully at exchange rates, you might be losing out quite a bit. For my fairly major world-currency they charge 0.5%, so if they do the same for EUR you'd be paying 250 USD for every 50k invested - so if you invest even close to 50k USD per year, you probably can save money by converting currency elsewhere (e.g. at Interactive Brokers who offer market rate currency conversion, with a yearly account fee of 120 USD, but you can get around that yearly account fee by moving 100k of assets to them).

I put example numbers in a post here:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/financial-advice-wanted-for-an-american-living-in-hk/msg2276383/#msg2276383

(And a bit of effort to save a few hundred dollars per year is probably the norm for this forum : ) ).

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2019, 10:29:04 PM »
I'm also an American living in an EU country.  I've been strongly warned by my US tax accountant that as a US citizen it is much better for me to only own ETFs domiciled in the US.  the FATCA/FBAR regime for a US citizen owning ETFs domiciled outside the US is, apparently, punitive.  I haven't really looked into it as I trust my accountant but try doing some googling. 
@flipboard - I think you're saying the same thing as this earlier poster, but could you expand on the details they left out?

From reading I've done, I have the impression using a foreign investment requires delving into what they didn't distribute and paying tax on that.  Meaning you have to know the internals of the foreign mutual fund, and pay tax when nobody(?) is helping you to calculate it.  Is that the main problem or is it something else?

BikeLover

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2019, 09:03:09 AM »
The US tax rules on Passive Foreign Investment Companies (PFIC) are complicated (The IRS here https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i8621 estimates for "all other taxpayers" 17 hours of record keeping and 20 hours preparing and sending the form to the IRS).

More importantly, the effective tax rate is very high!
  • All income distributions are taxed at the highest marginal rate:  39.6%
  • Capital gains tax rates do not apply and gains are also taxed as income at 39.6%, compared to a rate of 15% for domestic, long term capital gains
  • Deferred gains receive an interest charge for the entire time period that gains are held in the PFIC (one reason why record keeping and reporting is so complicated)

https://shieldgeo.com/guide-to-passive-foreign-investment-company-pfic-for-us-expats/
https://thunfinancial.com/home/american-expat-financial-advice-research-articles/why-americans-should-never-ever-own-shares-in-a-non-us-incorporated-mutual-fund/

Bryan_in_Ger

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2019, 03:51:05 AM »
For some reason, presumably regulatory issues that vary by country, US expats in some European countries, including Austria, where I have tax residence, are directed to Charles Schwab UK, whereas residents in other countries, such as Germany, can open an account with Charles Schwab International. (https://international.schwab.com/public/international/nn/acct_open_intro.html) The accounts even at Charles Schwab UK are said to be US-domiciled accounts, so that could work.

I found a discussion at Bogleheads (https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=255121) where some users recommended using a VPN to open an account at Charles Schwab International from Austria. I haven't seen anything explicitly, however, indicating whether or not Charles Schwab UK allows US expats to buy US-domiciled ETFs.

Yeah, looking at the Schwab UK site, I don't see ETFs listed as an option which doesn't help your current situation.  Bummer...  :(

As for using a VPN: I think you'd run into issues when applying for an account anyway because the forms ask for residence, etc.  At that point, they'd direct you back to Schwab UK instead of Schwab General International (or whatever they call the subsidiaries).

I would strongly suggest you look very carefully at exchange rates, you might be losing out quite a bit. For my fairly major world-currency they charge 0.5%, so if they do the same for EUR you'd be paying 250 USD for every 50k invested - so if you invest even close to 50k USD per year, you probably can save money by converting currency elsewhere (e.g. at Interactive Brokers who offer market rate currency conversion, with a yearly account fee of 120 USD, but you can get around that yearly account fee by moving 100k of assets to them).

I put example numbers in a post here:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/financial-advice-wanted-for-an-american-living-in-hk/msg2276383/#msg2276383

(And a bit of effort to save a few hundred dollars per year is probably the norm for this forum : ) ).

You are absolutely right, the transfers have gone through with about 0.5% knocked off.  Still better than what I got transferring between my bank here and in the US, so I was complacent.  I will definitely look into it though.

flipboard

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2019, 10:19:46 AM »
For some reason, presumably regulatory issues that vary by country, US expats in some European countries, including Austria, where I have tax residence, are directed to Charles Schwab UK, whereas residents in other countries, such as Germany, can open an account with Charles Schwab International. (https://international.schwab.com/public/international/nn/acct_open_intro.html) The accounts even at Charles Schwab UK are said to be US-domiciled accounts, so that could work.

I found a discussion at Bogleheads (https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=255121) where some users recommended using a VPN to open an account at Charles Schwab International from Austria. I haven't seen anything explicitly, however, indicating whether or not Charles Schwab UK allows US expats to buy US-domiciled ETFs.

Yeah, looking at the Schwab UK site, I don't see ETFs listed as an option which doesn't help your current situation.  Bummer...  :(

As for using a VPN: I think you'd run into issues when applying for an account anyway because the forms ask for residence, etc.  At that point, they'd direct you back to Schwab UK instead of Schwab General International (or whatever they call the subsidiaries).
The Schwab.co.uk website doesn't mention ETF's... until you try to apply for an account ( https://www.schwab.co.uk/public/schwab-uk-en/nn/open-an-account/open-an-account.html ), where it states:
"Trade U.S. stocks, bonds, ETFs, and more."

Maybe they just forgot to be explicit about ETF's elsewhere? schwab.co.uk seems more like a lightweight marketing website than anything else, and I imagine you'll get the full Schwab experience once you're logged in. For many things, the UK website ends up redirecting to Schwab.com for many things - including the detailed price list, which does list ETF's.

In your position, I'd recommend contacting them before opening the account to clarify - but it appears to be an oversight.

(For even more fun: UK customers are actually told to apply to Schwab USA. It's only "Ireland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, or Sweden" that are told to apply via Schwab UK.)

Bryan_in_Ger

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2019, 12:47:57 PM »
The Schwab.co.uk website doesn't mention ETF's... until you try to apply for an account ( https://www.schwab.co.uk/public/schwab-uk-en/nn/open-an-account/open-an-account.html ), where it states:
"Trade U.S. stocks, bonds, ETFs, and more."

Maybe they just forgot to be explicit about ETF's elsewhere? schwab.co.uk seems more like a lightweight marketing website than anything else, and I imagine you'll get the full Schwab experience once you're logged in. For many things, the UK website ends up redirecting to Schwab.com for many things - including the detailed price list, which does list ETF's.

In your position, I'd recommend contacting them before opening the account to clarify - but it appears to be an oversight.

(For even more fun: UK customers are actually told to apply to Schwab USA. It's only "Ireland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, or Sweden" that are told to apply via Schwab UK.)

My experience in Germany is pretty much how flipboard describes it, so I could see the UK version working identically.  The international site is just a layer of marketing and after that everything is done on schwab.com.  Another added bonus for international investors is a dedicated hotline; I've only called them twice to ask some mundane questions (I can't even remember what), but they had the hotline manned on US holidays since both times I called happened to be such an occasion.  :)

I second flipboard: call them up and ask if you'll have access to US-based ETFs.  Fragen kostet nichts (do they say that in Austria too?).

meatro

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2019, 03:31:14 PM »
I am a US citizen with a German permanent address. 

Update to all:
https://www.americanexpatfinance.com/news/item/231-charles-schwab-unveils-mifid-ii-related-changes-to-etfs-for-europe
> private individuals can purchase US-domiciled ETFs at Schwab only until Sept. 19 2019
> after that, you can only sell and cannot reinvest dividends, but you can hold.

The article mentions that this does "not apply to clients of Schwab whose accounts are managed by U.S.-based Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)".  I assume this because those RIAs are considered professionals and the MiFID II rules requiring KIDs apply to non-professional private investors.
> does anyone know any no frills, low fee RIAs who might support Mustachians abroad?
> has anyone tried to become an RIA themselves?  Not sure how feasible this is.  I looked at German stuff and to become a "Finanzanlagenvermittler" seems to be a pain.

I had never considered opening a Schwab International account until reading this thread.  ... but the simple fact that you can buy ETFs through them for another 30 days might make me scamper to open an account.  Basically, I compared them to IB and ruled them out based on offerings: the exchange rate fees and the inability to buy any other foreign products were worse in comparison.
Foreign Exchange Fees were 1% of principal if amount converted under 100k.  Above that, 0.75%.
> were did you guys get 0.5%?  That is half as awful!
(Plus, it may be possible to transfer to USD through Transferwise (about 0.3-0.4% fee) before the money goes to Schwab, so maybe I shouldn't have stressed so much).

I would like to share my experience with IB:
Account opened at Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited. in mid June 2019.  I was not allowed an account with Interactive Brokers LLC in the US.  I have NOT been unable to purchase US domiciled ETFs as a non professional.  The reasons given by IB customer service are the same listed in link of the original post.
> are you IB guys still able to buy them as June 2019?  I ask because the original post says they could be purchased in April 2019.

Schwab, IB and I guess everyone else seem to be adjusting to the EU regulations slowly but surely.  For the long term, I am not sure how to purchase ETFs at all, let alone Vanguard.
> any further thoughts on how you guys plan to get along?
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 03:35:28 PM by meatro »

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #24 on: Today at 11:51:05 AM »
I had never considered opening a Schwab International account until reading this thread.  ... but the simple fact that you can buy ETFs through them for another 30 days might make me scamper to open an account.  Basically, I compared them to IB and ruled them out based on offerings: the exchange rate fees and the inability to buy any other foreign products were worse in comparison.
Foreign Exchange Fees were 1% of principal if amount converted under 100k.  Above that, 0.75%.
> were did you guys get 0.5%?  That is half as awful!
(Plus, it may be possible to transfer to USD through Transferwise (about 0.3-0.4% fee) before the money goes to Schwab, so maybe I shouldn't have stressed so much).
They do quote 1% on their site, but as far as I can tell that's only for foreign trades. I've always had 0.5% for all my incoming transfers, even for amounts as small as 80EUR.

Quote
Schwab, IB and I guess everyone else seem to be adjusting to the EU regulations slowly but surely.  For the long term, I am not sure how to purchase ETFs at all, let alone Vanguard.
> any further thoughts on how you guys plan to get along?
Try to find a US-based brokerage that accepts non-resident customers, that doesn't have any EU ties. There are, apparently, a few such brokers.

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Re: ETFs for American (USA) expats living in the EU
« Reply #25 on: Today at 12:12:17 PM »
Try to find a US-based brokerage that accepts non-resident customers, that doesn't have any EU ties. There are, apparently, a few such brokers.

If anyone figures out some good options I'd love to know about them.