Author Topic: Canadian expat in Switzerland looking for investment options  (Read 920 times)

CdnInCH

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Canadian expat in Switzerland looking for investment options
« on: February 07, 2020, 06:49:37 AM »
Hi there,
This may not be the most appropriate place to post this, so apologies in advance.
I'm a Canadian (non-resident) living in Switzerland and looking for self-directed investment options (something like Scotia iTrade) but seem to not be super clear on where I can do this, account type I can open etc.
Probably sounds naive and definitely need to do more research but wanted to see if anyone has any experience/insights to share?
Many thanks in advance.

Freedomin5

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Re: Canadian expat in Switzerland looking for investment options
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2020, 07:28:23 AM »
Have you read Andrew Hallam’s new book, Millionaire Expat? Lots of good information there. He’s a Canadian non-resident who FIRE’d from an international career. 

We are Canadian non-resident expats living in China. While you won’t qualify for RRSPs and TFSAs, you can invest through taxable investment accounts. We use TD WebBroker because our bank accounts are all with TD. However, you should be able to use Scotia iTrade, or whatever other online platform you want. You may have to go in person in Canada to set it up. The bank will help issue the correct tax forms, and you may have to file taxes in Canada each year on investment income.

One question as to whether you should invest through Canadian investment platform is whether you plan to retire in Canada. It is typically better to put your investments in the country in which you wish to retire. That way, when it comes time to withdraw your money, you don’t have to worry about exchange rates or moving your money between countries. However, if you wish to retire to some developing country with poor banking structure, like Cambodia or whatever, then it may be better to park your money either in Switzerland where you currently reside or in Canada. We plan to retire to Canada, so we keep our money in Canada.

Finally, I strongly suggest the previous response is spam. First time poster immediately providing a link to their own website. Spelling errors. Telling you to trade, trade, trade. Probably spam marketing.

On this site, most Mustachians subscribe to a Canadian Couch Potato type self-directed portfolio using passive index investment funds. Anyone who tells you to to be a trader is probably going to end up costing you A LOT of money. And we won’t tell you to buy anything from a personal website. All our advice is free.

ApacheStache

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Re: Canadian expat in Switzerland looking for investment options
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2020, 09:00:29 AM »

Finally, I strongly suggest the previous response is spam. First time poster immediately providing a link to their own website. Spelling errors. Telling you to trade, trade, trade. Probably spam marketing.

Honestly I'm skeptical of posts 1 and 2. I'm not Canadian, but post 1 is super vague, has some quirky phrasing/sentence structures and very conveniently sets up post 2.

flipboard

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Re: Canadian expat in Switzerland looking for investment options
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2020, 12:37:14 PM »
Hi there,
This may not be the most appropriate place to post this, so apologies in advance.
I'm a Canadian (non-resident) living in Switzerland and looking for self-directed investment options (something like Scotia iTrade) but seem to not be super clear on where I can do this, account type I can open etc.
Probably sounds naive and definitely need to do more research but wanted to see if anyone has any experience/insights to share?
Many thanks in advance.
Generally the best way to invest is Interactive Brokers. It's cheap (approx 30 cents per trade), great for currency conversion (market rate, 2 dollar fee). Some people complain about the UI when using the desktop trading software (aka TWS), but nowadays you can do everything in the mobile app which is much easier to use. Other issue is a 10 USD minimum commission per month if you have < 100k in assets with them - in Switzerland, it shouldn't take you long to build up that wealth.

Assuming you're doing passive investing, you can buy the same US-domiciled ETFs as anyone else in the world (US-Swiss dual tax treaty makes these tax efficient: US withholding of 15% is fully credited against Swiss taxes). Most advice for other European countries does NOT apply to Switzerland: non-EU so no PRIIPS, different tax system (no capital gains either), estate tax treaty means no issues with US-domiciled stocks and ETFs (unless you're really rich, i.e. > 10 million CHF/USD net worth).

Local brokers tend to be more expensive, if you're a true Mustachian you'll probably want to avoid them.

Final thing to think about is interaction of Swiss and Canadian retirement systems. You can't avoid the Swiss pension system, but you'll want to make sure you understand taxation if you ever depart Switzerland - this is where tax treaties can come into play.

That link in post 2 meanwhile... seems like a scam. It's not even the right language for the majority of Switzerland.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 12:39:11 PM by flipboard »

samuck

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Re: Canadian expat in Switzerland looking for investment options
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2020, 02:32:41 PM »
Post 2 is scam. Never heard of it (I‘m Swiss). Try https://forum.mustachianpost.com/ with lots of threads on investing in Switzerland, or just post your question, also many expats present on that site.