Every South African knows by now how volatile and vulnerable the Rand is. Many investors have all their assets invested in their home country, but it is just good sense to diversify and invest a portion in overseas markets, particularly the US and UK economies which are growing at faster rates than here in SA. It is recommended to invest 25% to 35% of assets abroad.

We are lucky that Exchange Control rules have been relaxed for many years. There is no current move to change these rules but it is not impossible for government to go back to full Exchange Control like we had before 1994. It will be a chance lost.

Exchange Control – how much and how easy?

There are three methods for individuals to move assets offshore. Firstly an individual is allowed to transfer up to R10m per year abroad. For that you will need approval from the SA Reserve Bank that will require a clean tax declaration from SARS. An easier way for individuals to transfer money offshore is to use all or part of your annual travel allowance of R1m per person and invest that abroad. No approval is needed; you only need to fill in a form at your Bank. Finally, you can also make use of Sanlam’s asset swap facility. This is the easiest method as you only need to deposit Rands in your account. (N.B. It is also the only practical way for Trusts and Companies to invest abroad.)

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