A relatively recent arrival in Singapore, British expat Simon Hilton works here as a foreign exchange expert. We chatted about his new home and his job – and, at the same time, we grabbed the chance to get some tips on transferring money overseas.
Tell us a bit about your expat trail and your work.
I’m from London. I moved to Singapore for work in February 2018. I’ve worked for global currency specialist WorldFirst since September 2006 and, since starting, I’ve operated out of four of the company’s international offices: Singapore, Hong Kong, Washington and London. My job involves evaluating the business and driving revenue and efficiencies across the organisation.
What do you like best about your job?
I enjoy meeting clients and colleagues from different cultures and backgrounds. Working for a currency exchange company I naturally come into contact with different people, with interesting stories on why they are moving their funds.
For instance, in the past we have helped clients transfer money to import a pedigree dog from Sweden and another client who purchased a rare Ferrari car from Italy!
What are some key things to be aware of with foreign exchange and international money transfers?
Transferring money overseas is serious business. Not only do you want your funds to arrive safely, you want as much of your transfer to reach its destination as possible, and not be swallowed up in bad exchange rates and unnecessary fees.
Things you should be aware of when making an overseas currency transfer include:
- Transaction Fees – Banks may seem to be a convenient option for money transfers but they usually incur hidden fees and commissions.
- Exchange Rates – Exchange rates can vary significantly between providers. It’s always a good idea to shop around to find bank-beating exchange rates.
- Personalised service – when transferring money internationally (especially large sums) it helps to talk over your options with a currency specialist to ensure a smooth transaction. Be wary of providers who only offer an online-based service – you may not get assistance quickly.
- Security of funds – Ensure that your provider is regulated in Singapore by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
What do you like best about Singapore?
It’s great living in Singapore, especially as I can easily take short-haul flights to explore different parts of Asia. I’ve been to seven or eight places within the past seven months (Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, China and Indonesia).
What’s one thing you miss about home?
Reasonably priced alcoholic beverages!
WorldFirst manages international payments for individuals, businesses and online sellers across 61 currencies quickly, securely and at exchange rates cheaper than the international and local banks. Since 2004, more than 280,000 individuals, businesses and online sellers have used the company to transact more than S$110 billion. WorldFirst operates all over the world and has over 600 employees based in eight locations across Sydney, London, Amsterdam, Austin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shenzhen and Tokyo.
Read more in our Living in Singapore section: