Skipton International, a Guernsey-based and licensed bank, has added a series of U.S. dollar savings accounts to its range of account options for corporate clients, and company officials say that they're working on developing similar dollar options for individuals.
While Skipton International executives – like many other experts at the moment – agree that the global political and economic situation could hardly be more difficult to call than it is right now, they say they have seen many new customers turn to cash recently, as savings rates across the market start to increase. Many are also said to see dollar accounts as a way of diversifying their holdings.
The result, Skipton International executives add, is that initial interest in its new U.S. dollar offering has been "positive" since they unveiled it last month.
The rate they're currently offering on the new dollar accounts is 1.75% AER (annual equivalent rate) variable for a 200-day notice product; 1.5% AER variable for a 120-day notice product; and an “easy access account” rate of 1.25% AER variable.
The minimum deposit to open any of these products is US$10,000, and there's a minimum transaction amount of US$1,000 (see table at the end of this article.)
The maximum permissible is US$5 million for what Skipton calls its Notice accounts, and US$1 million for its Access accounts. No interest will accrue on balances that drop below US$10,000, Skipton says.
‘Response to market demand’
Nigel Pascoe, business development director at Skipton International, says the dollar accounts were a response to a demand from the company's corporate clients.
"We wanted them [Skipton's corporate clients] to have a U.S. dollar account option that was both rewarding and headache-free, and now we've successfully managed to achieve that," Pascoe, pictured left, adds.
One of the first companies to open one of the Skipton accounts was JCAP Treasury Services, a Jersey-based provider of cash management services. Here, Jeremiah O’Keeffe, one of JCAP's directors, explained that his company had a long and close relationship with Skipton International that went back "many years," and that he and his colleagues at JCAP were "delighted" that Skipton had added the new U.S. dollar product range, as it gave them something new to recommend to their clients, at a time when many were looking to rebalance their portfolios.
Skipton International's history
Skipton International dates back to 2009, when Skipton Guernsey – a wholly-owned Guernsey-based arm of the Skipton Building Society – and Scarborough Channel Islands amalgamated, following the 2009 merger of their UK-based parent organizations, Skipton Building Society and Scarborough Building Society.
(Building societies, for those American expat readers who aren’t familiar with them, are a type of bank-like entity that is wholly-owned by its members. Also found in such Commonwealth countries as Australia and New Zealand, building societies are best known for providing home mortgages to their members, and in doing this, compete for their business with conventional banks.)
Skipton International itself is a Guernsey licensed bank (as opposed to a building society), while its parent is now the UK's fourth-largest building society out of 43, according to the UK's Building Societies Association. If Skipton International were a UK building society by itself, it would rank as the 12th largest, Skipton International executives like to add, with assets on deposit totaling more than £2 billion, and a global customer base located in more than 100 countries.
In recent years Skipton International has cultivated the specialist business of providing UK buy-to-let loans to British expats around the world – and in 2019, they extended this offering to non-British citizens interested in buying buy-to-let properties in England, Scotland and Wales.
(A measure of the demand for this service is the fact that Hong Kong residents currently make up 39% of Skipton International’s buy-to-let mortgages.)
Skipton International’s parent, the Skipton Building Society, was founded in 1853 in Skipton, North Yorkshire, where it continues to be based. According to company materials, it has more than 1 million members, with total assets of around £29.5 billion (US$35.73 billion).
News of Skipton International’s new range of U.S. dollar savings accounts for corporate clients comes less than two months after Guernsey Finance, the marketing arm for Guernsey’s financial services industry, announced that it had hired its first-ever business development director for the U.S. market. In announcing the appointment of Jonathan Gamble in May, Guernsey Finance officials said the move reflected what they saw as a growing awareness in the U.S. of Guernsey as “a key jurisdiction for investment funds, insurance and private wealth.”
More information on Skipton International's U.S. Dollar account for Corporates may be found by clicking here.