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Old 23.06.2015, 22:26
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Financial Instruments Available to US Citizens Abroad

Hello,
As a US citizen living abroad in Switzerland, I have some issues with some investments with my Bank. My bank told me I am not allowed to have access to some financial instruments, but it was not clear which ones.
For example, I know that I am not allowed to buy Mutual Funds which are not based in the USA. But apparently (I am not sure though), I am not allowed to buy ETFs either, however I am able to buy some company stocks...

All this is very fuzzy to me and I wanted to know clearly what financial instruments I am and which ones I am not allowed to buy as an American Citizen living abroad.

Thank you for your help.

Best,
Julia
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Old 24.06.2015, 12:48
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Re: Financial Instruments Available to US Citizens Abroad

The options you have are individual company stock or SEC-registered ETFs (look up information on "PFIC" to see which ETFs are OK). Unfortunately, most banks here don't provide easy access to American-compatible investment options and you generally need to have a full brokerage account. There is a lot of info if you search the forum.

Also, you mentioned US mutual funds, but note that because those are US instruments brokerages aren't technically supposed to allow access to them if you aren't residing inside the US.
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Old 24.06.2015, 12:56
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Re: Financial Instruments Available to US Citizens Abroad

You could open an account at a US broker, that should give you access to what you want. At least that works for me (I am from EU).

I'll reserve myself here because there may be some special regulation which I don't know about since you are a US citizen.
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Old 25.06.2015, 12:52
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Re: Financial Instruments Available to US Citizens Abroad

Hello,
Thank you very much for your answers and help.

That's interesting that only SEC-registered ETFs are available. That might explain what I was not understanding.

Thanks!
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Old 25.06.2015, 14:12
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Re: Financial Instruments Available to US Citizens Abroad

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Hello,
As a US citizen living abroad in Switzerland, I have some issues with some investments with my Bank. My bank told me I am not allowed to have access to some financial instruments, but it was not clear which ones.
For example, I know that I am not allowed to buy Mutual Funds which are not based in the USA. But apparently (I am not sure though), I am not allowed to buy ETFs either, however I am able to buy some company stocks...

All this is very fuzzy to me and I wanted to know clearly what financial instruments I am and which ones I am not allowed to buy as an American Citizen living abroad.

Thank you for your help.

Best,
Julia
There are restrictions on cross-jurisdiction selling, but you may also want to clarify "allowed to" vs "the bank wants to sell you".

FATCA and other US laws have introduced so many rules regarding US citizens that many banks want nothing to do with it; it may be that you would be legally allowed to buy these things, but the bank doesn't find it commercially viable to do it.
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Old 25.06.2015, 18:15
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Re: Financial Instruments Available to US Citizens Abroad

Hello,
Yes indeed the issue is more about the Bank which doesn't want to give access to US citizens to their Funds.
In my case, my banker told me I could without any problem buy directly shares from any companies (from the USA, Europe, Switzreland or from any other country).

However, for Funds he told me I had to make sure they were located in the USA. He told me, that I could check that by looking at the ISIN (International Securities Identification Number) of the security. If it is based in the USA, the first two letters of the ISIN will be "US".

What was less clear, was ETFs. Basically, I have the impression that the ETF needs to be also based in the USA. But I have trouble finding a way to filter out ETFs that are based in the USA.

For example, I was looking for ETFs on this website:
www.ishares.com

But I couldn't find a way to filter ETFs based in the USA. And I have trouble finding the ISIN for each security.

I know that I am not allowed to buy this one for example:

https://www.ishares.com/ch/individua...ssthrough=true

Do you know where I could find such ETFs? I don't want to need to buy individual shares, in order to diversify my portfolio. It would be too much work and money (fees)...

Thanks again!
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