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What is foreign investment?

Foreign investment is the act of an individual or corporation, or institutional investor, acquiring a large stake in a company, which may be a controlling or non-controlling interest. When it is a controlling interest, it is known as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Foreign corporate expansion in terms of newly acquired domestic facilities and equity interest in domestic companies tends to be monitored by domestic governments. Continue reading...

What is a foreign institutional investor?

Institutional investors are corporations, banks, pension funds, mutual funds, and other forms of pooled capital which act as one entity to engage in securities transactions in the best interest of the constituents or company that they represent. Foreign Institutional Investors are those whose company is based in another country. Investments made on behalf of foreign companies, foreign financial institutions, and foreign funds (such as the foreign equivalent of hedge funds, mutual funds, and pension funds) are foreign institutional investments. There are usually reporting requirements for both the foreign government for the county in which the interests are held and for the domestic government of the institutional investor. Continue reading...

What are foreign currency effects?

Companies with significant operations or sales abroad will be affected by changes in foreign currency exchange rates. If the dollar strengthens relative to a foreign currency, the price paid for the goods in the country will not be worth as much domestically when the company converts their profits back to dollars. Some foreign currencies fluctuate much more than the US dollar does, but even the dollar can behave unpredictably. This can have a tremendous effect on the bottom line of companies engaged in significant amounts of business abroad. Continue reading...

What is Chapter 15?

Chapter 15 bankruptcy is a newer type of bankruptcy filing that has only been around since 2005. It allows foreign companies access to the US bankruptcy court system in certain circumstances. This is part of the US’s compliance with international trade laws. Part of the aim of bankruptcy law is to preserve employment and protect investment. In an increasingly globalized economy it is understandable that the US could offer hearings to corporations which straddle national borders but are not based in the US. Continue reading...

What is the Shanghai Composite Index?

The “Shanghai” is an index measuring all shares that are traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (China). The Shanghai Index - also referred to as the SSE Composite Index or simply “the Shanghai” - is an index measuring price changes of all A and B shares traded on China’s Shanghai Exchange. Many foreign investors have only limited access to trading shares on China’s main exchange, which makes price discrepancies likely. Continue reading...

What are foreign deposits?

Foreign deposits are taken in by international branch locations of US-based banking institutions. Banks are not obligated to pay FDIC premiums on these deposits. Foreign deposits are placed by customers into a US-based bank branch which is located in international locations. Because it is outside of Federal jurisdiction, banks are not subject to the same capital reserve requirements and do not have to pay FDIC insurance on the deposits. Continue reading...

What is a Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI)?

When foreigners purchase shares of domestic companies that represent less than 10% of the voting shares in the companies, and the investments are not those of company expansion or market penetration, but rather to add diversification to the foreigners’ investment portfolios, it is known as Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI). FPI is the passive investing that foreigners do in a domestic market. It is separate from investments that companies might make into joint ventures or purchase facilities or acquire controlling interest in a domestic company — all of those are active investing and are usually called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). FPI can be done by individuals or institutional investors. Institutional investors might run a mutual fund or pension fund in another country. Continue reading...

What is Foreign Investment Funds (FIF) tax?

New Zealand and Australia, in particular, have instituted a tax regime for offshore investments that fall into the definition of Foreign Investment Funds (FIFs). FIFs will generally be mutual fund companies that are based overseas, but can also include cash value life insurance underwritten by a foreign company and some stock portfolios from overseas stock exchanges. The US has the PFIC tax, which is a passive foreign investment corporation tax. The PFIC category generally applies to mutual funds or pooled investment companies from foreign countries. Continue reading...

What is the Hang Seng Index?

The Hang Seng Index (HSI) is comprised of the 50 biggest stocks traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Hong Kong stock market is much different than that of China, in that foreign investors are allowed access and the index is calculated on a free floating cap-weighted basis. It tracks the 50 biggest companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and is a better barometer for measuring overall performance of companies from the region. Continue reading...

What is the foreign credit insurance association?

The Foreign Credit Insurance Association protects American businesses from non-payment in international trade deals where goods were sold on credit. The Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA) is a group of insurance companies which underwrite the foreign credit insurance sold by the Export-Import Bank of Washington DC. The Export – Import Bank, also known as the Ex/Im Bank, is an independent government entity that facilitates and encourages some international trade activity of American companies. Continue reading...

What are foreign exchange reserves?

Central banks and sometimes other banks and large corporations, hold reserves in foreign currencies as a hedge against exchange rate risk and perhaps to satisfy the liquidity needs of positions they may have in Forex derivatives. Central banks and large institutions which engage in international trade and Forex transactions will find it prudent and sometimes necessary to hold substantial reserves in a foreign currency. Central banks frequently engage in various types of Forex transactions to balance their exposure to trends, risks, and other effects in the currency market. Continue reading...

What is the foreign corrupt practices act?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act attempts to reduce the possibility that a corporation with American affiliations will engage in the bribery of foreign officials. The act was created in 1977 and has since been amended and expanded several times. The SEC and the Department of Justice are both responsible for enforcing the FCPA, which is a law designed to prevent US-based companies from engaging in corrupt practices abroad. Continue reading...

What is a foreign currency swap?

These are generally referred to as currency swaps or cross-currency swaps , since “foreign” is a little redundant (currencies are from different countries anyway). Central banks and large institutions sometimes swap principal amounts and loan interest in their domestic currency in exchange for a foreign currency, to provide liquidity and a hedge. Currency swaps are where banking institutions, particularly central banks, exchange a loan in one currency for a loan in another currency. Continue reading...

What is foreign exchange risk?

Foreign Exchange Risk is the possibility that exchange rates will move against you when you have pending payment on transactions in another currency or other investment positions in foreign currencies or foreign assets which will be affected by Forex fluctuations. Foreign Exchange Risk can also be called Forex risk, and it is the potential loss to an investor or institution when doing business in a foreign currency if the exchange rate swings unfavorably. Companies and countries take various measures to hedge against exchange rate risk, including holding reserves of other currencies and buying derivative contracts on various currency pairs. Continue reading...

What is foreign exchange intervention?

If a central bank takes actions that intentionally and artificially affect the value of a currency, particularly its own, it is engaging in what is known as a Foreign Exchange Intervention, or an interventionist policy. Central banks occasionally use interventions in foreign exchange markets to achieve a desirable end. The banks will intentionally make trades and hold certain amounts of currencies or derivatives with the sole purpose of manipulating the value of their domestic currency. The reasons for that manipulation might be to slow down inflation or to make their county’s exports look more attractive by pushing the value of their currency lower. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax credit?

A foreign tax credit (or deduction) allows a citizen who earned income in another country to reduce the amount of domestic income taxes owed if the foreign government has already taxed the income abroad. Workers who earn income in a foreign country may be entitled to a credit or deduction on their domestic income taxes if they show that this income was already taxed by the foreign government where the income was earned. In the US, there are at least three types of foreign income tax exemptions, with a foreign tax credit being one of them. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax deduction?

Workers who earn income in foreign countries will frequently pay taxes on the income in the country in which the wages were earned. In such cases the worker may be eligible to take deductions for the amount of taxes paid so that their entire income is not subject to taxes again in their country of citizenship. Ex-patriot workers who earn income overseas are generally eligible for tax deductions, credits, or exclusions to account for the taxes that they have already paid on their income in the foreign country. Continue reading...

What is Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 515 serves as a guide for employers with regards to the tax withholding requirements for nonresident alien employees. It also addresses income being paid to foreign corporations and partnerships, foreign trusts and estates, and foreign governments and international organizations. Income paid by companies to employees who are not US residents will have to follow regulations including withholding and filing requirements outlines in this Publication and the referenced forms. Continue reading...

How do I get exposure to other currencies?

There are two main ways to get exposure to other currencies: you can buy them in the open market (FOREX), or you can buy instruments (such as ETFs) which reflect the currencies’ cross rates. For example, FXE reflects the rate of exchange between the US dollar and the Euro. It is trading in units of exchange rate times 100 (for example, if today, FXE is trading at $130, it means that the rate of exchange is $/Euro = $1.30). Continue reading...

What is a foreign fund?

A foreign fund is a mutual fund that invests solely in companies abroad and does not invest in corporations owned in the US. Owning foreign companies can be a very good diversification strategy and is considered a core holding in the portfolio of most investors. Foreign exposure means that if the US economy hits a rough patch, you may have a hedge in the foreign fund if the companies or markets in other parts of the world are not entirely correlated. Continue reading...