Britain's five and a half million expats have hoarded a collective £150bn, a quarter of which is held by the richest expats in the Gulf, according to Alliance & Leicester International (ALIL).
Research found UK expats save thee-quarters more than their domestic counterparts, amassing an average of £54,621 per household, compared with domestic savers’ collective £820bn, equivalent to £31,300 per household.
While Australia is the most popular choice for British expats, with 1.1 million settled there, 1.8 million expats are spread across Europe, favouring France and Spain in particular. Another million live in North America, the majority in the US.
However, the spread of wealth does not correlate with the spread of expats. The richest 10% of expats can be found in the Gulf, accounting for 25% of all expat savings (£36bn). The half a million expats in the Middle East have saved £125,000 per household, on average.
Expats in North America are the second best off, with £70,000 per household. However, the poorest expats are based in Central and South America, with £26,000 savings per household.
The average expat seconded for work is worth over £100,000, with a quarter receiving free accommodation from their firms.
A third of those using offshore UK banks have been seconded abroad by their firms and are most likely to hold their savings in sterling. Almost three-fifths of expats use local banking services, while almost two-fifths use UK mainland banking services.
While a third of expat savings are in sterling, 29% are in local currencies, the rest split between US dollars and euros.
Simon Ripton, joint managing director of Alliance & Leicester International, said the concentrations of wealth demonstrate how strong opportunities are in some parts of the world. “The draw of the Gulf has become irresistible to many in recent years and UK expats there are clearly doing extremely well. With the lure of careers in financial markets likely to diminish over the next few years, we may see a further concentration of UK expats in the Middle East.
“By contrast, with the pound now much weaker against its main trading partners, retiring abroad will be a much more expensive option for British pensioners and may deter many from doing so,” he said.
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