Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Interview with Simon Hilton, foreign exchange consultant

Simon Hilton is a senior foreign exchange consultant at World First specialising in assisting private clients and companies with their foreign exchange transactions. Simon is authorised by the FSA to offer foreign currency options.Simon Hilton

To contact Simon directly for currency transfer information or a no-obligation quote please click here.

Expat Focus: Simon, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work for World First?

I have a BA hons degree from the University of Reading in History and Politics and joined the company in 2006. I have since undertaken regulatory exams and obtained FSA approval to advise our clients on hedging their foreign exchange risk.

Expat Focus: What services does World First offer and what is your own role?

World First offers a foreign exchange service for currency transfers as well as a range of foreign exchange products. Clients can purchase currency at ‘spot’ (for an immediate transfer) as well as being able to fix the exchange rate for up to 2 years in advance with a forward contract.

Our regular payment plans can be quite useful for those with commitments back home such as mortgage payments or if you receive a monthly pension which you would like to convert and receive in the country where you are an expat. You may also like to send part of your salary back to the UK on a regular basis.

World First has recently launched a new range of Currency Options. These products are suitable for transfers over £100,000 and allow you to fix your rate in advance but benefit if the rate subsequently improves.

I am responsible for assisting individuals with their currency transfers. I will take clients through the process from start (first contact) to finish (receiving the brought currency) and I will explain the different products and services we offer. I am also in charge of managing currency options and offering them to our private clients. As these are specialised products we have had to undertake regulatory exams and are authorised by the Financial Services Authority in the UK...


Expat Experiences: Netherlands - Anna Gilhespy

My name is Anna Gilhespy, I am 29 and I run my own business ( making handmade ornaments which I sell mostly online.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Hoofddorp (just outside Amsterdam) with my husband in 2003 when he was offered a good job over here. There was little work where we were living in the UK and opportunity was too good for us to pass up.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Our move to Holland was extremely smooth, mostly thanks to my husbands company arranging a relocation agent for us. She helped us find a house to rent and took us through all the paperwork we needed to fill out. The hardest part for me was that I still had one year left to complete before receiving my Fine Art Degree; it was a struggle to find a university that would accept me at such short notice. Fortunately I managed to get my UK university headmaster to pull some strings with a Dutch university that they had links to and secured a place. I did not enjoy the transition between universities; the differences in education approach were more extreme than I had anticipated. They were also not explained to me well, which led to several stressful misunderstandings. My husband slid into Dutch culture with much more ease than I did...


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thai Haiku


by Sean Lawlor Nelson

The sun was flaming
but I was young and hopeful:
was best and worst times

the butterflies
colored the campus neon:
soon lime-green was grey

The giant geckos
were noisy problems for Thais;
I looked up in awe

A stout old woman
cooked for me, was courteous:
I can see her face

I bloodily fixed
my toe, which was ingrown bad:
bathed it in Thai rum

bought ugliest fruit
from old Thai women, didn't know
lichii came so gnarled

Sean is an American who taught for a year in Phetchaburi Province. He lived in Thailand one year, and left 3 years ago. His article, "The Sparrows of Thailand", can be read here.