International Investment Plan

Hi PFC team,

First of all, thank you soo much for the interactive and informative course.

I currently live in Qatar and as per the Qatari Central Bank, I cannot use my Qatari checking account to deposit fund in any platform such as eToro that offers also cryptocurrency trading, as cryptocurrency trading is not allowed in Qatar. I have checked depositing money in a digital wallet (such as Skrill or Neteller) to be able to use platforms such as eToro but unfortunately, I will have to pay very high fees to depositing and withdrawal in addition to currency conversion fees, and other than the eToro fees.

I have checked investing through my bank (Commercial Bank of Qatar) which has a plan called International Investment Plan (IIP) where it has the following features:

  • An IIP is an investment vehicle into Mutual Funds (MF) developed on the principle of Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) that allows investors to invest small amount periodically (systematically) over time.
  • It involves an element of lump-sum investment & a regular monthly installment which provides a “dollar cost averaging” to your investment.
  • The minimum mump-sum investment is USD 1000 and the monthly installment is USD 300 (minimum)
  • Minimum lock-in period – 1 year
  • The bank would charge 2% commission fee on the lump-sum as well as the monthly installment.

Also they mentioned in the email that MFs provide multiple benefits which include not paying any tax unlike what you would pay in your home country -; so no TDS (Tax deducted at source ) and/or CGT (Corporate Gain Tax). Also, the MFs they are offering are from Fidelity or Franklin Templeton.

So my questions are:

  1. Do you recommend going with this option, the IIP?
  2. Regarding the fees, it is only the 2% commission fee on the lump-sum as well as the monthly installment. I have checked and it is different that a 2% expense ratio because they are only taking this commission fee on the lump-sum as well as the monthly installment but not the accumulated amount at end of year. So am I thinking right and is it still a good option?
  3. Given that the MFs offered are from Fidelity, do you have any idea if we can invest directly through Fidelity from outside the US?
  4. If you know of other better investment platform options for people living outside the US, please let me know.

Sorry for the long message and I would highly appreciate any support or advice regarding this matter. Thank you.

1 Like

That 2% is a lot. Can you try Interactive Brokers? To open a Fidelity account you need to do it on American soil.

Yeah, you are right, it is a lot but from what I understood and calculated, it will be less than 2% expense ratio because they are not charging on the growth, just the initial investment and monthly payments.

I have checked Interactive Brokers but I doubt it will work because you can also trade cypto on the platform, but I will create an account in all cases and trying depositing money to see if it works.

Thank you for your clarification on the Fidelity. I also read the same few days ago.

@ShaneSideris would appreciate any guidance or support on this matter if possible. Thank you.

Hi @MohamedKotaish - unfortunately, I don’t have much to add here since I am not that well versed in this topic.

In addition to Interactive Brokers, I know people who use TradeStation as well, but it looks like they also offer the ability to trade crypto so not sure if that will work in your case.

I wish I could have been of more help!