Thanksgiving Eve

Wed, 2017/11/22 - 1:43pm | Your editor
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It turns out that the difficulties I am facing with a check received in sterling which I am attempting to deposit to my US bank is not unique. The International IBAN (International Bank Account Number) numbering system which is supposed to enable people to transfer money within the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) often takes as long as two to three months to make a payment. This causes problems for people who are paying from Germany bills for insurance, telephones, local taxes, or utilities outside Germany but still within the EU. Foreign workers in Germany are being forced to buy German insurance policies because banks will not make the payments to an insurer in eastern European EC countries. Only German insurance may be paid for from within Germany despite the EU directive.

On-line orders can only be accepted for German addresses using German euros on German websites.

As a result, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports, a case is being brought against German banks in a Frankfurt court. The EU directive covers all the members of the EU, currently including Britain, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Noway, Switzerland, Monaco, and San Marino, all of which use a common IBAN number for any foreign account. The IBAN number is also used by US banks making transfer to Europe.

With the US crackdown on foreign bank accounts under the FATCA law Americans owning property abroad, like me, have to carefully manage their overseas accounts to make sure there is no more than $10,000 in them at any time. We thereby incur hefty charges from our friendly local USA banks because transfers have to be done more often. And forget about buying gifts for delivery to relatives outside the US.

The worst of it is the case of a stock we own whose IR refuses to send news about the company to me because I do not have a UK telephone number revealed to paid subscribers.


On the eve of le Jour de Merci-Donnant even markets run by lesser breeds who don't have Turkey Day are pretty quiet. Pres. Trump took great personal satisfaction from pardoning one of the two turkeys at the White House, but from my local daily newspaper which he hates, I learn that wild turkeys are pests not only in the Boston area where my son's family live but even in areas where turkeys were not around before the Puritans arrived, like the Pacific northwest.

Among the things I will be thankful for tomorrow is the beginning of a recovery of General Electric stock which was one of the first I bought some 60 years ago when I opened my first brokerage account, at an age which nowadays would be illegal, and without a social security number. Since then I never could afford the capital gains tax I would have incurred had I sold GE since my gains were in 6 figures the last time I looked. I am perfectly aware that one is not supposed to let tax considerations keep one from managing a portfolio, but this tax would have been hard to bear.
GE rallied because of a $1 mn+ buy by board member Francisco D'Souza of
Cognizant Technology.

Taxes also stop my selling AT&T and a few other portfolio stalwarts like Thermo-Fisher Scientific which is less common.

One of our stocks has a key symbolic role in the NY Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As we head for our feasts, note that Turkey is having problems with its lira hitting a new low of 3.96 to the dollar, and local bond yields soaring to 13.52% on fears that the government cannot or will not tame inflation.

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