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am resident in Saudi Arabia since 1979 and my all saving was kept in citi
bank Lahore finally my account was frozen in May. Do you recommend to open
an foreign currency account in Pakistan? If yes. what are the guarantees
now for someone to convince ? and please advise also investment schemes in
Saudi Arabia and gulf.
Eng. Tahir Sharif
KSA 29th August 01
Dear Mr. Sharif, as much as it pains me to say it, the short answer to your
first question is NO. There is no guarantee that your funds will not be
frozen in the future, and infact if you look at Pakistan's policies they are
actively discouraging any one to keep dollar deposits in Pakistan.
This is evident from the fact that since 1998 the central bank has placed a
maximum ceiling that a depositor can get on his/her Dollar account. If I am
not mistaken it was set at 2 or 3%.
To answer your second question if you are looking for fixed deposits then
you can look at any thing offered by your local banks.
Should you feel a bit more adventurous, I would suggest looking at Principal
protected investments. These are all the rage, especially in the middle
east, these days. The way they work is rather simple. The issuer generally
guarantees you a minimum return over the next 3-5 years (your money is
locked for this time, with big penalties for early withdrawal), and also
link it to the performance of an underlying investment vehicle.
Bottom line is that you will at least get your money back along with a small
return, if you are lucky the underlying asset will perform better than the
minimum return and you will get a piece of that action as well.
If you are interested in anything like this, or if you are already looking
at any investments, please feel free to email me directly and I will be
happy to give you my opinion.
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