Have we all been conned?

It seems pretty remote BUT all retired expats are paid their UK pensions by Citibank on behalf of HMG and now look at this- Citibank have been fined for rate fixing. What happens to those who on the face of it may have been systematically robbed? That may be us!


What do others think? I got a few grand back from PPI misselling. Is there more here?

Very difficult to track exchange rates, because they change throughout the day and you would need to know what rate you would have got at the moment DWP made the exchange. Pensions get bulked together, so DWP should get a better rate than we could individually. Guess we just have to take it on trust.

Quite some years ago I did the exchange rate over a period of three years during an argument about tax rates.
It turned out that the results were entirely in my favor.
Naturally I did not inform the tax office, telling them to do their own calculation, which to this day they have not.
As you have said, while the banks profit mightily from playing the overnight numbers, poor mortals on the ground are better off to just take the money when we get it and relax

Hope we haven’t, I saw the news as well about Citibank and a few others all involved. It was a cartel wasn’t it? I shall follow this with interest.

Sacre blue! this all sounds very complicated !?

Tax can be taxing!

Does anybody know how it works if you live 6 months in UK and 6 months in France?

Peter - thanks for that - I have already thought about contacting my Euro MP. Re the bank misselling ppi - it was BNP Paribas and I dont know whether they would be included - I have received compensation from RBS for selling us an account which was no use to us in France - we could not take advantage of all the benefits it offered - re the interest rate fixing as people say it went up as well as down so perhaps it evened out over the years - but we felt we were losing out big time - especially when it was almost at parity. re the 15 year voting limit - we acquired a property in the UK last year and as Council Tax payers registered to vote so were able to do our bit in May - we lost our vote - been here 19 years! keep up the good work!

Back in days gone by I was an IFA and the EU (you know the monster!) brought in a ruling that the banks are not allowed to make a profit of on transferring pensions. So they should cop it.

Yes David your maths are impeccable but the exchange rate manipulation would have been up as well as down.

You assume that the rate instead ofm being say 1.40 might have been 1.38 and in that case you have lost 2000 euros over 10 years. But the manipulated rate might also have been 1.42 in which case you will have made 2000 euros over 10 years.

We do not know and can never ever know what the rate might have been.

Further the fines are for the act of manipulation per se not how much they gained in the process.

Just to be clear, in the money markets you can make a gain when the currency goes up or down depending on the orders you have placed. So the manipulation arises when Fred was exposed at one rate and asked Joe to help him change the rate to minimise his exposure on the basis that he would help Fred when he was in trouble.

Be clear I am not saying you might not get compensation but it is not quite the open and shut case some people seem to believe in terms of our personal losses.

I accept whht you say Peter S but the manipulation of the market by those fined such a large sum presumably generated increased income for them and my general understanding is that for a person or person to make money means taking it off someone else. Yes you can create money but doing that tends to devaluate the money already around. The banks concerned have been fined in the US and the money generated presumably goes to an organisation rather than those who actually lost a little value each time the rates were fixed. Individually small yes but over say ten years of pensions maybe say 2 cents in the euro each month over an average state pension of about 10000 euros a year works out at about 2000 euros over ten years. That is not such a trivial sum to many people. It may be less of course and I would like to hear other people's theories. It seems worth finding out a bit more! I still remember the French electricity generators being fined by the European Cout which should have meant a refund to French consumers but that has been blocked by the French government. It seems that it is very easy to get it taken off you but not very easy to get it back even when it appears to be a sound case. WFP is another example if you need one.


As you know I ran:

a) A litigation group that successfully sued Equitable Life and

b) A campaign for the With Profits Annuitants of Equitable Life and worked very closely with the Treasury and the various enquiries that were conducted to obtain compensation from the UK Govt

All the WPAs have received compensation and those like Graham also received their due share.

With respect, there are many myths about what people claimed they "lost" from their pension pot most of which are based on a fallacy. If you want to discuss your issue off board, then contact me via my email address, which should be well known to ELAS policyholders.

I am still working with the Treasury in London trying to help iron out the remaining issues.


With respect you are confusing two quite separate issues.

a) The "market" value of sterling against other currencies which as you correctly observe has gone up and down. It is still 30 centimes below its highest value back in Oct 2000 when the average for the month was 1.701! I remember those days if nobody else does.

b) The manipulation of the market on a DAILY short term basis to make a "quick buck" so to speak or to protect their exposure in the foreign exchange markets but in no way could they manipulate the long term trend which is a function of the "market's" assessment of the UK economy to other economies. (Please accept that I am being simplistic)

What is not immediately obvious is that the manipulation might have worked as much in your favour as against it so and nobody knows the net cumulative loss/gain over time to any one individual will probably quite trivial, especially as individuals our transactions are around £1,000 whereas commercial entities are dealing in millions and etc. It is NOTABLE that no commercial organisation so far has, well publicly, initiated any legal proceedings against the banks, I suspect for the reasons above.

I think the banks should definitely pay up. I for one would like a fair rate. Did they force it down to parity? Begs the question as the pound is now trading back up to its previous values. Not sure how this will work though as if like I did you use brokers to send money over it's going to be a bit difficult to trace it back.

I am taxed in UK and in France, so declare in both countries. My avcs have been payable since I retired and are uk taxed since I can't be bothered to change to French tax as they added Equitable Life (now Prudential) and not worth a lot.

I pay 10% tax on my old age pension here as opposed to 20% in uk because my overall income is below a certain French limit.

Hi Carol. I was indeed living in France when I received PPI misselling compensation from Santander and MBNA (in fact an Italian friend told me about it!). Santander held their hand up swiftly but MBNA refused initially then I read that the regulatory authority was forcing their hand and on that basis I reapplied and got about £3k from them!!! Plus almost £1k from Santander. Better than a kick in the whatsit! As for bank "turns" on the exchange rate they have only just been found guilty in the USA and it remains to be seen what will happen in the UK. As Citibank has the UK government contract it would seem that some sort of sanction could be easily applied- but who will get the money- and when? In the case of the Equitable Life farce many people waited a decade for compensation and when it came through they were six feet down. I don't know if their families were compensated or not but there were many cases of severe hardship. I lost about £60k from my pension pot on that occasion but the compensation scheme didn't cover me, or people like Graham Richards who used to be a contributor here but died last Christmas. You may be assured that it is very difficult to wheedle money out of these people. I intend to write to y MP about this (poor her she's already fed up with my constant gripes! I will be pushing her on the 15 year voting rule as well. She gets a good salary and a nice pension later on so why not!)

Raymond, UK Gov't pensions, that is you were formerly an employee of the UK state are taxed in the UK and there is a process you have to go thru to make sure you are not also taxed in France though as has been posted, you may end up paying some additional tax in France.

Your UK state pension and any other private pensions should be paid gross in the UK and then declared in France, assuming of course you are tax resident here. You have to apply to your pension provider and HMRC to get this done. Subject I expect to time limits, any tax that you have already paid into the UK will be refunded though of course the Impots will tax you from the date you became tax resident in France.

AVCs according to me are Additional Voluntary Contributions that you are paying into your state pension (so you get more when you retire), so I have no idea what these are in your case and why they would be taxed. If you wish please add some more information.

I do know that there is a different procedure when declaring UK Gov't pensions to the French Impots and for that you need professional advice if you do not know how to do it.

hello David - did you get your compensation for ppi misselling here in France? I complained to my bank years ago only to be ignored - I meticulously worked out the amount - almost 2000 euro - only to be completely ignored. re the rate fixing - I have also thought about this - we suffered years of poor exchange rates on our pension from the UK - I wonder if there is anything that we can do?

Carol Phipps

It depends where you are registered for tax - the UK or France. I am registered solely in France although I get a UK Pension, so I have French Tax Return to fill out each year, but not a UK one. I do not live or have an address, or a bank account, or any earnings in the UK.

The French Tax authorities accept a Statutory Declaration that tax has been paid in the UK. indeed you should as a foreign resident get a statement to that effect from both the UK Tax Office and any Superannuation offices.

I get these every year from the authorities which are then included in my French Tax Return and if tax HAS been paid in the UK on the amounts then they do not get added into the French Tax liability. Hence not being taxed twice.


along with six other UK banks I understand - including our old friends Barclays (subject of another discussion).

There still seems to be a basic misunderstanding about banks. Banks are COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES, not your friends or allies anymore than your friendly double-glazing salesman is. They are NOT a branch of the government and provided they stay within the law (as with all other commercial enterprises), they can operate as they like - and we the sheeple can move our business as and when we like, or more 'don't like'.

They exist to make a profit, and it is not quintessentially evil to do this.

That's a new one on me! I understood that all income paid to a UK bank is taxed in UK.My govt pension is uk taxed, my avcs are uk taxed. I can't get them paid tax free, how would I prove that I was paying French tax on the avcs?

As soon as you get a little bit of money, there will be people working on schemes to get their hands on some of it.So I am not at all surprised. What should we do?