Case study: A family move overseas

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Stuart Cranfield explains why he switched to HSBC when his family were planning their relocation abroad

Stuart Cranfield, 51, currently lives in Somerset but is about to move to Hong Kong for a two-year assignment working for a shoe manufacturer.

His role as Vendor Audit Manager means he will be responsible for the auditing of suppliers predominately based in China, Vietnam and Cambodia, but with a base in Hong Kong to develop a team there.

He will be taking his wife, Elisabeta, and his two children, Reuben and Katrina, aged nine and 11, with him. "One of the most difficult things about planning the move has been finding places in an English language-based school," he says. "I knew there were good schools over there from what colleagues had said, but the difficulty of securing places surprised me."

HSBC makes transferring funds from the UK to my Hong Kong account very easy – that was definitely the incentive to switch

For Stuart, family considerations are the most difficult things to balance. "My wife is not going to look for work immediately, as we feel it's more important that the kids settle into school and we get a stable home environment. My new job will involve more travelling, so it's going to be quite a different home and family routine than here in the UK."

After being with another bank since the 1980s, Stuart decided to swap to HSBC because of the global coverage we offer. "HSBC makes transferring funds from the UK to my Hong Kong account very easy – that was definitely the incentive to switch," he says. "I get the flexibility of having an account here in the UK and in Hong Kong – with visibility and access to both. Not many banks can do this on the scale that HSBC offers its personal customers."

Ahead of the move, Stuart has organised everything through the HSBC International Banking Centre. "I have my bank cards, cheque book and credit cards ready to go," he says. "I don't anticipate having to make an appointment with the HSBC branch when I arrive in Hong Kong. I do most of my banking online and the International Banking Centre phone line is fantastic. It's open 24 hours a day, so even if I call at 9am Hong Kong time and it's 2am in the UK, someone will always answer the phone and talk to me in English.

"My advice to other people planning a move abroad is to use the International Banking Centre and get the local account set up before you arrive. The worst thing would be to get there and not be able to pay for things. Credit cards are not as readily accepted in some facilities in Hong Kong as they are in the UK. It's more common to use cash or the Octopus card, which is their version of the Oyster, but you use it for a lot more than travel. They also pay for many things by cheque. Having a Hong Kong dollar account and cheque book as soon as I land will be a great advantage," he explains.

Stuart is due to return to the UK after two years, but suspects that may not be the end of his travelling days. "If I have to move to another country – say India – in the future, I'll certainly use the International Banking Centre again."

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