Here’s a nice tip if you ever need any sizeable amount of foreign currency for investment purposes or funding your children’s education.
Instead of changing it at the banks where you pay quite a huge spread, Phillip Futures has a currency exchange function where you can change it at very tight spreads.
For example, if the SG/AUD is trading at 1.29/1.305 in the banks (a spread of 150-200pips). Philips might be quoting you a rate 1.2955/1.2995 (40 pips). The exchange is transacted at live rates and can be done anytime you want, so it is pretty convenient.
One example of application is for funding your foreign currency fixed deposits. You can use Phillips to change the currency you want, before transfering it to your bank account. As long as the forex savings is more than US$30, it is worthwhile.
I’ve done some calculations and found that if you are changing anything in excess of S$10,000, it will probably be worthwhile to go through the hassle of opening a futures account at Phillips Futures. They do not require you to maintain a minimum balance in the account, so you can use it purely for foreign exchange as and when you need it.
Edited: Please check with your bank whether they charge you any fee if you were to fund your account with your own foreign currency.
For higher amounts, the savings can be significant.
For transfers to 3rd parties (eg university, offshore investments), you might need to provide some documentary proof that the transaction is legit before they allow your transfer to go through.
Please note that the currency exchange function is different from their forex trading utility. The former is mainly for clients to change currency at competitive rates without any form of leverage, while the latter is more for speculative trading. Unless you are an experienced trader, you are advised to avoid the other products inside the Phillips Futures account.