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My first week there, I traveled about 50 miles south of Baghdad to the first of the many mass graves which we uncovered in Iraq. You may remember that after the war -- the first Gulf War -- the Shia , who inhabit most of the area south of Baghdad, rose up against Saddam. He crushed this rebellion mercilessly, sweeping through -- having his armies sweep through the towns and pick up men, women and children indiscriminately and taking them out into pastures, machine-gunning them, and putting them into large open pit graves.
The grave that I visited in Al-Hillah south of Baghdad that day we estimated had 20 to 30, bodies in it. Some of them very small babies. As -- As we looked over this grave, which is the site of -- the size, say, of three times of a football field, you could see women scrabbling at the dirt with their bare hands trying to find evidence of whether this pile of bones was a relative. Was there a faded identity card, a piece of jewelry, a fragment of clothing that identified the person?
Human Rights Watch estimates that during his reign Saddam killed at least , of his own citizens. Nobody will ever know what the true number is because there are more than a million and a half Iraqis still missing. During the next few weeks, as I moved around Iraq, I found other signs of Saddam's tyranny. I visited the small Kurdish town of Halabja in the northeast of the country up on the Iranian border where, on one sunny March morning in , Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons to kill of his fellow countrymen -- all of them Kurds.
And I talked to the survivors, many of them horribly disfigured by having survived these chemical attacks. In every one of the police stations in the country there was a torture chamber. I saw those. And in most police stations there was a rape room, including in the Baghdad central police academy.
And talked to the survivors of the rape rooms. As I moved around the country, I also saw the human shredding machines that Saddam used against his opponents. His instructions to his cronies were to put the victims in feet first, so they died [or "they'd die] more slowly.
Now, I am sorry to say things like this while you're eating lunch. But I suppose there are some of you in this room who didn't support the war, as would not surprise me. But let me give you a challenge, ladies and gentlemen. Let me just ask you this: Go to Iraq and visit those mass graves. Go up to Halabja and talk to some of the survivors of the chemical attack. Talk to some of the women who survived the rape rooms. Talk to the relatives of the people killed over a period of almost four decades.
And then come back here and tell me you think we were wrong to liberate this country. We did the right thing. Now when we hit the ground there in early May, we faced a staggering range of issues. This had been the most dramatic collapse of any regime in recent history, far more rapid and dramatic than the collapse, for example, in Central Europe and the Soviet Union in Because in the case of those countries the collapse had really started -- the reforms had started as early as the 's, for example, in Hungary -- and certainly by the mid 80's even in Russia.
But in Iraq they went from this pitch black tyranny to freedom in three short weeks. And that had profound implications for the challenges we faced, and, by the way, for the expectation of the Iraqi people. We needed to get action in three areas right away: We needed to take steps to get the economy going; we needed to begin the process of political reform; and, of course, we had to deal with the security problem.
Let me say a word about each of these three points: First, on the economy, which may be of interest particularly to this audience. It's hard to express how devastated this economy was -- not by the war, not by the sanctions, but by Saddam's incompetence.
In a way, the system combined the worst features of tyranny, which always leads to corruption, and a blind faith in bureaucratic control that's characteristic of Socialism. They had had this for 35 years and the result was a spectacular misallocation of capital across the entire economy -- with very devastating impact on the economy of the country. Let me give you just a few metrics. The UN found that between -- which was when Saddam finally consolidated total power -- between and per capita GDP dropped more in Iraq than any country in the world, including the countries of Africa, which did not have a great 's either.
The World Bank reported that Iraq then had the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rate of any country in the region. Education fared no better. A UN report said that all of Iraq's schools needed refurbishing. At least half needed to be completely rebuilt.
Student overcrowding was such that often there was as many as students in a room. In this fabled land between the rivers, Mesopotamia, there was a water crisis. The World Bank found that everyday at the end of -- this is all before the war -- some , tons of raw sewage everyday were being dumped into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Almost all of Iraq's state-owned enterprises were bankrupt -- at a direct cost of a billion dollars a year to the budget, and of course uncountable billions more in misallocated capital and labor.
The banking system was bankrupt. The banking system basically was like the system in the Soviet Union or today in China. It made its loans on the basis of bureaucratic and political dictates, not according to commercial dictates. We knew we had a budget crisis, but we didn't know how big it was because as in the Soviet Union the budget under Saddam Hussein was a state secret. We did know that we were likely to go broke by the end of or by the first quarter of We faced the consequences of Saddam's extraordinary fiscal indiscipline.
During the 's, to cover his budgets he simply ran the printing presses. I could go on, but you get the picture. If Iraq had been a corporation, we were deep in Chapter 11 and headed for Chapter 7 very soon. We faced an economic crisis every bit as great as that -- this country faced in the Great Depression. I immediately set out a plan of action in the economy on two dimensions.
First, in the immediate sense to get consumption going and get the economy turning over; and second, to make steps toward long-range economic reform. It was not clear exactly where it was, but it was high. The trouble was, as the government we were the largest employer. Millions of people in the civil service depended on us, and -- as did pensioners.
But they hadn't been paid for almost three months. As my advisors went through the ministries to try to find out what the payroll system was, they found chaos. There was no unified grade system for paying people in the civil service. Every ministry had its own system and every system had its own kickbacks, bonuses, commissions, and bribes built into it. It was obvious that it would take us months to sort it out and we couldn't wait months to start paying people.
So I simply decreed a 4-grade, a very simple 4-grade civil service pay system the week after I got there, and we started paying the civil servants. But, as always is the case in Iraq, nothing is that easy, because, as I mentioned, the banking system was not only bankrupt, it was closed down.
None of the banks were open. So, we had, in order to pay the civil servants and pensioners, we had to effectively move cash around the country to pay people out on their payrolls. This meant moving about million dollars a month out in a country with lousy roads and a war going on. It was not easy -- to put it mildly. I also immediately allocated several hundred million dollars from the Iraqi budget for urgent public works programs to stimulate jobs.
And we created several hundred thousand jobs over the next three months. We established a "crash" program to reform and establish good, essential services. All of this was done within three months. We increased power generation tenfold by July 1st. But in the long run, we also knew we had to reform the underlying macroeconomic policies of this country. And here, too, we made some bold decisions.
First, we established a policy of zero tariffs at the borders. We simply did away with all import duties. This had the effect of stimulating consumption by encouraging the importation of cars, television sets, white goods, and for the first time in history satellite dishes for television. We eliminated Saddam Hussein's prohibition against foreign direct investment in Iraq.
And I signed into law on September 16th, , what the Economist Magazine says is the most liberal foreign direct investment law anywhere in the world. I established, for the first time, fiscal responsibility by approving balanced budgets for both and And I put them on the path to monetary responsibility by making the Central Bank, again for the first time in Iraq's history, independent of the government on July 7th, We freed interest rates, so the Central Bank no longer determined interest rates -- they're determined by the market.
And we licensed foreign banks to enter Iraq. We cut taxes on both businesses and individuals, and we simplified business proced[ures]. Business procedures used to be the typical cumbersome thing -- if you wanted to set up a business -- of going from ministry to ministry to ministry and, no doubt, paying a bribe and then a bribe and a bribe.
You can now register a business -- one stop shopping -- in ten days in Iraq. By the way, that last I checked it still takes 45 days in Germany. We modernized and strengthened the patent, copyright, and trademark laws and we reopened the stock market this June. One of the early problems we had was what to do about the currency.
As I mentioned, the currency was, of course, greatly depreciated and there were competing and illegal foreign exchange dealings going on. We decided we had to replace the entire currency, the entire stock of currency. This involved thousands of tons of currency being brought in and thousands leaving. We -- The new currency alone filled twenty-seven 's. We distributed this currency around the country in a three month period from October 15th to January 1st -- January 15th, in a country at war with no roads, no telephones, and no banks without a single incident.
We floated it freely. The balance sheet on the economy, I think, is rather good. The economy has great underlying strength because of the wealth of the country and the skill of its people. Reconstruction is going forward. During the fourteen months I was there, we completed some 20, individual reconstruction projects; many of them small -- rebuilding a school, or putting windows in a municipal center, or giving a generator to a hospital, but those are the kinds of reconstruction projects that change people's lives.
Oil production -- Oil production is running above two million barrels a day. We got it above prewar levels of 2. And in the urban areas, I think it's at probably half of that. Thanks to U. So with better security, I am confident investment will come in. A lot of domestic capital has already been mobilized. And Iraq will have again a great leading place in the economy with better security.
Let me turn to the second area, political reform, which, of course, is much in the news these days. We first had to clean out the old system, to get rid of these killers of Saddam Hussein['s] and his army, his security forces, his Bathe Party and usher in a process for new political reform. Fifteen months ago, working with Iraqis, I laid out a clear path to take Iraq from where it was to representative government. And we have followed that path, every step of it, since then, including most recently, of course, the great victory of the elections this Sunday.
Pundits here consistently underestimated both the Iraqi's determination to carry this path out and the American government's determination to help them. We are, I think, particularly -- I am particularly proud of the Constitution , which I signed in March last year -- the interim constitution -- which has the most robust Bill of Rights of any country in the region, providing for complete equality of all individuals irrespective of gender, race, nationality, or religion, complete freedom of expression and assembly, freedom of religion, the right of the innocent to be considered innocent until proven guilty, the right to a free and open trial, the right to habeas corpus , the right to legal council.
I outlawed, the second week I was there, torture. Torture is no longer allowed. And the Constitution provides for a balance of power among the three branches of government, similar to ours but different, and, of course, confirms the independent judiciary, which I had established a year ago. Now there will be bumps in the road ahead. And no doubt there will be tricky negotiations now in the aftermath of these elections.
But the path from tyranny to freedom is never smooth. It's often characterized by the following kinds of things: Looting, where you have crime and mobs storming government buildings, the breakdown of government structures and institutions that used to maintain civil order, rampant inflation, supporters of the former regime prowling in the cities and in the countryside, and delays and bickering over the formation of the new government.
Ladies and gentlemen, if those characteristics sound familiar to you, they should. What I just described was the United States of America in And I tell this story because I think it's important for Americans to be a bit more patient and have a slightly longer historical view of the situation in Iraq.
After all, it took us seven years to win our independence and twelve years before we wrote our Constitution. We didn't develop political parties for twenty years. Iraq has done all of that in less than two years. There will be problems, but the key is the process is started; there is a path ahead, and I am confident the Iraqis will follow it.
Let me talk, finally, about the security situation. People ask who is it who is -- who we're fighting there. Well, there are two groups: There are the ex-Saddam supporters, the sadists and killers from Saddam's regime whose only vision is to take Iraq back to the tyranny of Saddam. In fact, their Party is called "The Party of Return. And there are the professional killers and terrorists from Al-Qaeda whose vision is equally simple and very clear.
They make it clear. They want to establish a government like the Taliban in Afghanistan -- with all that means. Neither of these parties has a vision that appeals to the Iraqi people. And both of these parties are at heart avowedly anti-democratic. So it's no wonder they opposed the elections and tried to intimidate the Iraqi people. It is extraordinary, I think, when you consider the kind of courage the Iraqi people have showed, not just on Sunday in the elections, but in the run-up.
Despite all the intimidation, the Iraqis went to the polls. They were poll-watchers. They continue to come to be recruited into the police and the security forces. They are literally dying for democracy. It is, I think, a --a profound statement of the Iraqi view of the future.
From the outset, our job was to get the Iraqis, as quickly as possible, able to defend their own country. So we set up the largest police training program in world history. We established a program to reestablish an Iraqi army, and we came up with the idea of creating a National Guard.
These three forces today have something like , men on their rosters. And as Secretary Rumsfeld says in his piece today in the Wall Street Journal they performed, on the whole, extremely well during the election and the run-up to the election. But they are of variable quality. There's no doubt about it.
And he quoted George Washington's concern in the midst -- the depth, really -- of our own revolution as pointing out that it takes time to create effective military forces. Now, let me bring it back to where I started and talk a bit about terrorism and the terrorists in Iraq. The Commission, as I said, found evidence of contacts between Al-Qaeda and Saddam's government going back throughout the 90's. He was granted safe haven by Saddam in Very shoddy treatment.
They hold your money? What does it mean?! Is it possible that they can do it? What are you going to do? I have the same problem. I am stressing out still have my fund account but am no longer UK resident even though have UK passport and pay UK taxes! I just chose Japan on the form to test what it would do, not to really open an account with Japan as the choice now. This is a big problem to me. Saxo Bank looked like the best for other European markets.
I have considered founding a Limited Liability Company for my trading needs. This way I could get around the limitations regarding where my official residence would be. But it would also mean that I would lose direct personal control over the money. I would borrow the company my money and make it pay it back later with some interest. I am not sure whether a company would be worth all the hassle that would come with it….
I recently had a nightmare with TD Direct investing. They were fine when it was eventually opened. I later moved to Thailand and experienced no problem. However, last September they made me jump through hoops re-verifying my details. After this was done at cost to me via a lawyer they were fine for another three months, but then decided they would close the account down anyway. There was no explanation and redress of costs to me. We are able to deal with expats of all stripes including non-resident Americans.
That may be an issue for some of the fee sensitive and infrequent traders posting above but for others it might not. Stockbrokers that are licenced and regulated by their relevant local authorities may sometimes be allowed to mention their services in comments on this site, if these services may be relevant to readers. However, I do not endorse any brokers featured on the site, whether in comparison tables, editorial or comments by myself, company representatives or other users.
You should not assume that I have made any attempt to verify the security and reliability of any brokers mentioned or to verify the information they provide. I do not receive any renumeration for mentioning specific stockbrokers or allowing them to be mentioned. Decisions as to which brokers may be permitted to comment and the extent of acceptable comments is at my sole discretion, in the interests of preventing the site being overrun by marketing and self-promotion.
TD Directinvest is even worse than any of the comments above. I am non-resident now for 18months and 1 month ago they locked my account with NO notice. After several follow up calls they indcate i must provide verification of a residential address where I now live in Indonesia where i currenlty reside. Catch is the verification must be signed by an EU regualted banking official…toughh to find in SE Asia.
For over 1 month i have had no access to my account and the worst customer service ever to try and resolve. Appalling really. I cannot sell them as no UK broker will touch the sale as I am in a non approved country even though they confirmed that due diligence was met and satisfactory.
The shares relate to a SAYE holding on script for many years. I have a UK bank account as well. I am now returning to the Uk but looks like banks no longer offer an over the counter share dealing service, Does any one know who does?
I suppose things will get worse before they get better. Process not completed — will have to return there but seems worth it. I hope to convert the majority of my UK holdings with TDdirect to issuer-sponsored shares but the international holdings via UK account are a problem. I returned my US green Card many years ago and this may be the first twinge of regret I have about that.
If I stumble on something marvellous, I will of course report back. I gather the official reason is that they believe new Australian regulations mean that they need to be registered in Australia to accept clients there, but it seems clear that they are becoming less interested in serving non-residents from the UK division anyway. I had this exact problem. Very annoying. Anyway, I ended up with a paper share certificate and no broker. I recently bought a house here in Australia and so needed to liquidise the shares.
I approached a number of brokers in the UK but all of them refused to open an account for me because I was non-UK resident. As I understand it, there is no reason why a UK broker cannot accept a non-resident client other than it is more difficult due to international money laundering procedures, but certainly not impossible. I looked on a number of ex-pat forums and it seems that getting a UK broker can be very hit and miss.
After a late night phoning yet more brokers in the UK, I eventually contacted Beaufort Securities in London you can look them up on the web. I spoke to their Business Development Manager, Matthew Giles who was absolutely brilliant and basically held my hand through the process of setting up an account, selling the shares and transferring the money over to Australia.
I had to get some documents certified easy enough to do and send them across to the UK. The whole process took a couple of weeks start to end. I would definitely recommend that if you are looking for a broker in the UK, then speak to these guys — they are the only brokerage I could find that not only helped my situation but also the only ones that even acted like they wanted to help.
Thanks for your post Spencer, one call to Matthew and we are all sorted after weeks of going round in circles! Hello everyone. I am in a similar boat, a non resident, non citizen owning UK shares certificated My tiny shareholding seems to have become unmarketable. I have been plodding through the brokers in the UK trying to find someone who will deal with me. Barclays, TD Waterhouse will not assist. I have a Barclays current account for settlement. I have contacted the registrar whom have yet to respond.
Has anyone found a solution to this issue? Hi Kent, Did you have any success if finding a broker? I an a Non-Resident, Non-Citizen like yourself and have not been able to find a broker to dispose of some share holdings. If you have managed to sort out your holdings, I would be grateful if you could point me the direction of the stock broker that you worked with.
I am a citizen and resident of South Africa and have a share account with Selftrade. I had this account for about 10 years and now Selftrade had been taken over by Equinity. The administration now seems to be in a huge mess. My account was closed, reopened again and the website now tells me that the info I enter is wrong. Is there any other broker that one can approach? I also deal in covered warrants and would like to carry on as usual. Since moving to France, they have stopped me from dealing online, restricted me to only Fidelity products, told me I can only sell ISAs by writing to them, etc, etc.
I have tried opening an account with Charles Stanley Direct, but they will only deal with UK residents — pity as they only charge 0. Hargreaves Lansdown will open an account, but they charge 0. Can anyone suggest a UK broker who charges reasonable fees for funds and offers online trading, please? Does anyone know? It depends on your country of residence and whether they have a Tax Treaty with the US.
Your note about TD International is misleading. I wasted time trying to sign up to this Luxembourg outfit, but received a reply saying Australian residents are not accepted. No reason given. Thanks for the useful information. I am from India working in UK from past 4 years on a working visa. From your post, I assume that I can only if the broker opens an account for me.
As far as I know, if you are in the UK on a valid working visa, most UK brokers will open an account for UK, subject to the usual checks. Why do you say it RogerK? If I maintain a joint account, do I pay inheritance tax in case of death of the other account holder? Have you any idea on what tax I will be deducted at source on dividends or interest from a.
UK shares b. USA shares and c. I cannot understand it. I thought that withholding tax will vary based on the domicile of the stock issuing the dividend. Dividends from UK companies for instance excluding distributions from Reits , are paid to UK brokerage accounts based in UK without any tax on the dividend being deducted at source. I maintain a brokerage account in the UK and they do not deduct at source any tax on dividends from UK shares.
Similarly, other countries apply? It sounds strange. For instance If I receive dividends from UK shares, why they say that they levy the USA withholding tax rate for dividend distributions? Furthermore, I have heard about IB that in general the withholding rate from other countries will be the highest withholding rate applicable and will not incorporate a reduction based on prevailing tax treaties.
Interactive Brokers is a US company. They will declare everything you earn even dividends from non-US companies to the US tax authorities on a Form S. What they actually deduct at source seems to vary. They will say you can reclaim some tax deducted at source by filing a US tax return form NR. Assuming you are not a US citizen or green-card holder, my advice would be: never deal with a US-based broker, unless you want to trade only US stocks.
Are shares and bonds included? Thanks again. In order to inform the site about everything I learn and as you mentioned TD Direct Investing many times, I would like to share the following:. I have not met this requirement in other stockbrokers or banks in UK.
Attorney at Law or Banker or any verifying firm abroad denies completing and signing of this form. They only notarize photocopies of passports, but they do not sign this form. Has anybody any idea about it? Giorgos: Did you find a solution to the above? Is TD direct fine to open an account to Greek citizens?
I am struggling to find company to hold an account for investing to funds. I live abroad. Yes it is probably a silly question but I am also interested in the answer. I have a UK bank account and UK address but am non resident for sure as I have been working overseas for the past four years. I live in Belgium and have successfully opened a nutmeg account. I had to get a notarised copy of my passport at British Embassy but after that all good. It had been fine for many years. The short period is presumably to restrict investigation of alternatives which is why i came here.
Call a website a trading platform and you can charge for it. I basically want to own stock and reinvest dividends. Also having problems with TD Direct. The UK seems to be the only place that i can open a custody brokerage account to invest for my kids. Beaufort Securities can help you , i have helped many former TD clients open an account due to this problem, ask for Peter ….
TD Direct have refused to accept my Validation of Address form after 2 years and 3 attempts despite satisfying the requirements on their form. Clearly there is a hidden agenda. Options are to close, transfer at zero cost, receive certificates, donate to charity. I am Uk born but now reside in Australia 3. Had and still have a Saga Direct Trading Account. Hi Tony, me too. I am a EU citizen and I have a UK shares certificate, can you please recommend a broker that would accept the certificate?
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