Replacing Millennium BCP to another bank due to high fees

In 2021, I applied for the Golden Visa using the investment in funds option and subsequently opened a “prestige” account with Millennium BCP for this purpose. However, I have encountered significant challenges with the bank, primarily due to their high fees, which include:

  • Monthly fee: 6 Euros
  • Quarterly fee for custody of securities: 9 Euros
  • Fee for dividends: 2.4% of the income obtained
  • Fee for ARI Declaration: 200 Euros + VAT

The exorbitant fees for dividends and ARI Declaration are the primary reasons motivating my search for an alternative bank. Unfortunately, Millennium BCP is not open to negotiations on these fees. I am seeking recommendations for a bank with more reasonable fees, particularly in the areas I’ve highlighted. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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I am exactly in the same boat. Did search for alternative and discovered the fees you mentioned are almost the same with other banks and are pretty standard in PT with exception of withholding policy for fund distribution.

Which banks did you check?

Bankinter, BiG, Atlantico.

I already checked Bison:
1.Quarterly fee for custody of securities: 0.025%
2. Fee for dividends: 2% of the income obtained

When calculating, their quarterly fee for custody of securities is much higher than Millennium BCP.

MillenniumBCP 2.4% fee for fund dividends is inclusive of 23% VAT.
0.025% x 350,000 = 87.5 / quarter.

The ARI declaration is a one-off event, no? Pay and forget?

this has been discussed before. Banks in Europe are not cheap. These are normal fees. There are reasons for them. Especially for custodial accounts. The bank has very little opportunity to make money off your holdings of shares, and you as a foreign national cost them money in terms of additional compliance and legal expenses. The money has to be made up somewhere, and that’s out of your pocket. Sorry.

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I’m with BCP for banking and Bison for fund share custodianship. I’ve searched for better options. This seems to be a standard fee schedule for Portuguese banks. I’m only in Portugal a few months each year, so US cards with no foreign transaction fees are the better option for day to day expenses, but for purposes of maintaining the visa conditions and obtaining citizenship, I’ve just accepted Portuguese bank fees as a 5 year expense.

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I also use BCP and Bison but have been considering closing the BCP account to save on fees. Is there any reason you know of I should keep it open? Do I need a regular bank account?

Cancel your prestige service. It is an extra that they sell to foreigners to “get an appointment/desk with a banker”.
How often do we actually go into the bank, anyway?

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In @hanoch case, the monthly fee will increase from 6 to 8 (?) EUR if the prestige package is cancelled.

This “prestige” is bullshit.
The reason that I started this post was because I got summoned for biometrics and since this appointment is more than 2 years after my initial application, a new and updated ARI declaration is needed from the bank.

So, when asking for this declaration I was told that the fee is 200 Euro + VAT. In 2021 this fee was 60 Euro and even that is way too much for a piece of paper(!).

So last week before I came to Lisbon, I sent an email to the account manager in my “prestige” account and requested an appointment and negotiation on this fee. There was no response from him. Yesterday I arrived at the branch and ask to talk with him. He met me for a minute said that since I don’t have an appointment with him, he doesn’t have time for me and told me there is no negotiation on this fee and everyone will pay it and basically sent me away.

So, prestige or not, I felt disrespect, and I spent all day long yesterday looking for another bank and I will leave Millennium as soon as I find a better alternative.

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Exactly same thing happened to me last year. It was a bit hard to stomach the 200 Euro, but it is one-off as @tommigun said. It is MillenniumBCP’s withholding policy for fund income distribution that propelled me to look for alternatives to deposit my fund units, although I am quite close to my Prestige Manager and wanted to keep relationship with MillenniumBCP and him.

I think that for every renewal this declaration is needed.

If I remember correctly, BiG told me the ARI declaration costs 125Euro. Although I have since opened an account with BiG, I have decided not to move my fund units there fearing MillenniumBCP will subsequently not respond to my request for declaration of initial fund transfer from overseas for renewal (ref. another poster’s experience of transferring initial fund from MillenniumBCP to Bison to subscribe private equity fund).

initial fund transfer from overseas for renewal

Are you sure this is needed for renewal? The investment was already done with this money.

I am not sure, but want to be safe and at least go through the 1st renewal. I do not want to put my GV process in limbo due to a few thousand euro saving (with consideration of MillenniumBCP’s withholding policy).

Thank you both for sharing your experience. I am learning a lot from reading your posts. So, it looks like the key thing is to choose the first bank in Portugal (where the initial investment amount was received via wire transfer) wisely.

The EUR 200 is a bit too much for paper, I agree with that. However, it’s hard to know these fees in advance and do comparisons because there’s no transparency. I don’t think I saw these advertised in the schedule of fees of the banks that I’ve interacted with.

In fact, when I was charged 200Euro, I went to search MillenniumBCP price schedule and it was listed. However the point is banks revise fees from time to time and I will never know what will be the fee for the same Declaração next year, as I was charged 30Euro or something like that in 2021. I decided not to think of this fee if it is below 1000Euro as I will only need to pay twice more.