No, you can open a Westpac account from the States without traeling to Australia. This can take place completely by phone/email/bank wire with the exception of one piece of documentation which requires your local (US?) bank to certify your identity witth their "medallion" (sort of like notarizing, but bank version) accompanied by a photocopy of two forms of ID (such as a driver's license and passport) which will have to travel by air mail. The major stumbling block is that until you find the right employee there, while every Westpac employee I've spoken to has been universally pleasent and helpful (in attitude), most ar eclueless about off shore accounts and you have to maintain your cool and patiently swim upstream until you find someone who "gets it" (this sharply contrasts with the Swiss - opening an account there requres a trip to Zurich, and even then it's difficult for a USian to find a bank that will talk to them. But once you establish an account, everyone from the doorman to the president is a consumate banker and understands what your needs are as an offshore client).As far as the proposed portfolio is concerned, I agree that, while the specific picks are fine, with the small stake you are using, the commisions involved in buying this lot will be too costly on a relative basis. Either buy a fund or else buy two or three companies that most closely match your macroeconomic perception of what the future holds.If you decide to open an Aussie account, contact me off list and I'll spell out the details.Jeff
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