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An offshore corporation without a bank account is almost worthless. It’s very important that you can send, receive and invest funds in the name of your corporation, foundation or trust.

Opening a bank account is no easy matter. Too many offshore service providers don’t pay enough attention to this, opening offshore bank accounts in banks that suit them rather than the client. With a myriad of tax and information exchange treaties now in place, it’s important to consider matters like the client’s citizenship and residence when choosing a bank.

Our firm’s policy is that the bank account should never be in jurisdiction of incorporation. This multiple flags approach allows greater privacy, safety and flexibility.

First, you need to choose a bank…

Obviously, you want a bank that is in business for the long term. The myth that all banks are secure has been well and truly exploded in recent years. Do you feel qualified to do the necessary due diligence on a bank?

Peter personally visits all banks our firm recommends, doing in-depth due diligence on their accounts, sitting around the table with senior management, and seeking third party opinions to build an overall picture. He usually invests his own money and deals with them for a year or two to build up the relationship and analyze their quality of service before introducing clients.

Then, it’s important to choose a bank with the right business model. For example, our firm deals with banks in the following categories:

Private banking:

This is for clients seeking longer term investments, and typically larger amounts. You can expect a very private and personal service, with your own private banker assigned who will get to know you and your requirements. You have access to sophisticated financial services, including pretty much any investment that can be bought on world markets, as well as Lombard loans.

International Commercial Banking:

For those who do active business in goods or services internationally and are more interested in efficient international payment services (money transfers, credit cards etc) than in access to offshore investment markets. When using an offshore structure, it’s important to find a bank with skilled staff who are experienced in international business, multi-currency operations and the use of offshore structures. Typically there is no minimum balance.

International Brokerage Accounts:

Clients who want to trade securities, bonds, contracts, forex etc in real time through sophisticated online platforms in the name of their offshore structure will require this type of account. We can recommend several brokers that offer this service, as well as others serving more exotic or ‘frontier’ markets that our clients are often interested in.

Niche banking:

If you have a specific requirement, such as a credit card merchant account, or you are setting up your own international financial services business, our firm knows exactly who (and how) to ask.

We never charge extra for opening a bank account. Clients who set up an offshore structure with our firm can be sure that they will get an account with a serious bank. If you need more than one account (for example, a private bank account for serious wealth management then an online brokerage for your ‘fun money’) we will happily assist.

Our service includes preparing business plans and profiles, certified copies, filling out forms, couriering papers back and forth etc. We offer a complete and full service and we do not charge extra for this.

How do you get funds into your new bank account? We can help with this question too. There is no one-size-fits-all answer so you need to talk to Peter or one of our associates.

Of course, choosing a bank is just the beginning. Although we don’t get involved in clients’ day-to-day banking affairs, we are always available to our clients in case of need. As a trusted party we can often facilitate communications and deals between banks and clients if wires get crossed, or where bankers change jobs and are replaced by less competent underlings.

We also constantly monitor banks and arrange periodic reviews with clients. If it becomes necessary to change banks or arrangements in future, we are there to help you.