When it comes to opening a bank in another country, aka, having an offshore bank account, there are plenty of reasons to go on do it. This is true regardless of your area of business. It will help you in terms of privacy, taxes, deposit accessibility, and the overall protection of your capital and assets.
For those already established in the business world, there is no secret behind why so many capital holders decide to open these instruments, as banks are often ready to offer them wealth protection through several mechanisms.
However, you should take into account that working with an offshore bank can be either extremely easy or an absolute headache. This will directly depend on how well-advised you are regarding the banking options in the country of your choosing.
Consequently, you will need to execute background research on each and every one of your selected alternatives, on both the country and the financial institution you want to work with. This will ultimately help you pick the single best offshore jurisdiction and the best bank available, ones that suit your needs and objectives accordingly.
There is a common belief out there that forces people to pick an offshore jurisdiction based exclusively on its tax benefits. However, such a decision probably won’t help you at avoiding taxes legally, as tax havens can sometimes become more of a problem than a solution.
A much better approach to maximizing your income comes from reaching out to an expert legal consultant team, one that is able to construct a tax strategy that is both lawful and effective. This strategy should consider every jurisdiction, of course. But taking into account many factors, not only tax-free environments.
Amongst the factors we highly recommend you to consider when drawing your new financial path, economic and political stability becomes crucial, along with banking legislation and communication accessibility.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST BANK IN THE BEST OFFSHORE JURISDICTION?
Once you have set your mind to open a brand-new offshore bank account, there are plenty of details to be considered before actually opening it. One of the most important elements you should bear in mind is that of cost, as it would be useless to go after a strategy that seeks to safeguard your money without actually accomplishing it first handedly.
Of course, the amount of capital to be oriented towards the maintenance of your account will vary from institution to institution. Even more, you will probably find that each bank enforces you to keep a specific balance within their system in order to keep being a client.
Considering these conditions, it becomes clear how important it is to do proper background research on each bank you think is appropriate for your new account. More so, you should also take special attention to both the economic and political situation of the jurisdiction you are about to trust with your capital.
It goes without mentioning that you should also pick a reputable country. This means that even when you might find a great bank in a particular jurisdiction, this might be qualified as a risk country by international organizations, something that could put in jeopardy the safety of your assets. There are, for example, blacklisted countries that are known for being centers for criminal activity and all kinds of illegal operations, which should be enough reason to keep you away.
BEST JURISDICTIONS FOR OFFSHORE BANKING
As happens with most finance-related information, there are no unified criteria about which country is the best to open an offshore bank account. However, this doesn’t translate into not being able to find a great jurisdiction that suits your needs, priorities, and circumstances.
Actually, if widening the parameters of selection, more than 50 countries can appear in a list of attractive options. Of course, depending on the personal situation, one person’s opinion about what is best may vary.
That’s why we at Centurion Capital have pre-selected several countries we believe could appeal to different kinds of investors. Feel free to reach out to our team to find out more about each one of them, as well as to ask about other countries that can potentially benefit you but don’t appear on the list.
Switzerland is known for its high level of security and its privacy-focused system. For this reason, and thanks to its highly sophisticated banking system, Switzerland is a top choice for most corporations and wealthy individuals around the world.
According to estimates by the Swiss Bankers Association (which groups nearly 300 financial institutions), Swiss banks safeguard assets worth approximately $8 trillion. And almost half of all of them belong to international investors.
Therefore, Switzerland ranks first among the best jurisdictions to open an offshore bank account. It is a country particularly valued for its asset protection. In particular, it has strict privacy laws that prohibit bankers from disclosing their clients’ data. For this reason, if a banker makes information about you public, he or she could be considered in breach of the law and will undoubtedly end up facing a fine.
Even when offshore banking has become a regular practice for many jurisdictions, the Swiss alternative is still amongst the greatest available. There are, although, a couple of changes when compared to how things were done in the past.
For example, if you are an entrepreneur with a €1 million ready to deposit in a Swiss bank account, the doors of the country along with its financial system are wide open. However, for smaller investors or savers, things do get a little more complicated. Swiss banks will not welcome foreign enterprises unless they are presented by an already existing Swiss company.
These changes are related to a national attempt to tighten previous procedures, as from around 5 years ago it has become more difficult to open a new bank account there. Of course, being a worldwide reference for private banking, such changes were expected.
THE UNITED STATES
The United States of America is one of the greatest places where you could open a bank account, especially if your desire is to work with USD as a common currency.
Opening a bank account on American soil is as easy as it gets. You have the possibility to work with some of the largest institutions in the world, some that have too much to lose, and that will offer you an amazing deal in terms of safeguarding your capital.
The most important thing for you to know is that having a US-based bank account won’t make you part of its taxation regime, which means you can own a perfectly legal offshore bank account without paying any of the taxes enforced on regular Americans.
On top of that, the USA is home for some of the world’s greatest offshore financial centers. Miami and New York are large metropolitan cities where you can find some of the best American and international banks, ones that won’t ask you for much more that a high entry deposit. For example, the known HSBC Private in Miami asks its client an initial entrance of 5 million dollars.
However, you can find states that will make everything easier for you. According to international offshore consultancy agencies, states like Delaware, Nevada, or Florida are the single greatest tax havens out there, as there is no tax enforcement on foreigners that own offshore companies within their borders. And, in terms of secrecy, banks will never surrender your information unless you are part of an international terrorist or criminal organization.
These islands have become famous for a myriad of reasons, one of them being the very home of offshore banking. As a matter of fact, the Cayman Islands were for decades the place one thought of when searching for a jurisdiction, especially if you were working in particular business sectors.
Things do have changed in the recent past. The days when you could easily travel to the country and freely open an offshore bank account are technically over, as foreigners have a lot of trouble when trying to do so. This is true, particularly for those who want to register their companies there.
However, not everything is bad news. The Cayman Islands are one of the few tax-free systems in the world, which ultimately accounts for being so attractive to businessmen regardless of their nationality. This aspect must make you consider starting a real company where you could generate revenue. And is in the middle of the Caribbean!
On top of that, this country is known for having a quiet and calm political and economic situation, something you should always consider when picking the jurisdiction of your soon-to-be bank account.
Another important aspect to take notice of is that of its friendly legal system regarding business activities. For example, cannabis and crypto-related business are more than welcome within the Cayman Islands borders. Therefore, and considering how its tax legislation also promotes international investment, it doesn’t come as a surprise its location amongst the greatest offshore jurisdictions out there.
Any list of the best offshore countries for offshore banking that doesn’t include Singapore is simply wrong, or in the best case, misinformed. This country was listed second in the World Bank’s “Ease of doing business in Rank” dating from a couple of years ago, thanks primarily to its state-of-the-art banking system consisting of more than 150 banks.
One of the greatest features of Singapore banking has to do with its vast diversity of services. You could enjoy everything from exchange systems, online banking, credit cards, and wealth management services to checking and saving accounts, all under amazing protection benefits as if you were dealing with a Western-based bank.
This option is especially thought to appeal to high-level capital holders from around the world, as Singapore remains to be one of the greatest jurisdictions for offshore banking that doesn’t present many problems for foreigners.
It should be noted, however, that in tax terms this option could be better. Even when is pretty simple to open an account if you come from abroad, there is little gain to locally open a new bank account. Of course, if you have come to this country, tax reduction might not be your priority.
Little Georgia can sometimes be forgotten by experts when designing their list of best offshore jurisdictions, maybe because of its Soviet past and relative size when compared to other options. However, it has become a great option for entrepreneurs in the last few years, and even more if they deal with local currency, as there is the possibility to earn interest rates of about 10%.
For starters, opening a bank account in Georgia is potentially the easiest option amongst the mentioned ones in the present article. Its legislation is friendly and to navigate regulations is like eating a piece of financial cake.
Second, they have been as effective as possible at tackling corruption. This has been something investors understood as enough reason to avoid Eastern European countries in the past, but the work Georgia has done is more than enough to differentiate itself from its neighbors.
Last but not least, Georgia is one is one of about 40 nations that has not signed the CRS (Common Reporting Standard) protocol agreement. This means that they aren’t obliged to automatically exchange information about individuals depositing money in their financial system.
However, it should be said that this could change in the future, as the list of non-collaborative countries is getting smaller by the day, and new countries sign the agreement on a yearly basis.
This is particularly important as the other countries who have not signed the CRS protocol aren’t as half as attractive as little Georgia. Armenia is not the most delightful country in the world (to say the least), Moldova has a great problem of poverty, Macedonia has been lagging behind other economies and Paraguay can be quite complex at times, while other non-signatory nations are inhospitable places like Burundi, Nicaragua, Uganda, Afghanistan, Iraq.
Therefore, Georgia has the best of both worlds in terms of the utmost privacy and great banking conditions, which accounts for being present in our list.
Did you know that six of the world’s ten largest hubs are located in the Asian continent?
And among them is Hong Kong, which ranks third in the ranking of the world’s most competitive locations according to the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) in its 2019 edition.
In addition to the fact of having an efficient legal system, a more than friendly tax regime, and excellent telecommunications infrastructure and services, Hong Kong is also one of the world’s leading hubs for commerce.
About three-quarters of the world’s 100 top banks have a branch in Hong Kong, which accounts for being one of the highest concentrations of banking institutions on the entire planet. With such a sophisticated system of financial institutions that meet all international standards, there is no doubt that Hong Kong is one of the best choices for opening an account abroad.
Hong Kong is one of the safest places on Earth to have a bank account, and one of the most attractive ones too, considering the fact that it provides direct accessibility to the large Chinese market. You only have to do a visit to the country and provide the authorities with a business address located in Hong Kong (which you could perfectly purchase if necessary).
Some of the Hong Kong banks you can consider for that purpose are HSBC, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, and Standard Charter Bank.
If you made research a couple of years back in time, some countries could appear that aren’t worth considering. Vanuatu, Seychelles, Cook Islands, and some Islands like St. Lucia and Dominica aren’t worth the risk. Is more than common that banking institutions fell off the face of the Earth without a trace, either because they go bankrupt or are shutdown by authorities, which is why you should be extremely careful if losing all of your money is not on your plans.
Without security, there is nothing.
However, there are several countries worth taking note of especially in Europe. Even when some jurisdictions like the Cyprus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, or Malta have lost popularity, others like Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, Jersey, and Luxembourg have taken the lead. And in more exotic locations, Uruguay and Dubai are great alternatives.
HOW TO GET A GREAT OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT
The most important advice you should consider here, and even more important than the list itself, is that of getting experienced and contrasted expert guidance on the matter before making any call. Regardless of whether a jurisdiction might look better or worse, no decision without proper counseling should be taken in any scenario.
What you should bear in mind is that offshore banking is a perfectly valid and legal activity, unless you are being part of some kind of crime group, or you fail to declare the existence of the account to your country when is required. Although, virtually all nations on Earth allow their citizens to have foreign banking accounts, which explains why international business is such a thriving activity.
We at Centurion Capital are more than familiar with offshore banking, its particularities, details, and hidden tricks.
We highly recommend you to reach out to our team of specialized finance advisors, as they are well-versed in terms of the know-how related to this specific subject.
Also, we invite you to download our e-book guide “OFFSHORE BANKS: The Ultimate Guide to their Secrets”, where you will encounter yourself with a thorough list of steps, designed for you to gain insight on how to accomplish your goals when it comes to offshore banking.
If you want to know:
- which are the best banks out there,
- the best countries to open an account,
- where are the best interest rates,
- how to open an offshore account,
- reasons to open an offshore account,
- how to have a regular and 100% legal foreign bank account,
- a list of the best offshore banks in the world along with contacts, emails, phone and conditions they offer…
Click here to download the guide and reach out to the very best advisors in the market.
Warning: The content of this article does not constitute legal or tax advice. It is provided for general informational purposes only and not for the purpose of offering any warranty or guarantee. As laws change frequently, personalized professional advice is absolutely necessary.
Article written by: Fabrice Barra is a cosmopolitan entrepreneur, lawyer, fiduciary and author, one of the world’s leading experts on offshore strategies, corporate haven, international investments and global mindset lifestyles. He is the personal trusted advisor of well-known entrepreneurs, UHNWI, Forbes Global 2000 companies, professional sportsmen, aristocrats, celebrities, investors, people with a net wealth of 7- to 8- or more figures, and he has access to a network of influential people around the world.