Top Jurisdictions for Corporate Banking

| 7 Nov 2012 | 1 Comment

For decades, offshore bank accounts have maintained their position as one of the most effective financial tools to achieve high levels of banking privacy whilst benefiting from favorable tax regimes. Sought after by business entities worldwide, corporate accounts enable businesses to optimize their profitability, maintain confidentiality, and enhance their corporate profile to their international client base.

corporate bankingOffshore corporate bank accounts are considered to be a highly favorable attainment for a company of any size, whether it is a small to medium sized business entity or a large multinational corporation. The benefits of offshore accounts outweigh the complexity of opening an account.

They offer business owners and investors a range of benefits, some of which are outlined below:

  • Low or zero taxation – including corporate tax, capital gains and stamp duty
  • High levels of banking privacy – offering protection from creditors and the public eye
  • Enhanced safety – especially in terms of political, economic and financial stability
  • Complete anonymity – accounts can be opened without the presence of the account owners
  • Foreign currencies – offshore accounts enable their clients to bank in a range of currencies

As more business professionals select offshore corporate accounts to manage their finances, it is imperative to determine the most favorable jurisdiction to match your specific business and banking needs. Through selecting the most suitable location, you can guarantee privacy, a favorable tax regime and the ability to meet your financial goals.

The following is a brief outline of the top jurisdictions to open an offshore corporate account:

Cyprus

Having joined the European Union in 2004, Cyprus offers business professionals and companies from across the globe the opportunity to obtain a corporate account that is under the regulations and standards stipulated by the EU Directive. The Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) is the financial authority that ensures that all customers banking within the Republic of Cyprus are provided with reliable and a vast range of financial services.

Obtaining a Cyprus corporate bank account enables business professionals and companies to benefit from the Deposit Protection Scheme implemented by the Central Bank. The primary purpose of this scheme is to safeguard depositors and repay a certain percentage in compensation to clients in the event that the member bank is unable to make the payments.

Cyprus proves to be a favorable location to establish a corporate account as it offers high levels of privacy – ensuring that Cyprus authorities do not have access to any bank account information without a court order. Furthermore, the island has an estimated 45 double tax treaties with countries such as the UK, USA and Canada.

Personal presence is not a prerequisite for the corporate bank account in Cyprus. As a result of this, there are a number of personal documents that must be filed, some of which include the following:

  • Valid passport of the business owners as proof of identity
  • Bank reference letter that is dated 6 months to present date
  • Evidence of residential address

Once the necessary documents have been filed with the relevant regulatory body, the corporate account is likely to be established within the period of one week. The currencies offered by Cyprus banks include USD, EUR, GBP and CAD.

Malta

The Malta banking system closely reflects that of Cyprus, given that both countries are members of the European Union and follow the EU Directive. The financial regulator on the island is the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA); this body is responsible for supervising and monitoring all financial activity including banking, investment, as well as insurance. Banks and other financial authorities in the region offering their clients the opportunity to open corporate bank accounts are all registered, licensed and regulated by the MFSA.

The rapid expansion and growth of Malta’s financial sector has led to its position as a top location to open offshore accounts. The highly developed services include telephone, internet and mobile banking facilities to customers.

Professionals and companies that wish to open an offshore corporate account on this island must provide evidence of a strong financial history. This includes the following:

  • Reference letter from previous bank stating that you are debt free and have not experienced bankruptcy
  • Valid passport as proof of identity
  • Utility bills of directors and shareholders
  • Official company incorporation documents
  • Certificate of Good Standing for the company

In the event that the business has gone through bankruptcy and is re-establishing through opening a Malta offshore corporate account, the owners may be required to become residents in Malta for a predetermined period of time to prove their financial stability to the authorities.

Belize

bankingThe financial sector of Belize is governed by the Central Bank of Belize. This governmental agency is the authority that outlines and monitors all financial entities operating in the country, ensuring that the highest standards of banking services are maintained. The Central Bank structure is largely based on the Bank of England, with their role incorporating a number of duties including the regulation of commercial banks and financial entities.

One of the main benefits of opening an offshore Belize corporate account is the banking secrecy this jurisdiction offers. Bank accounts can be established in a range of currencies, including USD, EUR, GBP and CAD. In addition, Belize has double tax treaties with the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries – including Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.

Business professionals must provide a range of documents that provides evidence of their corporate entity’s financial state, including bank statements and reference letters. Other documents that must be filed with the regulatory authority include the following:

  • Notarized copy of valid passports of the shareholders and directors
  • Evidence of residential address, for example, a utility bill
  • Official incorporating documents of the company

Once the above mentioned documents have been administered and filed, the process of opening a corporate account in Belize can be successfully completed within 1-2 working days.

Latvia

Central bank of Latvia acts as an independent bank that issues the national currency and supervises other banks and credit unions within the country. The entire banking and financial sector of Latvia is governed by the Financial and Capital Markets Commission, with the primary duties including safeguarding investor interest and promoting development in the country.

The main reason for the popularity of Latvia as a location to incorporate an offshore corporate bank account is the high levels of privacy that this country offers. Latvian authorities ensure that banking information of customers is kept private. Moreover, the country has double tax treaties with 41 countries worldwide – thus offering favorable taxation opportunities to businesses across the globe.

Each bank and financial entity in Latvia requires a specific set of documents that must be filed with the authority in order to open an account. These documents tend to vary from one entity to another; however the following are some of the most commonly required documents:

  • Valid passport of account signatories
  • Proof of residential address for example: utility bills
  • Notarized specimen signature card that has been signed by all signatories

Latvia is a favorable location to establish an offshore corporate account, offering services such as online banking, issuance of credit and debit cards and banking in a range of currencies. After the application has been filed with the authority, the account can successfully be opened within a period of 2 working days.

Determining the best location for opening your corporate bank account…

When establishing your offshore corporate bank account, it is imperative to determine the most suitable location as it ensures that you are able to maximize profitability and effectively benefit from your account. It is highly advisable to seek the assistance of professional consultants when establishing an offshore corporate account, as they can provide valuable advice and guidance in selecting the most appropriate location according to your exact business and financial needs.

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Category: Corporate Taxation

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  1. john o brien says:

    wishing to open a corporate bank account for commodity trading and managment services;; please advise.
    kind regards
    john o brien

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