Once you determine that an offshore bank account is the logical choice for proper protection of your assets, the next step is to choose the offshore financial centre that’s right for you. But, the choice can be overwhelming for a number of reasons, including:
The truth is, there are several factors to weigh when choosing your offshore bank, falling into two categories – personal and logistical. Let’s take a look at some of these factors below.
Whether you are opening an individual, corporate, merchant, e-commerce or anonymous offshore bank account, the factors in this category all deal with your financial circumstances, what you’re planning to do with your offshore bank account and what your personal financial goals are. Some elements to consider:
All offshore financial centres offer attractive tax structures; you need to decide whether or not it’s the most important factor in your decision. Many people automatically run to the jurisdiction with the lowest or even no taxes, while ignoring other factors that could do more harm than good to their financial portfolio.
Types of services
Determine which are the most important offshore banking services you’ll need and work on eliminating those offshore banks that do not provide those services. If you’re looking to deposit assets and simply leave it there, then 24-hour access to the bank manager won’t be of great importance to you. If you’re looking to make many bank transfers while traveling, secure Internet access will be a selling point; and so on.
Fees and Other Costs
Again, this depends on what activity you’re planning for your offshore bank account. If a bank charges fees per transaction but a low setup fee, then that might be beneficial to those who don’t plan on a lot of activity. Or, if you’re looking to establish a merchant account, you’ll want to pay close attention to percentages taken out for each Internet transaction. Another factor is if you’ll be dealing with foreign currency exchanges – some offshore banks are more likely to waive or lessen charges for frequent currency exchanges than others.
The hallmark of the offshore financial community is a strong commitment to banking privacy. However, not all offshore banks offer anonymous numbered accounts, and some jurisdictions are more accommodating to the OECD and other authorities than others. You’ll need to determine what level of privacy you desire for your offshore bank account, and go from there.
The logistics, location and infrastructure of your offshore jurisdiction are another side to your offshore bank decision. Details below.
You want to make sure your offshore jurisdiction has stable communication lines, current Internet capabilities and, if you’re choosing to travel to your bank personally, easy access with modern airport(s), train service or maintained roads.
Many offshore jurisdictions are current or former British Commonwealths, so English-speaking bank staff and management should not be a problem. However, other jurisdictions may be a bit more exotic, and you want to have the confidence that your correspondence and personal conversations with the bank staff are not rife with miscommunication.
For some offshore banking purposes, the physical location of the bank might not be a factor. However, if you need to appear at the bank on any kind of regular basis, you don’t want to have to travel too far out of your way to get there. Likewise if you’re traveling often, a good idea is to have your bank be in a relatively central location to the majority of your destinations. If you don’t plan on ever going to the bank in person or you don’t travel much, this is less of an issue – but you’ll want to check that the bank is located in a time zone that won’t have you up at all hours of the night in order to gain access to your account during regular business hours.
Obviously, you’re going to want an offshore jurisdiction that has a history of economic stability. This goes hand in hand with political stability, below; but it is crucial to research the currency, banking community and general economic focus of your favored offshore jurisdiction.
The political climate of an offshore jurisdiction might be the single most important logistical factor in your decision-making. Nearly every country on the planet has at least a war or a period of unrest in their past; but there is plenty of intelligence available to any member of the public about a particular country, region or specific area that can help you determine the political stability of your offshore jurisdiction.
We strongly recommend that you seek assistance from experienced advisors when it comes to choosing an offshore bank. Please, do not hesitate to contact us with any question you might have about which offshore jurisdiction is right for you.