The Best Offshore Banks 2013

New! Click here for The Best Offshore Banks 2014.

A new year is upon us. It’s time to revisit the blog post that started it all, and which remains one of the most popular on this blog.

Just like last year’s edition, the title should more accurately be “The Best Offshore Banks 2012 that I have used“. But who has time for long titles?

Unlike last year, where I listed purpose for using each bank, this year I will just list the banks and explain why they are on the list. Last year’s list was unfortunately imperfect because most of the banks listed were used for multiple purposes.

Before we begin, since some of these banks may not be what you usually think of as an offshore bank, let’s ask ourselves: What is an offshore bank?

In this post, I am defining an offshore bank as a bank located in an offshore jurisdiction and/or a bank which accepts offshore companies.

It is also worth noting that while I do take things like solvency and credit rating into consideration when picking a bank, this list is by no means a list of the most stable banks. Always do your own due diligence. This list is not meant as a recommendation in any way.

Without any further ado, below is a list of my most favoured offshore banks of 2013. There are in total 21 banks, covering 22 jurisdictions.

They are listed in alphabetical order.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (UAE)

ABCB continues to be one of the best banks in the region. Account management and customer service are top-notch, especially for Preferred and Elite level accounts.

The ACDB Small Business Credit Card remains one of the best ways a small company can obtain an credit card in UAE, with most banks only giving newer companies debit card.

You will pay a different range of fees depending on what level of customer you are, which depends on monthly average amount in the account (or initial deposit).

Islamic banking is available.

The bank also has an offshore wing in Jersey, with which I have no experience.

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Rarely, although UAE offshore companies and wealth management vehicles are accepted.
Minimum deposit: 50,000 – 1,000,000 AED depending on type of account.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.adcb.com/

Arab Bank (Jordan, Lebanon, UAE)

Arab Bank is present in virtually all Arab world countries, but I’m only listing where I have experience. They are headquartered in Jordan.

As its name implies, its focus is the Arab world and Arabic countries. This means they very rarely will consider offshore companies, with exception for UAE.

I have got to know Arab Bank over the course of several years but only in the last 12 to 18 months actually worked closely with them. It’s been a great experience so far.

There is fully English speaking staff available in all of the bank’s locations. Customer service is of overall high quality.

Internet banking and the bank’s website are getting a bit dated. Hopefully they will improve on that in 2014.

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Rarely, although UAE offshore companies are accepted.
Minimum deposit: Varies greatly from nothing to 100,000 depending on account type and location.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.arabbank.com.jo/ | http://www.arabbank.com.lb/ | http://www.arabbank.ae/

Banca Privada d’Andorra (Andorra)

It was with much delight I had a reason to visit the beautiful principality of Andorra early in 2013. When I was here last time, I visited Crèdit Andorrà (also on the list) and ignored BPA after getting a very poor impression over the phone.

However, by the time of this visit, BPA has cleaned up its website and the people answering the phones were more talkative, so I stepped into one of the shiny all-black branches of BPA in Andorra la Vella. This marked the beginning of a very good and mutually beneficial relationship.

The bank provides very similar services to Crèdit Andorrà, except BPA is wholly-dedicated to private and corporate banking. This means BPA will take care of your money, whereas Crèdit Andorrà lets you control your money to a greater extent. BPA are a bit more lenient on issuing credit cards.

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 100,000 EUR (negotiable).
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: https://www.bpa.ad/eng/

Banque Audi (Lebanon)

Banque Audi provides some of the best wealth management services in the world, in terms of quality and consistency.

Known perhaps for being a bank that will fly out in private jets to meet its clients and accept cash deposits on the spot, Banque Audi is more than just a wealth management bank of the super rich. It offers a good personal banking and corporate banking, although the latter has suffered in favour of improvements for the former and private banking.

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes, with limitations.
Minimum deposit: from 0 to 1,000,000 USD/EUR/GBP depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international and regional currencies.
Website: http://www.banqueaudi.com/

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (UAE, Japan)

In the last year or so, I have been introduced to the shipping industry; global import and export. I had met with representatives from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) at an AML conference, where they held a presentation about specifically their involvement in shipping businesses. I was impressed and kept in touch with them. For many shipping companies, they are the go-to bank.

The bank provides phenomenal service, around the clock, and is extremely knowledgeable about shipping. Due to the nature of the industry, it is very easy to move large sums of money across the world with BTMU. The bank issues high-value letters of credit even to offshore companies, provided enough trust exists between both parties.

Their compliance team does a great job, in that we rarely hear from them unless engaged in a high-risk transaction. The bank does get anxious about shipments in the Red Sea, since it should not trade with Iran due to sanctions.

A special mention must be made for BTMU’s impressive range of currencies.

Remote account opening: Not to my knowledge.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 10,000 – 250,000 USD/EUR depending on account type.
Website: http://www.bk.mufg.jp/global/

Bank of Valletta (Malta)

Bank of Valletta (commonly BOV) is one of the two main banks in Malta. For many of the island’s igaming (online gambling) operators, it is the go-to bank.

BOV is also popular with gambling affiliates.

As long as what you do is legal and you are a good potential client to the bank, BOV is likely to accept you, but the account opening procedure can be quite rigorous. The bank will sometimes ask for a reference and, as is custom in Malta, the bank will require that they initiate the request of reference. This means that they will contact your bank and ask for a reference. If this happens, contact your bank and give them permission to release the information BOV wants.

The bank provides excellent corporate customer service and account management.

Debit and credit cards are relatively easy to obtain. Prepaid cards are available but they cannot be reloaded through the bank.

Opening an account as an IBC is possible but the bank prefers to deal with more transparent companies and may turn down IBCs.

Remote account opening: Yes.
Internet banking: Very good, especially mobile banking.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 2,500 EUR/USD.
Website: https://www.bov.com

Bank SinoPac (Taiwan)

Banking in Taiwan is very, very interesting and something that I will go more in-depth into in a later post.

What you have in Taiwan is something called OBUs, which stand for Offshore Banking Units. It’s a cleverly structured banking system within the banking system.

Accounts opened under OBUs are exempt from tax and exchange controls. The only caveat is that the account cannot be denominated in Taiwan dollar (TWD).

For added interest, Taiwan has quite strict banking secrecy. It is presently unable to sign and enforce TIEAs.

Bank SinoPac is one 63 OBUs in Taiwan. It is one of few to offer OBU services in English.

The quality of service is comparable to other Asian financial centers, but it’s lacking in advanced products and card services. Despite that, the pure ease by which you can do business with an OBU account and the excellent account management SinoPac delivers makes it a bank I am very happy to work with.

Remote account opening: Yes.
Internet banking: Good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 1,000 USD.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies. Cannot be TWD.
Website: http://www.banksinopac.com.tw/

Butterfield (Bermuda, Bahamas, Cayman Islands)

This Bermuda-based bank has been a quaint breath of fresh air in the stale environment that is Caribbean banking. With Butterfield, you get the quality of a European bank with the advantages of banking in places like Bermuda, Bahamas, and the Caymans. The bank is also present in Switzerland, Guernsey, and the UK.

Butterfield offers an impressive range of cards, including a credit card issued in partnership with British Airways.

The account opening procedure with Butterfield varies between jurisdiction where your company is located. The paperwork may be greater than banks in for example Belize and Saint Vincent, but I have found that once an account is opened, Butterfield is far less likely to intervene than other Caribbean banks.

Remote account opening: Yes.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 2,500 or 10,000 USD depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies.
Website: http://www.butterfieldgroup.com/

Crèdit Andorrà (Andorra, Panama)

Crèdit Andorrà stepped up the game in 2013 by improving the authentication for e-Credit (internet banking).

This year, I also had the pleasure of acquainting myself with the bank’s Panamanian branch, which is dedicated solely to private banking. Unsurprisingly, it too provides excellent services.

My sole complaint with Crèdit Andorrà is that they make it such a headache to open a corporate bank account for a non-resident company with them. BPA beats them there.

Virtual cards, huge pool of investment opportunities, and easy-going account management are the bank’s strongest points.

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 0 – 100,000 EUR/USD depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.creditandorra.ad/

Crédit Libanais (Lebanon)

With an impressive liquidity ratio of over 75% for the last ten years and being one of the biggest banks in Lebanon, coupled with Lebanon’s ironclad banking secrecy, Crédit Libanaise has a lot of stability to offer. It is also one of the most open-minded Lebanese banks when it comes to accepting foreign clients. While I opened all accounts with them in person, I have been told that remote account opening is possible in some cases.

This bank offers full-service personal and business banking. It does not offer private banking, but there is no shortage of other banks in Lebanon to cover that part of the market.

Remote account opening: Sometimes.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: Case by case basis, from 0 to 10,000 USD/EUR depending on risk profile.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies.
Website: http://www.creditlibanais.com.lb/

Credicorp Bank (Panama)

Like most Panamanian banks, Credicorp Bank is hesitant about opening accounts for non-resident companies. However, unlike most Panamanian banks, the account opening process – once they decide to let you apply – is quite simple. It’s comparable to Multibank, which was on last year’s list but this year has to leave room for Credicorp Bank.

While Credicorp Bank lacks card products as extensive as Multibank, it instead has better customer service and account management. It also offers interesting ecommerce solutions.

Remote account opening: Sometimes.
Internet banking: Good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 1,000 – 10,000 USD/EUR depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports USD and EUR.
Website: https://www.credicorpbank.com/

FBME (Cyprus, Tanzania)

FBME has gone through some problems with their card acquiring services in 2013, but its actions throughout the Cyprus banking crisis warrants merit. Since FBME is not a licensed bank in Cyprus, but rather a branch of a foreign bank, it was unknown whether they were even subject to the capital controls in Cyprus. Privileged clients were able to use funds locked in Cyprus through the bank’s non-Cypriot branches.

FBME offers some of the best card products in the world, with favourable rates and auxiliary services for its higher-end credit cards. They are also popular for their no-name prepaid cards.

Compared to other banks in Cyprus, FBME definitely charges higher fees. However, the quality FBME offers puts other Cypriot banks to shame. Furthermore, FBME’s fees are negotiable for larger clients.

Remote account opening: Yes, through an intermediary.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: Varies, but around 500 – 1,000 EUR.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports several international currencies.
Website: https://www.fbme.com/

Finansbank (Turkey)

While I have had accounts with Finansbank for a long time, it was not until 2013 that the accounts started being useful and I had a chance to properly make use of this bank.

While Türkiye İş Bankası (Is Bank) provides great corporate banking, Finansbank is superb for personal banking. Opening an account is a breeze and can be done remotely if you already have a Turkish tax number. If you don’t, the bank will help you get one.

Getting a credit card was very easy. The bank also issues e-cards (virtual cards).

Remote account opening: Yes, if you have Turkish tax number.
Internet banking: Excellent.
Accepts foreigners: Yes. The bank will help you obtain a tax number.
Accepts offshore companies: Not to my knowledge.
Minimum deposit: None.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies.
Website: http://www.finansbank.com.tr/

HSBC (Hong Kong)

HSBC continues to be one of the most easy-going banks in Hong Kong. You will most likely have to fly over there and meet them to open the account, but they accept companies from all over the world and as long as your company is not involved in adult entertainment, gambling, or anything illegal by Hong Kong law, they will accept you and mostly leave you alone.

Remote account opening: In special circumstances; typically not.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: 0 – 500,000 HKD depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.commercial.hsbc.com.hk/

Is Bank / Türkiye İş Bankası (Turkey)

One of few European countries with growing economies, coupled with its strict banking secrecy, Turkey was selected as a means to safely deposit (including cash) and grow funds by investments into Turkey and its volatile neighbours. Turkey also has one of the most innovative and modern banking systems in the world.

Of the banks interviewed, Is Bank was the one most open to foreigners, including offshore companies. While it’s still a relatively new relation, Türkiye İş Bankası has proven to be an excellent banking partner in Turkey.

No minimum deposit was asked for and the bank was willing to issue debit and credit cards.

Remote account opening: Yes, if you have Turkish tax number.
Internet banking: Excellent.
Accepts foreigners: Yes. The bank will help you obtain a tax number.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes, with limitations.
Minimum deposit: None.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies.
Website: http://www.isbank.com.tr/English/

Jyske Bank (Gibraltar)

This is one of many offshore branches of Jyske Bank from Denmark, where it is the third largest bank. Jyske Bank Gibraltar is all about wealth management, investment, pension planning, and insurance. It used to be one of the most attainable private banks with a minimum deposit of only 50,000 EUR. This has since risen to 150,000 and now 200,000, although I understand that it is negotiable for new clients. However, 200,000 is lower than many other banks out there, yet the quality of Jyske Bank is nonetheless among the best.

The bank issues credit cards in major European and two Scandinavian (DKK and SEK) currencies.

Through its Swiss branch, Jyske Bank is able to issue no-name Travel Cash MasterCard prepaid cards.

Remote account opening: Yes.
Internet banking: Very good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes, but explicitly does not accept US persons.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes, but with limitations.
Minimum deposit: 200,000 EUR/GBP.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies.
Website: http://jyskebank.com/en

Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (Curaçao)

And here it is — the first Caribbean bank to make it to this list. (It was technically on the list before Butterfield.) Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (MCB) is a bank that I initially only came into contact with as a necessity as a part of an engagement in Curaçao. (Much more on Curaçao in coming months.) Since 2012, I have had reasons to expand the relationship with MCB, and I am very glad I did. The bank is miles ahead of many other Caribbean banks, yet offers most of the same level of flexibility.

They also offer merchant services (card acquiring).

Some of the bank’s debit cards have EMV (chip), which is virtually unheard of in the Caribbean. The credit cards are enrolled for 3D Secure (Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode). I have yet to see a single other Caribbean bank offer cards enrolled for 3D Secure. The cards come in either the local currency or USD.

The bank has a partnership with Scotiabank and lets you tap into some of Scotiabank’s mutual funds and asset management.

Remote account opening: Yes.
Internet banking: Good.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: None.
Multi currency accounts: No, but supports major international currencies.
Website: https://www.mcb-bank.com/

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (UAE)

NBAD ranks as one of the most financially sound banks in the world. Unlike its haywire neighbour emirate, Dubai, Abu Dhabi is extremely fiscally responsible and risk aversive. In fact, Abu Dhabi bailed out Dubai for 10 billion USD in 2009/2010.

NBAD offers everything you can ask from a bank: consumer banking, preferred banking, private banking, SME banking, corporate banking, securities, merchanat services, and wealth management and investments.

Every card product you could possibly want is available here, including prepaid cards and a card that can only be used online (NBAD Internet Card).

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Excellent.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: from 0 to 250,000 CHF/USD/EUR/GBP depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: https://www.nbad.com/

OCBC (Singapore)

The Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), three-time back-to-back World’s Safest Bank winners according to Bloomberg, is a bank that is so good it becomes a benchmark for other banks.

OCBC was previously very open to offshore companies but is now screening new applications far closer, turning away most applications that aren’t from Singapore. Hong Kong companies are given preferential treatment, though.

OCBC also operates iOCBC, which is a securities trading subsidiary, with an immense range of investment opportunities throughout Asia.

Remote account opening: Rarely.
Internet banking: Excellent.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes, but prefers Singapore companies.
Minimum deposit: from 500 USD to 5,000 SGD depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.ocbc.com/

SEB (Estonia, Sweden)

SEB is one of the Scandinavian banking giants. Founded by the wealthy Wallenberg family, it has a long history of being a major commercial bank in Sweden. The bank has recently tried to position itself more as a business bank and private bank.

The bank provides excellent services and ample investment opportunities across Scandinavia, the Baltics, and northern Europe. No tax is deducted for non-residents, even in highly-taxed Sweden. When you open the account, you sign a document stating that you will pay tax in your country of residence.

The Estonian branch is fully available in English. The Swedish branch is only fully available in English for non-resident banking and corporate banking.

Remote account opening: Yes, but for Estonia, visiting the bank is preferred.
Internet banking: Excellent.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes, with some restrictions.
Minimum deposit: None.
Multi currency accounts: Yes (Estonia), No (Sweden) but supports major international currencies.
Website: http://www.seb.ee/eng | http://www.seb.se/pow/wcp/english.asp?website=TAB1&lang=en

State Bank of Mauritius (Mauritius)

The State Bank of Mauritius – commonly referred to as SBM – is one of the two major banks in Mauritius, the other being MCB (Mauritius Commercial Bank).

SBM engages in high-risk merchant accounts (on a case-by-case basis) and does so very well.

While Mauritius lacks a deposit insurance, the government has stated that banks that are too big to fail will receive aid. Since SBM is owned by the government, it is safe to assume that the bank is unlikely to go anywhere.

Although the bank’s website looks quite dated, it is in fact a provider of high-quality banking services at reasonable rates, backed with very good customer service.

Remote account opening: Yes, but may require an intermediary.
Internet banking: Good but starting to look old.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: Varies, 1,000 – 5,000 USD/EUR.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.sbmgroup.mu/

UBS (Switzerland, Singapore)

When you bank with UBS, you bank the proper Swiss way. Highly personalized service and a perfect blend of easy-going and Swiss precision.

Everything from the carefully decorated branches – whether the big ones in the main cities, or smaller ones in the picturesque villages – to the way the staff interacts with you oozes confidence.

But enough with the sales pitch. What’s good about UBS?

Account opening is easier than most other banks in Switzerland. Even as a non-resident who don’t qualify for private banking, you can sometimes open a personal account for salary. There are conditions to this and the bank will work with you to accommodate a solution.

Maintaining your account is a breeze, especially with the newly improved internet banking. It’s definitely one of the best in the world. It looks modern and is intuitive to use.

It is also relatively easy to get a credit card from UBS, which can be denominated in CHF, EUR, or USD. The cards come with generous insurances and access to an impressive range of airport lounges across the world.

Remote account opening: Sometimes; visiting the bank is encouraged.
Internet banking: Excellent.
Accepts foreigners: Yes.
Accepts offshore companies: Yes.
Minimum deposit: Varies, 0 – 500,000 CHF/SGD/USD/EUR depending on account type.
Multi currency accounts: Yes.
Website: http://www.ubs.com/ch/en.html

56 Comments on "The Best Offshore Banks 2013"

  1. Thanks Streber!
    One problem I keep running into is finding banks in EU jurisdictions that offer US Dollar Debit Cards. Which is a must have for our operating accounts.

    And just to clarify we make most of our money from folks in America, the UK and Australia. We see information products online. We have an almost non-existent chargeback rate and very good customer support. Our businesses don’t make money in the the countries they are in and we’d like to keep it that way.

    I wish there was a class I could take to learn all this stuff! It’s really hard to find good information. I’ve found a couple more sites that are worth browsing but this is still my go to site!

  2. Hi Steber!

    What an amazing resource you have created! I need to set up offshore accounts for our companies and this is the single best place I’ve found on the internet.

    We have two companies, and I want to set up two accounts for each company. One account for capitol, it’s where the money from our merchant accounts would go, and one to handle operating costs. We’d make monthly transfers from the capitol account and the operating account.

    One company is incorporated in Thailand and Singapore, the other in Canada and Gibraltar.

    All the accounts have to be US Dollar accounts?

    The capitol accounts need to be able to make free transfers to the operating accounts and have access to Internet banking.

    The operating accounts need the same as well as debit or preferably, credit cards.

    We sell information products, have a low refund rate and no complaints for customers.

    Any suggestions for where we should turn? I’ve already opened up all the links to likely banks from your blog post and will do my due diligence. And I thought I’d see what you had to say!

    Thanks so much for this insightful blog post!

    • Hi Wanderir,

      Thanks for your comment and your kind words! Glad my little blog can be helpful in your international business endeavours.

      Your business sounds truly international. I recently placed a very similarly structured business with Standard Chartered and have in the past placed businesses like this with banks with good international reach like Citibank and HSBC. (MUFG holds a special place in my heart but I’m not sure they are the right bank for an information services company.)

      If you have good relations with banks in Canada or Singapore, there are plenty of banks there which have strong international presence.

      Now, it’s perfectly understandable why you wouldn’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. What I usually do when I place a client with the likes of Standard Chartered is to set up a cash pooling and long-term investment bank account with a reputable wealth management private bank, either big or small depending on what the client is looking for. This can be UBS, VP Bank, Banque Audi, et cetera…

      I’m not really sure if any of that answers your question, but that at least is what I usually do and often see others do for similar structures.

  3. Dear Streber,
    I really appericiate your feebdack, once again!
    Thanks for all the info.
    If I put for example a Seychelles company as the nominee of the HK company director+shareholder, could it work ? Banks will see it on not good “eye” as well?

    • Hi,

      That’s an old structure that doesn’t work anymore. Hong Kong requires companies to have at least one natural person as director and it’s very hard to find a nominee director willing to take on that role.

  4. Dear Streber,
    I appericaite it.
    I couldn’t find someone that is good as you 😉
    Maybe you can answer this- I understand that Switzerland banks do not open any more for offshore compaines.
    Is it worth openning HK company for CIM Banque for example? what do you think of these guys? (CIMBanque) – I also understand if i use HK company my options will be better to open better bank accounts.
    Can you also recommend on company that can help with setting up HK with no tax? since I will not open HK account since my business type is affiliate marketing of Binary/Forex trading.
    Do I need to pay to accouantat in HK even if I do not have any activity there? what should be the minimum costs to set it up?
    I would like to use nomine as well for the director&shareholder

    Thanks

    • CIM Banque charges fees like a high-end private bank and tries to be like one, but they just lack that extra edge good Swiss banks have. I’m not a huge fan of them but I know that they have customers who are satisfied. The maintenance fees and administrative fees here and there quickly add up.

      When it comes to Hong Kong, there is an absolutely enormous amount of accountancy firms and law firms (and other) that can help you set up a company. Some I’ve enjoyed working with over the years are Asiaciti Trust, Kaizen, Ricky Chung & Co, CCTH CPA, and HLM CPA. If you head over to http://www.hkicpa.org.hk/ you can find a list of registered/licensed CPAs.

      Some of your questions are answered in my post Jurisdiction spotlight: Hong Kong. Essentially all Hong Kong companies must keep records and must undergo audits, even if you do no business in Hong Kong. You’re looking at around 10 – 20,000 HKD for formation. Renewal costs are just a few thousand HKD unless you factor in cost of record keeping and cost of audit. It definitely pays off to shop around and ask for quotes from several accountancy firms to compare.

      Nominees are very rarely used in Hong Kong, though. You can ask around but I fear you will have a very hard time finding any.

  5. Dear Streber,
    I really appreciate that information.
    Is it possible to contact you somehow? I need your help with setting up a good Bank.
    Please let me know how I can use your services.
    I do not want to open Carribean or Cyprus Bank, I already have 2 accounts, and need another one.
    Thanks

    • I’m afraid I can’t offer any services. I mention this on the FAQ page, that this blog is purely informational and not a way for me to solicit any services.

      Hope you manage to find someone!

  6. Dear Streber,
    Its me again- thanks for the comment.
    I started working with them, and I think they are good. Just wanted to ask about their stability.
    Did you hear about volksbank.ch in Switzerland? They have no connection to volksbank.com – An agent recommended me on them.
    I would like to hear your opinion about them, if they are safe.
    Thanks

    • I’ve dealt with Volksbank in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and – primarily – Malta. While Switzerland and Liechtenstein are independent, they do have connections to Volksbank Austria and the VBAG group. Not sure about the ownership structure, though.

      In terms of services and service quality, the bank is generally good but it suffers from some of the usual drawbacks small banks face: lack of complexity and flexibility in services. In the end, the bank was unable to meet my clients’ growing requirements and the relationships were terminated, albeit on friendly terms. If they have everything you need, their smallness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You do get a pretty high level of personalized service.s

      I can’t comment on the safety of the bank, other than that the bank has in recent history had problems with its financials: failing a 2011 stress test, becoming partly nationalized in 2012, selling parts of its business to Russian Sberbank, and shedding assets to shore up capital.

      Again, though – it’s not necessarily a bad bank. Just one that hasn’t impressed me.

  7. Dear Streber,
    Thanks for the great post!
    What do you think on Baltikums bank in Latvia ? I do not see it in the list.
    I would live to hear your opinon
    Thank you

    • Hi shawarma,

      I haven’t had a lot to do with Baltikums Bank, and I don’t see it changing. The few dealings I’ve had with them have not impressed enough that I would consider picking them over other banks in either Latvia or Cyprus. They like to think of themselves as an exclusive bank but they have very few noteworthy clients. Last I looked, their fees were unreasonably high for what is in reality just basic banking services.

      I’m not saying that they are bad, just that they don’t have an edge over more established competitors.

  8. Thank you Streber, for your extensive post. I am looking forward to see your PT article and widen my point of view.

    I was also thikning about Estonia, especially after reading your article about opening bank account in Swedbank. But now I will have a closer look at Lloyds and SEB and probably decide between the two/three.

    And yes, I imagine Spain is very banking frienldy due to current situation 🙂

    So thank you one more time – this post and whole website have been a great help to me.

    • Lloyds International have no incoming or outgoing wire fees, decent telephone and internet banking.

      I’ve been with them for six months and have had no issues that couldn’t be resolved over the phone.

      I opened an account with them through Lloyd’s in London.

  9. Hi Streber, thank you for this great list! Looking forward to see 2014 version!

    What bank would you recommend for tax nomading?
    I have an internet income and I currently travel a lot (mostly EU countries) until I find a good place to settle. I use credit card to pay or withdraw from ATM.

    This bank should: have low minimum required balance (up to 10k USD), not be located in carribean, require no recommending letter, low monthly+transactional+withdrawing fees, excellent internet banking, smooth account opening process, have understanding for my situation :-). Oh, and personal visit to open account is OK.

    The revenue I earn will be coming to this personal account. I will use it to pay expenses related to both internet business and tax nomading. Setting up a company for this would be unnecessary hassle for me. I do nothing illegal.

    Any particular bank comes to your mind?

    • Hi SteveR,

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked this post.

      Your question is very interesting and timely as it’s actually a topic I’m putting together information about right now to write a post (or maybe a series of posts) about, covering the life of a PT (permanent traveller).

      I recently came in contact with Lloyds Bank International about this very topic. As long as you have an income exceeding 50,000 GBP per year and can maintain a balance of 2,500 GBP/EUR or 3,500 USD, they are happy to take you even if you have a mobile lifestyle. Accounts are domiciled in Isle of Man or Gibraltar, meaning low (usually zero) tax on savings/investments et cetera but no problematic banking secrecy. Accounts can be opened remotely after you get pre-approval by giving them a phone call. Now, I haven’t used Lloyds Bank for anything other than corporate banking so I can’t say whether I’ve had good or bad experience with them for these types of services, but they are a great corporate banking partner.

      If you stay mostly within EU and can provide a single address in the EU as your domicile, maybe look into banks in Estonia? Fees are low for EU residents/domiciles and there are no balance requirements. Accounts are multi currency. Credit cards are available against term deposits, in most cases. SEB and Swedbank are the ones I work with primarily there. The internet banking of both is top-notch. SEB Sweden could also be an option.

      I’m told non-resident banking in Spain is very easy-going as well, but I have very little personal experience.

  10. Hi,

    I’m going to remotely open a new offshore bank account to which I want to move funds from my current offshore bank account. Then I want to move the funds from the new account to an offshore brokerage account.
    My question is – will the new offshore bank require some invoice or other supporting documentation to receive the wire after opening the account? My current bank(Switzerland) never asked for any invoices for any wires, but I’ve read on forums that some banks might do.

    Thanks..

    • Hi,

      Maybe, maybe not. It depends on who you are, how the bank perceives you, and where you bank. Most banks will ask for invoices at least once per party you receive funds from or send funds to, at least for higher amounts. Whether they perform repeat due diligence is highly dependent on each individual bank’s internal policies and how risky they consider you to be.

      Smaller banks tend to be the ones that ask the most questions, because they take a comparatively greater risk with each unchecked transaction than larger banks. Caribbean banks can quite the nuisance when it comes to this, for example.

      • That sucks, because Barbados and St.Lucia (and maybe Belize/Mauricius/Nevis) seem to be appropriate jurisdictions for me.
        What if I don’t have an invoice? For example if I wire funds from my other offshore bank account(the same IBC owns both accounts)? Or if I withdraw funds from my brokerage account?

        BTW I’m an EU citizen and resident if it makes any difference.

        • It will look strange to a bank if you run a business but don’t have any invoices or other documentation to back up your business transaction. If your company’s sole purpose is to trade/invest your own assets, transfers to/from a broker as well as proof of origin of funds (for example pay slips from your employer) should be enough. The bank just wants to know what you are doing. As long as your business is legitimate, it’s rarely a problem to satisfy a bank’s due diligence requests.

          • And what if I transfer funds from my other offshore bank account(with the same corporate account holder)? What will they require in that case?

            • Banks are empowered to ask any question about any transaction for any reason (including no reason). While they probably won’t ask for an invoice if the sender and recipient names and addresses are identical, they might still ask for proof of origin of funds; i.e., you need to prove that the money has a legitimate source.

            • The money has been sitting in my bank account for a couple of years and I have received it from various sources(affiliate payments) – what should I send them in that case? Screenshot from the old bank account statement? Or just a written statement that the money comes from online affiliate payments?

              Sorry for so many questions, my current Swiss bank never asked for any invoice/proof of funds after account opening, so I’m trying to figure out how this works.

            • I can’t answer that. It depends entirely on the bank in question and their risk assessment of you – if they ask at all. Better to ask the bank(s) how to satisfy their due diligence requirements.

  11. Hi Streber , please can you review if you can the Panamian Bank Banistmo S.A ? It is the biggest Bank in Panama with Banco General at the second Place for diffusion.I have opened a personal account in one day so there is nothing different respect Credicorp Bank with i bank too, also let me know i have had a very good experience with Euro Pacific Bank used for one year without any problems, to receive always money without problems simply send to the Bank an MT103 Trace and the bank will credit any type of transaction without delay or problems.

    • Hi fling,

      I don’t do much banking in Panama myself, or I don’t have a very lengthy relationship with banks there. A lot of the businesses I engage with do bank there but primarily for operational uses that I am not directly involved in.

      Therefore, since all information I would have to base an article on are second-hand or very limited direct experiences, I wouldn’t be able to write a fair examination of Banistmo.

  12. Awesome stuff Streber, definitely one of the most interesting blogs around the web about the matters.
    Couple of questions if you dont mind:
    We are planning to have a Marketing Company incorp perhaps in St Vincent, the original plan was to have with EuroPacific bank, but in some forums I read that some users complain of the incoming money transactions fail to get credited, and they also require invoices of any movement, in and out. (not that we will do anything shaddy, just its a bit of a pain)

    Now the question lies of options, we would preffer to have a bank that has bank transfeers (incoming and outgoing) not too high (ABC Bank I guess is out?)

    FBME you state its high fee’s, do you know how much for the transactions?
    And last.. would it be possible to open personaly a bank ac in HKG for this St Vincent Incorp, with a very low min deposit?

    Thanks alot.. and keep up the great work! (wishing we could hire your services)

    • Hi trader9,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      FBME publishes its fees on its website. You can assess for yourself:
      https://www.fbme.com/images/media/assetfile/Transaction%20Payment_CY.pdf

      Whether a Hong Kong bank will accept you is hard to say. Small offshore marketing companies aren’t usually attractive, especially with no connection to Asia. Best way to find out is to simply give them a call and present your situation. Minimum deposit in Hong Kong for business banking is usually low: 5,000 to 25,000 HKD.

      • Thanks Streber, so incoming transfers 10$, I guess its not too bad, at least compared to ABC and EuroBank.
        Any word on the EuroBank, what do you think about them.. Im afraid of lost income transations someone stated in the forum.

        • I’ll quote what I wrote in another comment recently:

          I’m not a fan of the bank. The security is absolutely abysmal. It’s bad enough that all they offer in terms of account security is username and password (sadly all too common despite how easy and cheap it is to integrate a two-factor authentication solution like digipass), but once you log in, you can download the documents uploaded for the account application. This makes it an identity thief’s wet dream to either hack EPB itself or just target its clientele.

          When the bank was young (this was a year or two ago now), I know someone who was able to download all transactions with full transaction details (including name and address) and account statements of all accounts. This was fortunately an ethical person who reported it to the bank but who knows if someone malicious was able to misuse it before it was fixed.

          The bank does not take security seriously enough for my taste. The relatively strong banking secrecy in Saint Vincent and The Grenadines means nothing if the bank itself is full of security holes.

          It’s hard to comment on the financial stability of a bank that doesn’t publish any financials and operates in a jurisdiction with few if any controls in place.

  13. Hi Streber, Fantastic blog, it is more useful and practical I’ve seen for a long time.

    Which the Banks mentioned in your list need an introducer? Have Turkish banks good reputation in the financial world? Are they suitable for large amounts of deposits ?

    Thanks for your comments.

    • Hi Javier,

      Thanks for your comment!

      In this list, FBME is the only bank that will require an introducer. An introducer might, however, help in almost every situation.

      I can’t really answer the last two questions in too much detail since it’d effectively be like giving personal financial advice, which is something I can’t do. Turkey is not a major financial center but it’s trying to become a regional financial center of importance. The country’s finances are not as strong as the like of Singapore and Hong Kong, especially considering the volatile political climate. Whether it’s suitable for large amounts or not depends 100% on your own risk appetite. There are definitely safer places out there, like the aforementioned Singapore and Hong Kong.

      • For all people od this site, one fresh info regarding FMBE bank: Bank is suspended.
        Original document attached:

        FBME Bank clarifies.

        18 July 2014

        Given the current media coverage relating to recent US Department of the Treasury notices, FBME Bank seeks to clarify its position.

        FBME Bank is shocked by the content of the US Department of the Treasury notice relating to the Bank, dated 15 July, that sets out unexplained allegations of weak AML controls. The Bank confirms that it had no prior notification of this announcement nor has it had the opportunity to comment on or refute the various allegations set out in it.

        The announcement is all the more surprising because, as a result of the financial uncertainty in Cyprus in the past two years, FBME Bank commissioned a detailed assessment by the German office of a leading international accountancy firm into its operations and practices, which found that the Bank’s services are indeed in compliance with applicable AML rules of the Central Bank of Cyprus and the European Union.

        FBME Bank welcomes the involvement of its regulator, is cooperating fully with it and reiterates its absolute continued commitment to full compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

        FBME Bank continues to comply with European Capital Adequacy and Liquidity Standards and other healthy balance sheet ratios.

  14. Awesome blog, Streber.
    I am a newby to this offshore thing. I currently have one personal offshore account in the Caymans. I have done some work overseas and have made some $$$ that I need to deposit into a secure bank that did not sign the FATCA. I am not against paying taxes on money that I made in the U.S., but this was made outside the U.S. Do you know any trustworthy banks that I can deposit my $$$ that does not report to the IRS under the FATCA?

    Thanks for the advice in advance.

    • Thanks for your comment!

      Unfortunately, I decided many years ago to not take on US persons as clients, which means I’m not really the right person to ask about US-related topics.

      That said – you will be hard pressed to find a bank that doesn’t comply with FATCA. The penalties for non-compliances are staggering. A bank that fails to comply with FATCA is slapped with a 30% withholding tax on all USD transactions passing through the US, which most of them do. Chances are you aren’t bringing enough value to the bank for them to suffer 30% penalty on USD.

      Some jurisdictions currently lack IGAs, but it’s just a matter of time before everyone signs, save the usual North Korea, Cuba, et al.

      As long as you live in the US or are a US citizen, it would seem you cannot have any reasonable, legal expectation of privacy from the IRS.

      • Thank you for your wisdom. It seems that the U.S. is going to play “Big Brother” on this one. It is unfortunate, but I will suffer just like all the rest. Thank you for your insight. Have a blessed day.

  15. Awesome blog indeed!

    I heard that Banca Privada d’Andorra offers a numbered account. What about Crèdit Andorrà? And if so, when you send a wire to that account, do you use an “account code number” in place of the account holder’s name? And when you send a wire from that account, what account holder name will the recipient bank see?

    • Thanks for the feedback!

      I have a post coming (currently slotted in for the 15th of May) which will go more in-depth in numbered and pseudonym accounts. Basically, you cannot use them for international transfers. Instead, there is an intermediary account which is in your name or the name of a company/trust/other legal entity.

      Last I checked, Crèdit Andorrà offers numbered accounts. I can’t think of a reason why they would have changed that. Numbered accounts are still fairly common, even though not as useful as back in the day when you could wire funds internationally to/from them.

  16. Hi Streber,
    first of all: awesome website!!! You share lots of valuable information here!
    Please allow me a question though. I am in the “adult entertainment” industry (webcam chat), company is set up in Panama, and I have an incredibly hard time finding a bank ANYWHERE to open up a corporate bank account for me. Do you have any idea? Thanks a lot in advance!

    Julia

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      This is tricky. Because of risks and moral concerns arising from adult entertainment, very few banks will take you on. Asian and Middle Eastern banks are out almost immediately. I know some people in the industry use fairly complex structures of holding and investment companies, where the ultimate beneficiary of the funds has virtually zero connection to the actual adult entertainment.

      However, for a simple structure, banks in Latvia and Cyprus may be open to your business. (I list some here.) They have a generally greater risk appetite than many other banks. I know State Bank of Mauritius accepts nearly any business but sometimes they throw generic policies in your face.

      You can probably find banks in the Caribbean that accept you. I’m not a huge fan of most Caribbean banks, though, as they tend to charge high fees and not offer a whole lot to back it up. However, when your options are limited, you can’t always afford to be picky.

      Best of luck!

    • Hi Julia, Your question is a very popular question,I live in Colombia(Medellin) and I also have an adult business (webcam chat) also i work directly with models and i pay them via payoner and wire transfer.I have used a good Panamian Attorney you can find where you live! in Panama, they are the TGH Abogados , their site is http://www.tghabogados.com , I am Italian , they are focused on italians but they have international customers that search for borderline but legal business like our.I have opened an offshore bank account with them that accept ccbill and epoch and skrill , there are not too much banks that allow this business also there are not too much offshore banks accepted by ccbill or epoch.So I think they will help you surely with a honest service, if you need to speak english contact them at [email protected] , they also work with Credicorp Bank for a remote opening procedure only for companies, not for private, I know that because i have opened a Credicorp Account remotely only for my company but they have not accepted my request to open a personal account remotely .

  17. Hi Streber. I register to your site just to say many thanks for this info! I will try to open account for my UK ltd company using your list. After few weeks of browsing, emailing banks, finally one good source of information!
    I would make you donation, but as I can see from your posts, I really doubt that you need it, but anyway, again – thank you! 😉

  18. Many thanks. I would like to remotely open an account in UAE. Do you know a reliable middle man?
    Thanks

    • Unfortunately not that I can share. In fact, most banks there are very persistent on the client making a personal visit to the banks.

      I hope to have more content on UAE in the coming weeks/months, though.

  19. Very interesting post. I am specifically looking for a non-European bank who offers IBAN account. Is that existing?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  20. thanks…ill get to work

  21. Im Indian btw

  22. any favorites for $5-$10k min deposits???

    • No such thing, I’m afraid. Each situation is ultimately unique.

      What I would suggest is to sit down and define what exactly it is you want from a bank (aside from ease of opening the account). What type of services do you need, what jurisdictions are interesting, do you need a credit card, and so on. Once you have defined what you want from a bank, you can start contacting banks or just deciding from their websites to see if they match your requirements.

      The lists I have can be good starting points for research.

      Best of luck!

  23. Hi..I would like to thank you for putting up such information for noobs like me.

    Can you please suggest which of the above banks will open a personal account remotely (the money will come solely from my international futures trading account). I have no issues getting the money home and paying tax on it…but the “law” has changed and it has become illegal to remit money for futures trading

    Pls do help me out

    Regards

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      I actually already mention which banks allow remote account opening. It’s the first item in the little list at the end of each bank’s listing, “Remote account opening”.

      Additionally, I have compiled a list of offshore banks here, where you can see which banks allow remote account opening.

      Now, it’s important to keep in mind that many banks take a case-by-case approach to remote opening, so it might not always be possible for everyone. Depends on who you are and what you will use the account for.

  24. What’s your opinion on other Cyprus banks besides FBME? Are any of them worth using or are they just flat out awful? Cyprus is one of the last places to fairly easily get an account for small to mid sized online business so I’m curious.

    • They are by no means awful. In terms of service quality, Cypriot banks are of a generally high level. FBME is just so very good.

      Since my experience with other Cypriot banks is limited, I can’t really say which ones I like or not. However, I have been told by people I trust that Piraeus, Eurobank EFG, and Hellenic Bank are good banks to work with.

      As always, do your own due diligence.

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