While laws and regulations related to international banking continue to change in some parts of the world, this approach to accumulating and managing financial resources remains one of the most practical approaches known today. The question is often which international banking jurisdiction would serve your interests to the best advantage.
The only way to know which jurisdiction is best for you is to look closely at what each one has to offer. With the aid of a financial professional, you can explore the merits associated with each country that offers the option of opening offshore accounts for general use, saving for retirement, or investment purposes.
Here are three of the top jurisdictions that deserve your attention.
Belize is a jurisdiction that’s worthy of your consideration for several reasons. One of them has to do with the diversity of banking and investment accounts that you can consider. Along with the usual checking and savings accounts that you will find in other parts of the world, there are also options for opening time deposit accounts. They may be exactly what you need if the plan is to set aside and grow funds for a specific purpose.
You’ll also find lifestyle accounts that are designed to help with your retirement years. These make it possible to establish and grow a nest egg that ensures there’s money on hand to take care of your basic living expenses. That same account could also be used to house funds that you eventually plan on using to purchase a residential property that will be your new home after moving to the country.
People who travel often will find that having funds saved in a Belize bank is excellent for managing unanticipated expenses. Medical expenses are a good example of this. Depending on where you’re traveling to, gaining access to funds in your domestic accounts may be easy or it could be quite difficult. By contrast, funds in your offshore Belize accounts might be simpler to transfer.
Don’t overlook the investment opportunities that you can enjoy with accounts established in Belize. As part of the Caribbean Community, you could be able to get in on new investments that are not open to you otherwise. Think of it as one more way to increase your wealth and provide more financial stability for the future.
Inflation is a factor that you do want to think about. That’s because inflation has a way of easing into the purchasing power of your funds. As of the middle of 2019, Trading Economics notes that Belize has an inflation rate that’s almost at 0% this largely due because of the country’s peg to the U.S. dollar. This is not the case with many of the other countries that offer offshore banking and investment accounts. You’ll also find that international accounts are not subject to local taxation.
One question many people have is how safe is the money placed in those offshore accounts? Banks in Belize are required to offer protections for their clients. Current laws mandate that all banks in the country maintain a minimum liquidity ratio of 24%. That’s a nice protection when you consider that the laws in some countries require nothing more than a ratio of 1%. The system of protections includes real-time alerts for transactions over a designated amount, and the ability to manage those accounts online around the clock.
You might also want to consider Belize because of the competitive interest rates connected with certain types of accounts. Some of them average a rate far higher than those found in domestic bank alternatives. While you do need to be aware of requirements like maintaining minimum balances, the higher interest rates work very well when your plans are to deposit the funds and allow them to remain in the accounts for the long term.
While you may know about Singapore for a number of different reasons, did you know that they offer some of the most comprehensive international banking services that you will find anywhere? Much of the allure of establishing offshore banking and investment accounts in Singapore has to do with the economic stability of the area. The country has weathered a number of situations that undermined the economies of other nations since the beginning of the 21st century. That provides confidence that any assets you choose to establish and maintain in Singapore will still be present when you need them.
Access to financial advice and support is another reason to consider this jurisdiction. Professionals who have experience across the globe bring their knowledge to bear when you need advice. Many of the banks offer this type of support at no additional charge. Others offer support for competitive fees that are hard to match elsewhere.
Singapore’s connections with other parts of the world-wide banking community are another factor to consider. Those connections make it easier to manage funds transfers or to obtain access to domestic accounts if the need arises. This is helpful whether you want to use those domestic accounts for basic travel expenses or draw on them to cover the costs of an unanticipated event.
You’ll find that the low taxes apply to corporations as well as individuals. There are some exemptions in place for specific types of industries. Start-up companies also have access to some incentives that are not afforded to more established companies.
Couple all these benefits with the high level of confidentiality that laws in this city-state provide and you have a great combination. While there are strong laws in place to prevent money laundering, legitimate bank customers can rest assured their personal information is not easily provided to third parties.
If there is any such thing as a famous location for opening offshore accounts, it has to be Switzerland. The banking laws that apply in this jurisdiction have provided fodder for all sorts of plot twists in motion pictures as well as television shows. While the notoriety is great, that has sometimes led to confusion about what it takes to open international accounts in Switzerland and what sort of protection you can expect.
Some of what you’ve heard is definitely true. The banking laws that apply in Switzerland are designed to protect the identity of each customer. Outside of a narrow range of events, those laws require all banking institutions offering international accounts to never disclose any information about their clients. That includes your name, country of origin, and your current account balance.
This high priority on confidentiality is just one reason to consider opening accounts with institutions in Switzerland. Another has to do with the stability of the economy. Even when other nations encounter hardship during economic reversals, Switzerland remains relatively unaffected. This helps to keep the potential for any type of bank failure to a minimum.
Another reason that Switzerland is one of the top jurisdictions for international accounts is the banking regulations that are designed to protect deposits. Every bank that is within the country is required to maintain a minimum level of capital. In the unlikely event of a bank liquidation, that minimum capital requirement assures that depositors are able to be made whole.
When it comes to investing, you have protections through the Swiss Bankers Association. The country also levies zero taxes on dividends or inheritances. The same is true on funds generated by returns on interest. The fact that most banks offer professionals who can aid in structuring an offshore investment portfolio makes the country one that you should look at carefully.
Time to Get Started
Are you excited about opening your first offshore banking and investment accounts? If not, you should be! There are so many financial and tax advantages to setting up international accounts.
Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President, and Head of Private Banking of Caye International Bank headquartered in Belize, Central America. Outside of the bank he serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School in California which provides online training courses on the latest technological and innovation developments within the financial services industry. Luigi is also the published author of: The Digital Banking Revolution which is available in audio, kindle and paperback formats throughout all major international online bookstores.