Offshore banking is on the rise to trend upward. A large number of foreign investors and corporations are seeking offshore banking instead of domestic banking as previously.
The question arising is that “where is the best country for offshore banking?”. A long list of different options can be found. But, a very popular choice for most foreigners is Belize. Let’s walk through the top 7 reasons why Belize may be the best choice for your business when discussing offshore banking!
1. Safe banking laws
A driving force behind the dominance of Belize offshore banking is that it is much safer than domestic banking. The very fundamental and obvious evidence for this lies in the country’s banking laws. Not only do these laws and regulations put emphasis on shielding their resident’s interests, but also offer a well-structured framework to cater to clients who are non-residents of Belize.
The offshore banking sector in Belize is well-regulated by the relevant regulated framework.
Belize International Banking Act is a typical example. It is previously known as Offshore Banking Act, 1996 with a key role as the backbone for the offshore banking industry in Belize. The Act laid out the separation between the domestic and offshore banking sector and other related matters to the international banking license in Belize.
A key to mention from the Act is that Belize’s offshore banks must be subject to a much higher capital requirement for their establishment than the domestic counterpart. With such controlled legislation, the offshore banking system in Belize is guaranteed to work under the legal provisions of the country, ensuring a high level of safety for non-residents.
Offshore banks in Belize must also comply with other statutory frameworks such as the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act, The Central Bank of Belize Act, to keep the right atmosphere for foreign investors and ensure the financial system not commit any illegal activities.
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2. High liquidity rates
It is undoubted that banking stability is among the most attractive factors for investors seeking offshore banks. Fortunately, Belize is a reputed country for its strong stability.
Most banks in Belize are required to maintain a very high reserve requirement, at least four times higher than some local banks in the US. Particularly, all Belize banks must keep their liquidity rate above 24%. The 2018 Annual Report of Belize Central Bank stated the average liquidity rate of the international banking sector remained at 46.1% in 2018, a drop of over 7% from 53.7% in 2017.
Make a comparison with some banks in North America which is typically at 3% – 5% liquidity rate, it would be reasonable for the thought that Belize banks offer investors one of the best liquidity rates in the world.
3. Enhanced privacy for account holders
Privacy protection is another pull factor to draw foreigners to open Belize offshore bank accounts. According to Belize banking regulations, the country remains committed to safeguarding the privacy of international account holders.
In particular, the names and account details of the depositors are all mandated to be kept secure and confidential. Such information can only be divulged if there is proof related to criminal investigations or obedience from a court order.
Belize International Banking Act stipulates certain provisions regarding privacy matters to curb the information disclosed to any third parties from the bank. Any violation of privacy protection can lead to a fine of 5,000$ or imprisonment of up to 6 months.
Having said that, the fact that Belize offshore banking offers a high level of privacy and confidentiality does not mean it is a way for money laundering or illegal transactions when placing your assets in an international account based in Belize.
In recent years, Belize has conducted necessary reformations as well as entered a set of new initiatives to improve its transparency and keep it compliant with global standards – i.e., passing new legislation and amending its International Business Company Act. As a result, Belize has been removed from the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions by the EU Council. All of these, undoubtedly, are positive signals to upkeep the image of Belize as an ideal destination for international investors.
Anyway, there will be nothing to concern if you – as a foreign investor, wish to start doing business in Belize for legal purposes.
4. There are flexible vehicles for asset protection
Banking in Belize is a good option for those in favor of offshore banking for asset protection and wealth diversification. Storing assets in domestic accounts may encounter economic uncertainties or banking instability. Oppositely, offshore banks in reputed countries like Belize are more likely to offer stronger guarantees for your holdings, especially in the case of your company against the lawsuit.
Account-holders can also protect assets by establishing other wealth management vehicles in Belize, prominent of which is International Business Company (Belize IBCs). This type is a perfect option for those seeking offshore investment and holding purposes since it imposes an excellently friendly tax rate for corporates; not to mention the fact that the company can be set up easily.
Trust and Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Belize are also available and widely considered as great flexible vehicles for foreigners’ asset management.
It is highlighted that Belize does not recognize foreign claims or judgments against its LLC. For this reason, placing assets in a bank account under a Belizean LLC can ensure the safeguarding of the offshore account balances which are kept unaffected by domestic legal issues against your funds.
5. Banks allow ease of international banking
A process of international banking with multiple and complicated steps sometimes makes customers feel confused and inconvenient. Fortunately, Belize allows ease of offshore banking both in terms of opening and managing offshore bank accounts.
Evidentially, banking with an offshore bank based in Belize is very straightforward. In line with modern trends, all offshore banks in Belize have been heading to digital banking. A full range of services offered by the bank can be viewed and processed online. Popular activities like checking account balance, money transfer, or having access to other banking facilities can completely be done with just a click.
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6. Offshore banking in Belize attaches to a relatively low deposit
“How much is the required deposit?” is another consideration to numerous account holders.
The good news is the deposit required in most offshore banks in Belize is quite low in comparison with some other jurisdictions. Particularly, a bank account in Belize can be opened with a deposit as low as $500 to a few thousand. This amount, undoubtedly, is critically lighter than that required by many banks in major finance hubs located in Hong Kong or Singapore, commonly ranging from $10,000 and can climb up to $100,000.
In addition to an advantage for its relatively low initial deposit, most offshore banks in Belize do not require an in-person visit to open an account.
In some countries, you can be required to travel to those places, contact an agent, and pass through a set of order steps to get offshore accounts opened. The fact that it is not necessary to have a physical meeting with the bank in Belize does help you cut superfluous costs and save time.
7. There is no worry about the language barrier
If the language barrier is a matter of concern to you when banking overseas, then just throw this worry away as English is an official language in Belize. It is used widely in trading, tourism, and finance-related activities.
As all legal documents are written in English, account holders can relieve burdens from the number of fees arising from translation matters. Obviously, there is nothing to get confused about when communicating with the bank staff if you need them to answer some financial matters with your bank accounts.
The bottom line
Belize is a worth considering option for international investors. A set of favorable benefits like privacy guarantees and low deposits make offshore banking in Belize become an effective solution for finance management and development.
Furthermore, with Belize banking personnel being well-versed in English, you’re sure to receive better communication compared to other offshore jurisdictions.
By far, offshore banking in Belize is the most accessible and convenient as you can fully open an account remotely. However, if it’s a more premium option you’re after then you might want to look into other offshore jurisdictions with more lucrative tax breaks and competitive offerings.