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Copyright © 2014 - 2016.  International-Formations.com is a trading name of TMS FZE. Licensed Corporate Service Provider.
 Registered in RAK (Ras Al-Khaimah) UAE. Licence No. L1 04 15 427.
All rights reserved.

Please note that TMS FZE provides an execution only service in respect of the formation of companies, opening bank accounts and related services. Therefore comments or suggestions made by us should not be considered as formal advice. Should you require formal structuring advice, please contact us.


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BANK ACCOUNT OPENING SERVICES

We can assist clients in opening corporate and personal bank accounts worldwide;

Whereas banks generally require prospective clients to visit the “local” branch, we are able to open accounts remotely as in many cases we are authorised agents of the banks or we work with agents to the bank.



Establishing a company is generally a fairly straightforward and can be completed in a matter of days (once the required information has been provided). By contrast, opening a business bank account can be a frustrating experience.

Every bank has slightly different requirements, all require their own forms and mandates to be completed and, depending on the bank, seemingly irrelevant questions may be asked.  To make the matters even more complicated many banks have unpublished blacklists of nationalities they do not wish to do business with.  They all have another list of the types of businesses they do not want to be involved with.


All is not lost…

We (The TMS Group) act as agents for a number of banks and for others we have close working relationships with appointed agents. In most cases we can open bank accounts remotely, meaning that clients do not need to travel to the bank. There are some exceptions to this, notably in the Middle East where it is an absolute requirement for one or more shareholder(s) to visit the bank. We also help our clients to complete the bank forms as well as other necessary paperwork.


Choosing a bank

Features of the selected bank

Different banks are looking for different types of business, and price their 'product' accordingly. It should be understood that “offshore banks” (those in typical tax havens) are frequently not retail banks. In other words, they don’t lend money and must make their profit from bank charges.


Internet banking.  

All the banks we offer have internet banking. Some systems are better / easier to use than others. Please ask our opinion on this.

Fax and email mandates.

For those “allergic” to online banking, a few banks still allow instructions by fax or email, often with a pre-arranged code word.

Personal/Business account manager.

Some of the banks do offer a designated person or team (rather than a call centre) to handle your account. At the very least, this gives you a direct point of contact with someone within the bank.

Deposit and other investment accounts.

All the banks have a range of products they offer but with interest rates are currently very low the deposit rates are also very minimal.

Debit cards (linked to the bank account).

These offerings may be in various currencies (typically in US$, € Euro, £ Sterling) although some banks only issue cards in the local currency. This means that all transactions outside that currency area are subject to a currency conversion charge, which can be from 2% to 5%.

Account opening fee.

Many banks levy an account opening fee, which can sometimes be very substantial - our banking comparison page identifies this costs.

Monthly maintenance costs.

Although one of our banks levies no monthly “maintenance charges” (e.g. ABC Banking Corporation - Mauritius), most do. This could be relevant for new businesses which wish to keep their fixed monthly expenses to a minimum. We have provided a quick summary of these fees on our banking comparison page, and we try to make sure they are updated regularly on our website. We recommend you to also check fees and charges on the bank’s website.

Minimum opening deposit.

Almost all the banks require, or at least expect, clients to deposit funds immediately after opening an account. Generally this should be at least enough to cover a year’s bank charges. We suggest 500 as an absolute minimum.

Certain banks have much higher minima, as well as “minimum balance”.

Minimum balance.

Several banks in our list require account holders to maintain a minimum account balance at all times, and will charge penal bank charges for those accounts falling below this.


Transaction charges. e.g. 'SWIFT' payments.

Outward transfers  always attract charges. Transfers between “own” accounts or accounts at the same bank are usually free of charge. Some banks charge for inward payments as a “processing fee”.

Typical requirements of 'our' Banks

Once you’ve decided which bank will suits you (and it is happy with your business proposal), there will be a fair amount of paperwork to complete.  In very general terms banks require:

Bank forms.

Completed and signed bank application forms, mandates etc.

Company documents.

A set of corporate documents Some (but not all) banks require company documents to be notarised and apostilled, which can be expensive and time consuming.  Sometimes, as authorised agents, we can certify some documents.

Certificate of Good Standing (CoGS).

If the company is more than 1 year old, a Certificate of Good Standing (CoGS) will almost always be requested.

Most banks request a business plan and, in some cases, even a CV on the directors.

Personal information.

Full documentation for all those connected to opening a bank account including passport copy (in some cases ID card), proof of residential address e.g. utility bill, bank statement, bank reference. Increasingly banks request a personal bank reference, where this is difficult to obtain they will accept 3 months of banks statements. Some banks are now requesting a professional reference letter from a layer or accountant.


HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BANK?


OUR SUMMARY OF THE BANKS WE OFFER

A summary of the banks’ main features, maintenance costs and the costs of basic services we offer can be found on our Bank Comparison page.


FATCA Information (Relevant to US persons only)

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is U.S. legislation enacted to “prevent offshore tax abuses by U.S. persons”.  The legislation forces global financial institutions, investment entities, as well as national banks and other financial organisations to report details of their U.S. clients directly to the USA.

As a result of the onerous compliance obligations, the majority of the banks listed above (and indeed worldwide) will not open accounts for "US persons" eg US passport holders OR residents.  

A few will - Bank of St Lucia International Ltd. & Global Bank of Commerce Ltd  (Antigua). - being two),

However details of accounts involving a US person WILL be subject to disclosure to the American authorities and in particular to the IRS.  

The only "simple" way for US persons to avoid FATCA is NOT to own or control non-US accounts.

However there are solutions and we would be happy to discuss these in confidence.


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Important. Banks change their criteria frequently and without notice. Clients are therefore requested to send required documents without delay in their own interest.