Bank Account Introduction

A natural choice for a Seychelles International Business Company would normally be to bank with a first-rate international bank, also located in Seychelles.

Depending on the business profile, financial standing and personal background of the client, we can offer bank account introductions in Seychelles, as well as with reputable banks in other jurisdictions. We have established client-introducer relationships with a number of prominent banks in popular offshore banking jurisdictions across the world.

Not all banks are suitable to all clients. Some offshore banks require substantial minimum account balances, ranging from $5000 to $100'000. Some banks are more suitable for actively trading and startup-business customers, while other banks cater to the specific needs of high-net-worth clients, with an array of wealth management, investment and private banking services.

Some banks require a personal meeting with the underlying client (beneficial owner) of the IBC, either before the account is opened, or within a certain timeframe after the account is made operative.

An offshore bank account opening is not automatic, and is not guaranteed. Banks have different client-acceptance policies, and may reject clients from certain countries or with certain types of businesses.

Upon getting to know the business background and financial standing of the client, we can usually introduce a bank which is most suitable to the circumstances.

General guidelines concerning offshore bank accounts.

Due Diligence.

To open a corporate account for an offshore company, all reputable banks will require detailed personal and business information from the owners and controllers of the offshore account.

In particular, the bank will need to know and identify the actual beneficial owner(s) of the offshore company. All owners and controllers of the IBC, as well as everyone who will be granted account signatory rights, need to be properly identified and have to provide a number of documents - such as a certified passport copy, a copy of a second photo-ID, a bankers and/or professional reference, a detailed business description and a cash flow forecast. These documentary requirements may vary in details, but their general scope remain fairly similar in all banks in the world.

Utilizing appointed directors and nominee shareholders is certainly helpful in respect of avoiding unnecessary public scrutiny, however these confidentiality functions are fairly irrelevant in bank account openings. Any bank will primarily be interested to establish the actual, real owners of the company, and will not be satisfied by merely getting the data on appointed managers or representatives.

Anonymous accounts?

There is no such thing as "anonymous accounts"! All banks are required by law to know their clients in very comprehensive detail. While account introduction through an approved intermediary (like us) is still possible without personal appearance of the owner of the company in the bank, the banks will still require to know their clients and their business dealings in great detail. This is simply required by the laws that regulate banking industry and there are no exceptions.

Banking secrecy.

While the banks are required to know their clients in detail, banking secrecy remains a fundamental cornerstone in all offshore financial centres, and certainly in Seychelles! The banking secrecy regulations stipulate that such information must remain strictly confidential.

Any confidential banking and personal information may only be divulged if demanded so by a Seychelles court ruling. Such ruling, naturally, would have to be based on extremely serious circumstances under the applicable criminal laws in Seychelles, and following a proper criminal investigation, carried out domestically in Seychelles. Information-sharing, reporting or any kind of release of confidential banking information to any foreign party or foreign government is strictly prohibited. Severe financial and criminal penalties await anyone who divulges client information - this concerns both the bankers and the registered agents.

Foreign accounts.

For many clients it may be practical to open the offshore bank account in a country situated closer to the place of the actual business of the company or to the actual location of its beneficial owners. Many owners of offshore companies tend to operate the companies by themselves and open the offshore accounts independently, in a location and with bankers that they may already be familiar with. However, such solution may also adversely impact the owners' personal tax circumstances and put him under additional risk of undesired scrutiny. (See our Company Management chapter for a more detailed explanation of these risks.)

Quite often non-resident companies hold their bank accounts in another offshore financial centre or in a country that is know as a "financial centre". Examples of widely known financial centres are UK (City of London), Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Channel Islands. Through our affiliate branches, we might be able to introduce a bank account for Your offshore company in some of the European financial centres, but such introductions are subject to client profile and status.

The standard set of IBC documentation (if properly certified by notary and legalised by Apostille) will usually satisfy the formal requirements of most banks, insofar the internal structure and set-up of the company itself is concerned. However, as indicated above, in order to open a bank account for an offshore company, the most important aspect is the profile of the actual owners and controllers of the company, their business and area of operation.

Please feel free to contact us with a more detailed information on Your banking requirements.

Bank introduction service.

As the name suggests, the account introduction fee is payable for a professional service rendered by us, whereby we introduce the client to a particular bank. Please note that the bank account introduction fee, as quoted in our fees schedule, is not a "success fee" payable for a bank account opening. Payment of this fee does not guarantee the opening of the account!

A bank introduction means exactly that - we will introduce You to a suitable bank as a potential client. Many banks feel more comfortable accepting new clients through licensed professional intermediaries (like us). We will provide You with a full set of account opening forms and a set of samples and instructions of how to correctly complete those forms. We will also formally introduce You to a competent customer services manager directly in the bank. Certainly, we will provide You with the corporate documentation for Your new company, prepared according to the banks' documentary requirements.

However, we can not and we do not guarantee that the account will be opened! The success of a bank account opening for an offshore company mostly depends on the background information of the beneficial owner of the company, his personal profile and the pattern of his business. This is something that we can not influence. Every bank has its internal client acceptance guidelines (which change often), and banks routinely reject new clients based on a multitude of subjective considerations.

While we apply our best effort and our considerable experience to determine in advance whether a particular client might be accepted by a particular bank, this does not in any way guarantee the success of the account opening.

The bank introduction service is completed when any one of the following happens:

1) the bank issues a formal letter (under the banks' letterhead), addressed to the new applicant, advising that the account has been opened and indicating the account numbers; or
2) the bank issues a similar formal letter, advising that it has reviewed the application and has refused to open an account.

All further works and actions that we might be asked to perform in relation to the new bank account (such as handling correspondence and payments to and from the bank, arranging for further financial services, obtaining credit and debit cards, arranging remote banking facilities, opening further accounts, etc) are billable separately, either on time-spent basis or under separate arrangement. In particular, we can provide a full bank account management service.

In order to make a preliminary assessment of your banking requirements, if You wish us to assist with the bank account opening, please complete the Bank Introduction Form and send it back to us.

Offshore Merchant Accounts

Most online retail and services businesses, including those built on an offshore corporate platform, need to be able to accept credit cards. This is achieved by contracting with a credit card merchant service provider, or opening of an offshore merchant account. There is a multitude of international providers who offer such service to businesses.

Opening of a merchant account is extremely business-specific. This means that the acceptance of the new client depends mainly on his specific personal details and business profile, type of products sold or type of services provided, geographical spread of the target markets, expected turnovers, previous performance, business risks involved, etc.

Many types of high-risk businesses are not ordinarily accepted by merchant service providers, or such businesses are accepted at very high commission rates, at the level that the client might find unviable. There can be a multitude of other reasons (all outside our control) why a particular merchant service provider may deny services to a particular new applicant.

As an offshore incorporation agent, we can not take any responsibility in case it turns out that the new business is unable to find a suitable merchant service provider for its proposed type of operation.

We can suggest several international merchant service providers who have been previously tried and tested. We can provide formal introductions to such providers and do assist through the practical stages of merchant account openings.

We recommend all potential clients to first independently seek and contact potential merchant service providers and ask if their proposed business model will be accepted.