Offshore Bank Accounts

What is an "account signatory"?

An account signatory is an individual who has signatory rights in a bank account. Such rights are granted by a company mandate (a special Resolution, signed by the company Director(s), resolving to open a bank account and to appoint particular individuals as account signatories). An account signatory may "sign" on the account - execute payments, sign cheques and otherwise dispose with the money on the account. An account signatory may either have a single signatory right, or a joint signatory right together with someone else. In the latter case, only two signatures are good to execute a transaction. In principle, the possible options of how to configure signatory rights on a bank account are fairly endless.

For any regular company, the most obvious option is that the director is also the account signatory. However, any person can be an account signatory - even if such person is not formally related to the company. For instance, the beneficial owner of an offshore company, even if he is not formally registered as director or shareholder of the company, may be appointed as account signatory - either singly, or alongside a director. In offshore company management, licensed company managers, who are obviously not the actual owners of the funds, would routinely act as account signatories for and on behalf of the beneficial owner. In such case, the actions of the signatories would mainly be determined not by their mandate, but by their client-manager relationship with the beneficial owner. Such appointed account signatories would in fact only be allowed to execute any banking transactions if expressly required by the beneficial owner, and not on their own accord.