Safe Overseas Banking
Overseas banking can be very lucrative and is certainly much safer than your government would have you believe. It is more sophisticated and provides a better service than onshore banking. Offshore banks provide a small team of highly experienced and qualified staff who deal with non resident clients.
Many overseas banks depend on this type of business and therefore provide outstanding service. These countries depend on international business and therefore it is in their own interests to provide a high quality service.
Are my personal details safe with this Overseas Bank?
Well, the answer in a nutshell is yes and no. If it is a low key enquiry from someone unofficial then obviously your details are safe. However if a person from a Western Government makes enquiries then I'm afraid no privacy laws will protect your bank account details.
Having said that they must know that the account exists and in what name, account number and in which bank.
For this reason it is probably worth considering keeping your money in a much more low key country than the more traditional tax havens. The other thing you must not do is tell anybody about the existence of an account, not even your partner!
How do I get started?
Overseas banks are in the business of receiving deposits. What normally holds up the process is bureaucracy and the banks reputation. You will have to be squeeky clean. Obviously the more substantial your deposit then the better trained staff you will receive.
Another thing you must consider is whether one of the following circumstances apply to you when dealing with overseas banking:
1. Are you a US Citizen? - Citizens of the USA are the only people in the world who are taxed by their government outside their country, in other words they are taxed on their citizenship and not their residency.
They will be taxed by their new country of residency too!
The only way to escape this liability is by renouncing the citizenship or green card as the case may be, and of course physically departing from US territory. To do this can uncover a minefield of legal ramifications so if you decide to take this route then professional advice should be sought.
There is an easier way however, which involves owning a foreign corporate entity such as a foundation, trust or corporation. This way the US citizen will not own the account but will have control of it and its benefits. This does not protect you from your tax liabilities but it will give you much more privacy. You will not be treated as a person but as a corporation. You will then have all the investment opportunities this makes available to you.
2. Are you a European Resident or Citizen? - Watch out for the European Union Savings Tax Directive! Here is a list of all countries affected by this directive.
In a nutshell, if you earn bank interest, or other savings income on deposits or investments held in your own name in one of the countries listed, then it is likely that reports will be sent to your home country. If you live outside Europe even if you are an EU citizen you can hold bank accounts anywhere and they will not be reported to your home country. Of course the onus of proof is on you and it is quite high and requires a certificate from the tax authorities where you live. So to keep it simple you have two alternatives:
a) open an account not listed in the above list;
b) open an account using a corporate entity such as a company, foundation or trust;
Ok then, so it would be especially beneficial for a US or EU citizen to set up an entity such as a trust, foundation or company, but anyone could just for the added privacy. Obviously the offshore entity would have to be formed before the overseas banking account. There would be a cost involved and they don't come cheap. Here is an excellent source of information on offshore entities, banking and up to date articles.
Do I need an intermediary to open an overseas banking account?
Strictly speaking you do not need an intermediary. However it's not that simple just to walk in or open an account over the internet. Overseas banking institutions are running scared of governments and regulations and they much prefer an intermediary. This way if the client turns out to be a criminal then the intermediary gets into trouble, not the bank. Unfortunately intermediaries are not cheap. Here is a free offshore banking referral service which I have used and can recommend. Peter Macfarlane of Q Wealth Report has spent fifteen years of his career as a top advisor to high net worth individuals on offshore financial privacy and asset protection.
In choosing a suitable bank or banks you should think about the following:
· Your citizenship, residence and domicile
· The proposed investment or business activities
· Bank charges and interest rates
· Bank's expertise in geographic regions and types of business
· Your preferred language, for example does the bank speak good English? Your own preferences, for example do you do most business online or do you require a more personal service
· Amount of funds you expect to deposit with the bank
You should think about all these factors one by one, and take them into consideration as you review different banks.
- Safe Deposit Box
A safe deposit box is a locked box reserved for you in the vault of your bank. It's a place where you can keep small, high-value items. Typically you will keep the keys to the box, while the bank controls access to the vault where all the boxes are located. Normally the bank does not keep a duplicate key... so if you lose the key you will have to pay for a specialist locksmith to come in and break open the box, then you'll have to buy the bank a new box too.
- Overseas Banking Accounts - Multi-Currency Accounts vs. Multiple Currency Accounts
Multi-currency accounts allow you to hold different currencies in the same account ie. you have one account but different balances for dollars, euros, sterling etc. Multiple currency accounts are separate accounts for each currency, so be careful not to send dollars for example to a euro account because the bank will automatically convert it without informing you.
- Precious Metals Storage (allocated and unallocated)
"Allocated" means that a certain piece of metal (specific gold bars, coins or whatever) belongs to you. The metals are stored in the bank's general vault, rather than in a specific safe deposit box, but they are specifically allocated as your assets. For practical purposes, therefore, you can instruct the bank to buy and sell on your behalf without you having to travel there.
"Unallocated" or "pooled" storage means that the bank simply has X amount of gold in its vault, and allocates so many grams, ounces or kilos to your account as part of a book keeping exercise. But the banker cannot in this case take you down to the vault and point out your specific gold bar. Again you can instruct the bank to buy and sell on your behalf. Allocated storage of course is better, but pooled storage tends to work out a lot cheaper in terms of the actual fees the bank charges for taking care of the metals in its vault.
- Numbered Accounts
In this type of account only a limited number of bank officials know your true identity. This way it is difficult for the bank to violate its own secrecy rules as the bank employees will only have a number when dealing with transactions. It is important to realise that numbered accounts are not anonymous as the bank always knows your identity. Bank secrecy will of course be lifted if a serious crime has been committed. The numbered account can be very useful in private matters such as divorce or inheritance where it is up to the plaintiff to identify the bank in which funds are deposited before any action can be taken. The account can be made even more secure by using a pseudonym.
- Brokerage Accounts
A brokerage account is quite simply an account you can use for your various investments. It can be a stand alone account or connected to your regular cash account
- Various plastic cards
Your particular bank will be able to explain the various cards that are available to you, however, be aware that when you use these cards they will create a direct electronic trail to your bank. It is possible to set up a card from a completely different bank or better still obtain an anonymous card.
- Anonymous Cards
These cards are anonymous because they do not have your name printed or electronically tagged on the card like other debit or credit cards. However again they are not completely anonymous as the issueing bank will have your details. The one big advantage of using an anonymous card is that if you use it internationally only a number will appear on the transaction and not your name. Your details are kept hidden and secret at your issueing bank. Anonymous cards are prepaid so you quite simply wire transfer a predetermined amount from your offshore bank account before you need it. It is preferable if this amount is relatively small so it remains under the radar.
Requirements to Open Overseas Banking Accounts
Banks are under enormous pressure to conduct detailed and ongoing due diligence on offshore clients. Typically to open an overseas banking account you will need:
· A reference from your existing bankers
· Certified copy of passports of all signatories
· Proof of residential address (typically a utility bill)
· Letter stating expected activity, with supporting documentation if available
· Documentary evidence of source of funds to be deposited
It has been obvious for some time amongst people who have an interest in wealth creation that offshore banking can be very lucrative and alot more secure than first perceived. However it is a sad fact that most people will never even contemplate opening an overseas bank account because of the conditioned thinking that media and government has instilled in them. It is far easier for most people to be told what to do than to actually go out and research a given topic for themselves.
As Dr Wayne Dyer once said,
"The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about and refuse to investigate"
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"There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It's called marriage."
"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin... But if you want to continue to be slaves of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit."
Josiah Charles Stamp