If you’re interested in Belize company formation with a bank account, you’re probably looking to maximize tax efficiency or protect your assets offshore. And, Belize might be one of the countries on your radar.
Fortunately, despite what most people believe, it’s 100% possible to open bank accounts for Belize companies. And, that might be surprising to some people since the country has a poor reputation internationally.
What also might surprise you is that the best banking options for Belize offshore companies are actually outside of Belize.
In fact, if you’re planning on Belize company formation with a bank account, you should only be considering international bank accounts in a few countries. This is for a few very important reasons, which we’ll share below.
In this article, we’ll also explore which countries you should be considering for account opening. We’ll tell you how to increase your success rate in the account opening process. And we’ll even share a few challenges that are overlooked by applicants interested in Belize company formation with a bank account.
But before diving in, you’re invited to download our Free Business Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help owners of offshore and international companies open bank accounts around the world, including Belize companies.
Now, let’s start by taking a look at what you should be expecting from Belize company formation with a bank account.
If you’re just starting to look at Belize offshore companies, our first suggestion is this: make sure you’re exploring all of your options. In other words, if you haven’t explored alternative jurisdictions for incorporation, start there. Belize isn’t for everyone, and to get the most value you need to make sure it’s right for you.
But, let’s assume you’ve already made up your mind and decided that a Belize offshore company with a bank account is the best option to meet your objectives.
So, let’s talk about some of the challenges you’ll experience and need to prepare for…
Cons: Belize Company Formation With a Bank Account
1. Groups Offering Belize Company Formation With a Bank Account
First and foremost, if you’re looking to set up a Belize offshore company, you’re going to have to engage a service provider. Like most offshore hubs, Belize has a range of service providers to choose from. Some are well established, reputable, and have great reviews. Others are best avoided.
In any case, if you’re looking to set up a Belize company, you’re probably going to spend US $1,000 or more if you end up with the wrong service provider. In any case, you’ll need to choose a licensed service provider to register your Belize company.
But, banking is different. And, in our experience and the experience of our members, corporate service providers don’t offer any value when setting up bank accounts. They make money by selling structures and providing support services. Plus, if they’re sitting in an offshore country like Belize, they don’t have existing banking relationships in reputable jurisdictions.
2. Limitations of Belize Banks
In past articles, we’ve explained why Belize banks are severely limited and why most people will benefit from banking in other jurisdictions instead. But, since most people are looking for Belize company formation with a bank account, many are curious about opening bank accounts in Belize. So, this article wouldn’t be complete without us mentioning some of the obvious shortcomings and realities about Belize banking.
In general, Belize is no longer the offshore darling it once was. Today, Belize banks are under the thumb of US regulators. Remember: Belize lost 83% of their correspondent relationships between 2013 and 2016, and they’re still struggling. Additionally, the central bank has come under fire for questionable bank liquidation practices and there have been some examples of recent bank failures.
The bottom line is this: if you want a bank account for your Belize company, there are better and safer options… outside of Belize.
3. Stigma Attached to Offshore Companies
Obviously, if you’re setting up a Belize offshore company with a bank account, you’ll have some limitations during account opening and in terms of banking options. After all, not all banks will accept Belize companies. This is one of the major downsides of choosing to use a company with a poor reputation, that isn’t reputable internationally. So, get ready to experience the consequences of having a company with a reputational stigma first-hand.
So, as long as you take bank selection seriously, choose your jurisdiction carefully, and make an effort to present your business correctly to banks, the stigma is manageable and it’s still possible to open accounts abroad. But, just be aware of the banking limitations of the structure before setting it up.
5. Watchlists & Blacklists
Belize is not currently on the FATF blacklist or grey list. And, Belize isn’t on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions. However, as we’ve seen with other jurisdictions, both of these lists pose a potential threat to Belize offshore companies and banks.
If Belize is added to either of these lists in the future, it could result in bank accounts for Belize offshore companies being closed, an inability to open new accounts, and further cuts to correspondent relationships in Belize. In other words, don’t be short-sighted when choosing jurisdictions for companies and bank accounts–even though Belize is in good standing today, this could change in the future.
Pros: Belize Company Formation With a Bank Account
Now that we’ve talked about the challenges, it only seems fair to also dig into some of the opportunities and benefits that you might be able to capture from registering a Belize offshore company.
1. Offshore Company Benefits
To start, a Belize offshore company can offer many advantages, similar to the ones that most types of offshore companies will afford you. For example, this might include asset protection, tax efficiency, tax treaty nuances, affordability, etc.
But, it’s important to note that all of these benefits can be impacted greatly by your nationality, residency, business type, and tax implications. Additionally, depending on who you are and where your Belize offshore company operates from, you may find that the benefits you hoped to capture are non-existent or not as beneficial as you had hoped.
2. Watchlists & Blacklists
As we mentioned above, Belize is not currently on any of the watchlists or blacklists. So, while there’s a concern that this could change in the future, Belize companies may be attractive to people who need a company in a jurisdiction that is not on any blacklists. Sometimes, by using a company in a non-blacklisted jurisdiction, you can increase the number of banking options available to you.
3. Account Opening Options Available To You Through Belize Company Formation With a Bank Account
If you’re interested in opening a Belize offshore company with a bank account, you might have more international account opening options than you first thought. In fact, there are a few different types of banking jurisdictions to consider, as long as you approach the right banks, which we’ll discuss below.
Opening Bank Accounts for Belize Offshore Companies
There are bank accounts available for almost every Belize offshore company. In fact, with the right information and a bit of direction, you can open accounts without paying extortionate fees.
We outline how you can start opening accounts today in our recent report, How to Open International Bank Accounts for Offshore Companies. We also share a list of specific banks that you should consider, along with strategies to successfully open accounts.
This report includes specific strategies, suggestions, and banks that cater to the needs of offshore companies incorporated in jurisdictions like Belize, BVI, Panama, Seychelles, and more. To access this report, you just need to join GlobalBanks Insider.
Countries That Accept Belize Offshore Companies
Below, we’ll share the types of jurisdictions you might want to consider for your Belize offshore company. But keep in mind, regardless of the country you choose, you must apply to the right banks and bankers. Certain countries may only have one or two banks that are appropriate for Belize companies. So, choosing the wrong bank could cost you thousands of dollars and a lot of wasted time.
Generally speaking, there are three types of banking jurisdictions that Belize companies should consider targeting, which are:
1. Jurisdictions that specialize in structures but don’t offer much value from a financial services or banking perspective–we’ll call these our Offshore Jurisdictions.
2. Next, there are those jurisdictions that offer strong banking services in addition to structuring options–we’ll call these our Financial Centers.
3. Finally, there are those jurisdictions that offer suitable banking, investment, and other financial services but don’t necessarily specialize (or aren’t often used for) structuring or transactional banking. We’ll call these our wealth management jurisdictions.
The type of banking jurisdiction you choose is going to depend on a few key factors. These include your industry, nationality, residency, source of income, banking objectives, and much more.
Let’s take a closer look…
1. Offshore Jurisdictions
If you’re considering Belize company formation with a bank account, you can expect offshore jurisdictions to be more accomodating. In fact, banks in most offshore jurisdictions will understand your structure and how to do due diligence on Belize companies, more so than banks in other places.
Not surprisingly, if you go to a bank that doesn’t understand offshore companies and doesn’t know how to do compliance on them (or doesn’t want to), you’ll most likely be denied and the costs associated with trying to open the account will be lost.
Belize, BVI, Cook Islands, Seychelles, Vanuatu, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and similar jurisdictions fit into this category. As we’ve shared in past articles, we don’t suggest banking in these jurisdictions. The reason for this, quite simply, is that you can almost always find better banks in other countries.
2. Financial Centers
Speaking of better countries for banking, financial centers tend to offer a stronger combination of financial services and structuring. However, if you’re set on Belize company formation with a bank account, these countries can offer some strong banking options as well.
Such jurisdictions tend to have a range of banking options, including international banks and some wealth management services. So, if you’re looking for a lower cost wealth management option or transactional banking, these financial centers can sometimes be a suitable starting point.
Unlike offshore jurisdictions, there is a wide range of differences between these countries. They include top jurisdictions in the Caribbean like the Bahamas or Cayman. Or, Crown Dependencies like the Isle of Man and Jersey. Likewise, they can also include common offshore jurisdictions like Panama and Mauritius. Both of these countries have stronger banking sectors than the offshore jurisdictions referenced above.
3. Wealth Management & Private Banking Hubs
Depending on the activities and operations of your Belize offshore company, it’s possible that one of the top wealth management or private banking hubs could be an option for you. And, if you open here, you’ll have a range of other countries to choose from.
You see, while Belize does carry a stigma, the fact that it is not on any of the current blacklists or watchlists means that it can (sometimes) access strong banking options. That is, as long as you can meet the deposit requirements and pass the bank’s due diligence.
Conclusion: Belize Company Formation With Bank Account
If you need help finding the best bank for your Belize offshore company, want to know which banks will actually accept you, or just aren’t sure where to turn, we can help.
If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.
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To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.