Channel Islands offshore banks are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. This is especially true for expats, non-residents, and companies that want stable banks and sophisticated bankers.
Surprisingly, despite their offshore reputations, Jersey and Guernsey are actually white-listed darlings of the banking world. In fact, a Jersey bank account is an attractive option for many foreign non-residents seeking low-cost SEPA transfers, deposit guarantees, and a wide range of banking services.
In today’s article, we’re exploring offshore banking, Channel Island style. What banks here can offer, what makes them different, and how you can successfully open accounts.
- Non-residents can unlock private banking services and wealth management banking services in the Channel Islands
- Channel Islands offshore banking jurisdictions include Jersey and Guernsey
- There are challenges with opening accounts here that you need to understand before applying
- Banks here are familiar with wealth management structures, investment funds, and accepting of non-resident clients
The Channel Islands, otherwise known as the British Crown dependencies of Jersey and Guernsey, are a cluster of islands sitting 14 miles off the coast of France in the English Channel.
Basically, Jersey and Guernsey are the older, richer, more sophisticated, and cleaner versions of pretty much every other island nation with a financial center.
Jersey and Guernsey have been a strategically important part of Britain’s offshore banking network for decades, humming along and helping bolster the City of London’s financial offering.
So, while the Channel Islands aren’t technically a part of the UK or the EU… they are deeply interconnected.
Here’s the Short Version:
Plenty of British and European citizens have used the Channel Islands to reduce or eliminate taxes over the years, dating back to when wealthy families hid their riches from disgruntled European warlords.
But the real catalyst that pushed theis jurisdiction into the major leagues was the start of the Eurobond market back in the 1970s. Money rushed in during the 70s, new Channel Island structures were needed, and professionals started piling in to pick up the slack.
It was every London bank’s dream: an offshore booking center with British banks, low taxes, and zero currency controls… totally run by Brits.
Today, Jersey and Guernsey are two of the most reputable international financial hubs.
Banks in Jersey and Guernsey have ejected any unsavory characters, dirty money has slithered elsewhere, and the focus has shifted to corporates, funds, trusts, and private banking.
In other words, banking in Jersey and Guernsey is clean, well-regulated, and doesn’t have any Panama Papers-sized scandals to jeopardize their reputation… which makes it an interesting place to bank for non-residents, trusts, and investment funds. Let’s take a closer look at these groups and why the banking here makes sense for them.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Who Should Use Channel Islands Offshore Banks?
- Benefits of Unlocking Services in the Channel Islands
- Challenges of Opening With Channel Islands Offshore Banks
- Frequently Asked Channel Islands Banking Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening Offshore Bank Accounts?
Who Should Use Channel Islands Offshore Banks?
The following groups typically get the most value from offshore banking in the Channel Islands:
Channel Islands Offshore Banks for Non-Residents & Expats
Non-residents, expats, and those with international lifestyles often find offshore banking in Jersey and Guernsey attractive. Like the Isle of Man, banks here understand the international lifestyle, the need for solid third-country banking, and a desire for services that match those of domestic banks.
In fact, if you fall into this group, your choice to bank here instead of the Isle of Man, may simply come down to which banks you want to use. That’s because certain banks offer non-resident banking through the Channel Islands, while others chose to domicile in the Irish Sea. In both cases, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man offer great non-resident and expat banking options.
Channel Islands Offshore Banks for UK Non-Dom Residents
Next up are non-domiciled residents of the UK. Basically, this refers to individuals who are resident in the UK but have obtained non-dom status, resulting in taxes only being levied on the money they bring into the UK. Well, the Channel Islands are not inside the UK. But offshore banks here still offer similar service, quality, and have a very good understanding of clients with non-dom status. So this is a sound option to consider if that’s you.
Channel Islands Offshore Banks for Wealth Management Structures
Not surprisingly, offshore banks in Jersey and Guernsey are very familiar with private banking and wealth management structures. Including trusts and foundations from a range of estate planning jurisdictions. That said, banks in Jersey and Guernsey are hesitant to deal with entities that have been structured in countries on the EU blacklist and FATF watchlists. So, for example, if you have a Panama foundation, you might face some challenges opening here.
Channel Islands Offshore Banks for Investment Funds
Most readers might be surprised to find out that banking for an investment fund can be a challenge. This is especially true if a fund has been registered in traditional fund jurisdictions. For instance, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Bahamas, and more. In fact, unless you can make a sizable deposit and plan on using their services to execute your investments, you might have a very hard time opening accounts.
With that said, banks in Jersey and Guernsey understand these sort of investment vehicles and can open accounts for them, provided that you’re investing in acceptable asset classes, have enough money to be seen as an interesting client, and you can pass the banks due diligence.
Channel Islands Offshore Banks for Residents
Finally, if you actually live, work, or own property in Jersey or Guernsey (the Channel Islands), then it probably makes sense for you to bank there as well. But the accounts you’re going to be looking for are resident accounts. Meaning you’re going to be able to access a wider range of products and services, such as mortgages to purchase local real estate.
Now, while these groups all benefit in their own special ways from banking here, there are some key benefits that pretty much anyone can tap into by banking here.
Do You Want to Explore All Your Offshore Banking Options?
Benefits of Unlock Banking Services in the Channel Islands
Here are some of the most sought-after benefits non-residents, wealth management structures, and even corporate clients can unlock when opening accounts here:
- Deposits guarantee (up to £50,000)
- Large, well-known banks with strong reputations
- Convenient time zone for clients from the UK, Europe, and the East coast of North America
- Good, English-speaking customer support
- Sophisticated bankers who understand a wide range of client profiles
- Banks that actually accept non-residents, trusts, and some foreign companies
- And finally, a well-regulated jurisdiction with a good reputation internationally
Challenges of Opening With Channel Islands Offshore Banks
Now, before you go calling bankers, there are a few challenges and difficulties that you need to understand.
Most importantly, banks here are not a good fit for everyone. And, some banks here might not offer the offshore banking services you are after.
For example, if you’re looking for transactional business banking, you would benefit more by opening a Cyprus bank account online (or in person). Banks here focus on private banking and private wealth management. However, there are exceptions for certain groups, depending on your profile.
Likewise, if you want to start by only depositing a few thousand, don’t want any banking products or wealth management solutions, and generally plan on being an “unprofitable” client for the bank, there are more appropriate banking options for you elsewhere.
As a quick reminder…
If you’re in search of secret accounts to hide money “offshore” those days are long gone.
We strongly encourage you to read our article on the end of banking secrecy and non-AEOI countries to better understand the realities of banking today. Because there’s really no such thing as “hiding money” or “secret accounts” anymore.
Frequently Asked Channel Islands Banking Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people exploring Channel Islands offshore banks. If you have further questions about online offshore banking, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
Can I Open a Bank Account in the Channel Islands?
Yes, you can open a bank account in the Channel Islands as long as you meet the bank’s account opening requirements and have a suitable client profile. That said, not all banks in the Channel Islands will be suitable for you. It’s important to choose banks that match your banking needs and have requirements you can meet.
Is Channel Islands Offshore?
Yes, the Channel Islands is offshore. In fact, the Channel Islands is a popular offshore banking jurisdiction for foreign non-residents in need of a solid third-country banking hub with an international lifestyle. In other words, banks here understand non-resident banking.
Is It Illegal to Have a Bank Account in the Cayman Islands?
No, it is not illegal to have a bank account in the Cayman Islands. In fact, many foreign non-residents look to the Cayman Islands for offshore banking. That said, if your intent is to open an account for the purpose of tax evasion or money laundering, then it would be illegal to have a bank account in the Cayman Islands.
Do You Want Help Opening Offshore Bank Accounts?
If so, you can access GlobalBanks IQ and start the process of applying for an offshore bank account online in a few clicks.
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