Opening a Monaco bank account is a status symbol, reserved for the super-wealthy. After all, banking here isn’t like banking in other countries. Monaco banks aren’t used for transactional day-to-day banking. They specialize in private banking and helping you find creative ways to make more money.
Opening a bank account in Monaco can be done as both a resident and a non-resident. Depending on which bank you approach, the required opening deposit can range from EUR 500,000 to 2,000,000. While opening requirements do vary, you will almost always be required to meet a banker face-to-face. But, with the right connections going in, it’s possible to have them come to you instead.
But just because you can afford the opening deposit doesn’t mean you should open a Monaco bank account. After all, there are many private banking hubs around the world to choose from.
Instead, Monaco banks are especially helpful for a certain type of client, with specific banking objectives. And in today’s article, we’re going to discuss who these clients are, how they can open Monaco bank accounts, and how to get started.
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Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, the only zero-tax country in Europe, and one of the most expensive places on the planet.
And while there are only 38,000 people here, there are over 300,000 bank accounts in Monaco — of which, 85% (or over 250,000) are held by non-residents.
What does all this mean?
Monaco is a fiscal haven that understands, caters to, and helps support the lifestyle, purchases, and financial objectives of the super-rich.
That’s why, as mentioned above, just because you can open a Monaco bank account… doesn’t mean you should.
Clients that benefit the most from opening accounts with a Monaco bank are those in search of creative financing, luxury purchases, tax residency, are struggling to open accounts elsewhere, or simply want to bank outside of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, or the EU.
So the answer to “Why open a Monaco bank account?” really depends on you and your objectives.
For instance, if you’re obtaining residency in Monaco, banking here is a must.
If you’re interested in purchasing luxury real estate on the French Riviera, Monaco banks can certainly help.
And if you want to collateralize your investment portfolio, finance a luxury yacht, or splurge on a multi-million dollar art collection, opening a Monaco bank account is a step in the right direction.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits that you can capture by opening a Monaco bank account.
If you choose the right bank, have a solid banker, can meet the minimums, and know how to present yourself properly, it is possible to open a Monaco bank account remotely. This is common across many private banking hubs, but in Monaco, it tends to be more prominent so long as you select the right bank and have the right contacts going in.
That said, in almost all instances, you will be required to have a face-to-face meeting at some point. Most banks will require this in-person meeting within a certain period after the account has been opened. This typically ranges from three to six months.
If you can pass due diligence and can deposit an acceptable sum, most Monaco banks will open accounts for offshore companies and estate planning structures. Some Monaco banks prefer that you open a personal account first, while others will happily entertain applications for your desired structure on day one. The biggest challenge is finding the right bank and a banker that’s motivated and willing to accommodate your profile and existing structure. Not all of them do.
If you can meet the minimums, pass due diligence, and have a clear source of wealth, Monaco banks are happy to take your money. And, bankers will not only understand your client profile, but they’ll also speak your language. This is an important distinction because banks in some jurisdictions are now starting to turn away clients from Russia, Central Asia, Ukraine, CEE, and other countries. Monaco on the other hand will welcome you with open arms.
As you might expect, Monaco bankers are sophisticated, on par with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and will go the extra mile to fulfill your financial objectives. They’re masters at tax-efficient structuring and creative investment arrangements and are wonderfully resourceful.
As mentioned, Monaco banks can facilitate creative financing, complex arrangements, and sophisticated financing that isn’t available elsewhere. This is especially true if you’re interested in acquiring real estate or other luxury assets in Monaco or along the Cote d’Azur in France. Better yet, if you’re structured correctly and choose the right investments, there are numerous tax-efficient ways to grow your wealth via Monaco banks.
The term “Monaco bank” is actually a bit of a misnomer. There are, of course, a handful of Monegasque banks incorporated in Monaco. But when considering opening a Monaco bank account, most people are actually talking about a Monaco branch or subsidiary of a foreign bank that is headquartered in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Andorra, or another private banking hub.
These banks are all technically Monegasque and the accounts are usually domiciled in Monaco. However, the bank pedigree, culture, and expertise typically originate from one of the other top banking jurisdictions.
Of course, this is no different than many other countries. But one unique exception is that nearly every single bank in Monaco is one of the best private banks in the world.
So with so many world-class banks at your fingertips, how do you decide where to open accounts?
Well, ultimately, it comes down to finding the bank that best meets your personal requirements and asset profile.
The following groups often find banking in Monaco most useful:
If you’re a non-resident looking for private banking outside of the EU, Monaco is a solid option to consider. In which case, how much money you have, your financing and investment requirements, and residency profile will likely help determine whether Monaco is the best choice for your banking. Of course, you can also look at other options like Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra too.
Those with foreign entities, offshore companies, and estate planning structures may also find Monaco interesting. While private banking hubs are very familiar with exotic structures, Monaco seems to be more open, accepting, and willing to work to onboard such entities as clients.
If you’re looking at acquiring Monaco residency, opening a Monaco bank account, and acquiring a letter proving financial self-sufficiency (and have enough money to support yourself in Monaco) is a crucial step in the process. In the past, how much money you had to deposit to acquire this letter was at the discretion of the bank. However, those days are over. Now, the Monegasque government oversees the process and requires that all prospective residents deposit at least €500,000 in a Monaco bank in order to meet the residency requirements.
Obviously, one of the most important considerations when determining if you should bank in Monaco is whether you can afford to bank here. Private banking in Monaco, like elsewhere, requires significant wealth, often more than the average person (or company) can deposit. So before spending any more time determining if you should bank here, let’s look at the requirements.
When considering banking in Monaco, a common question that comes up is…
Well, it really depends on the bank and your banker.
If you’re going in blind and don’t have any banking contacts in Monaco, expect to deposit at least €500,000 or more just to get your foot in the door. With the right information and connections, this figure can be lower. But if you’re looking to deposit less than €500,000, there are probably better banking jurisdictions available to you elsewhere.
While €500,000 can open certain accounts, many Monaco banks will require at least €1,000,000 or €2,000,000 to open an account. Some banks require more.
Additionally, the minimum deposit required can vary widely depending on your client profile. In other words, the higher risk you are to the bank, the higher minimum deposit the bank is going to ask you to make to open an account. Likewise, if you have significant wealth, are an obviously profitable client, or plan on obtaining financing through the bank, arrangements to waive minimums are available.
This is the same phenomenon you’ll see in other private banking hubs. Minimums keep unprofitable clients out. That said, exceptions can be made.
You now have all the information you need to decide if a Monaco bank account is best for you. The process to open a bank account in Monaco is similar to other private banking jurisdictions. But, there are some unique considerations and quirks.
The most important decision is choosing the bank you want to open an account with. You want to be sure the bank (and banker) you’re dealing with is a good fit for you, your financial objectives, and your investment goals.
To choose the best bank, you have two options. Your first option is to search the internet trying to determine which banks and bankers are best for your needs and actually want you as a client.
Your second option is to join GlobalBanks. Our team of experts will identify the best Monaco banking options for you based on your client profile and objectives. We’ll also outline specific account opening strategies and share the real account opening requirements and minimums. Of course, if you decide you want to open an account in Monaco, our team will also provide direct introductions to seasoned bankers ready to support your goals. You receive all this when you join GlobalBanks Insider, with no hidden fees or costs.
Before signing on as a client, you’ll need to look closely at the account agreement, investment proposal, fee structure, account restrictions, terms of service, and more. And if this is your first step into the world of private banking, review everything at least twice. Understanding the products and services that your banker is proposing is crucial. This will set the tone for your relationship and fee structure moving forward.
GlobalBanks Insiders can speak with our team before contacting banks in Monaco. We’ll share specific account opening considerations for each bank, identify which banks best meet your objectives, fall within your price range, and have bankers interested in onboarding clients with your profile.
The time it takes to open a Monaco bank account varies from bank to bank. Each bank has different internal procedures and ultimately your client profile will be an important factor.
Assuming you provide the bank with all the documents they need, you’re a model client, and pass due diligence with flying colors, Monaco banks can open accounts in as little as 7-10 days. On the other hand, if you choose one of the many Monaco banks that have notoriously slow onboarding, you can expect to wait between two to three months (or longer in some cases) just to receive compliance approval.
Another important factor determining whether a bank will be a good fit for you is whether you can meet the bank’s minimum deposit requirements. Additionally, can you stomach the fees or offset them with investments that make sense for you?
Private banks have a more hands-on approach which usually requires physical paperwork and an in-person meeting. This is especially the case if you’re a non-EU citizen or non-resident, don’t have an existing banking relationship, and don’t have any ties to Monaco. But this doesn’t always mean you need to show up at the bank in person. If you have the right contacts and are a profitable client for the bank, it’s possible to arrange for a more personalized experience that can include remote opening. GlobalBanks Insiders can contact us for more details on such options.
If you need help sorting out your banking options, are struggling with account opening, 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.
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