Welcome to Liechtenstein, the biggest offshore banking hub you’ve never heard of.
Liechtenstein is a tiny principality, sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland.
It’s small. You can walk across it in two hours.
And only 36,000 people live here. On National Day, the prince invites the entire country to his castle for a cocktail reception.
Liechtenstein used to be a tax haven. But, it got rid of its bank secrecy laws in 2009, signed a bunch of exchange agreements, and rebranded itself as a private banking hub.
And it worked.
Today, Liechtenstein is one of the largest offshore wealth hubs in the world.
It uses the Swiss Franc (CHF) and has close ties to Switzerland. Together they form their own economic and monetary union, outside of the EU.
If you’d like to get a head start on account opening in Liechtenstein as a non-resident then download our FREE Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide right now!
You don’t go to Liechtenstein for personal accounts or transactional banking (aka: to get a bank account for paying day-to-day expenses).
Banks here are super familiar with all types of international structures. And yes, foreign companies can open accounts here too.
So it makes sense to consider Liechtenstein if you’re after wealth management, asset protection, or multi-generational wealth planning. It’s great for all these and many other private banking activities.
But besides dealing with banks and bankers that understand your needs, what else makes Liechtenstein an attractive banking destination?
Let’s take a look…
Like many other small principalities, the government of Liechtenstein is fiscally responsible. Banks are safe and super conservative. In fact, during the financial crisis, Liechtenstein’s banks did just fine.
And one of the big reasons for that is the way that they make money. Banks in Liechtenstein generate revenue by charging fees, not by making risky investments.
Fees here are on par with other wealth management hubs. But, paying 1% of your total deposit is not uncommon. You cancel this out by investing in something that fetches a higher return anyway.
They service royal families, large holding companies, and the creme de la creme of the world, so the staff here is of exquisite quality. In short, bankers here are a different breed.
A little inside secret: Liechtenstein poaches the best of the best from Switzerland.
This, of course, drives up costs. Salaries can be twice as high and banks are more expensive to run. But, the quality and service are unmatched.
This also means that minimums at Liechtenstein banks are higher than other places. The reason for this is simple: it’s not profitable for banks here to take a client that deposits less than 100,000 CHF. Of course, there are exceptions and ways around this. We explain these strategies and more in GlobalBanks Insider when discussing private banking options in Europe.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done some initial research about opening an account in Liechtenstein. And if you did, you probably noticed that there are loads of service providers claiming they can help you.
Some of them even say that they can help you open a bank account in Liechtenstein for under 10,000 CHF. What’s the catch? You just have to pay them €1000 first!
But here’s the thing: They’re lying. Or should we say intentionally omitting really damn important information?
Here’s the big dirty secret that the introducer world doesn’t want you to know: if you don’t deposit the required amount within a certain number of months (varies by bank), the bank will just close your account.
And, POOF. Just like that, your Liechtenstein bank account is gone. And, so is the €1000 you paid to that service provider, the money you spent on flights to Liechtenstein to open the account, and the fees you already paid to the bank. All gone.
So, beware of introducers promising banking options that sound too good to be true, because they are.
Service providers and bank introducers do not have your interests at heart. Their #1 goal is to convince you to pay them a €1000+ fee for a one-time service. They don’t care if the account is actually opened or stays open. By the time you figure out the game, they’re already off selling snake-oil to the next guy.
Liechtenstein banks will open accounts for non-resident individuals if they have enough money to deposit.
Many banks will also expect you to invest a certain amount of money in the bank’s investment products. The amount required can vary, depending on the amount initially deposited and which other bank services you use.
Before applying for an account in Liechtenstein, think carefully about which bank is best for you. Not all of them provide services to non-residents. And, deposit requirements, fees, and perks can vary drastically.
If you’re already a GlobalBanks Insider, you can use the GlobalBanks Database to review banks in Liechtenstein and gain access to valuable insights into account opening strategies, requirements, and services.
Business banking is possible in Liechtenstein. If you can meet the minimums.
If you’re looking for a transactional business bank account for an online business making $50,000 per year selling ebooks, we have a lot of other options that you can consider–Liechtenstein isn’t one of them.
However, foreign companies with a few hundred thousand can open accounts, as long as they don’t plan on having a lot of transactions. But you’re more likely to grab a bank’s attention if you’re able to deposit US $1 million or more.
Now, some readers might be wondering why a foreign company would want a corporate account in Liechtenstein.
Well, if you’re operating a business in a high-risk or unusual industry, you’re probably struggling to open a bank account elsewhere. Most first-world banks probably already rejected you – either because of your business type or your corporate structure was foreign or too complex.
Liechtenstein banks, by contrast, understand offshore business and international companies. Banks here have a long history of banking with foreigners, non-residents, and international structures. They’re smart and they don’t scare easily.
Is Liechtenstein a business banking center? No. But, banks here are willing to listen – if you have a legitimate business and enough money to deposit.
In fact, there’s a loophole for high-risk businesses here. No restrictions on withdrawals if your company is formed in the right jurisdiction. But you need at least US $1 million in order for this to be an option. We’ll be sharing this with GlobalBanks Insiders in an upcoming report.
It depends. What are you looking to do and how much money do you have?
If you’re a non-resident with $100,000 to deposit, you’re going to target banks in Liechtenstein that have a history of accepting clients with lower deposits.
As the amount you can deposit and invest with the bank goes up, so does their willingness to accept you. For instance, if you’re able to $1m+, you’ll have a wider range of options than $100,000.
Likewise, if you want to open a bank account in Liechtenstein for a foreign company such as a Panama foundation, a BVI company, or another type of foreign entity – then you’ll need to target banks that have a history of accepting your preferred structure, match your deposit range, and services you need.
If you want to open a business bank account for a foreign company, then the “best” bank will depend on a few other factors. These include:
After you answer these questions, then you can determine which banks are best, which will realistically accept you, and what the fees will look like.
GlobalBanks Insiders can use the tools inside the premium members area to start finding banks that match their needs or message our team to discuss what banking options are available to you.
If you want to open a bank account in Liechtenstein and need help figuring out what to do next, you can get started by using the information in this article.
But if you need more help or want to know which banks will accept you, the best account opening strategies to use, and how to overcome tough paperwork requirements, then we’d be happy to help you on your journey.
When you join GlobalBanks, you’ll also get instant access to our entire archive of Banking Intelligence Reports including proven strategies for opening accounts, contact information for specific banks and bankers, details on each bank’s preferences and sensitivities, customer case studies, and information on what not to do and which banks to avoid.
You will also get access to the GlobalBanks Database which includes easy-to-digest bank profiles, analyst insights, account opening contacts, and unique opportunities for the top banks in 50+ countries.
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