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BVI Banks: Secrecy Is A Fundamental Cornerstone of BVI Banking

By:Ramapati Singhania

Many mutual and hedge funds, insurance companies, trading companies, expatriate individuals, intellectual property rights owners, property investors and just high net worth individuals use BVI banking offshore to pay fewer taxes and save wealth. There is no restriction on the nationality of the bank account owner, however most banks prefer that the individual accounts be opened along with corporate accounts, of companies incorporated in the BVI.

Privacy and confidentiality come as a given but we have to wait and see how the UK reacts to pressures from the EU for BVI bank disclosures. Banking secrecy is a fundamental cornerstone of BVI banking services. A clients background may be divulged by a BVI bank only if there is a criminal investigation carried out by local police authorities in-land or when ordered by a court in BVI.

Account holders are just charged with only a few thousand dollars every year for the license fees of banks. But 9/11 has changed the concept of privacy as it was accepted by us. Now governments, in the name of anti-terror laws have started usurping authority to look into anyones personal information for no strong reason.

It's not just about privacy and taxes, banking BVI Offshore gives you all the luxuries that you can get in a world class bank. World class infrastructure, communication systems, modern day facilities like credit cards, internet, online banking and courier services are available in British Virgin Islands.

You will also be saved from the tensions of legal issues as someone rarely thinks of filing a suit in a far away country and even if someone does plan to, there is legal protection provided to you in the British Virgin Islands, as in other offshore tax havens. How to open a BVI offshore bank account and how long will it take? The answer is you dont need to worry! Since the procedure is very simple and only takes a few days once your Know Your Client documents have been received by us. But most accounts are opened for bvi offshore companies and their beneficiaries.

If you are planning to open a personal account then you will be required to provide
* a certified passport copy,
* local bank reference and
* notarized document(s) confirming your address.
For a company account you will need to provide
* bank reference,
* certified copies of Articles of Incorporation & Articles of Association,
* certified copy of your passport and
* an official approval from the board of director(s) of the company appointing you as their representative.

Do wish to open a BVI Bank?
There are very few international banks in the British Virgin Islands banking sector, basically to try and exclude money laundering. All BVI banks are regulated with the help of the banks and trust companies act 1990. It is mandatory for banks here to be supervised by the Inspector of Banks, Trusts and Companies, and also by an official of the Financial Services Commission [FSC].

This financial services commission or FSC was created on the 1st of January 2002 by the government as an independent regulatory body. As per the norms of this act banking licenses in British Virgin Islands are divided into three categories.

BVI banks can conduct banking business within and also outside BVI jurisdiction with a General Banking License and there would be no restrictions on the business itself. With the annual fee for this license being US$20,000, a bank wishing to do business should however have a minimum paid up capital of US $2 million and moreover the bank must deposit US $500,000.

The Class I restricted banking license requires a minimum paid up capital of US $1 million and the annual license fee is US $16,000 with the bank deposit being US $500,000. This license restricts banks from taking any deposits from any BVI resident except from another licensee or an IBC.

Similar to this license the Class II restricted banking license has the same fees and deposits. However BVI banks coming under this license can only take deposits or funds from those undertakings mentioned on their license.

There should be at least two directors in every bank and those banks and trust companies exempted from the provision of section 14 of the act shall have their names published in the Gazette every year in the month of January.

It is mandatory for banks to have a principal office with an authorized agent who has to act as an intermediary between the licensee and the commission. All banking licenses of BVI banks expire on the 31st of December every year and have to be renewed in January the following year upon payment of the annual renewal fee.

Apart from the above there are also certain other norms that BVI banks have to adhere to as per British Virgin Islands banking laws. Accounts of all banks irrespective of their banking license category, must be audited by an auditor annually or at times when asked by the Financial Services Commission.

Once audited, the accounts must be forwarded within three months from the end of the financial year to the commission. Extension might be given to certain banks depending on the prior written approval granted by the commission. If for some reasons a bank changes or replaces its auditor then the bank has to inform the commission about the change along with the reasons for effecting the change or replacement. Banks applying for a license to do banking business in British Virgin Islands also have to furnish various due diligence documents to the FSC to satisfy its requirements.

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Article keywords: bvi banks, bvi banking

Article Source:

Ramapati Singhania specializes in creating and managing web businesses. His latest website focuses on helping you to incorporate offshore companies in Seychelles, Mauritius and BVI. You can also visit his blog,

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