hore also makes it easier for you to manage your finances in multiple currencies across different countries.
What are the main benefits of banking in Panama?
PRIVACY, SECURITY & ANONIMITY Panama banks have the highest bank secrecy to protect their clients. No client informations are disclosed.
Can you open the Panama bank account without having to visit the bank personally?
Of course, many of the accounts we support to open do not require the physical presence of the owner.
What documents are required ?
-Copy of utilities must be no longer than three months old. You may need to have these documents certified.
What means certificated/notarized documents?
Certification means that a bank official, cpa, attorney at law, notary public, embassy, consulate attests that the documents are true. As example, for each documents he writes: “I hereby certify this is the true copy of Mr. First Name, Last Name”. This comes with signature, date and professional stamp of the certifier.
How long does it take to open a bank account in Panama?
From few working days up to 3 weeks.
What are the fees applied by the banks?
An offshore bank has higher rates compared to the banks around the corner; however this depends on the operations performed. Generally, the maintenance costs are in the range 8-20€ per month.
How can I withdraw money from my offshore/international account?
ATM card and credit card valid in all the world.
Can I open a Panama bank account as a non resident ?
Sure , many of our clients are non-residents. We have clients in more than 120 countries.
I’m Indian (south african, brazilian, etc,etc) citizen, can I open the account ?
Yes, you can.
Does the account have on-line banking?
Yes all account have on-line banking 24 hours/ 7 days always available.
Can I close my account whenever I wish ?
Sure There are no restrictions when it comes to closing an account in Offshore countries. You are free to close your account if you wish. The procedure is immediate and cost-free. Of course, if your money is invested, it generally takes a few days to liquidate positions, but even so, no one will prevent you from withdrawing your funds or charge you a financial penalty.
Which bank will my account be opened with ?
We have a large network of banks in Offshore countries. – Many of which have been in operations for over 100 years. Our company will select the bank with the best conditions at present from a permanently updated list of banks with the best price-ratio. We work with banks in all categories. Which bank is right for you depends on many factors, such your country of tax residence, where you reside, eventual treaties of exchange information that have been signed, how much you plan to deposit and what kind of operations will you perform with funds.
Can I choose the bank ?
Yes you can choice country and bank. We do not, however, give out the names of the banks before you actually pay in full an order. Each account we offer can be opened with different banks in the same country We select the bank that suits better the client needs and minimum deposit requirements. We do not offer “mass product”.
Account Opening Procedures & Requirements
Opening an offshore bank account via distance banking is slightly more cumbersome when compared to opening a domestic bank account, considering one actually walks into a branch when opening a domestic bank account. As one of the oldest professional offshore banking service providers & incorporation agents on the web, we have relationships with major offshore banks and financial institutions around the world, and stand ready to assist you every step of the way during the account opening process.
Generally speaking the procedure to open an offshore bank account consists of properly preparing and submitting the following documents:
Notarized copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and/or Articles of Association (for corporate accounts)
Certified copy of your government issued passport (for both personal and/or corporate accounts)
Original Utility Bill (for both personal and/or corporate accounts)
Bank or professional reference for the account signatory (for both personal and/or corporate accounts)
Completed banking applications and forms which we provide and assist in completing
Overview of the Secrecy Jurisdiction
30 History as Secrecy Jurisdiction Since 1948 [Notes]
31 Development and Role as a Secrecy Jurisdiction [Notes]
According to the Global Forum, Panama’s banking sector stands out in the region: “The banking system is the largest in the Central American region with consolidated assets representing more than three times Panama’s GDP. Other financial sectors are small by comparison. Closely associated with banking activities are wealth management services which are provided to both domestic and foreign clients. These include the creation of companies and trusts to hold and administer assets which typically require the involvement of lawyers and accountants as well as banks and trust companies.” (GF 2010: 10).
Offshore Simple summarizes some of the attractions of Panama as follows: “Panama is a 100% Tax Haven: Non-resident Panamanian International Business Corporations (IBC’s) and Private Interest Foundations do not pay tax on any of their income (as indicated below), nor do they have any reporting requirements to the Panamanian government. […] Panama offers the most favorable and most flexible incorporation laws available in the world. Private Interest Foundations are also available, and are one of the most widely used estate planning structures in the world today. […] Panama continues to maintain what we consider to be the most solid banking and corporate book secrecy laws in the world, which are engraved in its constitution.
With Britain’s proposed regulation for removal of bank and corporate book secrecy in the UK offshore territories, it is clear that Panama remains the most secure offshore financial center – where privacy and confidentiality is not only respected, but vigorously protected by constitutional law. […] Panama City is home to the second largest international banking center in the world next to Switzerland. Panama has the most modern and successful international banking center in Latin America, with more than 150 banks from 35 different countries.” (Offshore Simple).
The Global Forum assessment of 2010 noted several weaknesses in Panama’s compliance with the so-called OECD-standards: “This report highlights significant problems in the areas of: Availability of ownership information particularly in relation to joint stock corporations; Availability of accounting information in respect of entities that are not in receipt of Panamanian source income; Uncertainties regarding the Panamanian authorities powers to obtain information for exchange purposes; Availability of sanctions for failure to keep or produce information for exchange purposes.” (GF 2010: 7).
The availability of Account Signatory Services points to serious money laundering activity under the protection of attorney client privilege rules: “Many people are reluctant to allow a third party signatory authority for fear that it will be abused in some way, either by the signatory absconding with the assets or by the signatory blackmailing the beneficiary of the assets with threats of revealing this information to that person’s tax authority. Under Panama’s business confidentiality laws, this is a serious offence punishable by jail sentences, which itself provides a significant deterrent.” (Offshore-Protection).
The INCSR wrote in 2013: “Panama’s strategic geographic location, dollarized economy, and status as a regional financial, trade and logistics center make it an attractive target for money launderers. The Colon Free Zone (CFZ), the second largest free trade zone in the world, is located on Panama’s Atlantic coast. Money laundered in Panama is believed to be primarily from the proceeds of drug trafficking due to the country’s location along major drug trafficking routes. Numerous factors hinder the fight against money laundering, including a weak regulatory framework, the existence of bearer share corporations, a lack of collaboration among government agencies, inconsistent enforcement of laws and regulations, and a weak judicial system susceptible to corruption and favoritism […].
The CFZ continues to be vulnerable to illicit financial activities and abuse by criminal groups, due primarily to weak customs, trade and financial transactions oversight. Bulk cash is easily introduced into the country by declaring it is for use in the CFZ. […] Panama’s financial intelligence unit, the UAF, is responsible for analyzing suspicious financial transactions; however, it is ineffective due to a lack of resources and political independence. The UAF does not have the capability to receive STRs in an electronic format, hindering analysis and timely investigations. The UAF reports to the Ministry of the Presidency and, according to a broad range of sources, inquiries initiated by the UAF mainly concern political figures, leading to questions about its independence” (INCSR 2013: 172-173).
Central America Data wrote in November 2012 about a boom of trusts in Panama: “The assets of the 70 trust companies operating in Panama doubled in the last year, and currently stands at $17 billion. PanamaAmerica.com.pa reports that ‘In June last year, 65 fiduciary companies had assets under their management of $7.51 billion, of which $3.75 billion were managed by banks, $1.31 billion by law firms and the rest from other trust companies […]. The industry has many opportunities to grow, as more companies are using this format to conduct business.’ A report by the Superintendent of Securities in Panama, in charge of ensuring the proper functioning of the trust business, said that there are 68 trust companies in the country, of which two are owned by banks, 28 by private banks, 14 related to law firms , 2 insurance to companies and 22 to other trust companies.” (CentralAmericaData).
On ‘Black-Lists’ of
32 International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation 1977 Yes [Notes]
33 Charles Irish 1982 Yes [Notes]
34 Hines Rice 1994 Yes [Notes]
35 IMF 2000 Yes [Notes]
36 OECD 2000 Yes [Notes]
37 FSF 2000 Yes [Notes]
38 FATF 2000 / 2002 Yes [Notes]
39 Tax Justice Network 2005 Yes [Notes]
40 Zoromé 2007 (IMF) Yes [Notes]
41 Stop Tax Havens Act (USA) 2007 Yes [Notes]
42 Lowtax.net 2008 Yes [Notes]
43 OECD April 2009 Yes [Notes
Bank Due Diligence requirements
To comply with legislations, banks must collect adequate due diligence to verify the identity of the ultimate beneficial owners and controllers of the potential client wanting to establish a relationship with the bank. Below is the documentation required for the various types of entity the potential client may be established as.
Limited Company – please provide certified copies of the following: a) Certificate of Incorporation, b) Memorandum and Articles of Association, c) Register of Directors, and d) Register of Members. For at least two of the entity’s directors, for shareholders with an interest equal to or greater than 10% and for all other authorised account signatories please provide certified copies of the items laid out at i) through iv) below.
Limited Liability Company – please provide certified copies of the following: e) Certificate of Incorporation, f) Operating Agreement, and g) Schedule showing the members and their respective percentage interests. For at the entity’s managing member, for members with an interest equal to or greater than 10% and for all other authorised account signatories please provide certified copies of the items laid out at i) through iv) below.
Limited Partnership – please provide certified copies of the following: h) Certificate of Registration (where available), i) Limited Partnership Agreement, and j) Schedule showing the limited partners and their respective percentage interests. For the general partner, limited partners with an interest equal to or greater than 10% and for all other authorised account signatories please provide certified copies of the items laid out at i) through iv) below.
Trust – please provide a certified copy of the declaration of trust or deed of settlement as appropriate, and for any of the trust’s settlor, beneficiary(s) with a vested interest and for all other authorised account signatories please provide certified copies of the items laid out at i) through iv) below.
Foundation – please provide certified copies of: k) Certificate of Registration, l) Charter of the Foundation, and m) Register showing the Council of Members. For at least two of the Council of Members, beneficiaries and for all other authorized account signatories please provide certified copies of the items laid out at i) through iv) below.
Individuals – please provide certified copies of the documents below: i) Passport or drivers license, bearing their signature and photograph, AND one of the following to verify their residential address (PO boxes are not acceptable); ii) Recent (less than 3 months old) utility bill, OR iii) Recent (less than 3 months old) bank or credit card statement, OR iv) Reference from a ‘respected professional’ (lawyer, accountant or manager/director of a regulated financial institution), who has known the person for at least 2 years.
Funds If the potential client is a fund, instead of item d), g) or j) and due diligence on investors, i.e. items i) through iv) as specified, an AML comfort letter is required from the fund’s administrator or transfer agent confirming that they are responsible for performing due diligence on the fund’s investors – we have a standard template available for this. Where the potential client has an entity as either a director or shareholder, documentation as outlined above is required for that type of entity. If the potential client is a regulated financial institution we may be exempt from collecting due diligence on it. Source of funds Please ensure that sufficient, relevant information on the source of funds to be deposited with banks is provided with the application form.
Bearer Shares Most banks are unable to provide services to entities that have issued bearer shares; these must either be immobilized or cancelled and reissued to persons. Entities that haven’t, but are capable of issuing bearer shares must undertake not to issue bearer shares, or upon their issue the account(s) will be frozen until the bearer shares are either immobilized or cancelled.
Certification/Notarization of Documents The certifier (notary public, lawyer, accountant, manager/director of a regulated financial institution, for example) is to attest that the documents are a true copy of the original, sign each document, print their name underneath, indicating their position or capacity and include a contact address and phone number.