Who can open a Monaco bank account?
Everyone can open an account at a bank in the Principality of Monaco. However, banks reserve the right to reject customers. For example, a bank might refuse to offer banking services to a so-called “politically exposed person” who the bank believes would pose a “reputation” risk if he or she were to become a client. A bank might also refuse to start a banking relationship if it has doubts about the origins of the potential client’s funds. Swiss banks are forbidden by law to accept money which they know or must assume stem from crime or any illegal activities.
How can I open an account from my home country?
Principality of Monaco banks have procedures concerning the opening of accounts, irrespective of the domicile of the customer. In line with Monaco laws governing “due diligence”, the bank must verify the identity of the customer on the basis of an official document (e.g. a passport and confirmation of residential address).
Can you open the account without having to visit the bank personally?
Of course, all the accounts (exluded hnwi accounts) we support to open do not require the physical presence of the owner.
Can an account by opened anonymously in the Principality of Monaco ?
No, that is not possible. Banks follow so-called “know-your-customer” rules which require staff to identify the person opening an account and, where necessary, to establish the identity of the beneficial owner. Incidentally it was the banks themselves who drew up the extremely strict, internationally recognized rules for verifying the identity of their clients as a deterrent to money of criminal origin.
Does bank secrecy shield criminals?
No. Bank customer confidentiality has never been absolute. Principality of Monaco banks are obliged, for example, to disclose information in criminal proceedings against their clients. This is an absolute obligation, regardless of whether the offence was committed in Switzerland or abroad. Compared with other countries Switzerland has always been very successful at combating organized crime and money laundering. Switzerland is one of the cleanest financial centers in the world.
What means certificated/notarized documents?
Certification means that a bank official, cpa, attorney at law, notary public, 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.
What documentation will the bank want to see?
As mentioned above, Cayman Island banks are obliged to verify the identity of a client. The bank will want to see official identification papers such as a valid passport or an equivalent official identification document containing a photograph. The bank may also ask for documentation that can prove the origin of your funds, such as the contract for a house sale, a statement from a foreign bank, a receipt from the sale of securities, etc.
What questions will the bank ask me?
First of all, the bank’s staff will certainly ask questions to fulfill the bank’s legal obligations with regard to due diligence. This will include asking for proof of your identity and also establishing the identity of the beneficial owner of the assets if you are depositing funds on behalf of someone else. The bank’s staff might also ask about the origin of the funds and the nature of your professional business and they will also want to get an idea of your usual financial transactions. In order to offer you the best advice, the bank will also ask about your future plans, for example, whether you intend to buy a house, start a business, retire, etc. If you are asking the bank to manage an investment portfolio they will also ask how much risk you are willing to accept. In short, the more the bank knows about you, the more it can tailor its advice and service to your individual needs.
Is the opening guaranteed?
Yes the opening is guaranteed as long as You:
a) Fill correctly the application form
b) Are not a criminal
c) Show bank proof of source of funds
d) Have all the documents legally valid and certified.
How long does it take to open an account?
From few working days up to 3 weeks.
What are the fees applied by the Monaco banks?
Principality of Monaco banks have higher fees and higher interests rates compared to the banks around the corner.
How can I withdraw money from my bank account?
ATM card and credit card valid in all the world.
Can I open a Monaco bank account as a non resident ?
Sure , almost all our clients are non-residents. We have clients in many countries.
I’m Indian (south african, brazilian, etc,etc) citizen, can I still open the account ?
Yes, you can.
Do you have a Monaco offshore bank account? Should you pay tax?
If you receive savings and investment income from abroad, you will usually need to declare this on a Self Assessment (SA) tax return. You may have to pay Income Tax, but if you’ve paid foreign tax on the income you may be able to offset (deduct) this.
Does the Principality of Monaco bank account have on-line banking?
Yes all account have on-line banking 24 hours/ 7 days always available.
Can I close my Monaco bank 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 Principality of Monaco bank will 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 Monaco bank ?
Yes you can choice 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”. We select the banks with the best conditions at present from a permanently updated list of banks with the best privacy&security policy.
Why do I need to pay to open an account ? What benefits would you provide?
Opening a bank account in Principality of Monaco is not like opening one in your home country, where all you need is a walk into any bank down the street with your driver’s license and 10$. Swiss banks are very cautious in dealing with new clients that are not introduced by someone they know. Using our bank introduction services, you benefit from the advice of professionals specialists in international banking laws, international company and tax laws. We make sure the opening procedure is as quick and straightforward as possible. For a little fee you’ll save weeks of searches and many complications. In many cases we can obtain better terms for our clients lower minimum balance, lower commissions, less restrictions on facilities offered, etc… Most banks have many restrictions to what facilities you will actually get and you usually learn about it after you have opened your account. We can open accounts by mail. We opened hundreds of accounts for clients all over the world and can provide quick and reliable service. Through us you are assigned seasoned, professional and efficient account managers. In any given bank, there are good account managers and not-so-good ones. The good ones are always busy with clients and take only the most promising new clients or those sent by people they know. We are not a bank and offer impartial advice and assistance in selecting and opening the right account for your needs in the right country
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.
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 Unknown -/-
31 Development and Role as a Secrecy Jurisdiction [Notes]
“The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest country in Europe but is considered a major banking sector that closely guards the privacy of its clients. It has worked in recent years to comply with international requirements for greater openness and sharing of information. It is linked closely to France and to the economic apparatus of the European Union (EU) through its customs union with France and its use of the euro as its official currency. Monaco is known for its security and political stability. Monaco’s state budget is based primarily on tourism, taxes, duties, and excise taxes which account for 75% of the total income; casino revenues constitute less than 3% of the state budget. Private banking and fund management dominate the financial sector.
Monaco does not have a formal offshore sector, but foreigners sought and were able to open accounts to hide illicit finances. While Monaco does not publish information about its financial sector, credible sources estimate the country’s 36 banks and three financial institutions hold more than 300,000 accounts and manage total assets of about 750 billion euros (approximately $975 billion). In data obtained for 2010, non-residents accounted for 48% of the financial institutions’ clientele, representing 60% of the total assets and deposits. Money laundering charges relate mainly to offenses committed abroad. The Principality does not face ordinary forms of organized crime, nor is there a significant market for smuggled goods” (INCSR CD 2013: 271).
In the area of access to information the Global Forum wrote that “Monaco put in place a prior notification procedure which is inconsistent with the international standard since it does not allow for any exceptions. Monaco is recommended to introduce some exceptions to the prior notification procedure to bring it in line with the international standard, e.g. in cases in which the information requested is of a very urgent nature or the notification is likely to undermine the chance of the success of the investigation conducted by the requesting jurisdiction” (GF 2012: 8-9).
The IMF wrote in 2008: “Private banking and asset management are the main services offered by Monegasque banks, which hold the lion’s share of the financial sector’s total assets (Table 1). Monegasque banks are controlled by foreign groups headquartered mainly in France, Switzerland, Italy, and the UK. Investment advisory and wealth management services are offered also by nonbank institutions.” (IMF OFC-AP 2008: 9).
The IMF further specified “Monegasque banks provide a host of financial services to wealthy customers, mainly non-resident. Lending activity, mainly mortgage and Lombard lending (see below), is rather limited accounting for less than a quarter of total deposits. Hence, the system generates a substantial amount of liquidity that is transferred to parent institutions or, in minor part, lent through the money market. The off-balance-sheet component of banks’ assets, i.e. the assets held in the financial institutions on client accounts, is in part discretionally managed (advised) by asset management units and in part directly managed by the investors themselves.” (ibid.: 10).
Finally, the trend seems to be a ‘diversification’ away from narrow banking business: “On the other hand, the activity of nonbank portfolio management companies has increased substantially. In the 2003–07 period, total assets of nonbank portfolio management companies have more than doubled, increasing from €4.0 billion to €10.5 billion. The number of companies has risen from 24 to 41. This significant expansion indicates the ability of the Monegasque wealth management industry to attract an increasing number of wealthy clients.” (ibid.: 11).
Spear’s wrote in 2008: “Perhaps no other country has such a divided approach to being a tax haven: businessmen would be better domiciling their companies in Alastair Darling’s jacket pocket than in Monaco for the purposes of tax avoidance, but the country cannot get enough of individual HNWs, enticing them with no income tax. If you own a business, do not even think of locating it in Monaco, unless you want to see your profits languish in the Monegasque treasury. For companies that earn more than a quarter of their profits abroad, there is a tax rate of 33.33 per cent. Regulation of financial businesses is strict, dissuading banks and hedge funds from setting up there.
This all leaves a bitter taste in the corporate mouth, and you do not need to transfer wealth to Monaco just for the climate, which is available anywhere on the Côte d’Azur. The redeeming feature is the lack of income tax (unless you are a French national). Anyone who has serious assets to protect comes to Monaco. There are taxes on many other things in Monaco — VAT of almost 20 per cent on most items (as in France), stamp duty on businesses and houses of 7.5 per cent, the EU Savings Tax Directive on interest — but the absence of income tax has fostered a private banking industry controlling £30 billion — 5,000 people have Monegasque citizenship, but there are 300,000 bank accounts.
William Eason, managing partner of Lawrence Graham in Monaco, says what distinguishes Monaco is the unparalleled standard of living. ‘If you want to take it under any headings,’ William says, ‘security, healthcare, schools, quality of life, culture, it’s excellent.’ The problem — or the benefit — is that you need to spend at least three months a year in Monaco, which is not convenient for everyone. Still, the next time the British government rattles the non-doms’ cage, those birds of paradise may just head for the principality on the Mediterranean.” (Spear’s WMS).
On ‘Black-Lists’ of
32 International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation 1977 Yes [Notes]
33 Charles Irish 1982 No [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) No [Notes]
41 Stop Tax Havens Act (USA) 2007 No [Notes]
42 Lowtax.net 2008 Yes [Notes]
43 OECD April 2009 Yes [Notes]