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Belize, an offshore banking jurisdiction for all

calendar 5/27/2020 8:00:00 AM
author Admin System

Due to its small size, Belize is generally overlooked in the Central American region. 

The country seems like an outsider: it’s an English speaking country in a Spanish-speaking region, it’s smaller than most of its neighbors (that aren’t particularly big countries, to begin with), it gained its independence in 1981, whereas its neighbors did so in the 19th century or the early 20th century. It’s been a stable democracy in its short history, while all of its neighbors have suffered dictatorships or civil war during this time.

But there’s one more substantial reason why Belize stands out from its neighbors: its well-developed banking system.

It’s fair to ask why choosing Belize where Panama is also in the neighborhood. Well, if you want the benefits of Panama without the fuss, the tons of procedures, and in a cost-conscious environment, then you’re looking at Belize.

And we haven’t even discussed the tax optimization opportunities, or the natural beauties of Belize, such as Ambergris Caye.

Belize is a top destination for investors wishing to diversify their assets and invest abroad. Its geographical proximity, its top financial offering and security, and its simplicity should put it at the top of your list.

If this small overview has gotten your attention, continue reading.

Belize’s benefits

First of all, opening a bank account in Belize offers top asset protection. In today’s world, many governments consider high net worth individuals, businesspeople, and investors as easy prey. You cannot have too much asset protection if you are aware of this issue. 

Guess what? Belize has one of the most robust asset protection frameworks in the Americas to allow you to keep safe the legacy you’ve built with your hard work. Likewise, its economic and political stability are rare for a developing country. All recent governments have understood the role of the financial sector in the country’s economy that has led to unprecedented durability, which is a vital element for asset protection.

You know that diversification is vital. You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s vital to diversify your assets in different jurisdictions and types of investments. 

However, gaining access to some top banking jurisdictions can be a tiresome and costly process. That’s not the case with Belize. It is one of the easiest options to increase your diversification quickly and safely.

Belize’s stability

The banking laws in Belize have helped the country become a top financial center.

Just to name one example: in Belize, all banks are obliged to keep a 24 % liquidity ratio, which is way higher than in other countries.

What does this mean in layman terms? Well, when you’re depositing your assets in a bank, you’re basically saying you trust that bank.

However, as banks conduct a variety of financial operations, they don’t necessarily always have all the money people have deposited in the bank in hand.

When a bank says it has half of its money liquidly, it fundamentally means it can rapidly make use of half of its assets. 

Nonetheless, in many cases, the liquidity ratios are barely regulated, or the necessary percentages are surprisingly low. That’s not the case with Belize, as banks need to have a liquidity ratio of almost a quarter of their total assets, which can help you relax.

These regulations have made Belize a top financial destination due to its stability.

However, in some cases, these advantages, specially designed for legit investors and high net worth individuals, can be used by criminals, which damages the overall look of the jurisdiction.

This is a legitimate concern. However, Belize has a robust regulative framework to prevent money laundering and terrorism funding in its territory. Even if requirements are simpler than in other well-established banking jurisdictions such as Panama or Switzerland, banking laws require investors to reveal some vital information about them and their businesses. That doesn’t mean you should reveal your registry or the name of the board members, but the information regarding the bank accounts and dealings of your company must always be clear.

Banks in Belize

In Belize, there are two main types of banks. On the one hand, you have the local commercial banks, and on the other, you have offshore or international banks, generally known as private banks.

Offshore banking is relatively new in Belize as the law that regulates it was approved in 1996, and the Central Bank of Belize oversees its compliance.

Offshore banks in good standing allow investors to enjoy fantastic privacy and asset protection while having unparalleled opportunities for financial security and growth.

Belize is one of those rare breeds where laws are designed to help investors instead of endangering them.

Foreign individuals and companies have no limitation whatsoever regarding opening bank accounts in international banks in Belize, even investment accounts.

Aside from the security that brings the high-liquidity laws in Belize, interest rates are usually higher than in many other countries. Thus, fixed deposits accounts and savings accounts in Belize enjoy unsurpassed stability and benefits.

You can think of it as a relatively low-risk and low-cost way to fund your retirement or your children’s college studies.

How to open an account in Belize

Opening a bank account in Belize isn’t difficult.

First of all, you don’t have to be physically present in Belize to open a personal or corporate bank account.

Documents vary from bank to bank, but, in general, you’ll need a passport, a proof of residence, and a banking reference. You may need personal references in certain circumstances, too. 

Generally, you need to submit these documents physically via mail or through an authorized agent. However, some banks accept the electronic copies of your documents to start evaluating your profile before your physical documents arrive.

Ten reasons why you should open a bank account in Belize

Amazing for middle-worth investors

Some people are shocked when they see that the Belizean banking services are not limited to Warren Buffets and Arab Sheiks. You don’t have to be an ultra-high net worth individual to open a bank account in Belize and take advantage of its amazing benefits.

The main reason why is because many Belizean private banks don't require high minimum balance and minimum deposit to open an account. This is an outstanding opportunity for executives, small and medium businesspeople and investors, and people saving for their retirement.

Flexible corporate structures

Business owners can establish an array of corporate structures that can help them get benefits from the Belizean fiscal and banking laws. International accounts with a Belizean bank can help you make investments that may not be possible with a local bank. 

In fact, Belizean LLCs can be used for tax optimization purposes taking advantage of robust banking laws.

Want to know more about our corporate services in Belize? Check our corporate article and open an LLC with Mundo!

No language limitations

If you’re a Mundo reader, you may have read our articles regarding other top banking jurisdictions such as Georgia and Armenia. However, you may not feel comfortable with putting your money in a place where your mother tongue isn’t widely spoken. That’s not the case with Belize. English is the official language, and due to its geographical proximity with Mexico and Guatemala, most of the population speaks Spanish.

This will eliminate any potential language barrier for you.

The local currency is linked to the USD

One of the main elements to consider when investing or safekeeping your money in a country is its financial and monetary stability. 

We’ve already discussed some of the reasons why the banking system in Belize is so stable. However, the country also boasts impressive monetary resilience. The reason is simple: the Belize dollar is pegged to the US Dollar.

What does this mean? That the official value is set directly in relation to the US Dollar at a simple conversion rate: 2 BZ$ = 1 US$.

That means your money will be kept in a steady currency.

Good reputation and liquidity ratio

We’ve briefly explained what the liquidity ratio is and why they are important. But for further comparison, think that the US banks usually have a liquidity ratio of 3 % to 4 %, in Belize it is 24 %. That means almost a quarter of the bank funds must be available for large withdrawals.

This has turned Belize into a safe banking destination where a bank has never filed for bankruptcy.  

Confidentiality

Belize cooperated with international organizations that guarantee that investments aren’t used for organized crime, terrorism, or any international crime.

Still, Belize offers a high level of privacy to its beneficiaries so they may protect their assets and financial information. That doesn’t mean they allow you to open an anonymous bank account. 

What we mean is that opening a bank account in Belize allows you to be protected against judicial processes and seizure of assets, which isn’t probably the case in your home country.

A terrific retirement destination

Opening a bank account in Belize is the first step to retire in this otherworldly country. It’ll offer you a calm ambiance with reduced expenses, with some of the best sights you’ll enjoy in your entire life.

Moreover, those who are suitable for the Qualified Retirement Program (basically a $2k monthly income, being more than 45 years old, and a clean criminal record), receive a full tax exemption of all foreign income, whether it is remitted to Belize or not.

Easy operations

Offshore banking sometimes comes with complex operations. That’s not the case with Belize. First, its time zone is the same as Chicago, which is more beneficial for you whenever you have to call your bank.

However, the banks also offer fantastic online banking services so you may control your banking operations from your smartphone or computer.

Variety of options and currencies

Banks in Belize adapt to your needs. You can operate an account in a foreign currency if you wish or accumulate interests in savings account for your retirement or the future of your family or open a bank account for your business. Likewise, they also offer investment options such as loans for real estate purchasing.

Diversification

There’s always a risk when investing. That is why a basic rule for investment and asset protection is diversifying risk.

That doesn’t only mean diversifying between assets or accounts, but also geographically.

But that also comes with risks. However, investing in Belize is amazingly safe, which will allow you to diversify your assets securely and easily. 

Who are we, and what can we do for you?

After reading all this, you’re probably convinced that Belize should be on your watchlist regarding where to open a bank account for asset protection and diversification.

But still, even if the process seems simple from the beginning, generally, you need to travel to Belize, or, at least, have a representative in the country.

And that’s where we come in.

In Mundo, along with NTL Trust, we have more than 20 years of experience providing second passport and financial services for high net worth individuals, investors, and businesspeople around the world.

We are registered agents in Belize for banking and corporate services. In all this time, we’ve built an unmatched network of experts and partners around the world. 

Among them is one of the best banks in Belize. It has been one of our leading partners for years. It has won the award for the Best Private Bank in Belize in and has also won the award for the Best Offshore Bank in Central America and Latin America. One of the main reasons for its success is that it almost doubles the liquidity required by law.

We can help you open a personal or a corporate account in Belize, depending on your financial, personal, and business needs.

In both options (corporate or personal), the account can be a term deposit account, a savings account, or a private offshore demand deposit account. 

If you choose the demand deposit account, the minimum opening balance is $1,000. The demand deposit account is multi-currency, meaning that you can save US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Canadian Dollars, or Swiss Francs, but you have to choose one of them. It comes with a 0.10 % interest rate for balances over $10k but under $100k, and 0.15 % over $100k.

The term deposit account has a minimum opening balance of $25k, and it’s available in US Dollars. Moreover, it comes with a fixed interest rate of 2.25 % for your first year, which can increase up to 3.50 % in the fifth year.

The savings account has a minimum opening balance of $1,000, and it’s available in US Dollars. It comes with a 0.10 % interest rate for balances under $25k, 0.25 % for balances between $25k and $99k, and 0.50 % for balances over $100k. Furthermore, you receive bonus interest whenever you deposit at least $10k in a quarter.

Now, what are the specifics?

First of all, all documents must be submitted in English. In both cases, the bank takes at least 20 days from the final submission to provide a response. Let’s talk about the process and documents for each account:

Corporate account

The process to open a corporate bank account in Belize is simple:

  • Send all required documents to us

  • Fill the bank forms and send a signed scanned copy of them

  • Pass the pre-approval process

  • We submit your application to the bank

As you may see, we use a pre-approval system. That means we send your documents to our partner bank previously to see if they are interested in your profile and in establishing a business relationship with you. This doesn’t guarantee your success, but it certainly increases your chances exponentially and it saves you time, as you won’t have to prepare different applications for different banks.

What documents do we need? 

For every final beneficiary, signatory, director, official, and trustee:

  • Notarized colored passport copy (any other signed ID that includes a photo also works)

  • Notarized copy of a proof of residence that is less than two months old

  • Banking and professional reference

Final beneficiary:

  • CV

Corporate documents:

  • Notarized copy of:

    • Incorporation certificate

    • Good standing certificate (if the company is more than one year old

    • Act of the general meeting

    • Shareholding certificate

    • Power of attorney (if applicable)

  • Simple copy of: 

    • Acts and memorandums of association or statutes 

    • Trust declaration (if applicable)

  • Brief business plan mentioning every partner and webpages (if applicable)

  • Contracts, agreement with partners, brochures, invoices (if available)

The bank may require some additional documents. Opening the account usually takes at least 20 days from the moment the documents are submitted.

Personal account

For the personal account, the process is pretty much the same: 

  • Send all required documents to us

  • Fill the bank forms and send a signed scanned copy of them

  • Pass the pre-approval process

  • We submit your application to the bank

What documents do we need? Simple:

  • Notarized copy of your passport or national ID

  • Banking and professional reference letter

  • Notarized proof of residence (of less than two months old)

  • CV

Belize is one of the best banking jurisdictions on the planet. It offers excellent services, and you don’t have to be an ultra-high net worth individual to have a suitable profile for banks in Belize.

Do you want to know more about our banking services in Belize and our partner bank? Enquire now!

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