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Everything you need to know about financial licenses in Belize

calendar 9/1/2020 8:00:00 AM
author Admin System

Businesses from around the globe are facing harsher restrictions from regulatory bodies, while licensing costs have grown enormously, and authorities are putting enhanced pressure over those seeking a license.

Meanwhile, most of the countries that offer excellent conditions for investors at a fair price have been blacklisted, which means their licenses are not of much use.

Many countries are tirelessly promoting anti-financial services, anti-market policies while applying high taxes and increasing operational costs, processing fees, and requirements to operate a financial business and receive a license.

But Belize is an excellent exception. This small Central American country is one of the most underrated jurisdictions in the Americas.

It has a reliable, well-established offshore banking business, excellent trust and foundations for asset protection, tax optimization for foreigners, and a stable political and economic environment.

Belize comes with all these benefits while keeping a robust regulatory framework.

 

Financial Licenses

The Belizean financial services regulator, the International Financial Services Commission, is qualified and demanding, but at the same time reasonable. Belize has regulations directed towards protecting investors and promoting their businesses, instead of hindering them.

Belize is an aptly-regulated jurisdiction with reliable tax planning possibilities (for example, no worldwide income tax), and excellent offshore products.

Belize grants a number of different licenses, such as:

  • Formation or management of IBCs or other offshore structures.
  • Trust formation, management, and trustee service-provision.
  • International asset protection and management.
  • Money transmission services.
  • Payment processing services.
  • Trading in foreign exchange (FOREX)
  • Trading in financial instruments, commodities, and other securities.
  • Money brokering.
  • Money lending and pawning.
  • Money exchange.
  • Safe custody services.
  • Accounting services.
  • Brokerage, consultancy or advisory services in any of these services.

Therefore, Belize is a serious regulatory jurisdiction. It has a wide array of licensing options combined with a common law system and transparent rules. This jurisdiction should be on the list of anyone looking for a straightforward and effective solution. Belize is an excellent choice for family offices looking to set up their captive licensed entities without breaking the bank.

As Belize is a reputable jurisdiction, being able to navigate the regulatory terms of the financial services industry in Belize requires intimate, first-hand knowledge of the processes, requirements, and authorities. Our expert team in Belize has worked with the Central Bank and the IFSC and can solve most licensing needs in this jurisdiction.

 

Regulator

The government entity in charge of providing financial licenses is The International Financial Services Commission (IFSC). The IFSC processes licenses and regulates and supervises all agents and firms that work on licensed activities.

The Commission was established on May 3, 1999. It is led by the Financial Secretary of Belize as Chairman, and has a Director-General of the Commission who acts as the CEO of the Commission.

 

Types of licenses

This entity provides the multiples types of licenses for you to engage in a specific sector in Belize:

  • Brokerage/Consultancy/Advisory Services for Trading in Securities
  • International Money Exchange Services
  • International Money Transmission Services
  • International Payment Processing Services
  • Trading in Securities Licence
  • Trading in Foreign Exchange

 

IFSC Fees

The licenses have the following fees depending on their type:


Formation or management of international business companies or other offshore companies

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

2,500.00

Trust formation and management of offshore trusts and provision of trustee services

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

2,500.00

International asset protection and management

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Money transmission services

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Payment processing services

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Trading in foreign exchange

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

25,000.00

Trading in financial and commodity-based derivative instruments and other securities

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

25,000.00

Money brokering 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Money lending and pawning 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Money exchange 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Safe custody services 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Moreover, the IFSC requires a non-refundable application fee of US$1,000.00. The license fee must be paid after the Commission approves the license.

 

Capital Requirements

The IFSC also has minimum capital requirements:

Formation or management of international business companies or other offshore companies

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

2,500.00

Trust formation and management of offshore trusts and provision of trustee services

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

2,500.00

International asset protection and management

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Money transmission services

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Payment processing services

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Trading in foreign exchange

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

25,000.00

Trading in financial and commodity-based derivative instruments and other securities

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

25,000.00

Money brokering 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Money lending and pawning 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Money exchange 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Safe custody services 

(a) Application fee

1,000.00

(b) Annual licence fee

5,000.00

Service or activity

Minimum capital required US$

Formation and management of IBCs and other offshore companies

10,000.00

Trust formation, management, and provision of trustee services

15,000.00

International asset protection and management

25,000.00

Money transmission services

75,000.00

Payment processing services

75,000.00

Trading in foreign exchange

500,000.00

Trading in financial and commodity-based instruments among other securities

500,000.00

Money brokering

75,000.00

Money lending and pawning

75,000.00

Money exchange

75,000.00

Safe custody services

50,000.00

Accounting services

25,000.00

Brokerage, consultancy or advisor services in any of the above services

50,000.00

 

Requirements for Application

To apply for any of the above-mentioned licenses, you will need to submit the following:

  • Cover letter from the Director, with some indications about the application.
  • Fee payment
  • Application form
  • KYC for each key individual of the applicant:
  • Biographical affidavit (notarised and apostilled for a non-resident)
  • ID (notarized and apostilled)
  • Proof of address within the past three (3) months of receipt of the application
  • Financial Reference
  • Professional Reference
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Certificate of Qualification
  • Evidence of due diligence checks
  • A letter from the Director attesting some law and services requirements
  • Business Documents:
  • Business Plan
  • Complaints Handling Procedures
  • Manual of Operating Procedures
  • Money Laundering Prevention Controls Manual

If the applicant is a legal entity and its shareholder is a corporate shareholder:

  • Certificate of Registration
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Register of Director(s) and Shareholder(s)
  • Share Certificate(s)
  • Declaration of Beneficial Ownership
  • Certificate of Good Standing

These requirements are rigorous, but our experts have plenty of experience dealing with these licenses and are pleased to assist with applications so they can be prepared as thoroughly as possible.

 

Procedure

Stage 1: Acknowledgment of the Application

Our experts will first work with you to gather all the information necessary to prepare the application package. Afterwards, the application will be submitted to the IFSC, and a day later, it will acknowledge the receipt of the application.

Stage 2: Verification of Completeness of Application

Subsequently, the Commission will take no more than two (2) days to confirm and determine if the application is complete/incomplete. If the Commission ensures that the application is complete, it will start the assessment of the application.

Stage 3: Assessment Phase of Application

Lastly, the Commission will reveal its final decision after ten working days.

After the “Approval to Grant a License,” the Commission will emit a notice of approval with a formal letter by the Director-General. This letter establishes the matters (if any) that must be solved by the applicant. An invoice for the license fee(s) will be sent in a separate cover, which must be paid within the term specified by the invoice.

In some instances, the application can be placed in abeyance. This means the application needs further review, but the applicant can address the issues that may arise during the review process within fifteen working days of the reception of the notice.

If the application is refused, a notice of refusal will be issued, stating the reasons for the rejection.

 

Managing Agents Regulations

The IFSC created the Managing Agents regulations in June 2020.

The rules are not entirely clear yet but are intended to provide a vehicle to meet economic substance requirements by licensed companies and IBCs. This means there will likely be an outsourcing process of some IFSC activities to licensed providers, which is promising as it means that the Commission is looking to accelerate procedures.

The Commission is still preparing guidance notes to reveal the steps and requirements to apply for a managing agent license.

 

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

In Mundo, along with NTL, we have two decades of experience providing unmatched financial, investment, migration, corporate, and asset protection services for HNWI all over the world.

Belize is an excellent jurisdiction for financial licensing.

In all these years, we have built an unrivaled network of experts, including a first-level team in Belize.

We can help you apply for and receive a financial license in Belize and with all attached necessities for that process (corporate structures, bank accounts, accounting, etc.)

Our team of experts can help you to:

  • Create and incorporate your IBC or LLC
  • Prepare and submit the application for a financial license
  • Review all documents and company policies and adapt them to Belizean regulations
  • Director services, as well as any liaison services representing the company
  • Annual director meeting with the IFSC
  • Establishment of a physical office location, as required by the Economic Substance Act.  

Our experts have the finest experience submitting fit and proper applications to the IFSC and successfully acquiring licenses to many clients.

We can help you established a licensed business in Belize.

All you need to do is contact us right now!


Enquire Now

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