Banking secrecy in The Bahamas is strictly enforced by law. Access to bank records is only available to signatories on the account and to no one else. Proving to a Bahamian court would materially aid in the prosecution of a criminal act. Could an outside agency possibly be granted access? Tax avoidance or even tax evasion are not considered criminal matters in The Bahamas. There are no taxes here, and no statutes relating to them, rendering it impossible for a court to give a decision even if asked.
There are, however, severe penalties for money laundering and both banks and management companies endeavor to ensure that the funds handled are of clean, non-criminal origin, whether tax has been paid on them or not. To this end, most banks require that you personally open your account. If you are unable to do so, we make special arrangements for you. We urge you to make this effort.
Bahamian banks are regulated far more strictly than banks in the U.S.A. and must, by law, hold much greater reserve. For this reason, it is not considered necessary to insure deposits. Our banks of choice are nearly all subsidiaries of international banks with worldwide connections and impeccable reputations.
To open an account for your IBC you will require a personal letter of reference from your bank addressed to the Bahamian bank you select, a copy of your passport or birth certificate, a copy of your driver's license and two utility bills that gives confirmation of your residential address and the funds for opening deposit. This ranges from $1000 and up depending on the bank. The requirement for a reference is absolute and should indicate that you have held the account in good standing for at least 3 years. No financial information is required. The purpose is to establish that you are who you say you are, and the information is held in complete confidentiality by the bank.
All normal banking services are available and wire transfers may be used by facsimile or, in some case, by direct computer link with the bank. Cheque books are available, but substantial delays and costs are incurred for clearing due to the lack of electronic clearing arrangements with The Bahamas.
Credit Cards are available and may be used to access your funds.
Selected banks with whom we have connections are:
Barclays Bank Plc - one of the World's largest bank with a wide range of International Services.
CIBC Bahamas Ltd. - a prestigious Bahamian Bank and an affiliate of Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce, based in Canada.
Royal Bank of Canada.
Royal Bank of Scotland - one of the United Kingdom's most respected institutions.
There are, of course, many more to choose from. All may be considered safe repositories for your funds and we shall be pleased to assist you in your choice.
All of our services are conducted in complete privacy.
For a confidential, private consultation or for greater clarification about any of these matters please contact us and our staff would be pleased to assist you.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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In this guide, Tina Meigh and Nick Herrod provide an overview of lending and secured finance law in the Cayman Islands.
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