By Luigi Wewege, SVP of Caye International Bank.
When you bring up the idea of offshore banking, it’s not unusual to get a dozen different opinions about where the best tax haven is or where banks are most eager to get foreign investors. Look beyond all the noise and you’ll find that Belize is consistently chosen by savvy investors for offshore banking. Clearly, Belize has a lot to offer those interested in the financial side of the equation.
Whether you’re dreaming of your upcoming retirement, you want to purchase property overseas or you’re ready for greater asset diversification, banking in Belize can be ideal. Here are a few reasons why.
Ease of banking in Belize
Something that can’t be ignored is the ease of managing an offshore bank account in Belize. Some people are worried about offshore banking because they don’t know what to expect, or they are worried about it being difficult or inconvenient. In reality, that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth.
To start, the official language of Belize is English. Although you might hear Spanish or Creole spoken on the beach, financial professionals are fluent in English. Whether you’re signing a contract or reading the terms of a new account, it will be in English. You won’t need a translator nor have to pay for translated documents. In short, there is no need to be concerned about a language barrier at any point.
Another reason that banking in Belize is so convenient is the time zone. It is located in the Central Standard Time (CST) zone so Ambergris Caye, Belize, has the same time as in Chicago. Some people are concerned that offshore banking means getting on the phone in the middle of the night with banking staff, but that’s not the case in Belize. Banks operate during normal office hours, which just so happen to coincide perfectly with most North American hours of business.
Of course, you may not want to communicate over the phone about your offshore banking needs at all. Fortunately, the convenience of banking in Belize also extends to online services. As long as you have access to an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can transfer money or check your balances with the click of a button.
Excellent liquidity rates offer incredible stability
Arguably one of the biggest concerns that any individual or corporation has in today’s world is banking stability. Even in places like Europe or the United States, major banks can fold. Economic stability is not guaranteed, so it is important to look for destinations where there is as much stability as possible.
Belize has taken the necessary steps to create greater financial security for residents and investors alike. Banks are required to have high liquidity rates. In fact, most banks surpass national requirements and have more than 24% liquidity rates. Compared to some North American banks with just 3% or 4% liquidity, this can provide peace of mind.
While no financial choice is completely free from risk, Belize also provides stability in other ways. They have free and democratic elections, which results in a stable government. Economically, its currency is pegged to the US Dollar. This adds an extra level of stability when compared to other Central American banking destinations.
Diversification is key
People delve into offshore banking for varied reasons. However, one of the most common is to diversify financial holdings. A basic tenet of Economics 101 is that in order to reduce risk, you need to diversify.
Many people diversify but continue to maintain their holdings within a single country’s jurisdiction. Ultimately, true diversification also includes geographic diversification.
Although Belize offers a chance to invest in a new geographic location, it also offers all the things you expect in a secure financial environment. This allows for diversification without the stress of learning a new banking system or even a new legal system. Belize operates according to common-law systems similar to those you find in Britain, the US or Canada.
Unparalleled asset protection and privacy
In decades past, certain nations held a monopoly on banking privacy and anonymity. As those destinations received more and more publicity, however, banking clients actually received more scrutiny. In Belize, banks still operate in a way that grants account holders and businesses financial privacy and asset protection.
This doesn’t mean that you can open a bank account anonymously or avoid taxation in your home country. What it means is that once your assets are placed in a Belize bank account, they are far more secure than they would be elsewhere. If you face lawsuits or frozen assets in the future, your accounts in Belize will remain secure.
Plus, those who operate businesses within Belize can protect the identities of board members or shareholders if desired.
Diversity of financial options and services
While you can discover many reasons as to why banking in Belize is so popular, it is only a worthwhile option if the offshore banks in Belize offer the financial services you require. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options.
You might choose to operate foreign currency accounts, accrue interest in a savings account, open a business account, or take advantage of financing options. From real estate loans for beach properties to lines of credit for commercial accounts, there is plenty of variety, as well as the opportunity to find specific investment options that suit your preferred risk level.
Reputable banking systems
If you choose to bank offshore in Belize, then it makes sense to go with an institution that is established, financially solvent and recognized for its banking excellence. An example is Caye International Bank on Ambergris Caye island.
Caye’s most recent recognitions include:
- World’s Best Private Bank in Belize for 2018 and 2019 (Global Finance Magazine)
- Most Outstanding Offshore Bank in Central America for 2018 (Wealth & Finance International)
When selecting a bank, ensure it is compliant with necessary regulations and is licensed to provide international services to both corporations and individuals.
Discover banking in Belize
Plenty of investors worldwide appreciate what Belize has to offer and choose this location to assist in asset diversification. When looking for the best locations for offshore banking and investing, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any more favourable than Belize.