Since 2012

Stable and safe business: Antigua and Barbuda’s offshore banks

One form of participation in the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program is purchase of real estate. Investors are seeking to open an account with local banks and get back the funds they’d invested in holiday-related property.
How does the banking system of Antigua and Barbuda work? What are the peculiarities of the offshore system? Which banks are most reliable? Find the answers below, also, we’ll share with you some important details about conducting business safely in Antigua and Barbuda.

What is the modus operandi of banking sector in Antigua and Barbuda?

The country’s financial sector is reliable and stable thanks to Antigua and Barbuda’s membership in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. Stable economic growth is also an important factor, as Antigua and Barbuda’s GDP in 2016 amounted to $1.45 billion, which surpassed the previous year’s numbers by 6.6%.
Antigua and Barbuda’s central bank is the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank which sets the direction of development, controls the processes, regulates monetary policy, and supports the stability of the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index placed the banks of Antigua and Barbuda 98th out of 183 countries, which does say a lot about the advantageous conditions of taking loans. The country ranks 29th in the Reliability of Investments Index.

The first offshore bank was opened in Antigua and Barbuda in 1983. Since then, the sphere has been actively developing and is considered to be one of the most promising and profitable today. A well-developed partner network and a sizeable number of correspondent banks of the Antigua and Barbuda offshore zone promise significant prospects for wealthy businessmen.

Major commercial banks

According to the legislation of Antigua and Barbuda, international business companies (IBCs) are exempted from paying taxes on dividends, interest, royalties for 50 years. This allows foreign investors to open trust accounts on most attractive terms.
Find below the main information on major commercial banks in Antigua and Barbuda:

Opening an account in one of these banks is the best option for investors who are planning to establish a business or purchase real estate on the islands. The second case is especially relevant, because one may invest in elite real estate in Antigua and Barbuda and return investments in 5 years’ time.

Opening a bank account in Antigua and Barbuda

The procedure is fairly simple in any bank. The client fills out an application form and submit standard documents. The default set of documents includes:

  • Antigua and Barbuda’s passport, or an international one if a client is still waiting for their citizenship status to be confirmed;
  • A driver’s license or an ID (of an EU resident, which is an internal document of one’s native country);
  • The documented proof of residence (paid utility bills, rent contract);
  • Additional documents that confirm a positive credit history, such as a recommendation obtained from a private banker.

As a rule, there’s a full list of necessary documents and the application form itself published on each bank’s official website. If one is available to personally open an account in one of Antigua and Barbuda’s bank, the process usually takes just one day. Opening an account remotely might take from three to five days.
No information about the applicant / account holder is disclosed to third parties, as per the confidentiality law. The account can be opened in all popular currencies, including US dollars, Canadian dollars, pounds and euros. The owner obtains a card and a checkbook.

The ins and outs of offshore system and offshore banks in Antigua and Barbuda

The country’s authorities pay their undivided attention to regulation of the banks’ offshore activity so as to maintain the optimal balance between providing attractive business management opportunities and respecting strict international standards. International scandals and the fact that the offshore is being abused have prompted the Antiguan authorities to review the legislation and create a precise handling system to protect the country’s reputation.

Key provisions regarding offshore banking:

  • Officially appointed inspectors are monitoring all bank activity.
  • Each bank is obliged to keep records on all deals and transactions.
  • The capital-to-assets ratio can not be lower than 5%.
  • Any and all changes in the board of directors or of bank owners must be first approved by the Administration for International Financial Services.
  • The bank cannot accept or transfer funds to persons who do not have an account opened with this bank.
  • If the account holder is accused of money laundering, their funds may be confiscated.
  • Money in the account may be blocked by an authorized controller for up to 4 days given that there is an appropriate court order.

Businessmen often invest in real estate objects and projects, tourism, and establishing of international companies in Antigua and Barbuda. The latter option falls under the Law on International Business Companies, which means they can obtain a license for offshore activities.

Key business features and clear advantages for investors in Antigua and Barbuda:

  • international business companies are exempt from many types of tax for 50 years;
  • it’s relatively easy to obtain a license for setting up a gambling business with a solid reputation around the world (Antigua and Barbuda is on the “whitelist” in most countries, including Great Britain);
  • the opportunity to establish own bank with a 500,000 USD investment to cater to own business or an international business with 3 million USD investment (no catering to local customers though);
  • complete data confidentiality. Disclosure of information on the clients’ activities is punishable by law (with the exception when an investigation has been launched or explicit evidence of crime).

Antigua and Barbuda’s most popular offshore banks:

  1. Bank of Nova Scotia;
  2. Antigua / Barbuda Investment Bank Ltd;
  3. Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank;
  4. Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd;
  5. Royal Bank of Canada;
  6. Bank of Antigua;
  7. First Caribbean International Bank Ltd;
  8. RBTT Bank Ltd.

Antigua and Barbuda, a slice of investor heaven on earth

Close to 2,000 investors have gotten the status of Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by taking part in the official government citizenship by investment program.
The amount of minimum investment, now twice reduced, starts at one-time non-refundable donation of US$100,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund. The option of investing in real estate stays the same for now, staring at US$400,000, but those will be the money well invested. Antigua’s tourism sector is developing speedily, there is an international airport there, and highly prestigious yacht shows attract wealthy tourists from all around the world.
Already interested in acquiring the second citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda? Find more detailed information, get answers to your specific questions. Our experts consult and accompany future investors in their journey to the second home.
We also urge our clients to compare conditions of the various CBI programs. This helps them make up their minds and opt for what suits them best. Speaking of Caribbean nations, we can name at least two other reasons to strongly consider one of the countries in the region as your second home:

  • Dominican passport: visa-free entry to 91 country; passports are issued within 3-6 months; no residence requirements; no personal interview.
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis passport: visa-free entry to 132 countries; no residence requirements; passports are issued within 3-5 months. The program has been active since 1984!
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