Good asset protection often means putting your financial eggs in more than one basket – preferably an offshore basket! As you accumulate wealth as an entrepreneur or other high-net-worth professional, you might ask yourself what’s the best country in which to open an offshore bank account.
That should have a simple answer, right? Countries like Switzerland, the Isle of Man, Singapore, and even Hong Kong are popular picks. But the truth is much more complicated, and you should never set up a trust bank account in a particular country just because others say it’s the right place.
It’s a Trick Question – There is No “Best” Country for Offshore Banking for Everyone
Here are the facts: there is no single country you should default to when deciding where to open an offshore bank account.
Sure, some countries have a reputation for being better for offshore banking, but that doesn’t mean you should hop on the next flight to Switzerland with your financial documents in your carry-on bag.
The reality is that there are several countries that might be perfect for your purposes. But just like there's no single ideal asset protection strategy for everyone with millions or tens of millions of dollars to protect, there's also no easy list of countries you should flip through and choose between because of plane tickets or how neat a bank's website happens to look.
What if you’ve seen other articles with basic breakdowns of the best countries for opening an offshore bank account? Ignore them.
So, What Makes a Country “Good” for Offshore Banking?
Any country that’s suitable for your offshore banking and asset protection strategy usually has several key attributes or characteristics. At Dominion, we look for a handful of crucial criteria before recommending any country for your offshore banking needs.
Strong Financial Protections and Legislation
First and foremost, a good country for offshore banking needs to have exceptional financial protections and legislation surrounding those protections.
Naturally, the last thing you want is to open up an offshore bank account in a country like Switzerland, for example, only to have an aggressive, highly motivated judge come after your assets and be able to blast through any legal defenses you might rely on.
The best countries for offshore banking usually have very strong international financial laws – there are plenty of statutes on the books detailing exactly what you do and do not have to do (and what banks do and do not have to do) in the event of lawsuits or other legal actions.
Strong Precedent Around Those Laws
Strong laws aren't worth anything if there isn't sufficient legal precedent behind them to guard against future legal attacks. To that end, Dominion looks for countries that have robust, historical precedents surrounding the financial laws that your asset protection strategy will depend upon.
Generally, this means that countries with long histories – again, this is why countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands are popular choices for offshore banking – are better than younger countries or jurisdictions that haven’t been around long enough, at least in their current political forms, to have developed enough case precedent for financial protections.
Strong Privacy Protections
Similarly, you should look for a country that offers very strong privacy protections. All of our clients benefit from strong privacy – you don’t want a judge or legal attacker to be able to browse through your financial information on a whim.
Don't forget that precedent matters here, as well. A good country for offshore banking and asset protection has legal precedents surrounding privacy defenses and laws, not just a few statutes implemented a year ago.
With sufficient precedent, it can be all but impossible for your assets to be taken against your will, as courts or case plaintiffs will have no legal standing to attack your assets even if they desire to.
Banks Offering True Privacy
You’ll also want to make sure that the banks present in a given country offer true privacy. When it comes to asset protection, “true” privacy means that the bank doesn’t have a lot of branches spread around the world.
Why? Banks that are dispersed in this way – for example, the bank might have its headquarters or primary branch in Switzerland, but also maintain several subsidiary branches in the United States – are more vulnerable to legal attacks.
It may be possible, hypothetically, for a judge in a less protected jurisdiction to compel you to access and give up your assets in a more protected jurisdiction if the bank you use is in both.
True privacy limits the threat vectors you might encounter as a high-net-worth individual for years to come. The less your opponents know about your assets, the less likely they are to try to attack or take them from you.
Asset Protection Banks vs. “General” Banks
It’s important to note that many of the banks that are suitable for asset protection aren’t the best partners for general banking needs. These banks generally have high fees, they are slow when processing payments, and they require a tremendous amount of information about the client.
The takeaway? Don’t assume that, since you already have a good offshore bank account in one country, the same country or bank will be suitable for your asset protection goals. The two types of banks best suited for either need are drastically different from each other.
No or Low Conflict and Political Turmoil
Stable countries are good for offshore banking, particularly for high-net-worth individuals like yourself. Long-term asset protection focuses on guarding your wealth for decades. Therefore, turbulent countries with a lot of international conflict or political turmoil should be avoided at all costs.
After all, laws don’t matter if the country overseeing those laws disappears because of a coup, an election with huge political ramifications, etc.
Strong Connectivity Between Banking Infrastructure and Political Environment
Furthermore, the best countries for opening an offshore bank account have strong economic connections between the political environment or government and the country’s banking infrastructure. Such connections are important because the more important a country’s banking infrastructure is to the economy, the less likely that country’s government is to mess with things or implement radical banking changes.
Again, this ties into stability and how much you can rely on a country to be a good haven for your offshore assets.
What’s the Best Place to Open a Bank for You?
To recap, there’s no one country or even a list of countries that you should automatically consider to be the best for offshore banking for your specific needs. Asset protection is a personalized, unique approach for everybody.
This only makes sense when you think about it: you have different needs, businesses, expenses, savings, and assets to protect compared to anyone else, even an entrepreneur or professional in your same field or niche.
With that in mind, the best place for you to open an offshore bank account might be based on factors like:
- Who you are as a professional or business owner
- Your citizenship status(es)
- Your residency status(es)
- Where your business or businesses are located and what they do
- How you generate your wealth
- How you want to invest your money and use it later down the road (e.g., how do you want to be able to access your protected assets?)
- Whether you need the money invested in specific jurisdictions or not
Furthermore, the country is only half of the asset protection location puzzle. You don't bank with a country or its government; you bank with a bank.
The country is indeed important, as it's the surrounding economic or political context that might affect the bank’s operations and rules. But if a country like Switzerland is good in general for banking, that doesn't mean it's automatically ideal for your banking requirements.
A Good Bank for Some Might Not Be the Best Choice for You
In addition to all of the above criteria, what constitutes an excellent asset protection bank for one person may not be the best choice for your specific needs. True, bank reputation does matter a great deal, and if a bank is known to be a solid choice for asset protection, there’s also a chance it may work for your purposes.
But a personalized, custom-tailored asset protection strategy – like the kind you can get with Dominion – relies on each piece being formulated to achieve a specific defensive goal. Do not – we repeat – do not assume that you can choose the same bank as another entrepreneur you know for your asset protection strategy and see identical results.
Determine the Right Offshore Bank Jurisdiction with Dominion
Just because there's no easy or simple answer to, "What's the best country to open an offshore bank account for me?” doesn’t mean you can’t answer it, especially with Dominion working by your side.
We look at the world as a buffet of options, and we are agnostic in any jurisdiction. We play no favorites other than where we can find the best advantages for our clients. Because of this, you can rest assured we will find the ideal offshore banking solution and setup for your asset protection strategy. Get in touch today so we can get started.