To begin with, it is important for anyone setting up a bank account in the Cayman Islands to understand their own country’s rules before doing so. Some Cayman Islands offshore banking establishments are on the European Union’s blacklist of foreign tax havens, for example. This does not prevent overseas investors from opening a Cayman Islands offshore account but it could lead to further scrutiny of their finances. Deliberately trying to hide wealth in a Cayman Islands bank account may land you in legal trouble but opening one does not mean you are necessarily trying to avoid taxation at home.
Secondly, check out some of the Cayman bank account providers online. You do not need to travel to the territory in person to open a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Sometimes, all you need to do is apply online. That said, many investors will prefer to at least organise a video conference or telephone call with their chosen establishment before transferring funds. After all, as well as storing your wealth securely, you may also want to discuss the availability of other financial services, such as internet banking, credit cards and investments before proceeding.
Thirdly, decide whether you want a Cayman Islands bank account to hold your wealth for you for a time or whether you want an investment account. A Cayman bank account that is managed for you may offer a range of investment products, such as stocks, mutual funds and bonds. These are commonly associated with higher professional fees than conventional Cayman Islands offshore banking accounts. However, they can provide a significantly greater return when they are administered well.
Next, look into all of the charges that might apply. Those which have the highest fees can sometimes outperform cheaper alternatives but this is not always the case. When deciding which Cayman Island banks might be right for your attitude to risk, always look at the establishment’s past performance as an indicator of what you can expect in the future. Sometimes more than one Cayman Islands bank will have very similar services and performance history but charge different amounts so, as usual, it pays to shop around.
Check whether the Cayman bank account you are considering opening means you have to obtain an apostille stamp. This is a stamp issued by a government official which may mean you have to show your application form to the authorities in your home state. For example, in the UK, the fee for an apostille stamp is only £30 and you can apply for it online. However, not all Cayman Island banks will require you to obtain one.
It is also worth finding out what other documents you may need to produced to open a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Typically, you will need some proof of ID, a previous financial statement and a declaration of the use you expect to put your wealth to. Not all Cayman Islands private bank accounts have the same level of scrutiny, however. Choosing a Cayman bank account where there are fewer checks may mean the tax authorities at home take a greater interest in your reasons. Therefore, the more information you provide, the fewer questions there tend to be.
Finally, it is time to proceed with your application. Depending on the amount of information you need to supply, setting up a bank account in the Cayman Islands can be done in just a day or two. Once opened, you can begin to start enjoying the benefits of your Cayman bank account. Discover what they are in the next chapter.