Vimal Damry participates in the IR Global Guide – A Jurisdictional Guide to Opening a Foreign Bank Account

Foreward by Andrew Chilvers

For companies and individuals looking to move into new jurisdictions for business opportunities, setting up a bank account is a crucial part of the process. But this is never as straightforward as it seems.

In all countries, banks are obliged to crack down on fraud and any potential financial scullduggery. As a result, they tend to be very risk averse. Regardless of where a business establishes an office in the world, local banks will generally have the newly arrived expatriates jumping through various hoops, pulling their hair out in frustration.

The new arrival will need the relevant paperwork, including personal identity papers, a personal and business address, personal references and other numerous documents. And that’s just the beginning.

Every jurisdiction has its own banks and banking rules, which are often complex and bureaucratic. Consequently, seeking advice from local legal and financial experts before setting up a bank account is imperative if a company is it get the right account for its particular business objectives. This is why it’s so important to use local advisers who are experts in the jurisdiction to provide information about the local banking rules.

What is the general risk appetite of banks in your jurisdiction and how does that affect setting up a new business bank account?

I Premier’s banking solutions in Mauritius

• In Mauritius the bank account opening procedures have been streamlined and there is no need for the directors/authorised signatories to visit the banks to open bank accounts.

• Each account opening is duly considered and risk profiled before a decision is taken. Several factors are considered such as the business activity, size of transfers, countries of operations etc. Decisions are then quickly communicated whether they will onboard the client or not.

• The client needs to be duly introduced by a licensed Management Company like us at Premier Financial Services Limited.

• Banks in addition also provide a variety of banking services such as trade finance, loans, project financing, debit/ credit cards, trade financing, merchant accounts, investment custodian accounts, etc.

II. Premier’s Role in opening bank accounts

• As an Eligible Introducer, Premier will act as intermediary between the bank and the client and, hence, the client is not required to visit the bank for the bank account opening.

• Professional Advice – depending on the client’s banking services requirements, we will suggest with which bank the account can be opened.

• Premier can assist in opening bank accounts for Mauritius entities (companies, trusts, foundations) and foreign entities (BVI, Seychelles, Cyprus, Malta, Singapore, UK etc). We can also help clients to open personal bank accounts in Mauritius.

III. Minimum balance requirements

• The minimum balance requirements for opening a corporate or personal bank account in Mauritius varies from bank to bank.

• Most banks do not require a minimum balance. Premier would be happy to discuss each bank’s requirements.

• The approval for the bank accounts is done on a case-by-case basis. Due to our excellent banking relationships with the banks, Premier assist you its clients in opening a corporate/personal bank account quickly.

IV. Features and benefits for opening a bank account in Mauritius

• Multiple currencies bank accounts (EUR, USD, GBP, AED, RAND)

• No physical presence required

• Confidentiality protected by banking law subject to international common reporting standard

• Debit and Credit Visa/Mastercard card

• Low minimum balance requirements

• Trade Financing

• Very good & user-friendly Internet Banking Facilities

• SWIFT /IBAN services;

• Fast Track account opening

• No exchange control.

How accommodating are banks in your jurisdiction for opening a business and personal bank account?

I. Bank’s onboarding process

It should be noted that Mauritius is an International Financial Centre (IFC) accommodating foreign investors and business people using the IFC.

• Initially, Premier will seek pre-approval from banks in Mauritius based on the basic information received from the client.

• Once the pre-approval has been received, a comprehensive list of documentations will be sent by the ‘Eligible Introducer’ to complete the process of bank account opening.

• Complete due diligence will then be carried out by the banks once all requisite documentations have been submitted to the bank.

II. Bank account opening process by Premier- Corporate/ Personal bank account opening

a) PRE-APPROVAL PROCESS
1. Personal bank account

1) Passport copy & CV of the client.
2) Client to advise on the rationale for opening a personal bank account in Mauritius.
3) Estimated size of inwards and outwards transactions monthly; and
4) Types of incomings and outgoings into the account.

2. Corporate bank account

1) Business plan of the company;
2) Passport and CV on the Ultimate Beneficial Owners; and
3) Estimated figures of inwards and outwards transactions monthly.

b) POST PRE-APPROVAL

Once the pre-approval has been received, Premier will the client bank account opening forms for signatures and will also require the following documentations to be provided:

a) Premier’s Application Form
b) Premier’s Terms & Conditions
c) Full Compliance documents.

Should you join an internationally reputable or established bank rather than a local bank?

In Mauritius, there is a very interesting mix of international and local banks licensed by the Bank of Mauritius.

International versus local banks:

The banking facilities for international and local banks are almost same. However, it is perceived that it is easier to open bank accounts with local banks compared to international banks. Some international banks have a minimum balance compared to local banks and their group policies may be bureaucratic and time consuming sometimes.

Premier’s experience in bank account opening – Foreign Entities

So far, Premier have assisted several clients in opening bank accounts for companies/entities located in different jurisdictions across the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, BVI, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and others.

Contributing Advisors

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