Asset protection strategies and products offered by international banks in the various offshore tax havens around the globe don’t differ that much in substance. However, there are some interesting and powerful products you might come across in the offshore banking arena that are very different from what your domestic bank offers.
Here are five privacy-oriented offshore banking services that you might be able to achieve to further your freedom, wealth and privacy!
1. Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes
A safe deposit box is a locked box reserved for you in the vault of your bank. In your safe deposit box you might keep documents such as physical stocks or bonds, or for small, high value goods that they want to keep safe… like valuable coins, jewelry or maybe even a stash of federal reserve notes! You might keep these items for pure investment purposes – say gold bullion or uncut rough diamonds – or for more sentimental reasons (your great-grandmother’s wedding ring).
Increasingly, non-bank safe deposit facilities are becoming available. These are good because they are not reportable financial accounts – you don’t have to tell the tax man about them. Our contact in Panama reports a new safe deposit facility opening there, for example. Others, for example in Austria and in the Caribbean, are identified and reviewed in our free (to registered members) report How to Buy and Hide Gold Bullion Offshore.
2. Multi-Currency Accounts vs. Multiple Currency Accounts
Multi-currency accounts are quite common in offshore banks. These are very flexible since they permit you to keep many different currencies under the same account number. When you log in to the internet banking interface of your offshore bank account, you will see different balances… X amount of US dollars, Y amount of Euros, Z of Yen etc.
Other banks also allow you to hold balances in different currencies, but allocate you a different account number for each currency. The end result is basically the same, but you will have a series of account numbers and you must take care not to confuse them. For example, if you send Yen to the Canadian dollar account number, the bank will assume you want to convert that balance to CAD and will do so automatically.
3. Precious Metals Storage
Some offshore banks offer a basic service where you can buy gold and simply store it in your safe deposit box. This certainly works, but may not be the most practical way of handling it. Why? Because each time you want to buy or sell, you have to visit the bank personally. Only you have access to your box.
There are various other practical ways of buying gold such as Perth Mint Certificates or Exchange Traded Funds, but the security of such investments in the current financial climate is debatable (see our article on Offshore Precious Metals Investments).
But in terms of offshore banking products (and this is especially common in Swiss banks) it’s important to understand the difference between allocated storage, and unallocated – also known as pooled storage. Both these systems are used by private offshore banks. If you would like to read more about them, read our free (to members) Gold Report for a detailed explanation.
4. Numbered Accounts
We’ve all seen James Bond movies, but what might surprise you is that many European private banks still offer numbered accounts today, simply for the asking. Numbered accounts (or pseudonymous accounts, which are the same but are known by code words instead of numbers) work just like any other offshore bank account. The difference is the the link between the code number or pseudonym and the actual customer is known only to a few senior managers within the bank. Of course, KYC regulations mean that a final beneficiary must always be identified. But at least this system protects your information from the hands of low level bank staff.
Typically the way numbered accounts work these days is that you will have a numbered account and a regular account in the same bank. Numbered accounts cannot normally be used for regular transactions such as wire transfers. So when you want to make a deposit or withdrawal, your private banker will personally carry out a cash transaction at the counter between the two accounts. In the accounting records, the transaction will appear on your personal account as a cash deposit or withdrawal, so there will be no direct link to your numbered account.
5. Offshore Credit and Debit Cards
Almost all offshore banks will offer you the option of linking some kind of plastic payment card to your account. This may be anything from an unbranded hole-in-the-wall cash card through to a premium travel and entertainment card like the Platinum American Express or Diners Club cards. The most common brands, of course, are Visa and MasterCard… but there are far more variations on these cards than there are banks in the world! You offshore private banker will be happy to explain the range of cards available.
What your banker will not explain, however, is that you may well be able to enhance your privacy by obtaining a card from a completely different bank. For that information, you need to download and read our free (to registered members) Practical Offshore Banking Guide. There you will find specific information on prepaid credit cards and anonymous cash cards available from offshore banks.
Want to read more about these five services, plus other offshore banking services you might never have even heard of? Then you need to be a member of Q Wealth Report. The first step is to sign up now for our free five part course, Secrets of the Super Rich. Module one of the course, entitled Offshore Banking Made Simple, could be in your inbox shortly!