Multi-currency corporate bank account opening considerations in 2023
To minimise engagement surprises and align all parties’ expectations, our multi-national Clients should be aware of the following:
- Healy Consultants Group’s policy regarding guaranteed multi-currency corporate bank account approvals.
- Global banking trends.
- The alternative option of purchasing a shelf company with an already approved multi-currency corporate bank account (see this webpage)
- Our policy of taking care of our multi-national Clients when they need to travel to meet the bank.
- Refer to this web page for an overview of the corporate bank account opening process. This web page will also help you visualise how the coming months will evolve.
- To optimise the probability of multi-currency corporate bank account approval, Healy Consultants Group will:
- Prepare a quality business plan for each bank to attract a welcome email inviting a multi-currency corporate bank account opening application from our Client’s business.
- Recommend our Clients keep the corporate structure simple by appointing our Client’s preferred individual shareholder(s) and director(s) and bank signatories – no corporate entity, nominee, trust, or holding company in a tax neutral jurisdiction.
- Every week during the engagement, Healy Consultants Group will supply our Client an engagement update containing the complete list of contacted banks and their feedback. Whenever possible, this table will contain the expected bank account opening charges for the banks willing to onboard your Firm as a Client.
- Following multi-currency corporate bank account approvals, Healy Consultants Group or the banks will courier mails and e-banking tokens to the bank signatory, who is expected to activate the internet bank account, if needed with Healy Consultants Group’s assistance.
When bank signatory travel is required
- In most cases, Healy Consultants Group will secure corporate bank account numbers without our Client needing to travel to the country where the bank account will be located.
- However, some banks must meet our Client in person for a one-hour interview at the bank branch, before releasing corporate bank account numbers. When travel is unavoidable, our Firm will refund US$950 to our Client and action this travel policy. As always, before we ask our Client to travel, we will aggressively and skillfully negotiate with the bank for travel exemption.
- We recommend our Client appoints individuals who could timely travel to meet multiple local and international banks, if bank Compliance Departments require the same before releasing multiple multi-currency corporate bank account numbers. After corporate bank account numbers are secured, and if required, Healy Consultants Group to assist our Client to appoint new signatories. However, the banks will usually only approve them as bank signatory after a face-to-face meeting and review and approval of a bank signatory application.
- If Healy Consultants is supplying professional passive nominee shareholders, directors and bank signatory, and the bank also requests our nominees to visit the branch, there will be an additional fee to cover travel costs.
Due diligence documentation
- At the beginning of our engagement, Healy Consultants Group will request our Client to supply standard due diligence for each director, shareholder, beneficial owner and bank signatory. With this list of documents the bank will conduct an initial due diligence check.
- Because global banks continue to tighten corporate bank account opening procedures, and their internal legal and compliance departments are completing more thorough due diligence of directors, shareholders, signatories and UBOs, it is likely the bank’s Compliance and legal department will revert requesting additional KYC information from each bank signatory, director, shareholder and UBO.
- Additional documents usually requested by banks include i) details of existing businesses in our Client’s country of residency ii) reason for starting a business and opening bank accounts in the specific country iii) proof of business globally and in the country where the bank is located, including copies of contracts, invoices, and agreements with local Clients iv) a list of suppliers and customers and v) source of startup capital or wealth vi) regulatory licenses vii) additional KYC information on our Client’s business and place of residency, including nature and volume of transactions viii) lease agreement for physical office premises from where the business is conducted and/or in the jurisdiction where the bank is located ix) evidence our Clients are complying with their local personal and corporate tax reporting obligations.
- If requested by Banks, our Clients should be ready to supply this information transparently to avoid engagement delays. As always, Healy Consultants Group will negotatiate with the bank to provide certainty to their internal legal and compliance department and as much as possible minimize these requirements.
Why is this the most challenging part of the engagement?
- Because global interest rates are low, international banks currently make little profit from current accounts. Consequently, their appetite for new multi-currency corporate bank account applications is low. As a result, global banks tend to choose vanilla customers that tick all the boxes of a low-risk Client, and reject all other applications deemed as ‘high risk’ by the bank.
- For example, most banks will only welcome multi-currency corporate bank account applications from a company registered, and with local staff and office premises, in the country where the bank account is being applied for.
- It is difficult to secure multi-currency corporate bank account approval for an overseas entity. Cross border corporate structures are classed as high risk customers. As you can appreciate, it is challenging to obtain bank approval when directors, shareholders and signatories reside overseas. Consequently, our multi-national Clients should expect engagement challenges.
- Depending on the nationality of the UBO, shareholders, bank signatories, and directors and the nature and value of the business and volume of transactions, it is wise to expect that corporate bank account approvals will take an average of two months from the date of entity registration and receipt of all KYC documentation.
- When dealing with international banks, the front office bank officer is willing to help Healy Consultants Group and our multi-national Clients. The role of this officer is to merely collect information and ensure an accurate and complete corporate bank account application is submitted to the bank’s compliance department.
- Unfortunately, the Compliance Department has ultimate power of approval over corporate bank account applications. This Department is extremely risk-averse and does not communicate with customers or Healy Consultants Group and often lacks commercial reality. All communications must go through the front office bank officer. Consequently, bona fide Clients with an unusual profile or business do not get a chance to communicate directly with the banks’ decision-makers to explain their business and mitigate the risks the bank perceives.
- Global banks enjoy ultimate power of approval over corporate bank account applications. Consequently guaranteed success is outside Healy Consultants Group’s control. What is within our control is the preparation and submission of a high-quality application that maximises the likelihood of approval.
Other banking considerations
- If corporate bank account opening goes on too long, Healy Consultants Group may revert to require additional fees from our Clients, to cover additional time and resources spent on the engagement.
- The banks will charge setup fees before and after corporate bank account approval and also require the injection of a minimum deposit. Usually, the balance can go below this minimum requirement, but the bank will then charge fall below fees.
- All banking charges, certification, translation and other third-party fees incurred during the corporate bank account opening process are to be borne by our Clients. These additional fees are payable in advance of any disbursement.
ConclusionHealy Consultants Group will be happy to assist our multi-national Clients to open multi-currency corporate bank accounts in every country.