Singapore is a popular choice for wealthy individuals looking for a safe and secure offshore account for their personal assets and investments. It is also considered to be a favorable jurisdiction for incorporation of international businesses because of its favorable tax laws and business-friendly policies.
Offshore banks in Singapore are considered by many as an ideal place to deposit their funds or incorporate their business because of its political and economic stability, the fact most business transactions are done in English and Singapore’s many full service commercial options.
The banking laws in Singapore were rewritten to encourage the consolidation of local banks and the location of foreign banks and foreign branches in Singapore.
There are currently only seven locally incorporated Singapore banks offering full services. However, there are over 100 foreign options operating offices in Singapore, twenty-four are full service, over forty are wholesale, and another forty-two are offshore banks.
Under the Singapore laws foreign companies with full licenses can offer most commercial banking services to account holders however unlike local options there are restrictions on the number of branches and automated teller machines the foreign companies can operate. Foreign Banks with full licenses include American Express, BOA, CITIbank, and JP Morgan Chase all incorporated in the United States. There are also full service foreign ones from China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, France, Thailand, and Malaysia.
There are eight foreign options that have received ‘Qualified Full Bank’ licenses under the new laws. These so called QFB Banks can establish multiple offices and branches in Singapore as well as operate more ATMs than the full service foreign banks. Those foreign banks with QFB status include the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, BNP Bank (formerly known as Ban ue Nationale De Paris), CITIbank Singapore, Standard Chartered Bank from Great Britain, HSBC Hong Kong, Malayan Banking Berhad MayBank, and Star Bank of India and ICIC Bank Limited of India.
There are over forty foreign different options with wholesale bank licenses. These options offer the same services as full banks, except that they do not deal in the Singapore dollar and are limited under the wholesale license to one main branch in Singapore. The offshore banks offer account holders a range of services but they do not deal in the Singapore dollar or in the Singapore Government Securities Market. The offshore options are from all over the world including South Africa, Europe, Asia, Canada and Scandinavia.
If you are considering establishing a personal or business account in Singapore there are a large number of banks offering a variety of services to choose among. Before you choose a bank to establish your accounts with seek the assistance of a professional financial advisor to ensure that the bank you decide to work with will be able to meet your unique financial and business needs.