Mercatoria Services - Bank Formations

By: Mercatoria  09-12-2011
Keywords: Tax, License

Bank Formations

Offshore banking is governed by the St. Lucia International Banks Act 1999 (the “Act”). Particular points to note about offshore banks in St. Lucia are as follows:

  1. The Act provides for 2 types of licenses to be granted:
    1. Class A license which permits the applicant to conduct banking business with third parties; and
    2. Class B license which permits the applicant to conduct business ONLY with persons listed at the time of the application
  2. All international banks must be incorporated as IBCs.
  3. In order to incorporate an IBC to undertake international banking business, the person seeking to incorporate must first make a tentative or preliminary application to the Minister for approval to incorporate the IBC.
  4. As an IBC, an international bank is required to have a registered Agent and a registered office.
  5. All banks will be required to file annual audited financial statements.
  6. Capital requirements:
    1. Class A license – the IBC must have a fully paid up capital of at least US$1,000,000; and
    2. Class B license – the IBC must have fully paid up capital of at least US$250,000.
  7. The licensee under either class of license, must maintain a deposit of at least $100,000 in the prescribed manner.
  8. All licensees must have at least two directors (who must be natural persons), and at least one of who must be a resident of St. Lucia.
  9. There are provisions in the Act that provide for confidentiality of the information submitted upon application for a license and otherwise obtained in the course of regulating the licensee. This protection also extends to clients of the licensee.
  10. The application fee for both classes of license is US$500.00. The annual fee for a Class A license is US$25,000 and for a Class B license US$15,000.
  11. The shares of a licensee may not be transferred without the written approval of the Minister.
  12. Licensees are not subject to any exchange control.
  13. International Banks as IBCs may elect to be exempt from tax or to be subject to tax at a rate of 1%.
The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: License, Tax

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