Offshore FAQ

Frequently answered questions

Setting up an Offshore Company

  1. What is due diligence?
    — usually due diligence is defined as «to know your client» and client’s affairs. Due diligence is a monitoring and controls process that allows banks and agents to know who they are dealing with. Due diligence on new and existing customers helps to avoid operations and legal risks and, logically, significant financial costs. «Know your client» principle is closely connected with the fight against money-laundering and international terrorism. Usually the due diligence procedure requires customers to provide such original documents as certified passport copy, proof of address, bank reference, professional reference.
  2. What name can be given to an offshore company?
    — an offshore company founder may choose nearly any name to it. In most jurisdictions there are very few restrictions. The name of an IBC must end with «Incorporated», «Limited», «Corporation» or the abbreviations «Inc.», «Corp.», or «Ltd.» Names that include «trust», «bank» or «insurance» require a government license.
  3. What is a nominee in context of an offshore business company?
    — a nominee is a person who is not the real owner or director of a company, but nominated to fill the position. It is used to preserve the identity of the real owners of offshore business.
  4. What is a nominee director?
    — nominee directors are appointed mainly for confidentiality reasons, for example if company’s owner does not wish his name to appear on a company’s business contract, or to be included in the public registry of the jurisdiction.
  5. When a nominee service agreement is signed?
    — a nominee service agreement is usually concluded between the client and the nominee upon appointment of nominee director. The nominee service agreement will guarantee to the client that the nominee can only act or sign documents upon the client’s requests. It will also guarantee to the nominee that he/she has no responsibility.
  6. What is notarisation of documents?
    — a notarisation means that a notary checks all the documents that are issued for an offshore business company and that he confirms their legal status.
  7. What is apostille?
    — an apostille is a certification and legalization of the corporate documents, by the government of the jurisdiction where an offshore company has been incorporated.
  8. Who is offshore company shareholder?
    — shareholder is a person who owns the company through a share certificate. The shareholder can be an individual or a company. An offshore company can be owned by one or many shareholders.
  9. Who is offshore company director?
    — the director is the person responsible for determining the policy of the company, signing any business contracts, account opening forms etc. Directors are usually elected by the shareholders, but sometimes are appointed by resolution. The director can be an individual or a company. A company can have one or many directors.
  10. Is it required for an offshore company to keep financial records at the registered office?
    — legally, it is not required to keep the financial records of the offshore company with your registered agent. Offshore company records can be kept anywhere.
  11. Does an offshore IBC have to prepare and file audited accounts?
    — there is no legal requirement to file the accounts of IBC’s or have an annual audit in most Caribbean jurisdictions including BVI, Belize, Seychelles, Panama and Dominica. UK limited companies must file annual accounts.
  12. What is the due time for company’s yearly fees to be paid?
    — these fees are to be settled at each anniversary of the company (not the end of each calendar year).
  13. What are bearer shares?
    — shares with no name on them, payable to bearer. These shares provide more privacy.