An offshore bank is a bank located outside the country of residence of the depositor, typically in a low tax jurisdiction (aka "tax haven") that provides financial and legal advantages. These advantages typically include some or all of
While the term originates from the Channel Islands "offshore" from Britain, and most offshore banks are located in island nations to this day, the term is used figuratively to refer to such banks regardless of location (Switzerland, Luxembourg and Andorra in particular are landlocked).
Offshore banking has often been associated with the underground economy and organized crime, via tax evasion and money laundering; however, legally, offshore banking does not prevent assets from being subject to personal income tax on interest. Except for certain persons who meet fairly complex requirements , the personal income tax of most countries makes no distinction between interest earned in local banks and those earned abroad. Persons subject to US income tax, for example, are required to declare on penalty of perjury, any offshore bank accounts—which may or may not be numbered bank accounts—they may have.
Although offshore banks may decide not to report income to other tax authorities, and have no legal obligation to do so as they are protected by bank secrecy, this does not make the non-declaration of the income by the tax-payer or the evasion of the tax on that income legal. Following September 11, 2001, there have been many calls for more regulation on international finance, in particular concerning offshore banks, tax havens and clearing houses such as Clearstream, based in Luxembourg, being accused of being a crossroads for major illegal money flows.
Defenders of offshore banking have criticised these attempts at regulation. They claim the process is prompted, not by security and financial concerns, but by the desire of domestic banks and tax agencies to access the money held in offshore accounts. They argue that offshore banking offers a competitive threat to the banking and taxation systems in developed countries, and that OECD countries are trying to stamp out competition.
Advantages of offshore banking
Disadvantages of offshore banking
It is possible to obtain the full spectrum of financial services from offshore banks, including:
Not every bank provides each service. Banks tend to polarise between retail services and private banking services. Retail services tend to be low cost and undifferentiated, whereas private banking services tend to bring a personalised suite of services to the client.
Statistics concerning offshore banking
Offshore banking, which has a historic association with tax evasion or organized crime, is an important part of the international financial system. Experts believe that as much as half the world's capital flows through offshore centers. Tax havens have 1.2% of the world's population and hold 26% of the world's wealth, including 31% of the net profits of United States multinationals. According to Merrill Lynch and Gemini Consulting's “World Wealth Report” for 2000, one third of the wealth of the world's “high net-worth individuals”—nearly $6 trillion out of $17.5 trillion—may now be held offshore. Some $3 trillion is in deposits in tax haven banks and the rest is in securities held by international business companies (IBCs) and trusts.
The IMF said that between $600 billion and $1.5 trillion of illicit money is laundered annually, equal to 2% to 5% of global economic output. Today, offshore is where most of the world's drug money is allegedly laundered, estimated at up to $500 billion a year, more than the total income of the world's poorest 20%. Add the proceeds of tax evasion and the figure skyrockets to $1 trillion. Another few hundred billion come from fraud and corruption. "These offshore centers awash in money are the hub of a colossal, underground network of crime, fraud, and corruption" commented Lucy Komisar quoting these statistics. Among offshore banks, Swiss banks hold an estimated 35% of the world's private and institutional funds (or 3 trillion Swiss francs), and the Cayman Islands are the fifth largest banking centre globally in terms of deposits.
Regulation of offshore banks
In the 21st century, regulation of offshore banking is allegedly improving, although critics maintain it remains largely insufficient. The quality of the regulation is monitored by supra-national bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Banks are generally required to maintain capital adequacy in accordance with international standards. They must report at least quarterly to the regulator on the current state of the business.
Since the late 1990s, especially following September 11, 2001, there has been a number of initiatives to increase the transparency of offshore banking, although critics such as the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC) non-governmental organization (NGO) maintain that they have been insufficient. A few examples of these are:
Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate for economics and former World Bank Chief Economist, told to reporter Lucy Komisar, investigating on the Clearstream scandal:
In the 1970s through the 1990s it was possible to own your own personal offshore bank; mobster Meyer Lansky had done this to launder his casino money. Changes in offshore banking regulation in the 1990s in the form of "due diligence" (a legal construct) make offshore bank creation really only possible for medium to large multinational corporations that may be family owned or run.
Offshore financial centres
Offshore financial centres include:
SOLAR COLA as an INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY?
The soft drinks market is a tough place to do business, unless you have something different to offer and the marketing muscle to match.
For nearly 100 years Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola have dominated the marketplace with similar products. Each company spends around $600-800 million dollars a year to maintain its market position. The advertising centers around sport and music, with a scattering of irregular television campaigns. Each company launches (or attempts to launch) new brands every year. So far, they have not proved as successful as their regular cola brands.
Red Bull, although in a different drinks category, spends not quite as much on advertising , but has managed to acquire instant status and volume sales from sponsoring formula one, the Darpa Desert Challenge, and now the New Jersey MetroStars football team.
Solar Cola, apart from it's contemporary name, is a healthier cola based drink. Just as refreshing, it contains a unique blend of added ingredients as an aid to good health and energy levels. The company contributes to and sponsors alternative projects, to include this website, featuring movies, music and several thousand pages of general information, which generates in excess of 3 million visits a month already. Recent acquisitions include the rights to the Solar Navigator World Electric Challenge - 2009/10, and also the new Bluebird Electric land speed record car for 2007/8. The company may also sponsor the London to Brighton Solar Car Run in 2008 (dependent on the number of university entries received).
It is thought that this marketing strategy will equal several hundred thousand dollars of conventional Ad Agency spending. As an example of the kind of media coverage such nautical antics generate, you have only to look at the newspapers when Ellen Macarthur completed her world circumnavigation. The same holds true for Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
The design of the Solar Cola can is copyright protected, with trademark applications in the USA, Australia and Europe pending in Class 32 and granted rights in the UK. Introduction of the drink is held in abeyance pending official launch of one or other sponsored projects, which will be activated when the time is right, such activation to coincide with the market introduction of the drink.
Solar Cola PLC is shortly to be activated for online investment as their trading arm. The company is forecast to produce excellent results for investors, with sustained growth to be followed by an eventual flotation on the Stock Markets of the world in the next few years. At this point estimates suggest investors will reap substantial gains - in line with international Licensing expectations.
Solar Cola Ltd is managing the funding requirement for the trading company. They are looking for medium term or seed investment between £4-5 million to kick start phase two of the venture.
If you are a Business Angel, or Equity House, looking for an opportunity with the potential for good returns, please contact SOLAR COLA LTD for details of their business plan. Or for and informal chat, please ask for the funding project manager: Nelson Kruschandl
+ 44 (0) 1323 831727
+44 (0) 7905 147709
This material and any views expressed herein are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as a prospectus or offer. Please contact the company concerned for information of any business opportunity or specific program. Before investing in any business, you must obtain, read and examine thoroughly its disclosure document or offering memorandum.
A taste for adventure capitalists
Solar Cola - the healthier cola alternative
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