Singapore Expats Forum

bank account for foreigners

Discuss the different banking options, rates, offers and perks.
User avatar
mikew
Member
Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 12:27 pm
Location: Singapore, Australia, Andorra (mainly - it's complicated!)

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by mikew » Thu, 27 Dec 2018 2:28 pm

JR8 wrote:
ecureilx wrote: How do you rate Malta ? Malta has been hosting more than a few Billionaires who are 'tax' residents there ..
I'm no expert on 'dodgy' offshore islands, but I'm unaware of it having the reputation of Cyprus. Malta is perhaps like a 1/2-size SG-en-Mediterranean Sea :) Popular holiday destination, especially amongst the older-set/retirees, who like things sunny, warm, dry, slow and steady.

Cyprus, I don't know it well enough to try and encapsulate. It's split in two halves (politically). It was previously wholly a Greek territory, until the Turks invaded the north in the early 80's. So the island is now split into two halves, with border controls etc.

The northern Turkish half is relatively undeveloped, certainly compared to the south. I once went there on a shagging holiday... er, sorry, I mean a 'singles holiday', long ago now :) It's very beautiful undeveloped and historic, I stayed in the capital Kyrenia on the coast. A Roman settlement, with exquisite picture-postcard harbour, quayside al-fresco dining etc, overlooked by an incredible and huge hilltop Crusader-era castle.

Cyprus as a whole wasn't only a great holiday destination before the advent of long-haul holidays becoming an expectation, it was off-radar enough that it came to house some ill-gotten gains, and legit-gains seeking low-key sanctuary. I know three people with financial affairs there, an Iraqi who fled Saddam Hussein, a Libyan who fled Gaddafi, and an Indian dentist who is settled in the UK. IFAIUI all their affairs are via the Greek side of the island.

Greece is long in the EU now, and hence that side of the island has had to seriously clean up it's act. The north-side is another matter and arguably something of a wild-west. Turkey has no extradition treaty with the EU, so Northern Cyprus has become a regional redoubt for EU gangsters/criminals. Whereas Marbella (etc) in Spain used to be the black-money location of residence for crims, N. Cyprus might now be. There are more than a few household-name fugitives holed up there. Gangsters, money-launderers, bank-robbers etc. Sometimes the UK tabloid papers go over there and 'out' another one who is not keeping a sufficiently anonymous lifestyle.

.... hmmm... so with Turkey lined up to accede to the EU, and EU-law, what of N.Cyprus and it's dodgier residents and banks, where's the next stop? Hehehe.... that's going to interesting to see. It'll have to be somewhere with no extradition treaty. Where will it go, in this increasingly transparent and regulated world [grabs popcorn, sits back and waits for the show...].

So back to Malta. The question reverts again, what would be the aim of putting assets there? If it were so that say, any reporting of assets/profit were left to you, rather than the financial institution being required to do it on your behalf, then there are options. It's an evolving and pretty specialist topic. You could draw up a list of top-10 tax-havens and study the pros and cons of each. Switzerland used to be a default choice, less and less so as it's being forced to shed it's secrecy. ... Luxembourg, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Cayman Islands, Belize, Panama? The answer is 'shifting sands' and merits professional advice.

I inherently dislike incurring 'Professional fees', lawyers, accountants, building surveyors and so on. Much can be DIY'd with some sweat and homework. But I think that final decision re: 'Which tax-haven?' is quite probably one worth paying for advice on.

Reminds me of the outplacement mentor I had c15 years ago. Ex FX-trader himself, sharp as a box of razors. He built up a significant portfolio of property that he effectively handed to the council/Housing Association, for them to rent and meet their legal obligation to house the 'homeless'. Each property he bought, he handed over, and reckoned on the council having paid back the purchase price in 5-6 years. Rinse-repeat-rinse... he already owned over 100 such properties, and was by no means done. His tax structure was elaborate, properties owned via Isle-of-Man trust funds, housed via Channel Island Ltd-Co shells. His accountants he said cost him something unimaginable like £2000/hr (15 years ago!) for strategic advice. I still remember their name, it's hard to forget, being almost like something from a comedy sketch, 'Cohen, Cohen, and Cohen'. Who knows, maybe one day if it merits it I'll go and check 'the brothers' out... :lol:
This used to be Andorra's bread and butter. A country that operates with the Euro, is developed, trustworthy, but isn't part of the EU and doesn't share info with the rest of the world.

For a lot of people, it was a great place to keep their money quiet.

But now they're sharing some information due to pressure from other countries nearby. It's interesting to see how these countries act though. France and Spain could crush Andorra, so Andorra has to play by the rules, but they do so reluctantly.

Andorra's banks have signed on to what is called the "Narrow Approach" meaning they don't share information on ALL of their accounts, and it's NOT shared with the local government - meaning Andorra's government doesn't know how much money it's residents have deposited.

There's a good article about this here for anyone interested: https://andorraguides.com/banking/secrecy/

Having been to Malta and Panama I'm not sure I'd bank in either. Both seem like a great place to have your money "absorbed" during a bank restructure.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35879
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 27 Dec 2018 5:55 pm

Actually, most of the local banking is tightening up for expats thanks to FATCA truth be known.

User avatar
PNGMK
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6315
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 9:06 pm
Location: Sinkapore

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by PNGMK » Thu, 27 Dec 2018 9:06 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Actually, most of the local banking is tightening up for expats thanks to FATCA truth be known.
And the fallout from 1MDB
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35879
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 27 Dec 2018 10:38 pm

Oh, you mean DBS? :-D

User avatar
PNGMK
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6315
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 9:06 pm
Location: Sinkapore

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by PNGMK » Fri, 28 Dec 2018 8:11 am

Tim Leissler might have some advice when he gets out of prison.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

User avatar
mikew
Member
Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 12:27 pm
Location: Singapore, Australia, Andorra (mainly - it's complicated!)

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by mikew » Tue, 01 Jan 2019 12:23 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Oh, you mean DBS? :-D
I'd been told that ICBC will take just about anyone right now.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11527
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004 12:13 am
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Re: bank account for foreigners

Post by Strong Eagle » Wed, 02 Jan 2019 2:51 am

mikew wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:Oh, you mean DBS? :-D
I'd been told that ICBC will take just about anyone right now.
Don't believe it. MAS regulates all banks in Singapore, and if anything, they'll have a particular hardon for ICBC since the Chinese tend to play fast and loose in a lot of areas.

Post Reply


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Credit Card & Banking in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest