Monday, 19 March 2012

Why invest offshore?

Offshore investment can be an important component of wealth and asset protection planning. This is a financial tax planning process but NOT tax evasion

Offshore financial planning is much more open than used to be the case and still has many advantages. This is especially true with the use of Trusts.

·         Not for tax evasion
·         Lost faith in British & Irish Banks. Never had faith in Spanish Banks!
·         Strategic financial planning

The term “offshore” originally comes from financial institutions located offshore from UK in the Channel Islands, but is now used figuratively to refer to banks in many regions, particularly Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and politically neutral European jurisdictions such as Switzerland. The Channel Islands, however, remain key offshore centres of excellence.

Individuals or organisations (including companies and businesses) may be interested in placing assets offshore for a variety of legitimate reasons, including:

1. The existence of a sophisticated infrastructure of financial institutions and professional service providers (lawyers, accountants, corporate services, etc). This is particularly true of Jersey and Guernsey where most of the financial services professionals will have trained in the UK

2. Tighter government regulation in the region in which the financial institution is domiciled. This may allow for a relatively favourable investment environment as compared to onshore.

3. Access to politically and economically stable jurisdictions. This may be an advantage for individuals who lack faith in the financial institutions in their ‘home’ country. After experiences of the last few years many British and Irish people might have lost faith in Banks. Then, of course, Spanish Banks really are something else!

4. Tax neutral.  Having no added local tax burden is a useful advantage for individuals who are not obligated to pay tax on worldwide income, or who may be able to defer taxation.  It also allows individuals to structure their assets without having to worry about local tax complications. This suits many expats.

5. As part of estate and/or asset protection planning. Another advantage for expats.

6. Broader "global" view than often found with onshore institutions.

7. Strong privacy and confidentiality laws to help protect depositor's interests but not Tax evasion.

Financial Pages in Spain can introduce you to these services but will NOT provide the advice. Only fully licensed, regulated and authorised advisers will ever be recommended.

Before considering any offshore investments you should carefully decide you objectives and what you are trying to achieve. The expertise in giving you advice needs to be at a high level. I can recommend advisers with the expertise, if you email me. You might therefore also like to read my previous post which covers getting good advice.

Tax Evasion Warning
Individuals with non-legitimate intentions may also seek to do business offshore, just as they do onshore, incorrectly assuming that their activities may be more likely to be overlooked or found acceptable. This of course is tax evasion and is illegal. The only advice I can offer such individuals is to make themselves legal and legitimate! Use an authorised and regulated adviser that I will be happy to recommend to you if you email me

In addition, it may be helpful to read a post on Savings and Investments, which could easily form a part of the process outlined above;

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain